负债民主国家的三条道路

发自芝加哥——典型的投资手法讲究先在短期内支付一定成本,然后获取长期收益,但民主国家的政府往往都缺乏制定类似决策的动机。倘若要在民主制度下实施这类投资行为的话,要么需要一位勇气可嘉的领导人,要么要求选民能明白回避这类痛苦决策所导致的弊端。

有勇气的领导人堪称凤毛麟角,而那些信息充分而且富有参与精神的选民也为数不多,因为那些提供给选民的所谓专家意见本身都模棱两可。不同学派的经济学家都发现就任何政策的必要性达成共识非常艰难。比如说关于政府支出的激烈争论:它究竟是唯一能将萧条拒之门外的手段,还是一条毁灭之路?最终这些争论无法达成任何共识,中间派选民根本不知道该选择哪一方,而政策选择最终往往会走上避重就轻的道路——直到碰壁了为止。

发达国家逐渐堆积的债务(其实早就在迅速增长,只不过最近这场大萧条将其推到了几乎无法维持的境地)就反映了类似的算计。民主政府着手应对由竞争性市场所引发的经济下跌风险,而公众也对此表示赞赏——不管它是通过支出来创造就业,还是拯救那些在资产负债表中拥有有毒债券的银行。

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