Chris Van Es

美国领导力的离奇复兴

发自佛罗伦萨——最近召开的美国经济学会年会中弥漫着一片对美国前途的悲观情绪。“美国主导世界的时代已经一去不返了。”一位与会经济学家宣称。“美国应当准备好应对一场社会骚动,而这场骚动的主题就是究竟谁该为世界霸主地位的失落负责。”另一位经济学家如是说。

我们已经不是第一次在美国或海外听到这样的言论了。在备受争议的《自由主义英格兰的离奇死亡》一书中,英国历史学家乔治·丹格菲尔德是这样解释大英帝国在19世纪与20世纪之交突然从权力巅锋跌落的:那个大家所熟悉的世界似乎就这样平白无故地消失了。而许多美国人——比如那些茶党的拥护者——则害怕同样的事情会发生在自己的国家身上,或者说,一切已经发生了。

丹格菲尔德在当时英国的制度,政治和人性等因素之间截取了的一个横截面,并在剧烈阶级斗争的背景下对此进行分析。而美国人一般对阶级斗争不感兴趣。毫无疑问,美国自立国以来就拥有一个固化(尽管流动性相对较强)的社会结构。但美国人就是不喜欢讨论这个话题,即便是对那些“精英”的闹剧大发牢骚时也一样。几乎所有美国人(除极穷与极富者外)都将自己定义为“中产阶级”。而这也使美国的民主特质得以完好保存。

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