凤凰独家 | 诺奖得主:现代经济学不是一个意识形态的领域
财经

凤凰独家 | 诺奖得主:现代经济学不是一个意识形态的领域

2020年05月08日 12:07:06
来源:凤凰网财经

2020年,新冠肺炎疫情肆虐全球,世界经济陷入停摆。这是一场史无前例的全球危机,全球经济正面临着需求供给双重冲击,任何经济体都难以独善其身。值此变局关键时刻,凤凰网财经联合上海交通大学上海高级金融学院、北京大学国家发展研究院以“全球经济与政策选择”为主题,邀请政商学企界嘉宾通过线上形式解析全球经济面临的机遇与挑战。

全球蔓延的疫情给各国经济带来了哪些影响?是否令社会贫困问题的解决更具挑战性?“全球化”会不会因此走向终结?5月8日,凤凰网财经总监张涛与美国著名经济学家、2019年诺贝尔经济学奖得主之一的阿比吉特·班纳吉围绕上述问题展开了一场《危机对话》。

作为一名印度裔美国经济学家,阿比吉特·班纳吉与妻子埃丝特·迪弗洛共同发表了大量学术论文;2019年,诺贝尔经济学奖授予三位“在减少贫困人口方面做出卓越研究和贡献”的经济学家,班纳吉和迪费洛便是其中两位。

在与班纳吉的连线中,凤凰网财经提问道,“让经济学再次伟大”是班纳吉传递给大众的观点之一。但不可否认的是,当今社会里很少有人能系统地从经济史学的角度去验证经济学观点的成败得失。如果人们更具备经济史学的眼光,对经济学观点的判断和认知会不会有所提升?

对此,班纳吉表示,经济学要做的就是传递已知的经济证据本质。这些证据往往不是人们天真以为的东西,而是需要思考为什么这些证据是可靠的,或是不可靠的,并且小心地解读它。

班纳吉同时强调,现代经济学并不是一个意识形态的领域,也不是发表声明的领域,而是一个讨论逻辑的领域。“我们会深入研究一些证据,并思考它们是如何被解读和误读的。”班纳吉同时建议人们应该更认真地研究经济学,不要把它作为意识形态对话的来源,而是作为科学态度和科学事实的来源。

班纳吉表示,经济学最重要的是“怀疑”原则——不要轻易被看似合理的证据说服,要对其他解释持开放态度,本能地不相信简单公式。“要知道世界是复杂的,我们需要独立思考每一种可能。很多时候我们之所以会得出错误的结论,是因为我们没有深究这些证据背后所有可能的理论。”

以下为凤凰网财经与班纳吉对话实录:

IFENG: You published Poor Economics ten years ago and listed many causes of poverty. In my understanding, many people were born to be poor. Currently, due to the global outbreak of Coronavirus, some people fall into poverty. Do you have any solution for this new kind of poverty?

张涛: 您十年前的著作《贫穷的本质》,提到了很多贫穷的成因,但我理解书里讲的很多人是天生贫穷。现在的一个问题是,因为新冠肺炎疫情的影响经济出现衰退,造成了很多人开始陷入贫困;针对日益加剧的贫困现象,您有什么好的解决办法?

Banerjee: In terms of what this Coronavirus pandemic might do to long-term poverty, I think it’s too soon to close the book. I think we have seen episodes where there is a large shock. But the economies recover fast. Most of the people who are poor who are basically less poor now because they are earning money now. We’ll also start earning money and again recover the economic status. I think most poor people will have lost some of their saving. But they don’t have so much saving. That’s not the source of long-term poverty for them.

班纳吉:我并不认为新冠肺炎疫情可能会造成长期贫困,现在下结论还为时过早。事实上大多数穷人已然通过工作赚钱而摆脱了贫穷,现在也一样。诚然,疫情对全球经济造成了巨大冲击,经济开始出现复苏,并将快速恢复,人们也将再次开始赚钱摆脱贫穷。有些人会因为失去部分积蓄而变成穷人,但他们本就没有那么多的存款;这次新冠肺炎疫情并不是他们长期贫困的根源。

IFENG: In your book Good Economics, you mentioned that the society is divided and antagonized, with a shrinking space for the dialogue and an increasing level of polarization. Amid pandemic, we notice that this phenomenon has become more visible and serious. What is the root of this social disruption and polarization?

张涛:在《好的经济学》一书里,有一个观点:社会严重撕裂和对立,对话的空间在缩小,两极分化严重;在新冠肺炎疫情的影响下,这种“撕裂”现象越发严重,造成这种灾难现象的根本原因是什么?

Banerjee: I think the polarization is always an option. For politicians who are to stay out of a place for themselves, they will use this opportunity to blame somebody. To claim that you know either nationalistic gestures, or you know claims of superiority and inferiority and who’s responsible. We absolutely see it right now. But it’s one of the things that, I think, when people are frightened, it’s always something that people will sort of in the corner of mind comes up. Say you know “is this someone who’s responsible?” Is this someone who should be blamed? I think that’s easy to have that. I think what we need is confidence building in not losing our confidence that we can do it and we shouldn’t shrink down into a group of who worrying about consequences. We should hold our peace when people see provocative things, ignore them. I think that’s a big confidence in the role of the state and in the role of the international community, in what we can do together. That’s the best recipe.

班纳吉:我认为两极分化是一直存在的。对于那些想把自己置身事外的政客来说,他们会利用现在这个机会来指责他人;或是为民粹主义呐喊,或是讨论优越和低劣,或者指责某些国家来负责。当人们感到恐慌时,大脑的某一角落总会冒出一些想法,比如,“这个人该对此负责吗?”“我们该指责这个人吗?”人们很容易这样想。我认为,我们需要建立信心,坚信我们不会失去,坚信我们可以做到。我们不应该退缩,变成担心后果的一群人。当我们看到挑衅性的事情时,应该保持平静。我认为这是对国家、国际社会,对我们共同努力的坚信。这,才是最好的解决办法。

IFENG: In your book Good Economics, you would like to make economics great again. My personal feeling is that people like to accept some economists’ viewpoints, but fail to understand economics from a historical perspective. If we put economists’ opinions in the long run of history, can we understand them better?

张涛:《好的经济学》里有一个观点,让经济学再次伟大。我的一个感受,很多对于经济学家的误解和批判,其实是因为人们往往容易接受某一种经济学观点,但很少有人系统地从经济史学的角度去验证经济学观点的成败得失。从历史的角度来看,我们是不是能更好理解经济学家观点的局限和成功之处?如果人们更具备经济史学的眼光,他们的判断和认知会不好好一点?

Banerjee: I’m not sure I particularly understand the view that you know this is somehow we have to understand the economics in a historical perspective. I do think is that what economics has fair to do is just convey the knowns nature of economic evidence. The evidence is often not, you cannot read naively. That you need to kind of think about why that evidence may or may not reliable. And interpret it with some care. I think that if we do that, I’m confident that we can make progress. The whole point of our book was of good economics for hard times, was to give us a sense of how modern economics reasons. And modern economics is not an ideological domain where they are just domain of the pronouncements. It’s a domain of discuss logic where we kind of go into piece of evidence and think of how they could be interpreted and misinterpreted. If they do that carefully, and what we try to do in the book in particular to get everybody else, the reader in particular, to understand how to participate in that process, to themselves inquiry of evidence and not take it for granted. Be open to different interpretations. Try to see how to put together a bunch piece of evidence, chain them together to make a stronger case. That’s sort of the project of our book and hopefully that will make people appreciate why they should dig economics more seriously, not as a source of ideological talks, but as a source of scientific attitudes and scientific facts.

班纳吉:我认为经济学要做的就是传递已知的经济证据本质。这些证据往往不是人们天真以为的东西,你需要思考为什么这些证据是可靠的,或是不可靠的,并且小心地解读它。如果我们坚持这样做,我相信一定会进步。我们这本书的重点是艰难时期的好经济,是让我们了解现代经济学是如何推理的。现代经济学并不是一个意识形态的领域,也不是发表声明的领域,而是一个讨论逻辑的领域。我们会深入研究一些证据,并思考它们是如何被解读和误读的。

其实我们在书中也试图让读者去理解如何参与到这个过程中,让他们自己去探寻证据而不是想当然,让他们对不同的解读持开放态度,并试着看如何把各种证据整合到一起,形成一个更有力的论据。这也是我们写这本书的一个目的,希望这能让人们明白为什么他们应该更认真地研究经济学,不要把它作为意识形态对话的来源,而是作为科学态度和科学事实的来源。

IFENG: In Good Economics, you list some principles and try to convey them to your reader. If you can pick only one rule for your reader, which one would you choose?

张涛:《好的经济学》想向公众传达的几个观点,如果做个排序,会怎么排?

Banerjee: Among the principles we listed in Good Economics, I think perhaps the most important principle is the principle of skepticism. I think of being, not being convinced by evidence that looks plausible. Or the principle of being open to alternative interpretation. So try to inquire the data that they look or may look this way but it doesn’t have to be. Often times the reason why we end up in the wrong place is because we don’t interpret the evidence. Now if we don’t think what alternative reason enough, we kind of act naively. So I think perhaps the principle of skepticism of being open to different interpretations being inherently willing to mistrust easy formula. You know the world is a complex place. We need to think of each situation on its own. I think that’s the best recipe we have.

班纳吉:在这本书所列出的原则,我认为最重要的是“怀疑”原则——不要轻易被看似合理的证据说服,要对其他解释持开放态度。我们要试着去深究那些可能看起来是这样、但不一定只能是这样的数据。很多时候我们之所以会得出错误的结论,是因为我们没有深究这些证据背后所有可能的理论。我想传达的“怀疑”原则是,对不同解释持开放态度,本能地不相信简单公式。要知道世界是复杂的,我们需要独立思考每一种可能。

IFENG: In the context of the pandemic outbreak and economic recession, what’s your solution for today’s economy? Can we turn the economy better in this disastrous situation?

张涛:在全球经济大衰退的背景下,如何让经济继续向好?

Banerjee: In term of the pandemic, I think that what we can, I think, presumably and frankly say is that this is going to be an immediate demand shock, that lots of people would have lost their earning capacity and therefore in the short trend is the spending capacity. If we don’t restore the spending capacity, then the economy will shrink. And so I think the most important simple economic lesson we have is that government should be in a position to bump the economy, so that the supply forces must be in demand.

And the natural economic forces which stick supply into demand, and demand into further incomes, and then into further demand again. I think that chain will reopen. That’s critical that we do that.

班纳吉:我想可以直截了当地说,疫情导致了需求锐减。许多人会丧失收入能力,从而短期内失去消费能力。而如果消费能力得不到恢复,将会出现经济萎缩。最重要也最简单的经济理论(供给需求理论)告诉我们,政府应该采取经济刺激手段,以使得供给与需求相互匹配。自然的市场经济运行中,有效供给会创造相应的需求,需求体现收入和购买力,并进一步扩大需求。我认为这个链条将会重新启动,能否做到这一点对经济向好至关重要。

IFENG: The Economist recently published a cover story—The Globalization is over. Do you share the same view? What’s your perspective on globalization?

张涛:全球化遭遇到重大挑战,《经济学人》近期的封面文章是,全球化终结。全球化终结了吗?

Banerjee: Actually, I’m not particularly pessimistic yet about globalization. I think the degree of globalization might vary a little. But I think that the degree its supply depends on China for example is just so enormous that whatever I don’t believe that it’s going to be an end. I just think that’s going to be, you know maybe their exchange will move a little bit. But I don’t, finally I don’t believe that the globalization is going to be over. I think maybe a particular level of enthusiasm for globalization will be questioned, and maybe it should be questioned a little bit, because I think there is maybe a naïve commitment to it in some circles. But I think overall I don’t believe it’s going to be the end of globalization.

班纳吉:实际上我对全球化并不十分悲观,但我认为全球化的程度可能会有所变化。目前全球供给链对一些国家,比如中国,的依赖程度如此之大,以至于无论如何我都不相信全球化会很快终结。我只是认为,也许汇率会为了适应这一点而有所变动。人们可能会对之前全球化过热的现象提出质疑和反思,这种质疑是必须的,因为我觉得之前在一些贸易圈内的承诺过于幼稚。但总体而言,我不认为这会是全球化的终结。

IFENG: A Chinese philosopher asked a question at the end of his life—will this world be a better place? What’s your answer to this question?

张涛:中国有一位哲学家在临终时问了一个问题,这个世界会好吗?您的答案是什么?

Banerjee: At the end of my life, I actually believe the world will be a better place. I still think that just in my lifetime, I have seen enormous improvements, enormous problems as well. I think the climate problem is potentially catastrophe. We need to do something about it. But I have hope that we will and especially this pandemic might persuade us that you know trifle with nature powers is dangerous. And I think that on the other hand, we have achieved a lot. A lot of people who used to be desperately poor are less desperately poor now. Enormous reduction in world poverty, and not just in China, in lots of places in Bangladesh, in Vietnam, in Pakistan, in India, in Cambodia. So I think in all of those things will contribute to, have contributed to a better world. And I feel that the same forces will do more good things for the world.

班纳吉:到我生命将结束时,我会认为,世界变得更好了。在我的一生中,我看到了世界的巨大进步,当然也看到了巨大的问题——我认为气候变化是一个潜在的灾难,我希望人们能意识到并为此采取行动。这次疫情让我们知道,轻视自然的力量是危险的。但是另一方面,在全球范围内贫困问题得到极大的解决,处于极度贫困的人口锐减,包括中国、孟加拉、越南、巴基斯坦、印度、柬埔寨等(都在治理贫穷问题上取得了重要进步)。这些事情有助于建立一个更好的世界。同样的力量也将为世界带来更多好的变化。

编者注:阿比吉特·班纳吉(Abhijit Banerjee)是美国著名经济学家、美国麻省理工学院福特基金会国际经济学教授,同时也是Abdul Latif Jameel贫困行动实验室的联合创始人,该实验室是贫困行动创新研究的附属机构,也是金融系统和贫困联合会的成员。2019年10月14日,2019年诺贝尔经济学奖在瑞典揭晓,由阿比吉特·班纳吉等三人摘得奖项,以表彰他们“在减轻全球贫困方面的实验性做法”。

专题:中国经济如何快速复苏?清北上交的教授这样支招