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摘譯和轉載一篇《金融時報》上從心理學「人格特質」角度看「中、美關係」的評論 -- 《中、美陷入惡性相互依賴關係》(原文請見本欄第二篇文章)。

1. 
譯文

至少在我所認識的心理學家們中,她/他通常將一般人的「人格特質」分成兩大類:

1) 
被迫害狂型」;
2) 
鬱鬱寡歡」。

前者總是認為任何爭執的結果只能是「你死我活」或「你活我死」;後者則比較能夠注意到細節並對它們加以和分辨。個人如此,國家人民的整體傾向也是這樣。例如:納粹德國和今天的俄國都是「被迫害狂型」;北歐的社會民主制國家和歐盟各國(在她們各自最佳狀況下)都是「鬱鬱寡歡型」。

最近幾年來的一些國際大事,從英國脫歐、川普當選、俄烏戰爭、到經貿脫鉤等等,都可以從心理學的角度來檢視。行為學派經濟學家席勒教授在他討論「論述經濟」的書中指出:(許多國際性經濟事件)「是由生動和深入人心的故事推波助瀾造成,並非經濟學家津津樂道的『反饋』和『倍增效應』這些標準模型能解釋」。

(
作者引用《論述經濟》一書所討論的實例,此處略去。)

在中、美經貿關係上席勒教授的觀察更加適用。耶魯大學羅其教授在他近作《意外的衝突:美國、中國、和錯誤論述造成的鬥爭》中,從心理學角度討論兩國之間日益惡化的摩擦。這種關係導致「氣球事件」後美國取消了布林肯國務卿的北京之行。

羅其教授將兩國過去幾年來的緊張關係比喻為:一對缺乏安全感的夫妻進入「相互依賴的衝突階段」。中、美兩國都不想坦白說出她們在實際上需要彼此的理由。他說:「美國的問題是儲蓄不足,導致美國缺乏經濟上的『自我意識』」;從而對中國的經濟發展目標感到焦躁。因為,中國的經濟發展會把她豐裕的儲蓄用到可能造成美元失去全球主導地位的方案上。另一方面,「中國由於內銷市場遲遲無法擴大」,自然強烈感受到美國「關稅」的威脅。

我認為羅其教授的觀察是正確的。雖然華盛頓的兩黨政客都責怪中國「偷」了美國國內的「工作機會」,但美國政、經領袖自己做了依賴「膨脹資產值」而不是「增加收入」的途徑來達到經濟成長。(作者接著舉出實際數字來佐證以上論述,此處略去)

反之,中國政府或許能以貿易戰來垢病美國政策,但她自己多年來雖然一直執行重商主義經濟政策,但到目前為止國內政治仍然沒有能建立足夠的信心,讓中國人民肯大膽的動用老本;政府也並沒有處理過度依賴信貸所產生結構性問題的能力,特別在房地產市場方面。照這個政策模式運作下去,中國老百姓在富起來之前就垂垂老矣。

(
以下作者引用羅其教授書中以上次美蘇冷戰經驗為例,說明經濟上「相互依賴衝突關係」的危險在於雙方因互不信任而「過度反應;其結果會造成衝突節節升高,甚至於一發而不可收拾。)

如何化解這種可能導致嚴峻後果的危機?雙方應該反求諸己」。美國政、經領袖需要承認「債務有其危機;美國人民必須開始量入為出,節省和儲蓄。用自己的錢來進行造成經濟能夠真正成長的各種方案,如基礎建設、教育、和基本科技研發;而不再靠舉債度日。

中國領袖則需要認真反省自己如何以及何以喪失了所有人的信任。從「清零」到擊民營企業監控式資本主義等等措施中國老百姓把一大堆錢放在床墊下自然有她/他們的考量。不必用氣球也看得出這不是美國政府搞的鬼。

2. 
評論

我在《中、美經貿脫鉤的虛實一文的「評論」中說該文作者則根據羅其教授的分析,提出一個(我認為是)「治標」的方法。請參考。」

現在對這段話做個說明

羅其教授和佛如哈女士雖然做了「心理分析」,但兩位都從「經濟」和「經濟政策」的觀點來試圖化解中、美兩國間劍拔弩張關係的危機。但中、美關係搞成今天這個局面,其本質在於政治

這個「政治」因素又有兩個層次個人國家(甚至「文化)

個人層次」指的是政客和/或政黨(統治階層/集團等等)就本身執政「正當性永續性」的考量此處略過不提

國家層次」或「文化層次」則指的是三、四年前被炒得火紅的「蘇西迪底斯難局

這個「難局」的本質既然是「政治解決之道自然也得從「政治」面向來考量拙作《保衛釣魚運動的源起感想、和展望》中有一小節(-2.2)討論到它,我就不在這裏重複。簡單的說,美國各界領袖需要面對和接受「美國時代」已經過去這個現實;中國領袖及各級官僚需要「包裝」自己言行和國家政策的宣示

本文作者佛如哈女士所引用的耶魯大學羅其教授,曾任摩根史坦利公司亞洲區總裁。他是一位中國鴿派;經常有大作在《關鍵評論》發表。

最後,就行為學派經濟理論略做補充

20
世紀中期「行為主義」是心理學的主流「典範」。但華生以及史金納的理論都各有他們偏頗之處;在卻文斯基予以批判後逐漸失勢。不過,20世紀晚期後,卻文斯基的「語言本能說」被認為難以說得通。不過,他悠久的反戰和反帝國主義(尤其反美國帝國主義)的立場,使他成為當代進步人士的精神領袖。

在上一世紀80年代大腦神經學理論及實驗興起後,「行為論」或「行為學派」在心理學領域再度占有一席之地。同時,「行為學派經濟理論」興起。佛如哈女士在她文章中提到的席勒教授,是2013年諾貝爾經濟學獎得主之一。另一方面,自20世紀中期起,政治學領域中的「行為學派」一直占著主流理論的地位。



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中、美陷入惡性相互依賴關係 - RANA FOROOHAR
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China and America are locked in destructive codependence


The global superpowers need each other for economic reasons they would rather not admit.

RANA FOROOHAR, 02/13/23

China and America are locked in destructive codependence

The global superpowers need each other for economic reasons they would rather not admit.

RANA FOROOHAR, 02/13/23

What’s the best language through which to understand the complex events of the world today? Is it 
Economic? Political? Cultural? I’ve begun to think it might be psychological.

Psychologists (at least many of those I know) tend to divide the world up into
 two types of personalitiesparanoids, who operate as if they are always playing a zero-sum game, and depressives, who are more willing to embrace nuance (and thus sadness). Just as people can lean towards either of those personality poles, so too can nation states. Nazi Germany was paranoid, as Russia is today. Scandinavian social democratic states are depressive. So is the EU, at its best.

Recent global events, from Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to Russia’s war on Ukraine or 
economic decoupling, can also be viewed through a psychological lens. As behavioural economist Robert Shiller has laid out in his work on narrative economics, such events are driven by “the prevalence and vividness of certain stories, not the purely economic feedback or multipliers that economists love to model”.

Such stories may be 
subjective, but the effects are real. Shiller’s work explores how events like the 1920-21 market correction, the sharpest in history, were driven as much by unsettling narratives about the rise of communism, influenza and race riots as by flawed interest rate policy. Stories have an impact on our psychology, and that psychology changes the world.

Nowhere is this truer today than in the 
US-China relationship. In his recent book Accidental Conflict, former Morgan Stanley Asia head and Yale professor Stephen Roach applies a psychological lens to the increasing friction between the two countries. This culminated in the calling off of US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s diplomatic trip to Beijing after a Chinese balloon was discovered floating over US airspace.

Roach likens the reaction, as well as the general ratcheting up of diplomatic tensions between the two countries over the past few years, to that of an
 insecure couple deep into the conflict phase of codependency. The couple, in this case China and the US, need each other for reasons they don’t like to express. “A savings-short US economy lacks a certain sense of economic self,” writes Roach, and is anxious about China’s development goals, which involve putting its own surplus savings to use in ways that may move capital away from the dollar. Meanwhile, “China, lacking in its own internal support of consumer-led growth” feels threatened by American tariffs.

He’s right. While US politicians on both sides of the aisle like to blame China for “
stealing” jobs, it was America’s own choice to build an economy based more on asset inflation than income growth. Foreign capital helped enable the profligacy. US debt relative to GDP has risen 95 per cent since 2000, and is now higher than it was before the financial crisis. Government debt grew at 0.7 times GDP, mostly as a result of that crisis and then the Covid-19 pandemic. Household debt and financial sector debt are down from their pre-2008 peaks, but are still higher than they were before 2000, according to McKinsey Global Institute data. All this would be far less sustainable if China stopped buying US debt.

China, meanwhile, may point the finger at the US for trade wars, but it has for years pursued a 
mercantilist economic policy, and has yet to prove that it can inspire enough domestic political confidence to get people to part with their cash hoards, or deal with the structural problems of over-leverage, particularly when it comes to real estate. If the current paradigm holds, China will get old before it gets rich.

The problem with this 
economic codependency, says Roach, is that it is inherently reactive. “ The slightest disturbance becomes amplified, risking retaliation and a progressive unravelling. China’s balloon triggers a diplomatic response from Blinken that is strikingly reminiscent of cold war 1.0 actions in 1960, when the USSR shot down our U-2 spy plane. That, of course, ushered in the most dangerous phrase of the first cold war, culminating in the Cuban Missile crisis,” he says. “There is no trust in a conflicted codependency, making it hard to put the pieces of a once healthy relationship back together. That leaves the conflicted codependency hyper-vulnerable to flashpoints.” With House of Representatives speaker Kevin McCarthy heading to Taiwan soon, one might wonder if that island nation will be the next Cuba.

So, how do both sides tiptoe away from such a disastrous outcome? By doing what any good therapist would advise — using
 “I” statements. American policymakers need to admit that debt matters, and the US must eventually start living within its means, saving more, and using those savings to fund the things that fuel real growth — infrastructure, education and basic R&D — rather than the financial kind. This White House has made a good start with the American Rescue Plan and the Chips Act, but it will take years, if not decades, to plug the gap of Main Street investment in America.

China, for its part, needs to grapple with 
how and why it has lost the world’s trust. From lockdowns to political attacks on the private sector to surveillance capitalism, there’s a reason that Chinese consumers still keep so much cash under their mattressesChina and America are locked in destructive codependence

The global superpowers need each other for economic reasons they would rather not admit.

RANA FOROOHAR, 02/13/23

What’s the best language through which to understand the complex events of the world today? Is it 
Economic? Political? Cultural? I’ve begun to think it might be psychological.

Psychologists (at least many of those I know) tend to divide the world up into
 two types of personalitiesparanoids, who operate as if they are always playing a zero-sum game, and depressives, who are more willing to embrace nuance (and thus sadness). Just as people can lean towards either of those personality poles, so too can nation states. Nazi Germany was paranoid, as Russia is today. Scandinavian social democratic states are depressive. So is the EU, at its best.

Recent global events, from Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to Russia’s war on Ukraine or 
economic decoupling, can also be viewed through a psychological lens. As behavioural economist Robert Shiller has laid out in his work on narrative economics, such events are driven by “the prevalence and vividness of certain stories, not the purely economic feedback or multipliers that economists love to model”.

Such stories may be 
subjective, but the effects are real. Shiller’s work explores how events like the 1920-21 market correction, the sharpest in history, were driven as much by unsettling narratives about the rise of communism, influenza and race riots as by flawed interest rate policy. Stories have an impact on our psychology, and that psychology changes the world.

Nowhere is this truer today than in the 
US-China relationship. In his recent book Accidental Conflict, former Morgan Stanley Asia head and Yale professor Stephen Roach applies a psychological lens to the increasing friction between the two countries. This culminated in the calling off of US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s diplomatic trip to Beijing after a Chinese balloon was discovered floating over US airspace.

Roach likens the reaction, as well as the general ratcheting up of diplomatic tensions between the two countries over the past few years, to that of an
 insecure couple deep into the conflict phase of codependency. The couple, in this case China and the US, need each other for reasons they don’t like to express. “A savings-short US economy lacks a certain sense of economic self,” writes Roach, and is anxious about China’s development goals, which involve putting its own surplus savings to use in ways that may move capital away from the dollar. Meanwhile, “China, lacking in its own internal support of consumer-led growth” feels threatened by American tariffs.

He’s right. While US politicians on both sides of the aisle like to blame China for “
stealing” jobs, it was America’s own choice to build an economy based more on asset inflation than income growth. Foreign capital helped enable the profligacy. US debt relative to GDP has risen 95 per cent since 2000, and is now higher than it was before the financial crisis. Government debt grew at 0.7 times GDP, mostly as a result of that crisis and then the Covid-19 pandemic. Household debt and financial sector debt are down from their pre-2008 peaks, but are still higher than they were before 2000, according to McKinsey Global Institute data. All this would be far less sustainable if China stopped buying US debt.

China, meanwhile, may point the finger at the US for trade wars, but it has for years pursued a 
mercantilist economic policy, and has yet to prove that it can inspire enough domestic political confidence to get people to part with their cash hoards, or deal with the structural problems of over-leverage, particularly when it comes to real estate. If the current paradigm holds, China will get old before it gets rich.

The problem with this 
economic codependency, says Roach, is that it is inherently reactive. “ The slightest disturbance becomes amplified, risking retaliation and a progressive unravelling. China’s balloon triggers a diplomatic response from Blinken that is strikingly reminiscent of cold war 1.0 actions in 1960, when the USSR shot down our U-2 spy plane. That, of course, ushered in the most dangerous phrase of the first cold war, culminating in the Cuban Missile crisis,” he says. “There is no trust in a conflicted codependency, making it hard to put the pieces of a once healthy relationship back together. That leaves the conflicted codependency hyper-vulnerable to flashpoints.” With House of Representatives speaker Kevin McCarthy heading to Taiwan soon, one might wonder if that island nation will be the next Cuba.

So, how do both sides tiptoe away from such a disastrous outcome? By doing what any good therapist would advise — using
 “I” statements. American policymakers need to admit that debt matters, and the US must eventually start living within its means, saving more, and using those savings to fund the things that fuel real growth — infrastructure, education and basic R&D — rather than the financial kind. This White House has made a good start with the American Rescue Plan and the Chips Act, but it will take years, if not decades, to plug the gap of Main Street investment in America.

China, for its part, needs to grapple with 
how and why it has lost the world’s trust. From lockdowns to political attacks on the private sector to surveillance capitalism, there’s a reason that Chinese consumers still keep so much cash under their mattresses. You don’t need a balloon to see that it is not America’s fault.

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