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Fukuyama評論中、美政治體制 -- T. Karon
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Why China Does Capitalism Better Than the U.S.

Tony Karon

One of the great ironies revealed by the global recession that began in 2008 is that Communist Party-ruled China may be doing a better job managing capitalism's crisis than the democratically elected U.S. government. Beijing's stimulus spending was larger, infinitely more effective at overcoming the slowdown, and directed at laying the infrastructural tracks for further economic expansion.

As Western democracies shuffle wheezily forward, China's economy roars along at a steady clip, having lifted some half a billion people out of poverty over the past three decades and rapidly creating the world's largest middle class to provide an engine for long-term domestic consumer demand. Sure, there's massive social inequality, but there always is in a capitalist system. (Income inequality rates in the U.S. are some of the worst in the industrialized world, and here more people are falling into poverty than are being raised out of it - the 43 million Americans officially designated as living in poverty in 2009 was the highest number in the 51 years that records have been kept.) (See TIME's photoessay "The Rise of Hu Jintao.")

Beijing is also doing a far more effective job than Washington is of tooling its economy to meet future challenges - at least according to historian Francis Fukuyama, erstwhile neoconservative intellectual heavyweight. "President Hu Jintao's rare state visit to Washington this week comes at a time when many Chinese see their weathering of the financial crisis as a vindication of their own system, and the beginning of an era in which U.S.-style liberal ideas will no longer be dominant," wrote Fukukyama in Tuesday's Financial Times under a headline stating that the U.S. had nothing to teach China. "State-owned enterprises are back in vogue, and were the chosen mechanism through which Beijing administered its massive stimulus."

Chinese leaders are more inclined today to scold the U.S. - its debtor to the tune of close to a trillion dollars - than to emulate it, and Fukuyama notes that polls show a larger percentage of Chinese people believing their country is headed in the right direction compared to Americans. China's success in navigating the economic crisis, says Fukuyama, was based on the ability of its authoritarian political system to "make large, complex decisions quickly, and ... make them relatively well, at least in economic policy."

These are startling observations from a writer who, 19 years ago, famously proclaimed that the collapse of the Soviet Union heralded "the end of history as such... That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." (See "TimeFrames: An Eye on China, Old and New")

Fukuyama has had the good grace and intellectual honesty to admit he was wrong. And he's no apologist for Chinese authoritarianism, calling out its abuses and corruption, and making clear that he believes the absence of democracy will eventually hobble China's progress. Still, he notes, while they don't hold elections, China's Communist leaders are nonetheless responsive to public opinion. (Of course they are! A Party brought to power by a peasant rebellion knows full well the destructive potential of the rage of working people.) But the regime claims solid support from the Chinese middle class, and hedges against social explosion by directing resources and investment to more marginal parts of the country.

China's leaders, of course, never subscribed to Fukuyama's "end of history" maxim; the Marxism on which they were reared would have taught them that there is no contingent relationship between capitalism and democracy, and they only had to look at neighbors such as Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore to see economic success stories under authoritarian rule - although the prosperity thus achieved played a major role in transforming Taiwan and South Korea into the noisy democracies they are today. Nor were Beijing's leaders under any illusions that the free market could take care of such basic needs as education, health care and infrastructure necessary to keep the system as a whole growing.

But Fukuyama is also making a point about the comparative inability of the U.S. system to respond decisively to a long-term crisis. "China adapts quickly, making difficult decisions and implementing them effectively," Fukuyama writes. "Americans pride themselves on constitutional checks and balances, based on a political culture that distrusts centralised government. This system has ensured individual liberty and a vibrant private sector, but it has now become polarised and ideologically rigid. At present it shows little appetite for dealing with the long-term fiscal challenges the U.S. faces. Democracy in America may have an inherent legitimacy that the Chinese system lacks, but it will not be much of a model to anyone if the government is divided against itself and cannot govern." (See "China's High-Speed Rail")

Money has emerged as the electoral trump card in the U.S. political system, and corporations have a Supreme Court-recognized right to use their considerable financial muscle to promote candidates and policies favorable to their business operations and to resist policies and shut out candidates deemed inimical to their business interests. So, whether it's health reform or the stimulus package, the power of special interests in the U.S. system invariably produces either gridlock, or mish-mash legislation crafted to please the narrow interests of a variety of competing interests rather than the aggregated interests of the economy and society as a whole. Efficient and rational decision-making it's not. Nor does it appear capable of tackling long-term problems. (Comment on this story.)

China is the extreme opposite, of course: It can ride roughshod over the lives of its citizens. For example, building a dam that requires the forced relocation of 1.5 million people who have no channels through which to protest. But China's system is unlikely to give individual corporations the power to veto or shape government decision making to suit their own bottom line at the expense of the needs of the system as a whole in the way that, to choose but one example, U.S. pharmaceutical companies are able to wield political influence to deny the government the right to negotiate drug prices for the public health system. Fukuyama seems to be warning that in Darwinian terms, the Chinese system may currently be more adaptive than the Land of the Free.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599204323500;_ylt=ArQr4nPjx4izO5IpmrBjzPZbbBAF;_ylu=X3oDMTJ1azF0ajRlBGFzc2V0Ay9zL3RpbWUvMDg1OTkyMDQzMjM1MDAEY2NvZGUDbXBfZWNfOF8xMARjcG9zAzEEcG9zAzEEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNhbmFseXNpc3doeWM-

 

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開欄文主要在介紹史學家Francis Fukuyama17在倫敦《金融時報》(Financial Times)發表,對中、美政治體制比較和評論的大作*。我做一個簡單的摘要。

首先,作者Karon指出Fukuyama是新型保守派的重量級學者;特別提到他19年前的名言:

(蘇聯的解體導致) "… the end of history as such... That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

然後Karon介紹Fukuyama在這篇文章中,肯定中國現行的政治制度比美國的政治制度更有效,更能應付危機與解決問題,以及在回應人民需求時更迅速和到位。Karon指出Fukuyama這篇文章相當於承認他自己當年的錯誤。因而稱讚Fukuyama展現了「良好風度和學術品德」。

Fukuyama當然並不是中共的粉絲或歌頌派。他批評中國政府在人權議題的缺失和政風的貪腐,他也指出中國需要實行民主政治以求長治久安。

Fukuyama的大作和本城市最近的討論有相關和相通之處。我的基本假設(或意識型態)和他的有一段距離;我更說不上什麼「良好風度和學術品德」。不過,我是一個理性和務實的人。或許這是我對中共和中國政府的看法及立場,幾乎和Fukuyama一樣。有趣的是,我們也都引用了Pew的民調。Karon(Fukuyama)甚至說:

But the regime claims solid support from the Chinese middle class, …” (claim在此不是「宣稱」,而是「擁有」。)

Fukuyama的地位和對西方自由主義式民主政治的執著或深信不疑,他仍然能將理念歸理念,將現實歸現實。坦然面對和承認自己過去的誤判。這種實事求是的作風可以做為我們的參考。我再重複一次我說過很多次的話:

只有面對現實,我們才能解決現實帶來的問題。

我可以再加一句:

否認現實,我們將會被現實吞噬或被現實證明我們是笨蛋。

*  原文標題是 US Democracy Has Little to Teach China 請見

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cb6af6e8-2272-11e0-b6a2-00144feab49a.html#axzz1BbQ2MXuN



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