Supreme Court protests Olivier Douliery/Stringer

应对有害的机构惰性

伦敦—长期以来,根基深厚、可信、可问责、有效的机构一直被视为一个社会保持幸福和繁荣的关键。这些机构让国家不会出现频繁的、令人不安的波动,不管是在经济上,政治上还是社会上;也降低了代价高昂的冲击的风险。但如今,关键性政治和经济机构正因为它们的运转环境反常的波动,以及管辖区内累积的信任缺失,而承受压力。

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影响是多变的,相对于公共实体,私人实体进行调整适应的概率要高得多,包括通过相对有序的创造性破坏和再造过程来实现。公共实体需要加强改革措施,这样才能免于变成妨碍全球经济实现持续的包容性高增长的新障碍。

强大的机构就像是一张设计合理、运转良好的道路网,它们确保稳定的运行环境、更加平稳的传递机制、成本和风险更低的经济互动、可信的财产权利,以及对法治的尊重,从而让经济变得强大。它们不但是各种双赢关系的促成因素,更是受到信任的看门人。因此,几十年来,这些机构被广泛视为将发达经济体和发展中国家区别开来的主要特征。发展中国家仍然极易受到更大范围的破坏性周期和结构性冲击。

但是,近几年来,这一界定受到了挑战,拥有巨大系统性影响力的私人和公共机构的地位衰落了。

对越来越多的私人企业来说,主要压力源一直是技术,特别是以日益强大的混合了人工智能、大数据和移动性的技术进步。对于面临来自能够结合颠覆性内容和大平台的新来者的激烈竞争的企业来说,挑战尤其艰巨,甚至是致命的——显著的例子包括亚马逊、Facebook、谷歌、奈飞和优步等。从它们越来越吸引监管部门的兴趣,以及越来越多的媒体开始关注各种争议(如与“假新闻”和内部公司文化的争议)来看,这些公司必须在赢得更大的系统性影响力和关注的同时有所调整,保持灵活。

对于公共机构来说,调整的过程更加艰巨,特别是考虑到它们还要充当各种看门人、促进因素和监管部门的角色。它们常常具备“自然垄断”性质,不仅仅能抵挡破坏,也会抑制和推迟有益的创新。内在惰性、不完全信息、风险厌恶和有意无意的偏见所形成的合力阻碍了对调整适应的紧迫性和重要性的认识。即使是不那么恶劣的缺陷——如法律现代化速度跟不上变化的现实——也会有损于经济福祉。

教育系统在引入令人振奋的技术突破方面的显然而持续的失败是这一惰性的最佳写照。不那么显而易见的是经济机构在更新政策方针方面的滞后性,包括通过更快地采纳重要洞见和来自行为科学、人工智能、神经科学和其他学科的工具实现政策方针更新。

这大大损害了人们对公共机构的效力的信任。而信誉的受损有可能进一步影响它们的效果,让因它们没能实现包容性高增长而产生的恶性循环持久化。

我们对于公共机构如何调整适应以及改革的认识仍在不断演化,尚不能产生一个完整的方案。但一些重点已经水落石出。

·         限制伤害,包括克制推广日益低效但现成的方针、实体和思维的天然倾向。

·         对于可以从外部破坏者身上学到的教训保持更加开放的态度,并愿意反省过程的基础和全部业务模式。

·         加强公私互动,不仅仅是为了直接内容,也是作为打开最佳实践“杂交”的空间的方法。

·         改善公共沟通方法,杜绝持续信息失灵、渠道老化和积重难返的信任缺失加剧运行缺陷。

目前,太多具有内在影响力的机构在认识和落实改革方面大大滞后了。这加剧了细分人口群体因为政府对根深蒂固的经济不安全的担忧充耳不闻、无动于衷而产生的失望感、梳理感和边缘化感。这种现象已经孕育了多年,不可能一夜之间得到根除,并在不断助长社会和政治破坏。

机构很重要,特别是在经济、政治和社会瞬息万变的时期。重塑对关键公共机构——以及在较小的程度上,对私人机构——的信心耗时越久,我们和子孙后代的福祉所受到的威胁就越大。

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