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不,我们并不“需要”一场衰退

发自伯克利—我最近收到了一封来自好友俄勒冈大学教授马克·托马(Mark Thoma)的电子邮件,询问我是否留意到有越来越多的评论文章暗示经济衰退是一种对经济(或类似事务)的正面而健康的大扫除。事实上我也注意到有日益增加的评论者正在表达这样的观点,即“衰退纵使痛苦,但却是实现增长的必要投入。”这让我惊讶不已。

当然,在2008~2010年经济大萧条之前,呼吁要来一场“必要性”衰退的评论者言论并不鲜见。但我本人认为这一主张早就不合时宜了。试问谁敢在2019年理直气壮地说在低通胀条件下出现衰退和高失业率会是一件好事?

但显然我错了。该论据已经成为了诺贝尔经济学奖得主保罗·克鲁格曼(Paul Krugman)所谓“僵尸理念”的注脚——就是那些早就被证据或逻辑所证伪,但却死而不僵,继续吞噬着人们大脑”的理论。那些自称欢迎衰退的人显然从未看过数据。因为如果他们翻翻数据就会明白,经济上的有益结构性变化都发生在繁荣时期而非萧条时期。

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