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阿西莫格鲁:我们是反对特朗普的最后防线

【导读】美国新任总统特朗普(Trump)的政策遭到了很多美国经济学家的抵制。在特朗普竞选总统时,美国几十个诺贝尔经济学奖得主签署了一封联名信,公开反对特朗普的经济政策。这其中就包括2016年新晋诺贝尔经济学奖得主、哈佛大学教授奥利弗·哈特(Oliver Hart,对,就是我在哈佛时的博士后导师)。在特朗普就任总统的前一天,当今全世界最火爆的经济学家、MIT(麻省理工学院)教授达龙·阿西莫格鲁(Daron Acemoglu)(俗称“大A”)也站出来反对特朗普,发表了一封公开信,题目就是《我们是抵制特朗普的最后防线》。作为一个制度经济学家,大A认为美国的制度在阻止政治强人方面是靠不住的,只能靠人民群众自己了。大A不仅是一个制度经济学家,而且他几年前还撰写了一部畅销书《国家为什么会失败?》。作为同样研究制度的经济学者,我不得不说,这两件事情都够讽刺的。我可以肯定,特朗普上台对美国经济学家的冲击,远远超过2008年金融危机带来的冲击。
 
考虑到时效性,我使用谷歌翻译页面翻译了大A的这封信,然后稍微进行了校对。如果觉得翻译效果不好,你们也可以试试百度,保证更让你失望。我同时附上原文,供大家学习英语使用。——聂辉华 2017年1月22日
 
【核心提示】美国的制度在技术上无法抵制一个现代强人上台。这个任务留给了市民社会。
 
达龙·阿西莫格鲁
2017年1月18日
在20世纪下半叶,民主的主要威胁来自穿制服的男人(the men in uniform)。 诸如阿根廷、巴西、智利、泰国和土耳其等新兴民主国家被几十次军事政变打倒。 对于希望阻止这种军事干预进入国内政治的新兴民主国家来说,西欧和美国的制度作为一种模式被提供,这些制度把所有政治权力都交到民选政府手中。 如胡安·林茨和阿尔弗雷德·斯蒂芬的著名说法,他们是确保民主的“最好方式”(the only game in town)。
 
大多数思想家的心态是,西方制度可能会对民主产生一种不同的威胁 - 个人统治,其中社会的国家机构,如官僚和法院受到行政机关的直接控制,国家利益和那些统治者的利益之间界限模糊。 事情比这更糟。大多数人认为个人统治只适用于最糟糕的小范围专制,例如扎伊尔的蒙博托·塞塞·塞科,肯尼亚的丹尼尔·阿拉普·莫伊或尼日利亚的萨尼·阿巴查。 在西方制度的结构中建立起来的制衡,这种思维方式,将避免任何这样的篡夺。
 
然而,今天我们才发现,当代民主有自己的弱点,不是一个弱小的上校阴谋暴力接管政府的弱点,而是国家机构的破坏和个人统治的初步建立。 个人统治的例子包括在Hugo Chavez下的委内瑞拉,在Vladimir Putin下的俄罗斯和在Recep Tayyip Erdogan下的土耳其。 这些不同于Mobutus、Arap Mois和世界的Abachas,因为它们由民主选举的领导人设计,并在一些人群中保持高得多的合法性。但他们仍然展示这个过程如何不可挽回地损害了制度和淘空了民主。 现在,这些例子即将包括美国的唐纳德·特朗普。
 
特朗普似乎与查韦斯、普京和埃尔多安共享几个政治目标和战略。像他们一样,他似乎不尊重法治或国家机构的独立性,他认为这是他行使权力的障碍。像他们一样,他对国家和个人利益有一个模糊的边界。与他们一样,他对批评和长期以来强调忠诚的战略缺乏耐心,这可以从他迄今为止的高层任命中看出。这完全取决于他对自己能力的坚定信念。
 
使美国容易受到这种威胁的原因,是我们对制度的强有力实力的盲目和过时的信念。当然,美国有更好的制度基础和独特的制衡措施,在委内瑞拉、俄罗斯和土耳其则完全没有。但这些仍然在对付目前的威胁方面仍然帮助不大。在反对特朗普方面,不仅美国的制度在这一刻特别匮乏无力;在某些情况下,这些制度甚至成就了他。
 
反对任何对美国制度的个人化威胁的第一个堡垒是国家的权力分离。立法机关,与行政部门分开选举,应该停止在其轨道上任何总统试图超越他的权力;它确实以这种方式在频繁的分裂政府期间行事,当国会山上的立法者可以遵循自己的支持者的愿望和自己的原则时。
 
然而,由于共和党和民主党人之间的两极分化的历史性上升,以及对党纪律的显著转变,他们这样做的能力今天更不真实。因此,随着政治学家诺兰·麦卡蒂、基思·波尔和霍华德·罗森塔尔在他们的书“偏极化美国”中记载,众议员和参议员现在不太可能偏离他们的党派原则。伙伴关系的这种提高是在最糟糕的可能时间,正如最需要这些保护一样。但是,考虑到共和党在多数问题上重新集结特朗普的速度,想象一下,他对任命和来自共和党主导的国会的大多数政策倡议的原则性抵制是乐观的。
 
因此,反过来,来自独立司法机构的对总统权力的制衡,即分离权力的第二条凳子,也不可能起作用。事实上,美国的司法独立总是有些不稳定,取决于规范而不是规则。总统不仅任命最高法院法官和联邦最高法官(特权授予特朗普似乎充分利用这点),而且通过他的总检察长控制司法部。对不适当的提名人的任何制度性抵抗只会由国会提出,如前所述,似乎只有等待特朗普机关的碾压。因此,司法机构已然无助。
 
但美国在抵制个人统治方面最薄弱的一点,可能在于行政机构与构成政府核心的制度之间的独特关系:官僚本身。在许多其他国家,例如英国和加拿大,司法部门的大多数官僚机构和高级职位都是非党派公务员,各州机构可以从事管理业务,同时仍然主要避免执行企图建立个人统治。在美国,特朗普正在任命他的人来担任4,000个公务员和司法部门的高级职位,这基本上是一个准备好进行个人招标的官僚机构。这就象Chavez、普京和埃尔多安那样逐步增强权力。 (例如,埃尔多安仍然被锁定在史诗斗争中,以改变土耳其宪法正式承担执行主席的权力,即使他已经在实践中获得了许多这些权力)。
 
为什么美国在面对特朗普的威胁时如此无能为力?因为,在很大程度上,国父们希望这样。正如Woody Holton在“不道德的美国人”和“宪法”的起源中所述,尽管强调《联邦党人文集》中的权力分离,亚历山大·汉密尔顿、詹姆斯·麦迪逊和乔治·华盛顿所从事的主要斗争,是建立一个强大的联邦政府并减少联邦章程中授予州的过剩权力,这使得该国近似于结束混乱。权力的分离只是为了制衡这一强大总统职位。
 
在这里,他们成功了,但只有一部分成功了。美国总统确实是非常强大的,他可以塑造国内外政策,特别是如果他能让国会也听命于他。然而,当涉及到国家的权利时,他的手是受束缚的,一个让步必须给予强大的各州代表以便支持宪法实施。这就是为什么一些最强大的抵抗特朗普政策的力量已经来自州的原因,如纽约和加利福尼亚州,州长承诺反对他的移民政策。
 
但随着时间的推移,联邦政府已经变大,因为由于必要性和选择,它已经积累了在国内和国际政治中承担更多的责任的角色。相比之下,各州的权力远远低于18世纪末的权力。马萨诸塞州和佛蒙特州可以抵制联邦政策,或许创造一点自由政策泡沫。然而,它们对该国最有力的政府杠杆,包括联邦司法机构、几十个主要部门、贸易和财政政策以及外交事务的具体影响很小。他们也不能在美国人和世界的心中影响他们对美国政治新方向的看法。
 
这只给我们留下了一个真正的防御,我们有市民社会的警觉和抗议,这不是汉密尔顿、麦迪逊和华盛顿设计和批准的。事实上,这不是美国独有的。除非社会愿意采取行动保护它,否则宪法中描述的国家只是如此。每一个宪法设计都有它的漏洞,每一个时代都带来了新的挑战,甚至有远见的宪法设计师也不能预见。
 
社会上直接参与政治的缺乏 - 实际上是积极的沮丧 - 是大多数新生民主国家的致命弱点。 20世纪新兴国家的许多领导人以自己的目标为自己的民主政权的基础,却阻碍了市民社会的形成,自由媒体和自下而上的政治参与;他们唯一的用途是动员核心支持者作为防御其他领导人寻求篡夺或竞争权力。这一战略有效地导致了他们的民主国家长期虚弱。
 
我们在委内瑞拉、俄罗斯和土耳其看到这种情况。在那里,几十年(如果不是几个世纪),不自由的媒体和孱弱的市民社会导致那里没有有效的防御个人统治的崛起。相反,美国的自由、厉害的新闻业的传统,例如捣乱者和充满活力的抗议运动以及民粹主义者和进步者,应该有助于我们这样做。
 
然而,有理由担心,对行政权力的最后制止也可能失败。特朗普正在被美国精英和更广泛的公众接受和合法化。要知道,他将是国家的下一任总统,这给他带来巨大的权威和尊重。我们热切地跟随他的会见、他的采访,和他在Twitter上的政见。许多专家和公共知识分子试图看到一线希望(silver lining),甚至希望他不会作为一个温和的共和党人统治。我的许多经济学家同行都渴望给他建议,这样他就不会推行他在选举前的那些灾难性的经济计划。
 
当以前不可思议的事物变得正常化时,许多人很容易失去或至少忽略他们的道德指南针。特朗普标榜的反移民和反穆斯林修辞,现成的外交政策制定,以及家庭和国家的有系统的混合等理念被接受,这正变成一个令人担忧的原因。
 
我们必须不断提醒自己:我们不生活在正常的时代,我们珍惜的制度的未来不依赖于别人,而是取决于我们自己,我们都对我们的制度负有个人责任。如果我们不去做一个强大的人,我们最终只能怪罪自己。我们是最后的防线。
 
We Are the Last Defense Against Trump
 
America's institutions weren't designedto resist a modern strongman. That leaves civil society.
 
DARON ACEMOGLU
JANUARY 18, 2017
 
In the secondhalf of the 20th century,the main threat to democracy came from the men in uniform. Fledglingdemocracies such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Thailand, and Turkey were setback by dozens of military coups. For emerging democracies hoping to ward offsuch military interventions into domestic politics, Western European andAmerican institutions, which vested all political authority in the hands ofelected civilian governments, were offered as the model to follow. They werethe best way to ensure that democracy, as Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan famously put it, became“the only game in town.”
 
Far from mostthinkers’ minds was whether Western institutions might be inviting a differentthreat to democracy — personal rule, in which civilian state institutions suchas the bureaucracy and courts come under the direct control of the executive,and the lines between the state’s interests and those of the ruler begin to blur.Most believed personal rule was something that applied only to the worst of thetin-pot dictatorships, such as that of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, Daniel arapMoi in Kenya, or Sani Abacha in Nigeria. The checks and balances built in thefabric of Western institutions, the thinking went, would withstand any suchusurpation.
 
Yet today we arecoming to discover that contemporary democracy has its own soft underbelly —not so much a weakness against a cabal of colonels conspiring a violenttakeover of government, but the gutting of state institutions and the incipientestablishment of a variant of personal rule. Examples of personal rule includeVenezuela under Hugo Chavez, Russia under Vladimir Putin, and Turkey underRecep Tayyip Erdogan. These differ from the Mobutus, arap Mois and the Abachasof the world, because they are engineered by democratically elected leaders andmaintain a much higher degree of legitimacy among some segments of thepopulation But they still showcase how this process can irreparably damageinstitutions and hollow out democracy. Now, these examples are poised toinclude America under Donald Trump.
 
Trump appears to shareseveral political goals and strategies with Chavez, Putin, and Erdogan. Likethem, he seems to have little respect for the rule of law or the independenceof state institutions, which he has tended to treat as impediments to hisability to exercise power. Like them, he has a blurred vision of national andpersonal interests. Like them, he has little patience with criticism and along-established strategy of rewarding loyalty, which can be seen in hishigh-level appointments to date. This is all topped by an unwavering belief inhis abilities.
 
What makes Americavulnerable to being blindsided by such a threat is our unwavering — andoutdated — belief in the famed strength of our institutions. Of course, theUnited States has much better institutional foundations and a unique brand ofchecks and balances, which were entirely absent in Venezuela, Russia, andTurkey. But many of these still won’t be much help against the present threat.Not only are America’s institutions particularly ill-equipped, in this moment,to stand up against Trump; in some cases they may actually enable him.
 
The first bulwarkagainst any sort of personalizing threat to U.S. institutions is the country’svaunted separation of powers. The legislature, elected separately from theexecutive, is supposed to stop in its tracks any president attempting to exceedhis authority; it has indeed acted in this fashion during frequent periods ofdivided government, and when lawmakers on the Hill could follow their ownconstituencies’ wishes and their own principles.
 
Their capacity to dothis, however, is much less true today, thanks to a historic rise in polarizationbetween Republicans and Democrats and a pronounced shift toward partydiscipline. Consequently, as political scientists Nolan McCarty, Keith Poole,and Howard Rosenthal document in their book Polarized America, Housemembers and senators are now very unlikely to deviate from their party line.Such a rise in partisanship comes at the worst possible time, just as theseprotections are needed most. But given how quickly the Republican Party hasregrouped around Trump on most issues, it would be optimistic to imagine aprincipled resistance to his appointments and most policy initiatives from aRepublican-dominated Congress.
 
And so it follows, inturn, that the check on presidential power from an independent judiciary, thesecond leg of the separation of powers stool, is also unlikely to hold up. Intruth, judicial independence in the United States has always been somewhatprecarious, dependent on norms much more than rules. The president not onlyappoints justices to the Supreme Court and top federal judges (a prerogativeTrump appears set to fully utilize), but also controls the Department ofJustice through his attorney general. Any institutional resistance toinappropriate nominees would only be offered up by Congress, which, asdiscussed, seems poised to take Trump’s machinations lying down. And so thejudicial institutions, too, are headed toward pliancy.
 
But America’sweakest point when it comes to resisting personal rule may lie in theexecutive’s unique relationship with the institution that makes up the veryheart of government: the bureaucracy itself. In many other countries, suchas the United Kingdom and Canada, where most of the bureaucracy and high-levelpositions in the judiciary are non-partisan civil servants, state institutionscan go about the business of governing while remaining mostly immune toexecutive attempts to establish personal rule. Not so much in the UnitedStates, where Trump is appointing his people to oversee 4,000 high-level postsin the civil service and the judiciary, essentially shaping a bureaucracy readyto do his personal bidding. This is the sort of power that the likes Chavez,Putin, and Erdogan had to acquire more slowly. (Erdogan, for example, is stilllocked in an epic struggle to change the Turkish Constitution to officiallyassume the powers of an executive presidency, even if he has already acquiredmany of those powers in practice.)
 
Why is the UnitedStates so defenseless in the face of the Trump threat? Because, to a largeextent, the Founding Fathers wanted it this way. As Woody Holton recountsin Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution,despite the emphasison the separation of power in the Federalist Papers, the main struggle thatAlexander Hamilton, James Madison, and George Washington were engaged in was tobuild a strong federal government and reduce the excessive powers granted tothe states in the Articles of Confederation, which had left the country inclose to complete chaos. The separation of powers was meant only as acounterbalance to this strong presidency.
 
In this, theysucceeded, but only partially. The U.S. president is indeed hugely powerful inthe extent to which he can shape not only foreign but also domestic policy,especially if he can get Congress behind him. However, his hands are tied whenit comes to the states’ rights, a concession that the framers had to give topowerful state representatives to garner enough support for the Constitution.This is the reason why some of the strongest resistance shaping up to Trump’spolicies is already coming from states like New York and California, wheregovernors have pledged to stand against his immigration policies.
 
But over time, thefederal government has grown, as it has accrued, by necessity and choice, evermore responsibility in domestic and international politics. States, bycontrast, have far less power than they did at the end of the18th century. Massachusetts and Vermont can resist federal policies,creating, perhaps, little liberal policy bubbles. They can have very littleimpact, however, on the personalization of the country’s most powerful leversof government, including the federal judiciary, dozens of major agencies, tradeand fiscal policy, and foreign affairs. Nor can they do much to influence theperception of the new direction of U.S. politics in the minds of Americans andthe world.
 
This leaves us withthe one true defense we have, which Hamilton, Madison, and Washington neitherdesigned nor much approved of: civil society’s vigilance and protest. In fact,this is not unique to the United States. What is written in a constitution cantake a nation only so far unless society is willing to act to protect it. Everyconstitutional design has its loopholes, and every age brings its newchallenges, which even farsighted constitutional designers cannot anticipate.
 
The lack – and in factactive discouragement — of direct social participation in politics is theAchilles’ heel of most nascent democracies. Many leaders of newly emergingnations in the 20th century, who professed as their goal the foundation ofa democratic regime, all but prevented the formation of civil society, freemedia, and bottom-up participation in politics; their only use for it wasmobilizing core supporters as a defense against other leaders seeking to usurpor contest power. This strategy effectively condemned their democracies topermanent weakness.
 
We saw this at work inVenezuela, Russia, and Turkey, where decades, if not centuries, of unfree mediaand prostrate civil society ensured there was no effective defense against therise of personal rule. The U.S. tradition of free, rambunctious journalism,exemplified by the muckrakers and vibrant protest movements going back toPopulists and Progressives should help us.
 
Yet there are reasonsto be concerned that this last brake on executive power may, too, fail. Trumpis in the process of being accepted and legitimized by American elites and thewider public. Just the knowledge that he will be the country’s next presidentconfers upon him a huge amount of authority and respect. We avidly follow hisappointments, his interviews, and his stream of consciousness on Twitter. Manypundits and public intellectuals are trying to see the silver lining, hopingagainst hope that he will govern as a moderate Republican. Many of my felloweconomists are eager to give him advice so that he does not follow through onhis disastrous pre-election economic plans.
 
When the previouslyunthinkable becomes normalized, it is easy for many to lose, or at the veryleast ignore, their moral compass. How quickly Trump’s brand of anti-immigrantand anti-Muslim rhetoric, off-the-cuff foreign policymaking, and systematicmixing of family and state are becoming accepted is more than a cause forpassing concern.
 
We have to keep remindingourselves that we do not live in normal times, that the future of our muchcherished institutions depends not on others but on ourselves, and that we areall individually responsible for our institutions. If we lose them to awould-be strongman, we have only ourselves to blame. We are the last defense.
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