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为什么民主政体需要值得信赖的专家

巴黎——上个月,我写过一篇评论质疑英国选民为什么不顾多数专家脱欧将付出惨重经济代价的警告而支持脱欧?据我观察,英国和其他国家的许多选民在经济专家面前感到异常愤怒。他们说专家未能预见到2008年金融危机、一贯在政策建议中奉行效率第一的原则、并且盲目假设因其施政方略而受损的民众能够以某种不确定的方式得到补偿。我认为专家应当放低身段,进一步关注分配问题。

那篇文章所得到的评论比我其他所有评论文章都多。评论者的反应基本证实了我刚刚提到的愤怒。他们认为经济学家和其他专家远离普通民众,不关心民众疾苦;他们的目的不同于普通民众;他们常大错特错,因此根本不称职;他们偏袒大企业和金融业,或者成为利益集团的俘虏;他们天真幼稚——没有看到政客会选择与其自身目标相符的分析并无视其他。有人说,专家将辩论分解成无数狭隘、专业探讨的做法客观上要为社会的分裂负责。

值得注意的是,我还收获了来自自然科学专业人士的评论,表示民众对专家信任度越来越低的现象在他们的学科领域也普遍存在着。诸如能源、气候、遗传学和医学领域的科学观念正面对民众越来越普遍的抵制。比方说在美国,某皮尤研究调查发现67%的成年人认为科学家对转基因生物造成的健康影响缺乏清醒的认识。欧洲对转基因生物的不信任度甚至超过美国。虽然科学的总体支持率依然强劲,但很多民众认为科学研究受特殊利益集团的操纵,并且在某些问题上,人们的普遍观点与已经掌握的证据不符。

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