Shinzo Abe The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

日本庞氏骗局?

东京—二十世纪初,从意大利移民北美的查尔斯·庞齐(Charles Ponzi)想出了一个看似绝妙的赚钱主意。他为毫无价值的投资提供巨大回报,从而说服越来越多的人把钱给他,这些钱被用作利润支付给先前的投资者。这个以庞齐的姓氏命名的骗局在本质上是一种让企业永久积累债务的方法。但是,当然,它终究只是个骗局——而事实上,庞齐也因此入狱。

一个世纪后,类似于庞齐骗局的金字塔骗局仍被视为欺诈,至少在私人企业这样做时如此。但似乎极少有人认识到这类骗局在公共部门中的作用。事实上,许多国家的政府,包括美国和日本,都依靠实质庞齐骗局生存。

当然,其中有一些关键区别。传统私人庞氏骗局尽管能支付短期回报,但永远会因为 一个简单的原因而败露:潜在投资者数量是有限的。但在政府庞氏骗局中投资者是纳税人。而一个稳定的政府,能够根据自己的意愿实施强制措施,想必可以一直征税,将税收收入用于偿还早前的债务,这一过程可以维持多代人。

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