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问题的实质是富豪统治吗?

发自伯克利—为何针对大衰退的政策反应只是部分反映了从大萧条中吸取的教训?直到最近,英国《金融时报》评论员马丁·沃尔夫(Martin Wolf)和我的伯克利分校同事巴里·艾申格林(Barry Eichengreen)给出了明智的答案。两人都指出尽管人们对当年的记忆仍足够防止2008年的1929年式大规模冲击催生另一次大萧条,但许多教训都被危机后那几年中的意识形态右转所埋没了。从那时起,最坏情况已被避免的事实已成为了让人们接受一个次优现状的口实。

如今诺贝尔经济学奖得主保罗·克鲁格曼(Paul Krugman)又提出了另一种解释:富豪统治。在2010年代初,世界上收入最高的那0.01%的人—人数大约3万,其中一半在美国—很少关注高失业率(这似乎对他们并没有什么影响),但却对政府负债非常警惕,随后开始要求实施紧缩政策,正如克鲁格曼所说,“政治和媒体体制都将那些极端富裕者的偏好内化成了自身的一部分。”

那么如果收入最高那0.01%人的收入占总收入的比重没有在近几十年间翻了4倍(从1.3%升至5%),那么2010年代的美国经济是否会出现实质性的变化?克鲁格曼当然这么认为的。“虽然保持警惕可以减轻富人定义政策议程的程度,”他写道,“但最终这些有钱人都会找到门路——除非一开始的时候就没那么多大财主。”因此美国的当务之急应该是遏制富豪统治。

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