民族的财富和文化

就像共产党政权曾经把卡尔·马克思奉为神明一样,现代经济学家已经把亚当·斯密(Adam Smith)尊为先知。他们总结斯密的核心原则——即无论在何种文化条件下,好的激励机制就会产生好的结果—— 这已经成了经济学的信条。但这种观点是对历史的误解(也许也是对斯密本意的误解)。

带来现代经济发展的不是好的激励机制,而是在英格兰和苏格兰这样的社会中创造新的经济文化。要想让贫困社会快速发展,我们就不仅要改变它们的制度和相应的激励机制,更要改变它们的文化。这就要让更多社会民众了解经济发达国家的生活。

尽管几乎所有的经济学家都相信激励机制的重要作用,世界历史的三大特征显示出文化的主导作用。

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