how_to_get_the_poor_off_our_conscience翻译+原文

发表于:2022.6.22来自:www.fanwen118.com字数:17912 手机看范文

如何使我们不为穷人的存在而内疚

1.我想认真地思考人类最古老的一种活动,这项活动持续了多年,实际上已经超过了几个世纪,那就是尝试怎样使我们不为穷人的存在而内疚。?

2.贫穷和富有从一开始就共生在一起,彼此很不愉快有时还充满危险。普鲁塔克说:―贫富失衡乃共和政体最致命的宿疾。‖富有和贫穷持续共存产生的问题,特别是如何证明在其他人还贫穷时我们富有是有道理的这一问题。成为有思想有学问的人几百年来孜孜不倦地思考探索的问题。

3.《圣经》提出了最初的解决之道:在现世遭受贫穷的人来世会得到更好的回报。他们的贫穷是暂时的灾难:如果贫穷但却能顺从,他们将来就会成为世界的主人。在某种程度上这就是最理想的解决方法。这样一来,富人就可以一边嫉妒穷人的美好前途一边享受他们的财富。

4.很长时间之后,即在1776年《国富论》发表二三十年之后——在英国工业革命开始之后——贫穷不均的问题及其解决办法开始具有了现代的形式。杰里米?本瑟姆,这位与亚当?斯密几乎是同时代的人,提出了这样一种准则,在某种程度上,美国人认为这一准则在英国几乎50年来一直影响显著,这就是实用主义学说。―通过实用的原则,‖本瑟姆在1789年指出,―也就是在每次行动中,依

照政党各方利益受影响的好坏趋势,来赞同刚或则否决该项行动的原则。‖实用,实际上一定是以自我为中心的。然而,社会中只有少数人拥有大量财富,却有更多人没有财富。只要遵循本瑟姆的——―最大的利益给最多的人‖,就能够解决社会问题。社会尽力满足更多人的利益,然而对于那些利益没有被满足的人来说,这个结果是悲哀的。?

5.在19世纪30年代,一种新的准则成为使我们不为穷人的存在感到内疚的有效办法,迄今为止它的影响也丝毫没有减弱。这是与股票家戴维?里卡多和托马斯?罗伯特?马尔萨斯神父联系在一起的。它的本质很为人们所熟悉:穷人的贫穷是他们自己的错误。贫穷是他们过度生育的结果。很遗憾,他们不能控制性欲,过度生育把地球具有的养活人口的能力推向极限。

6.这就是人口论。生育引起的贫穷意味着富人不应该为贫穷的产生和解决承担责任。然而,马尔萨斯本人并不是缺乏责任感的人:他极力主张婚姻的仪式应该包括对过度或不负责任的性生活的警告——说老实话,这是一种完全有效的控制生育的方法,却没被人们接受。在近代,罗纳德?里根曾经说过控制人口的最佳形式存在于市场。(热恋中的夫妇应该上梅西百货公司,而不是回到新房。)应该说,马尔萨斯的建议至少沾点儿边。?

7. 19世纪中叶,一种新的解决这一问题的方案产生了很大影响,

在美国影响尤其强烈。这一学说与赫伯特?斯宾塞的名字联系在一起,就是社会学中的进化论。在经济生活中如同在生物进化过程中一样,主导的规律是适者生存。―适者生存‖这个短语实际上并不出自查尔斯?达尔文,而是出自斯宾塞,后者表达了对经济生活的看法。穷人被淘汰是大自然种族进化的方式。只有弱者和不幸的人灭亡了,人类家庭的质量才会提高。?

8. 最著名的美国达尔文社会进化论的发言人之一约翰?D?洛克菲勒——第一个洛克菲勒——在一次著名的演讲中说:―美国这朵玫瑰花以其华贵与芳香让观众倾倒,赞不绝口。而她之所以能被培植出来,就是因为在早期其周围的花蕾被掐掉了。在经济生活中情况亦是如此。这是自然规律和上帝意志在起作用。?

9. 然而在本世纪中,人们认为社会学中的达尔文进化论遭到了普遍的抵制,得到的是带有责难腔调的评论。更多解决贫穷的方法都与卡尔文?库利奇和赫伯特?胡佛有关。他们认为公众对穷人的支持会干预经济系统的运行效能,这种支持和那些能拯救更多人的经济计划相矛盾。直到今天,人们仍然持有一种观念,帮助穷人会对经济造成巨大损失,借此理由,我们才能不为穷人的存在而内疚。?

10. 罗斯福的改革使政府被想象为对共和政体里不幸的人负责任的形象。罗斯福及随后的几任总统都采取了有效措施,比如为老人提供社会保障,为失业者提供失业保险,给无法就业者和残疾人直

接救济,并给病人提供医疗照顾和医疗补助。这种很长一段时间里确实极大地改变了旧的观念,人们开始认为我们的确不只是尝试,实际上我们的确一直在做许多帮助穷人的事。?

11. 然而,最近几年,我们又在试图寻找不为穷人的存在而内疚的办法,虽然这种需要日益明显,但结果却是无功而返,解决之道尚属未知。于是现在我们重新尝试寻找新的有效方法,这种探索又一次成为哲学家、文学家、演说家们收入不菲的一个重要行业。?

12. 在以上四五种现行的解决方法中,从不可避免的事实中得出的最首要的结论就是政府必须采取各种措施帮助穷人。接着指出除了武器的设计和采购以及五角大楼的整体管理之外,政府就是无能的。由于政府无能又缺乏有效措施,就无法指望它来援助穷人,它只会无事生非或使事情变得更糟。?

13. 在我们这个时代,对政府无能的指责是与对官僚的笼统谴责联系在一起的——与国防有关的人士又不在此列。唯一的区别对待形式还是允许的——也是如今在美国人手官方鼓励的——区别对待那些为联邦政府工作的人特别是致力于社会福利事业的人。我们有庞大的企业官僚机构,充斥着企业官僚,但他们是好的;只有公众官僚和政府官员不好。实际上,美国有非常的公职力量——一支由富有才干和献身精神的人组成的队伍,他们非常诚实,以至像出高价购买活动扳手、手电筒、咖啡壶以及马桶坐圈以获取回扣的情况

极为罕见。(奇怪的是,这些事情如果发生,全都发生在五角大楼。)我们几乎杜绝了老人的贫穷状况,使医疗照顾更为民主,保证少数人中的政治权利,并极大地增加受教育的机会。这些对那些没有生活能力的人所做的一切看来应该是相当大的成就。我们必须承认眼下对政府和政府管理部门的责难其实也算是试图对穷人责任的一部分。?

14. 有几个世纪传统的第二个方案也存在争议,它认为任何一种对穷人的公众援助都会伤害穷人本身。它摧毁斗志,诱惑人们不再工作,破坏婚姻,因为一旦妇女离开自己的丈夫也能为自己和孩子寻得保障。?

15. 这里没有这种伤害的证据,因此也无法把这种伤害和缺乏社会援助所受的伤害进行比较。不过我们相信实事求是,这种做法确实对给予穷人的援助造成严重的影响。这种说法也许是我们编造的神话中最有影响力的一篇。?

16. 紧接着的第三种,唤醒我们对穷人的责任感的方案涉及社会援助措施对工作动机的不利影响,他们用勤奋的人们的收入给那些懒惰和无能的人,这会打消勤劳者的工作积极性,也会鼓励懒散的人继续懒惰。目前的示威运动就是针对这种单方援助的经济。这种经济认为美国的富人不再坚持工作是因为他们的收入太少。所以,我们费力地通过把穷人的钱给富人的办法来刺激经济。难道我们真的

认为大多数穷人宁愿要福利而不愿要一个好的工作?或者认为那些商人——公司执行官们,那些时代的重要角色真的因为工资不当而游手好闲,虚度光阴?这简直是对美国商人、一个显而易见的勤劳工作者的难以置信的可耻的指控。信念可以是真理的仆人——但更多的情况下,只是一时之需。?

17. 第四种使我们不为穷人的存在而内疚的方案是指明如果政府替穷人承担责任,可能会对自由产生不利的影响。自由包括人们自己选择花钱的最大量的权利以及允许政府拿走并花掉自己钱最少量的权利。(强调一下,花在国防上的钱除外。)正如弥尔顿?佛里德曼教授那句久为流传的名言,人们应该―自由选择‖。?

18. 这一方案中有一点是最明显的:穷人的自由和收入之间的关系没有人关注。(佛里德曼教授这里提出了反驳,他认为可以通过一些消极的税收来保证每个人的最低收入。)我们完全可以同意,没有哪一种形式比身无分文更厉害,也没用哪种对思想和行动的束缚比一无所有更全面彻底。尽管我们听到很多关于税收造成的收入减少给富人的自由权利带来种种限制,却没听说穷人多交出钱来能增加一些自由的权利。实际上富人税收是去的自由与穷人交出收入所应该得到却没有得到的自由相比实在是件微不足道的小事。我们珍惜自由是对的,正因为珍惜自由,我们才不能以此为借口,不给最需要自由的人自由。?

19. 最终,当一切办法都无济于事的时候,我们就干脆装聋作哑。对于不愉快的事情视而不见或不去想是我们普遍存在的心理倾向。正因为如此,我们才能对死亡视而不见;我们也才能不去考虑武器的种类及其将带来可能导致全部灭亡的混乱。由于同样的心理倾向我们也拒绝去考虑穷人的存在。不管他们生活在埃塞俄比亚,还是在纽约市的南部朗克斯区,甚至是洛杉矶这样的天堂,我们都决心不去为这些人操心。我们总是被建议去想愉快的事情。?

20. 这是几种躲避关心穷人的方案。除了最后一种,所有这些卓越的传统都是用来结束我们探索如何不对我们的穷人同胞内疚的历程。都来自本瑟姆、马尔萨斯、斯宾塞、罗纳德?里根及他们的后继者们的发明。所以心理学家聚集在华盛顿宣告:乔治?吉尔德,近代最有特权的人物,他极力赞许穷人应该承受一定的痛苦,只有如此他们才能受到激励而努力改变现状;他的极力拥护者查尔斯?默里也声称:―废除一切工人阶级和老人的政府福利和收入保障措施,包括对有未成年子女家庭的补助、医疗照顾、食品券、失业保险、工人失业保险金、住房补贴及伤残保险和所有其他的一切。这是一堆解不开的疙瘩,只能快刀斩乱麻,统统取消。‖按照救济的先后原则,生存者应该是经过挑选的有价值的人;其他人的灭亡是我们必须付出的代价。默里是斯宾塞在我们这一时代的代言人,如上所说,他在华盛顿高层中享有无比的威望。?

21. 同情心,加上与之相关的社会努力是我们这个时代最麻烦、最

令人不快的行为和行动方针。但是它仍然是与我们整个文明生活相符的唯一方针。而且最终,这无疑是最保守的路线。这并不是自相矛盾。对文明的不满和所带来的结果并不来自那些满足的人——这点很明显。为了能达到我们尽可能广泛地满足的程度,我们将保持并扩大社会和政治的平静,这是保守者最渴望的。

How to Get the Poor off Our Conscience

John Kenneth Galbraith

1. I would like to reflect on one of the oldest of human exercises, the process by which over the years, and indeed over the centuries, we have undertaken to get the poor off our

conscience.

2. Rich and poor have lived together, always uncomfortably and sometimes perilously, since the beginning of time. Plutarch was led to say: ―An imbalance between the rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of republics.‖ And the problems that arise from the continuing co-existence of

affluence and poverty–and particularly the process by which good fortune is justified in the presence of the ill fortune of others — have been an intellectual preoccupation for

centuries. They continue to be so in our own time.

3. One begins with the solution proposed in the Bible: the poor suffer in this world but are wonderfully rewarded in the next. The poverty is a temporary misfortune; if they are poor and also meek they eventually will inherit the earth. This is, in some ways, an admirable solution. It allows the rich to enjoy their wealth while envying the poor their future fortune.

[Harry Crews’s ―Pages from the Life of a Georgia Innocent‖ discusses the romanticizing of poverty.]

4. Much, much later, in the twenty or thirty years following the publication in 1776 of The Wealth of Nations–the late dawn of the Industrial Revolution in Britain–the problem and its solution began to take on their modern form. Jeremy

Bentham, a near contemporary of Adam Smith, came up with the formula that for perhaps fifty years was extraordinarily influential in British and, to some degree, American thought. This was utilitarianism. ―By the principle of utility,‖ Bentham said in 1789, ―is meant the principal which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever according to the

tendency which it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question.‖ Virtue is, indeed must be, self-centered. While there were people with great good fortune and many more with great ill fortune, the social problem was solved as long as, again in Bentham’s words, there was ―the greatest good for the greatest number.‖ Society did its best for the largest possible number of people; one accepted that the result might be sadly unpleasant for the many whose happiness was not served.

5. In the 1830’s a new formula, influential in no slight degree to this day, became available for getting the poor off the public conscience. This is associated with the names of David

Ricardo, a stockbroker, and Thomas Robert Malthus, a divine.

The essentials are familiar: the poverty of the poor was the fault of the poor. And it was so because it was a product of their excessive fecundity: their grievously uncontrolled lust caused them to breed up to the full limits of the available subsistence.

6. This was Malthusianism. Poverty being caused in the bed meant that the rich were not responsible for either its

creation or its amelioration. However, Malthus was himself not without a certain feeling of responsibility: he urged that the marriage ceremony contain a warning against undue and irresponsible sexual intercourse–a warning, it is fair to say, that has not been accepted as a fully effective method of birth control. In more recent times, Ronald Reagan has said that the best form of population control emerges from the market. (Couples in love should repair to R. H. Macy’s, not their

bedrooms.) Malthus, it must be said, was at least as relevant.

7. By the middle of the nineteenth century, a new form of denial achieved great influence, especially in the United States. The new doctrine, associated with the name of Herbert Spencer, was Social Darwinism. In economic life, as in biological development, the overriding rule was survival of the fittest. That phrase–‖survival of the fittest‖–came, in fact, not from Charles Darwin but from Spencer, and expressed his view of

economic life. The elimination of the poor is nature’s way of improving the race. The weak and unfortunate being extruded, the quality of the human family is thus

strengthened.

8. One of the most notable American spokespersons of Social Darwinism was John D. Rockefeller–the first Rockefeller–who said in a famous speech: ―The American Beauty rose can be produced in the splendor and fragrance which bring cheer to its beholder only by sacrificing the early buds which grow up around it. And so it is in economic life. It is merely the working out of a law of nature and a law of God.‖ [Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives was written during the time of Social Darwinism and played a major role in this ideology’s demise.]

9. In the course of the present century, however, Social

Darwinism came to be considered a bit too cruel. It declined in popularity, and references to it acquired a condemnatory tone. We passed on to the more amorphous denial of poverty associated with Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. They held that public assistance to the poor interfered with the effective operation of the economic system–that such

assistance was inconsistent with the economic design that had come to serve most people very well. The notion that

there is something economically damaging about helping the poor remains with us to this day as one of the ways by which we get them off our conscience. [It doesn’t follow, however, that government aid to the affluent is morally damaging; see ―The Next New Deal‖ and ―Reining in the Rich‖.]

10. With the Roosevelt revolution (as previously with that of Lloyd George in Britain), a specific responsibility was

assumed by the government for the least fortunate people in the republic. Roosevelt and the presidents who followed him accepted a substantial measure of responsibility for the old through Social Security, for the unemployed through unemployment insurance, for the unemployable and the handicapped through direct relief, and for the sick through Medicare and Medicaid. This was a truly great change, and for a time, the age-old tendency to avoid thinking about the poor gave way to the feeling that we didn’t need to try–that we were, indeed, doing something about them.

11. In recent years, however, it has become clear that the search for a way of getting the poor off our conscience was not at an end; it was only suspended. And so we are now again engaged in this search in a highly energetic way. It has again become a major philosophical, literary, and rhetorical preoccupation, and an economically not unrewarding

enterprise.

12. Of the four, maybe five, current designs we have to get the poor off our conscience, the first proceeds from the

inescapable fact that most of the things that must be done on behalf of the poor must be done in one way or another by the government. It is then argued that the government is

inherently incompetent, except as regards weapons design and procurement and the overall management of the

Pentagon. Being incompetent and ineffective, it must not be asked to succor the poor; it will only louse things up or make things worse.

13. The allegation of government incompetence is associated in our time with the general condemnation of the

bureaucrat–again excluding those associated with national defense. The only form of discrimination that is still

permissible–that is, still officially encouraged in the United States today–is discrimination against people who work for the federal government, especially on social welfare activities. We have great corporate bureaucracies replete with corporate bureaucrats, but they are good; only public bureaucracy and government servants are bad. In fact we have in the United States an extraordinarily good public service–one made up of talented and dedicated people who are overwhelmingly

honest and only rarely given to overpaying for monkey

wrenches, flashlights, coffee makers, and toilet seats. (When these aberrations have occurred they have, oddly enough, all been in the Pentagon.) We have nearly abolished poverty among the old, greatly democratized health care, assured minorities of their civil rights, and vastly enhanced

educational opportunity. All this would seem a considerable achievement for incompetent and otherwise ineffective

people. We must recognize that the present condemnation of government and government administration is really part of the continuing design for avoiding responsibility for the poor.

14. The second design in this great centuries-old tradition is to argue that any form of public help to the poor only hurts the poor. It destroys morale. It seduces people away from gainful employment. It breaks up marriages, since women can seek welfare for themselves and their children once they are without husbands.

15. There is no proof of this-none, certainly, that compares that damage with the damage that would be inflicted by the loss of public assistance. [See Robert Greenstein’s

congressional testimony.] Still, the case is made–and

believed–that there is something gravely damaging about aid to the unfortunate. This is perhaps our most highly influential

piece of fiction.

16. The third, and closely related, design for relieving

ourselves of responsibility for the poor is the argument that public-assistance measures have an adverse effect on

incentive. They transfer income from the diligent to the idle and feckless, thus reducing the effort of the diligent and encouraging the idleness of the idle. The modern

manifestation of this is supply-side economics. Supply-side economics holds that the rich in the United States have not been working because they have too little income. So, by taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich, we increase effort and stimulate the economy. Can we really believe that any considerable number of the poor prefer welfare to a good job? Or that business people–corporate executives, the key figures in our time–are idling away their hours because of the insufficiency of their pay? This is a scandalous charge against the American businessperson, notably a hard worker. Belief can be the servant of truth–but even more of convenience.

17. The fourth design for getting the poor off our conscience is to point to the presumed adverse effect on freedom of taking responsibility for them. Freedom consists of the right to spend a maximum of one’s money by one’s own choice, and

to see a minimum taken and spent by the government. (Again, expenditure on national defense is excepted.) In the enduring words of Professor Milton Friedman, people must be ―free to choose.‖

18. This is possibly the most transparent of all of the designs; no mention is ordinarily made of the relation of income to the freedom of the poor. (Professor Friedman is here an

exception; through the negative income tax, he would assure everyone a basic income.) There is, we can surely agree, no form of oppression that is quite so great, no construction on thought and effort quite so comprehensive, as that which comes from having no money at all. Though we hear much about the limitation on the freedom of the affluent when their income is reduced through taxes, we hear nothing of the extraordinary enhancement of the freedom of the poor from having some money of their own to spend. Yet the loss of freedom from taxation to the rich is a small thing as

compared with the gain in freedom from providing some income to the impoverished. Freedom we rightly cherish. Cherishing it, we should not use it as a cover for denying freedom to those in need.

19. Finally, when all else fails, we resort to simple

psychological denial. This is a psychic tendency that in

various manifestations is common to us all. It causes us to avoid thinking about death. It causes a great many people to avoid thought of the arms race and the consequent rush toward a highly probable extinction. By the same process of psychological denial, we decline to think of the poor. Whether they be in Ethiopia, the South Bronx, or even in such an Elysium as Los Angeles, we resolve to keep them off our minds. Think, we are often advised, of something pleasant.

20. These are the modern designs by which we escape concern for the poor. All, save perhaps the last, are in great inventive descent from Bentham, Malthus, and Spencer. Ronald

Reagan and his colleagues are clearly in a notable tradition–at the end of a long history of effort to escape responsibility for one’s fellow beings. So are the philosophers now celebrated in Washington: George Gilder, a greatly favored figure of the recent past, who tells to much applause that the poor must have the cruel spur of their own suffering to ensure effort; Charles Murray, who, to greater cheers, contemplates ―scrapping the entire federal welfare and income-support structure for working and aged persons, including A.F.D.C., Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, Workers’ Compensation, subsidized housing, disability insurance, and,‖ he adds, ―the rest. Cut the knot, for there is no way to

untie it.‖ By a triage, the worthy would be selected to survive; the loss of the rest is the penalty we should pay. Murray is the voice of Spencer in our time; he is enjoying, as indicated, unparalleled popularity in high Washington circles.

21. Compassion, along with the associated public effort, is the least comfortable, the least convenient, course of behavior and action in our time. But it remains the only one that it compatible with a totally civilized life. Also, it is, in the end, the most truly conservative course. There is no paradox here. Civil discontent and its consequences do not come from

contented people–an obvious point to the extent to which we can make contentment as nearly universal as possible, we will preserve and enlarge the social and political tranquillity for which conservatives, above all, should yearn.



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