Empty urban area

不平等的诞生

发自伦敦——每个人似乎都在谈论——以及谴责——当今不断攀升的经济不平等程度。在乐施会最近披露的统计数据——世界上最富有的62人拥有的财富总额相当于全球最穷的36亿人的财产之和——的推波助澜下,像美国的伯尼·桑德斯和英国的杰里米·科宾这类左翼人物的民众支持率节节拔高。但是如今这场意识形态驱动的争论过于简单化了一个极其复杂的问题——并被一些我们并不完全了解的过程所影响。

许多参与时下这场不平等之争的人都会援引法国经济学家汤玛斯·皮克提(Thomas Piketty)2014年出版的著作《二十一世纪资本论》,并依此提出三个关键点。首先,在过去的30年中,财富相对收入的比率稳步提升。其次,如果对财富的总回报比收入增速要高,财富必然会越来越集中。第三,这种日益加剧的不平等状况都必须在其最终破坏社会之前通过没收性征税来逆转。

这些论点可能乍看上去有说服力。但第一点只不过是老生常谈,而第二点则被皮克提自己的数据所证伪,使得第三点变得无关紧要。

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