Economics in One Lesson校译之25. The Lesson Restated (4-3,4)

第25章
课后温习

(接前面部分)

3

In the course of our study, also, we have rediscovered an old friend. He is the Forgotten Man of William Graham Sumner. The reader will remember that in Sumner’s essay, which appeared in 1883:

在我们的研究过程中,我们还重新发现了一位老朋友。他就是威廉·格雷厄姆·萨姆纳(William Graham Sumner)讲的“被遗忘的人”(Forgotten Man)。读者也许还记得,萨姆纳曾在他1883年发表的一篇文章中写道:

As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X or, in the better case, what A, B and C shall do for .. What I want to do is to look up C…. I call him the Forgotten Man…. He is the man who never is thought of. He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and philanthropist, and I hope to show you before I get through that he deserves your notice both for his character and for the many burdens which are laid upon him.

一旦A发现某件事在他看来是错误的,害得X因此遭受苦难,便与B谈论此事,并且建议通过一项补救措施并向X提供帮助的法律。他们通过的法律,总是规定C应该为X做些什么,更好的情况则是A、B和C都应该为X做些什么……我想做的是挖掘一下C……我把他称作“被遗忘的人”……人们从来没有想到过他。他是改革家、社会投机家和慈善家的牺牲品。而我则想向你们指出,他的品格和人们加在他身上的各种负担值得大家去关注。

It is a historic irony that when this phrase, the Forgotten Man, was revived in the 1930s, it was applied, not to C, but to X; and C, who was then being asked to support still more Xs, was more completely forgotten than ever. It is C, the Forgotten Man, who is always called upon to stanch the politician’s bleeding heart by paying for his vicarious generosity.

然而,当“被遗忘的人” 一词在20世纪30年代再度被人提起时,不是指C,而是指X,真可说是历史的反讽。至于C,仍然被要求去支持更多的X们,和以前比起来,更是彻底遭人遗忘。就是这个C,这个被遗忘的人,还得经常响应政治号召去献爱心,使那些政治家们的灵魂得到慰籍。

4

Our study of our lesson would not be complete if, before we took leave of it, we neglected to observe that the fundamental fallacy with which we have been concerned arises not accidentally but systematically. It is an almost inevitable result, in fact, of the division of labor.

在结束本书之前,假如我们没能认识到,出现本书所分析的根本谬误并不是偶然的这一点,那么我们的分析就是不彻底的。事实上,这种系统性谬误是劳动分工所不可避免的结果之一。

In a primitive community, or among pioneers, before the division of labor has arisen, a man works solely for himself or his immediate family. What he consumes is identical with what he produces. There is always a direct and immediate connection between his output and his satisfactions.

在尚未出现劳动分工的原始社会里,或者在那些拓荒者之中,每个人都是单纯为了他自己或他的直接家属而工作的。他的消费与他的生产完全一致,而在其产出与满足之间,总也存在着一种直接的联系。

But when an elaborate and minute division of labor has set in, this direct and immediate connection ceases to exist. I do not make all the things I consume but, perhaps, only one of them. With the income I derive from making this one commodity, or rendering this one service, I buy all the rest. I wish the price of everything I buy to be low, but it is in my interest for the price of the commodity or services that I have to sell to be high. Therefore, though I wish to see abundance in everything else, it is in my interest for scarcity to exist in the very thing that it is my business to supply. The greater the scarcity, compared to everything else, in this one thing that I supply, the higher will be the reward that I can get for my efforts.

但是当更为细致的社会化分工出现,这种直接和立即的关联就不复存在。我消费的东西,不全是我生产的,我可能只生产其中一样。我用我生产的商品、用我提供的服务所赚来的钱,去购买其他我所需要的商品或服务。我希望我购买的每一样东西,价格越便宜越好,但是我生产的商品、我提供的服务,价格要越高越好。我希望其他所有的东西越丰富越好,至于我自己所生产的那类产品,我希望越稀缺越好。常言道,物以稀为贵,若能得遂所愿,我付出的努力就能得到更丰厚的回报。

This does not necessarily mean that I will restrict my own efforts or my own output. In fact, if I am only one of a substantial number of people supplying that commodity or service, and if free competition exists in my line, this individual restriction will not pay me. On the contrary, if I am a grower of wheat, say, I want my particular crop to be as large as possible. But if I am concerned only with my own material welfare, and have no humanitarian scruples, I want the output of all other wheat growers to be as low as possible; for I want scarcity in wheat (and in any foodstuff that can be substituted for it) so that my particular crop may command the highest possible price.

这并不一定意味着我会限制我自身的努力以减少自己的产出。事实上,跟我生产同样产品、提供同样服务的人是大有人在,我只是行业中普通的一员,而且我们这一行是自由竞争,如果我限制自己的努力和生产,对我自己并没有好处。相反,如果我是一个麦农,我会希望我所种植的小麦产量越高越好。倘若我仅仅考虑自己物质上的福利,而没有任何良心不安的话,我一定希望其他所有麦农的产量越低越好;我希望市面上小麦及其替代品供给出现短缺,我的收成就能卖到最好的价钱。

Ordinarily these selfish feelings would have no effect on the total production of wheat. Wherever competition exists, in fact, each producer is compelled to put forth his utmost efforts to raise the highest possible crop on his own land. In this way the forces of self-interest (which, for good or evil, are more persistently powerful than those of altruism) are harnessed to maximum output.

通常,上述这种自利动机对小麦的总产量不会产生任何影响。事实上,只要存在竞争,每位生产者都会尽最大的努力,在自己的土地上耕种尽可能多的农作物。这样,靠自利动机的力量(不管是好是坏,它比利他动机更持久且更具威力)就能使产出最大化。

But if it is possible for wheat growers or any other group of producers to combine to eliminate competition, and if the government permits or encourages such a course, the situation changes. The wheat growers may be able to persuade the national government—or, better, a world organization—to force all of them to reduce pro rata the acreage planted to wheat. In this way they will bring about a shortage and raise the price of wheat; and if the rise in the price per bushel is proportionately greater, as it well may be, than the reduction in output, then the wheat growers as a whole will be better off. They will get more money; they will be able to buy more of everything else. Everybody else, it is true, will be worse off: because, other things equal, everyone else will have to give more of what he produces to get less of what the wheat grower produces. So the nation as a whole will be just that much poorer. It will be poorer by the amount of wheat that has not been grown. But those who look only at the wheat farmers will see a gain, and miss the more than offsetting loss.

但是,如果所有麦农以及小麦替代品的所有生产者,能够联合起来消除竞争,而且政府允许或鼓励这种做法,形势就会发生逆转。麦农就会去说服本国政府(最好是说服相关国际组织),强迫所有的麦农等比例缩减小麦的种植面积。这样就会让小麦供不应求,进而抬高小麦价格;每蒲式耳小麦的价格涨幅,很可能大于产量的降幅,麦农整体上就会因此受益。他们会赚到更多的钱,也就可以买到更多的其它产品。然而,其他人的状况都会因此变差(假使其他条件不变),因为其他人都必须拿出更多自己生产的东西,来换取更少的小麦。很清楚,小麦减产的数量,就是整个国家财富减少的数量,国家因此变得比较贫穷。但那些只将目光放在麦农身上的人,看得到麦农因此获得的利益,却没看到其他所有人因此遭受更多的损失。

And this applies in every other line. If because of unusual weather conditions there is a sudden increase in the crop of oranges, all the consumers will benefit. The world will be richer by that many more oranges. Oranges will be cheaper. But that very fact may make the orange growers as a group poorer than before, unless the greater supply of oranges compensates or more than compensates for the lower price. Certainly if under such conditions my particular crop of oranges is no larger than usual, then I am certain to lose by the lower price brought about by general plenty.

这个道理,适用于其他每一种行业。如果因为气候反常,柑橘的收成突然大增,所有的消费者都会受益。柑橘增产多少,整个世界的富有程度就增加多少。但是,柑橘会卖不起价钱,这会使全体柑农比以前贫穷,除非大量的柑橘卖得出去,销量增加足以弥补降价的损失。当然了,如果在这种情况下,我的柑橘收成反而不如常年,我一定会因为普遍性丰收导致的低价而蒙受损失。

And what applies to changes in supply applies to changes in demand, whether brought about by new inventions and discoveries or by changes in taste. A new cotton-picking machine, though it may reduce the cost of cotton underwear and shirts to everyone, and increase the general wealth, will mean the employment of fewer cotton pickers. A new textile machine, weaving a better cloth at a faster rate, will make thousands of old machines obsolete, and wipe out part of the capital value invested in them, so making poorer the owners of those machines. The further development of nuclear power, though it can confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells.

适用于供给变化的原理,也会适用于需求发生的变化,无是此变化是由新发明或新发现引起的,还是消费者品味发生了改变。新型棉花采摘机,虽然可以降低每个人购买棉质内衣和衬衫的成本,并且提高整体的财富,但是受雇的棉花采摘工人数量会减少。新型纺织机器可以用更快的速度织出更好的衣料,但许多老式纺织机器却会因此遭淘汰,尚未收回本钱的淘汰机器,其部分投资将就此损失,其所有者当然变得比较贫穷。进一步开发核能发电,可以谋巨福于人类,但煤矿和油井的业主却会因此烦恼忧愁。

Just as there is no technical improvement that would not hurt someone, so there is no change in public taste or morals, even for the better, that would not hurt someone. An increase in sobriety would put thousands of bartenders out of business. A decline in gambling would force croupiers and racing touts to seek more productive occupations. A growth of male chastity would ruin the oldest profession in the world.

没有一种技术改进不会伤害某个人,同样的道理,大众的品味与道德的变化,即使是更高雅更好,不会伤害到某个人。若更多人都变得清醒克制, 无数酒吧间招待员将因此失业。若赌风日衰,在赌场和赛马场营生的人就只好另谋更有效率的职业。男人更懂得洁身自爱,世界上最古老的行业就会陷入绝境。

But it is not merely those who deliberately pander to men s vices who would be hurt by a sudden improvement in public morals. Among those who would be hurt most are precisely those whose business it is to improve those morals. Preachers would have less to complain about; reformers would lose their causes; the demand for their services and contributions for their support would decline. If there were no criminals we should need fewer lawyers, judges and firemen, and no jailers, no locksmiths, and (except for such services as untangling traffic snarls) even no policemen.

然而,公众道德水准突然提高,受到伤害的不仅仅是以迎合人们低俗趣味为职业的人。那些毕生致力改善社会风气的人,受到的伤害更大。牧师面前做忏悔的人会减少;社会改革家再也没了动力;人们对他们的服务的需求减弱了,对他们的财经支持也就没了。如果没有人犯罪,我们就不需要那么多律师、法官、消防队员,也不需要监狱看守和锁匠,甚至可以不要警察(交通警察除外)。

Under a system of division of labor, in short, it is difficult to think of a greater fulfillment of any human need which would not, at least temporarily, hurt some of the people who have made investments or painfully acquired skill to meet that precise need. If progress were completely even all around the circle, this antagonism between the interests of the whole community and of the specialized group would not, if it were noticed at all, present any serious problem. If in the same year as the world wheat crop increased, my own crop increased in the same proportion, if the crop of oranges and all other agricultural products increased correspondingly, and if the output of all industrial goods also rose and their unit cost of production fell to correspond, then I as a wheat grower would not suffer because the output of wheat had increased. The price that I got for a bushel of wheat might decline. The total sum that I realized from my larger output might decline. But if I could also because of increased supplies buy the output of everyone else cheaper, then I should have no real cause to complain. If the price of everything else dropped in exactly the same ratio as the decline in the price of my wheat, I should be better off, in fact, exactly in proportion to my increased total crop; and everyone else, likewise, would benefit proportionately from the in creased supplies of all goods and services.

总之,在这样一种劳动分工制度下,我们很难完美地满足人类的需求。因为,要做到这一点,我们至少会暂时地伤害一些已经作出投资的人、已经为此苦练技能的人。如果各个经济领域都是非常均衡的共同增长,那就不存在特殊群体与整个社会之间的利益对抗,就算有,也不会构成任何严重问题。如果同一年全球的小麦收成同步增加,我的小麦收成也同比例增加,与此同时,柑橘和其他所有农作物的收成同时增加,所有工业产品的产出也增加,单位生产成本相对下降,那么我这位麦农不会因为小麦产量增加而受到伤害。虽然,每蒲式耳小麦的价格可能下跌,我的产量增加也没能完全弥补总收入的减少,但是,如果其他每个人的供应量增加,我也能用更便宜的价格卖到他们的产品,算下来大家扯平,那就没有什么好抱怨的。如果其他每一样东西的价格跌幅,和我的小麦价格跌幅完全相同,我的富裕程度会和我收成增加的幅度同比例上升;其他每个人的富裕程度,也会和所有产品与服务供给增加的幅度同比例上升。

But economic progress never has taken place and probably never will take place in this completely uniform way. Advance occurs now in this branch of production and now in that. And if there is a sudden increase in the supply of the thing I help to produce, or if a new invention or discovery makes what I produce no longer necessary, then the gain to the world is a tragedy to me and to the productive group to which I belong.

这种齐头并进的经济增长方式从未发生过,并且永远也不可能发生。经济增长只可能是在不同领域以不同的步调增长,此起彼伏。如果我生产的那种商品,其供应量突然大增,或者如果新发明或新发现,使得我生产的那种商品不再有人需要,这些使整个世界获益的好事情,对我和我的同行们来讲,都是一场悲剧。

Now it is often not the diffused gain of the increased supply or new discovery that most forcibly strikes even the disinterested observer, but the concentrated loss. The fact that there is more and cheaper coffee for everyone is lost sight of; what is seen is merely that some coffee growers cannot make a living at the lower price. The increased output of shoes at lower cost by the new machine is forgotten; what is seen is a group of men and women thrown out of work. It is altogether proper—it is, in fact, essential to a full understanding of the problem—that the plight of these groups be recognized, that they be dealt with sympathetically, and that we try to see whether some of the gains from this specialized progress cannot be used to help the victims find a productive role elsewhere.

但是即使公正无私的观察者,也总是注目在最显眼的集中的损伤,而非因为增产或新发明而带来的广为扩散的好处。每个人都在享用更多价廉物美的咖啡,这个事实没有人注意;人们看到的,只是咖啡种植者们因为咖啡豆买不起价钱而生活难以维继。新机器以更低的成本,提高鞋子的产量,这个事实没有人注意;人们看到的,只是一群男女劳工的生计因此没有着落。诚然,我们应该从总体上认识到这些群体的困境并且富有同情心地帮助他们解决问题,努力去分析能否 利用在这一特殊进程中得到的收益去帮助这些人,使他 们得以另谋更具生产意义的职业,事实上,这还是对问题获得全面的了解所必须的。

But the solution is never to reduce supplies arbitrarily, to prevent further inventions or discoveries, or to support people for continuing to perform a service that has lost its value. Yet this is what the world has repeatedly sought to do by protective tariffs, by the destruction of machinery, by the burning of coffee, by a thousand restriction schemes. This is the insane doctrine of wealth through scarcity.

然而,问题的解决方法,绝对不可以是硬性地去压缩供给、去阻止进一步的发明或发现,或是支持鼓励人们继续从事已经失去价值的工作。但事实上,这正是当今世界各国政府竞相利用开征保护性关税,捣毁机器、烧毁咖啡树,以及无数的限制性措施而力求达到的结果。这种通过制造短缺来创造财富的信条,实在是疯狂透顶。

It is a doctrine that may always be privately true, unfortunately, for any particular group of producers considered in isolation — if they can make scarce the one thing they have to sell while keeping abundant all the things they have to buy. But it is a doctrine that is always publicly false. It can never be applied all around the circle. For its application would mean economic suicide.

遗憾的是,当我们孤立地考虑任何生产者集团的利益时,这种观点往往说得通——倘使这些集团真的能够使得其产品出现短缺,同时又使他们购买的其它产品保证充分供应的话。然而,这种信条推而广之则是荒谬的,它绝不适用于整个经济领域。因为那么做无异于经济自杀。

And this is our lesson in its most generalized form. For many things that seem to be true when we concentrate on a single economic group are seen to be illusions when the interests of everyone, as consumer no less than as producer, are considered.

最后,来高度概括一下我们这一课:当我们专注于某个单一经济群体时,看起来可能是千真万确的许多事情,在转而考虑既是消费者又是生产者的每一个人的利益时,却有可能是一串错觉。

To see the problem as a whole, and not in fragments: that is the goal of economic science.

认识问题的整体而不是片面,这就是经济科学的目标。

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