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诺贝尔经济学奖得主迪顿的三大看法

来源: FT中文网     阅读:  次     收藏本文
        Angus Deaton has won this year’s Nobel Prize in economics for a string of landmark findings on the study of consumption, which have shaped policy and academic studies across the world.
        安格斯•迪顿(Angus Deaton)因其在消费研究方面一系列里程碑式的发现而获得今年的诺贝尔经济学奖,他的发现影响到了世界各地的政策和学术研究。
 
        From global inequality to foreign aid, the 69-year old Scottish academic has displayed little hesitation in wading into sensitive debates that are linked to his 40-years-long research agenda.
        从全球不平等到对外援助,这位69岁的苏格兰裔学者毫不犹豫地一头扎进一些敏感问题的辩论中,这些问题与他40年来的研究课题息息相关。
 
        Hours after receiving the news of his award, Mr Deaton shared with the Financial Times his sometimes controversial views on three of his biggest topics.
        得知自己获奖消息几小时后,迪顿与英国《金融时报》分享了他对自己所研究的三大课题的看法,这些看法有时可能会引起争议。
 
        Inequality
        不平等
 
        From the rise of leftwing populists such as Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, to the unlikely popular success of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st century , inequality has become one of the defining issues of this decade.
        从英国的杰里米•科尔宾(Jeremy Corbyn)等左翼民粹主义者的崛起,到托马斯•皮凯蒂(Thomas Piketty)所著《21世纪的资本》(Capital in the 21st Century)意想不到的畅销,不平等已成为当下十年具有决定性意义的议题之一。
 
        Mr Deaton agrees it is important, but also has a more nuanced view than some of his colleagues who have also studied economic disparities.
        迪顿赞同这一议题具有重要性,但与一些同样也研究经济不平等的经济学家相比,他的观点更加微妙。
 
        “Inequality is an enormously complicated thing, that is both good and bad,” he says.
        他说:“不平等是一件极为复杂之事,有利也有弊。”
 
        The Princeton academic believes that excess inequality can produce some negative side effects, ranging from the demise of public services to the erosion of democracy. But at the same time, inequalities can also be a product of success, for example when they are the result of successful entrepreneurship.
        这位任职于美国普林斯顿大学(Princeton University)的学者认为,过度不平等会产生一些副作用——从公共服务的缺失到民主遭侵蚀。但与此同时,不平等也可以是成功的产物,比如当它们是创业成功的结果之时。
 
        “Success breeds inequality, and you don’t want to choke off success,” he adds.
        “成功会导致不平等,你当然不想扼杀成功,”他补充说。
 
        He is also sceptical of measures such as very high income tax rates as an antidote to growing disparities.
       他还怀疑很高的所得税税率等措施无法解决不断扩大的贫富差距。
 
        “We already have redistributive policies in place,” he says. “Putting, say, an 85 per cent income tax rate is unlikely to bring in much revenue.”
        “我们早已有了再分配政策,”他说,“比方说,即使实行85%的所得税税率,也不大可能增加多少财政收入。”
 
        Foreign aid
        对外援助
 
        Development economics has been dominated by a controversy over the effectiveness of foreign aid, with some, including William Easterly, an academic at New York University, arguing that it may do more harm than good.
        围绕对外援助有效性的争议,是发展经济学中的一大问题,包括纽约大学(New York University)的威廉•伊斯特利(William Easterly)在内的一些学者认为,对外援助或许弊大于利。
 
        Mr Deaton acknowledges that aid can be extremely useful, for example when it helps to fund hospitals and cure children who would otherwise die.
       迪顿承认,援助可以带来极大的帮助,如帮助援建医院、救治那些如果不治疗就会死去的儿童。
 
        “That’s got to be a good thing,” he says.
        他说:“这是件好事。”
 
        However, much in the spirit of Mr Easterly, he too believes that excessive foreign aid can have unintended consequences, in that it can lead to corruption and create social tensions between the ruling elites and the public.
        然而,与伊斯特利的观点相仿,他也认为过度的对外援助会产生意想不到的后果,可能导致腐败并在统治精英与民众之间造成社会关系紧张。
 
        Building on his 2013 book, The Great Escape, he puts forward two concrete ideas. The first is to cap the amount of foreign aid going to each country to, say, 50 per cent of its revenues.
        在《逃离不平等》(The Great Escape,2013年出版)一书观点的基础上,他提出了两点具体建议。第一是对一个国家所能接收的外国援助金额与其财政收入的比例设定上限,比如说50%。
 
        The second is to push forward a “global public goods agenda”, which ensures that more aid money is spent on addressing longstanding problems such as mortal diseases, even if this means funding more research in the rich world.
        第二是制定一份“全球公共品议程”,确保援助资金更多地被用于应对绝症等长期存在的问题,即便这意味着把资金更多地投入到富国的科研上。
 
        “I am in favour of giving money not just in Africa, but for Africa,” Mr Deaton says, echoing his fellow academic Jagdish Bhagwati.
        “我支持不仅仅向非洲捐款,更要把钱用到符合非洲利益的地方,”迪顿表示。他这里呼应了另一位学者贾格迪什•巴格瓦蒂(Jagdish Bhagwati)的观点。
 
        Poverty measurement
        贫困的衡量标准
 
        Last month, the World Bank revised the official poverty line, pushing it up from $1.25 per day to $1.90. Mr Deaton, a longstanding critic of the poverty line, thought this was an improvement, but remained sceptical.
        上个月,世界银行(World Bank)将官方的贫困线标准从每人每天1.25美元生活费上调到每人每天1.90美元生活费。长期以来对贫困线持批评态度的迪顿认为,世行此举体现了进步,但仍值得怀疑。
 
        “Focusing on the number of people who are below the line is like chasing an unicorn through the woods,” he told the FT. “I am not sure it is wise for the World Bank to commit itself so much to this project”.
        “关注贫困线以下的人口数量,就好像是在森林中捕猎一头独角兽,”他对英国《金融时报》表示,“我不确定世行在这方面投入这么大精力是否明智。”
 
        He thinks there is a lot more to poverty than just cash and cites India as an example of a country that has grown substantially in terms of per capita income but where education and health outcomes can often be dismal.
        他认为贫困不仅仅是钱的问题,并举印度为例:该国的人均收入已大幅升高,但国民教育和健康状况仍经常令人沮丧。
 
        “I very much follow the thinking of Amartya Sen, though I am probably more interested than him in the issue of measurement” he says, citing the Harvard economist and fellow Nobel laureate who has argued that one should move beyond money to understand changes in wellbeing.
        他说:“我非常认同阿玛蒂亚•森(Amartya Sen)的想法,尽管我与他相比可能对如何衡量贫困更感兴趣。”哈佛大学(Harvard)经济学家、同样是诺贝尔经济学奖得主的玛蒂亚•森主张,人们应当跳出钱的视角,去理解福利的变化。
 
        “There is more than just measuring income, though of course one can measure other things.”
        “我们不能仅仅衡量收入水平,显然还可以衡量其他方面。”
 
        He also criticised the 17 “sustainable development goals”, a set of targets and initiatives to reduce poverty promoted by the UN that world leaders committed themselves to last month. “I am not a great fan, there is no way to measure them. A lot of it is just people trying to make themselves feel better.”
       他还批评了17个“可持续发展目标”——那是上月由联合国(UN)倡议、世界各国领导人承诺实施的一组减贫目标与举措。“我不是特别赞同它们,没有办法对它们进行衡量。提出这么多目标,不过是人们试图让自己感觉好一些。”
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