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刀刃上的民主

坎布里奇—在穆罕默德·哈尼夫的小说红鸟中,一名美国轰炸机飞行员驾驶的飞机在阿拉伯沙漠中坠毁,自己被困在当地的难民营。他发现自己和一个当地店主谈论小偷。“我们的政府是最大的小偷,”他解释道。“它既偷活人也偷死人。”店主回答说,“感谢上帝,我们没有这个问题。我们只互相偷。”

这个小插曲恰恰概括了达伦·阿塞莫格鲁詹姆斯·罗宾逊的新著狭窄的走廊:国家、社会和自由的命运的关键信息。阿塞莫格鲁和罗宾逊的观点是,自由和繁荣的前景往往在国家压迫的刀刃和社会自身的无法无天和暴力活动中取得平衡。如果赋予国家太多的社会支配权,就会产生独裁。如果国家在社会面前太过软弱无力,人们就会面对无法无天。

正如这部新著的标题所表明的那样,在上述两种反面乌托邦之间仅仅存在一条“狭窄的走廊”,而迄今为止仅有少数几个国家(主要是西方工业化国家)成功找到了这条狭窄的出路。此外,找到这条路并不意味着能一直走下去。阿塞莫格鲁和罗宾逊强调,除非民间社会时刻保持警惕并全民动员反对潜在的独裁者,否则永远无法排除独裁倒退的可能。

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    Putin’s Meaningless Coup

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    The message of Vladimir Putin’s call in his recent state-of-the-nation speech for a constitutional overhaul is not that the Russian regime is going to be transformed; it isn’t. Rather, the message is that Putin knows his regime is on the wrong side of history – and he is dead set on keeping it there.

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