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克鲁格曼评传(4):孤帆一片日边来(完)  

2009-04-15 11:25:54|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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中文博主按:我喜欢闻一多。实际上,这是我见过的最多的雕像以及雕像上写着的他的名句:“诗人的使命,就是爱他的祖国,爱他的人民。”我喜欢这句话,超过了“这是一沟绝望的死水/这里断不是美的所在/不如让给丑恶来开垦/看他造出个什么世界”。实际上,这也是我用“孤帆一片日边来”这句话,作这个小标题的原因。我相信,只要目光关注了,这个“孤帆”,就增加了它的生命。


四、孤帆一片日边来

Economist as pundit

Krugman's academic output, unlike that of some others, didnot head dramatically south after the John Bates Clark award. But the freneticpace did slow down because, as he explains honestly, "You begin to wonderabout the value of yet another paper even if it finds its way into a good journal.You also begin to doubt your ability to be creative and come up with reallybig, lasting ideas." And with his reputation as a communicator starting tosoar, academia perhaps took a natural backseat.

克鲁格曼的学术成果,与其他的人不一样。自他得了克拉克奖之后,并不是笔直向前的。但是,他的疯狂步伐并没有慢下来。因为,正如他老实地说的:“即使你知道某篇文章能登上一个好杂志,但是,你会开始思考它的价值。你也开始怀疑自己的创新能力,怀疑自己真正地产生巨大的、持久的思想的能力。”随着他游说家的声名雀起,可能,他的学术事业就自然地处于次要地位了。

Over the past five years, Krugman the columnist hasovershadowed Krugman the economist. Has it been worth it? Krugman accepted the NewYork Times offer late in 1999, very much expecting to continue the vocationhe had stumbled into over the years of writing on economics for the generalpublic. Indeed, his initial columns were focused largely on such standardeconomics fare as the new economy, globalization, and fiscal deficits.

在过去的五年里,专栏作家克鲁格曼,压过了经济学家克鲁格曼。这样是值得的吗?克鲁格曼在1989年的晚些时候,接受了《纽约时报》的邀请。他非常想往着能继续自己的另一个事业。多年来,他一直在为普通大众写经济学文章,而且,也非常努力。实际上,他一开始的专栏,多侧重于标准的经济学内容,像新经济、全球化和财政赤字。

But after 9/11, and especially after the war began in Iraq,Krugman judged that his comparative advantage had shifted from being aneconomist to being a political commentator. He was willing to see thingsdifferently because he was not an insider infected by groupthink or the"contagion of mutual imitation" (as the Indian poet RabindranathTagore put it). The typical insider ("the commentariat") needs"sources" to get information, becomes compromised, and hence is lessprone to ruffling feathers. Krugman, by contrast, had the comparative advantageof distance from Washington, D.C., and a full-time job thatgave him the independence to be "unrestrained by deference," heexplains. He could also do the "budget arithmetic" on his own. So, tohim, the normal journalistic ethic of balance and moderation, which he disparaginglydubs "he-said-she-said journalism," was less a virtue than anintellectual shortcoming—an unwillingness or inability to process informationindependently and come to considered conclusions.

但是,自911之后,特别是,自伊拉克战争之后,克鲁格曼断定,他的比较优势,已经从经济学家转为一个政治评论家了。因为他并没有受到集体思想的影响,或者,用印度诗人泰戈尔的说法,他没有受到“相互模仿的影响”。一般的内部人(即“新闻人士”)需要“资源”来得到消息,从而变得妥协,最后,变得一点都没有光彩了。相反,克鲁格曼具有比较优势,他与华盛顿政府保有距离,而且,他还有全职工作,这让他具有“不受顺从”的独立性。这是他的解释。他也可以亲自去做“预算计算”。因此,对他来说,一般记者的“平衡与适度”的职业伦理,他轻蔑地称之为“人云亦云的新闻业”,根本就谈不上是什么好品质,却是智力缺陷。即:缺泛独立处理信息和独立考虑结论的能力或意愿。

Krugman counts a number of successes in his stint as ajournalist: revealing market manipulation by insiders as the real cause of theCalifornia energy crisis some years before anyone else; challenging AlanGreenspan's iconic status when he appeared to bless the Bush administration'stax cuts ("Et tu, Alan?" was the title of one of his columns); andexposing weaknesses in the economic policies and arguments of what he calls theBush administration's "fuzzy math." The broader success, in hisestimation, is a sense of vindication because his opinions, considered beyondthe pale in the years following 2001, have now become mainstream. But Krugmanthinks he might have paid too high a personal cost in enduring the personal andprofessional attacks on his credibility for his political writings. Gone arethe days when his biggest worry was the state of his basement.

克鲁格曼将大量成功归结为他的新闻记者工作,如:在其他人之前好几年,就说“市场的内部人控制”是加州能源危机的真正原因;在格林斯潘表现出歌颂布什政府的减税政府之时,就挑战他的偶像地位(他的专栏的标题是《老格,你也有份?》Et tu, Brute?是凯撒的最后一句话——中文博主注。));他说布什政府是“头脑不清的计算”,从而揭示了布什政府在经济政策和经济讨论上的缺点。在他的评估中,更大的成功就是那种承认感,因为他的观点,在2001年之后的时间里,被认为是不可接受的,但是,现在却成为了主流观点。但是,克鲁格曼认为,他为了自己的政治作品,忍受了了许多对其可信度的个人攻击和职业攻击,这已经是付出了太高的个人成本了。当然,让他产生最大焦虑的这些基础状态,都已经风吹云散了。

The reaction of some fellow economists to Krugman thecolumnist is often, "Ah, when Krugman used to be Krugman," combininga wistfulness for his brilliance with doubts about his current polemics. Solowcalls Krugman's decision to become a full-time columnist a "bigsacrifice" because he believes his former student has "so much goodeconomics still left in him."

一些同行的经济学家对经济学家克鲁格曼作为专栏作家的反应,常常是:“哈,克鲁格曼嘛,就是个克鲁格曼啊!”他们渴望看到他的精彩表演,也怀疑他现在的这种辩证法。索洛说克鲁格曼成为一个全职的专栏作家,真是一个“巨大的牺牲”,因为他认为他的这位学生的身上“还残留着非常好的经济学。”

Does Krugman the economist have any regrets? He wishes hehad done a greater amount of serious empirical work. He also wishes he hadproduced some really great students, a tribute to his own mentors—includingBhagwati, Dornbusch, Solow, Bill Nordhaus, and James Tobin. At Princeton University, which is his home afteryears at MIT, he says he is being a good citizen, taking on a full load ofteaching. But he does not regret missing out on a White House post in 1992 (seeBox 3)and doubts he will ever want to be a full-time Washington policymaker. "I just don'thave the right temperament, I don't want to wear a suit every day, and anyway,I think I do more good on the outside."

那么,经济学家克鲁格曼心有遗憾吗?他希望他最好能做更多数量的严肃的实证研究。他也希望他最好能带出一些真正优秀的学生,这算是他对自己的导师(包括巴克沃蒂、多恩布什、索洛、洛德豪斯和托宾)的致敬。在普林斯顿大学,这是他MIT之后的家了,他说,他真的是一个好公民,全部的负担就是教学。但是,对于他1992年失去了白宫的工作岗位(见框图3),而且,他还怀疑自己是不是想得到全职的白宫决策者的工作。“我的脾气也不好。我不想一天到晚穿着工作服。当然,不管怎么样,我觉得我在外面做事,会做得更多一些。”

 

Box 3
Just short of the White House

只缺白宫的简历了

A fateful moment in Krugman's career occurred after Bill Clinton's victory in the 1992 U.S. presidential election. Krugman was widely tipped to be Chairman of Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Instead, Clinton chose Laura Tyson, then a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Krugman was intensely disappointed and saw this as the revenge of Robert Reich, the head of Clinton's transition team, whom Krugman had criticized in 1983 for being a "policy entrepreneur."

克鲁格曼职业生涯中的转机,曾经发生在克林顿1992年总统竞选成功之后。大家广泛地认为,他会是CEA的主席。但是,克林顿却选择了Laura Tyson,她是加州伯克利的一位教授。克鲁格曼对此表示了极大的失望,他认为这是Robert Reich的报复(这个人是克林顿转型团队的头头)。克鲁格曼曾经在1983年批评他是“政策商人”。

Looking back, though, Krugman expresses relief that things turned out the way they did. "Had I been selected, I might well have been ineffective," he says. "Economic policymaking in the early Clinton years was dominated less by economists than by the policy entrepreneurs. Besides, a treasury led (a few years later) by Larry Summers (a personal juggernaut) would have been the power center, diminishing the role of the CEA." He also believes he would have been associated with Clinton's early economic policy failures (such as the aborted efforts at reforming health care) and may not have lasted until the later successes, especially the rescue of Mexico after the 1994 peso crisis, which he considers the high point for Clinton's economic policy team.

但是,回思过往,克鲁格曼心中释然,因为事情按照自己的方式进展着。“要是我被选上了,我可能会无果而终。”他说,“克林顿政府早期的政策,很多都是政策商人们主导的,很少是经济学家制定的。另外,萨默斯,他可是个极端个人主宰,(几年后)他主管的联储,就成为了权力中心,这就消灭了CEA的作用。”他还相信,如果他当选了,就会跟克林顿早期的经济政策的失败挂上钩(譬如保健改革的夭折),而且,他还相信,直至后来的成功之前,都不会持久,特别是1994年墨西哥比索危机之后的拯救墨西哥,他认为这是克林顿经济政策团队的一个最高点。(对此段历史,我不熟悉,请博友们指正。——中文博主注

 

Krugman's abiding belief, like that of Keynes, is thatideas matter and matter a lot. The role of public intellectuals is less to comeup with good ideas, which is fiendishly hard, but more to serve as a watchdogto get rid of bad ideas and prevent their coming back. There are more bad ideasand more purveyors of bad ideas than their benign counterparts. And theasymmetry is further compounded because, in Yeats's words, "The best lackall conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." In PaulKrugman, we have the very best, with conviction and passion, rendering thestruggle between good and bad ideas, and between disputation and acceptance, alittle less unequal.

克鲁格曼持久不灭的信念,跟凯恩斯一样,就是:只有思想才重要,只有思想才是最重要。公共智慧,很少能跟上好的思想。这些好的思想,真是可恶的艰难,但是,多像看门狗一样,能够剔除坏的思想,并防止这些坏思想卷土重来。这世上有太多的坏思想,太多的坏思想的传播者,比那些好思想及其传播者,要多得太多。这种不对称性,还进一步地纠结着,因为,正如叶芝当年所说:“最好的东西,全都缺乏说服力,而,最坏的东西,满是浓浓的情感。”但是,在克鲁格曼身上,我们得到了最好的东西,他有说服力,有感情。他让好思想与坏思想之间的不平等性,让争论与接受之间的不平等性,有了一点的转变。

 

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