马尔萨斯、马克思和现代增长

美国剑桥—每一代人都能过得比上一代人更好,这是现代社会的一个基本信条。总的来说,大部分发达经济体都兑现了这一承诺,最近几代人的社会标准一直在提高,尽管战争和金融危机也会带来一些倒退。

发展中国家亦然,大部分人民已开始享受持续的生活水平改善,类似的增长预期也在快速形成。但子孙后代,特别是发达国家的子孙后代,能够实现这一预期吗?尽管可能的答案是肯定的,但下行风险比几十年前已经有所增加。

到目前为止,从马尔萨斯到马克思,凡是预测现代人的丰裕程度会下降的,最后都被证明错得离谱。技术进步战胜了经济增长的障碍。周期性的权力再平衡——有时是和平的,有时是不和平的——确保了大部分人受益,尽管有些人的受益程度远高于其他人。

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