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[转载]Thomas Friedman给中国的Advice + Justice Goes Global

已有 17440 次阅读 2011-6-9 00:02 |个人分类:感言社会|系统分类:海外观察|文章来源:转载

Advice for China

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Published: June 4, 2011

 

FROM: Ministry of State Security

TO: President Hu Jintao

SUBJECT: The Arab Spring

 

Dear President Hu: You asked for our assessment of the Arab Spring. Our conclusion is that the revolutions in the Arab world contain some important lessons for the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, because what this contagion reveals is something very new about of how revolutions unfold in the 21st century and something very old about why they explode.

 

Let’s start with the new. Sometime around the year 2000, the world achieved a very high level of connectivity, virtually flattening the global economic playing field. This web of connectivity was built on the diffusion of personal computers, fiber-optic cable, the Internet and Web servers. What this platform did was to make Boston and Beijing or Detroit and Damascus next-door neighbors. It brought some two billion people into a global conversation.

 

Well, sir, while we were focused on the U.S. recession, we went from a connected world to a “hyperconnected world.” It has connected Boston, Beijing and now Baotou in inner Mongolia. This deeper penetration of connectivity is built on smarter cellphones, wireless bandwidth and social networks. This new platform for connectivity, being so cheap and mobile, is bringing another two billion people into the conversation from more and more remote areas. To put it in Middle Eastern terms, sir, this new platform has connected Detroit and Damascus and Dara’a. Where is Dara’a, you ask? Dara’a is the small Syrian border town where the uprising in Syria began and whose residents have been pumping out video, Twitter feeds and Facebook postings of regime atrocities ever since.

 

The point, sir, is the world is now hyperconnected, and there is no such thing as “local” anymore. Everything now flows instantly from the most remote corners of any country onto this global platform where it gets shared. What the laptop plus the Internet plus the search engine did for Web pages was enable anyone with connectivity to find anything that interests them and what the cellphone plus the Internet plus Facebook are doing is enabling anyone to find anyone who interests them — and then coordinate with them and share grievances and aspirations.

 

The days when Arab dictators could take over the state-run TV and radio and shut off all information to their people are over. The Syrians can’t shut off their cellphone networks now any more than they can shut off their electricity grids.

 

Sir, think about this: Syria has banned all foreign networks, like CNN and the BBC, but if you go to YouTube and type in “Dara’a” you will see the most vivid up-to-date video of the Syrian regime’s crackdown — all shot with cellphones or flip-cams by Syrians and then uploaded to YouTube or to newly created Web sites like Sham News Network. Nothing stays hidden anymore.

 

The second trend we see in the Arab Spring is a manifestation of “Carlson’s Law,” posited by Curtis Carlson, the C.E.O. of SRI International, in Silicon Valley, which states that: “In a world where so many people now have access to education and cheap tools of innovation, innovation that happens from the bottom up tends to be chaotic but smart. Innovation that happens from the top down tends to be orderly but dumb.” As a result, says Carlson, the sweet spot for innovation today is “moving down,” closer to the people, not up, because all the people together are smarter than anyone alone and all the people now have the tools to invent and collaborate.

 

The regime of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was just too dumb and slow to manage the unrest. The Tahrir revolutionaries were smart but chaotic, and without leadership. Therefore, the role of leaders today — of companies and countries — is to inspire, empower, enable and then edit and meld all that innovation coming from the bottom up. But that requires more freedom for the bottom. Do you see what I mean, sir?

 

But this is not about technology alone. As the Russian historian Leon Aron has noted, the Arab uprisings closely resemble the Russian democratic revolution of 1991 in one key respect: They were both not so much about freedom or food as about “dignity.” They each grew out of a deep desire by people to run their own lives and to be treated as “citizens” — with both obligations and rights that the state cannot just give and take by whim.

 

If you want to know what brings about revolutions, it is not G.D.P. rising or falling, says Aron, “it is the quest for dignity.” We always exaggerate people’s quest for G.D.P. and undervalue their quest for ideals. “Dignity before bread” was the slogan of the Tunisian revolution. “The spark that lights the fuse is always the quest for dignity,” said Aron. “Today’s technology just makes the fire much more difficult to put out.”

 

We need to keep that in mind in China, sir. We should be proud of the rising standard of living that we have delivered for our people. Many of them appreciate that. But it is not the only thing in their lives — and at some point it won’t be the most important thing. Do you see what I mean, sir?

 

環球時報文章,原題:給美國的一些建議

 

尊敬的托馬斯.弗里德曼先生:

  您最近在《紐約時報》發表題為《給中國的一些建議》的致中國國家主席胡錦濤的公開信。您嘗試著就“阿拉伯之春”給出“你們的評估”。在您看來,從突尼斯到叙利亞,阿拉伯民眾要求的不僅僅是面包、GDP,還有“尊嚴”,以政治自由化和民主化程度為衡量標準的尊嚴。您認為對“尊嚴”的追求,是“革命爆發”的原因,於是您鼓勵中國朝著這條道路前進。

  首先需要感謝的是,您至少確認了包括您在內,世界應該為民眾生活水平的提高感到自豪,儘管這樣的提高仍然是不夠的。

  其次,我想謙卑地提醒您,在考慮信息技術給阿拉伯世界注入新的活力時,似乎不應該忘記一個既不那麼新、也不那麼舊的詞,那就是“巴勒斯坦問題”。非常遺憾,您在討論阿拉伯世界民眾對“尊嚴”的追求時,完全沒有提及這個詞。另外想必您也知道,與此前美國政府對民主轉型的表態相比,此次美國政府面對“阿拉伯之春”的態度,尤其是在埃及的問題上,充滿了遲疑和反覆。美國為何遲遲沒有支持埃及的變革?美國為何繼續在安理會無條件支持傳統盟友以色列、甚至單槍匹馬地否決安理會決議?這些正是為廣大阿拉伯青年,也就是您所說的“阿拉伯之春”———或美國媒體所說的“維基革命”、“臉譜革命”等名詞中的主角所困惑的。

 

說這些無非是想真誠地提醒身為知名記者、富有影響力的政治專欄作家的您,真正的力量既不在於硬權力,也不在於華麗的辭藻和美妙的理想,而在於現實的行動。這裡的行動指的是自己率先垂範,指的是採取統一的標準衡量。選擇性地面對事實,建立在某種傲慢基礎上的空洞說教,並不能夠達到其原有目的。尊敬的弗里德曼先生,您懂得,不是咩?抱歉,這裡使用的是中國網絡空間的流行語言。所謂從善如流,比起您給中國國家主席費盡心力地寫信,更加有效的示範,是呼籲白宮的政策制定者從善如流,修改巴以問題上偏袒以色列的一貫做法。這麼做,無需您寫信,新一代活躍在數字空間的阿拉伯青年自然會更加相信美國,中國的行動也將因此變得更加積極。

  第三,您想必知道,與西方“己之所欲,必施於人”不同,東方強調的是“己所不欲,勿施於人”。根據現行的國際體系,一國如果過度使用自身的優勢權力,必然引發其他國家基於恐懼的制衡反應。從去年開始,希拉里閣下頻頻會晤美國互聯網界的大鰐,探討讓互聯網成為美國“巧實力”外交政策工具的雄心已為世人所知曉。但尊敬的弗里德曼先生,您知道麼,非常具有諷刺意義的是,這恰巧應驗“物極必反”的東方智慧:過度強調用互聯網來推行美國的外交政策,會讓相關的技術、應用和公司看上去都像是美國政府的代理人,而不是代表中立的價值。


  最後,如果您有空再多學一門外語,冒昧地邀請您在微博或者別的什麼中國社交網站上,開設一個中文賬號,您有機會直接和您並不十分了解的多數中國網民進行直接交流。他們中的多數或許無法熟練使用英語,但他們會讓您知道中國已經以及正在發生的深刻變化,還有中國政府如何學習應對由此帶來的諸多挑戰。根據我個人有限的知識,現在中國早就走過了所謂啟蒙階段,是否要讓更多的民眾參與公共政策的制定,是否要實行民主,基本已經不是問題了。現在我們關心的,是找到一種適合自己的民主模式。而在這點上,我們並沒有分歧。

 

尊敬的弗里德曼先生,您懂我的意思了麼?

  此致

  敬禮

  沈逸 博士

  復旦大學

  201167

Justice Goes Global

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Published: June 14, 2011

 

You probably missed the recent special issue of China Newsweek, so let me bring you up to date. Who do you think was on the cover — named the “most influential foreign figure” of the year in China? Barack Obama? No. Bill Gates? No. Warren Buffett? No. O.K., I’ll give you a hint: He’s a rock star in Asia, and people in China, Japan and South Korea scalp tickets to hear him. Give up?

 

It was Michael J. Sandel, the Harvard University political philosopher.

 

This news will not come as a surprise to Harvard students, some 15,000 of whom have taken Sandel’s legendary “Justice” class. What makes the class so compelling is the way Sandel uses real-life examples to illustrate the philosophies of the likes of Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill.

 

Sandel, 58, will start by tossing out a question, like, “Is it fair that David Letterman makes 700 times more than a schoolteacher?” or “Are we morally responsible for righting the wrongs of our grandparents’ generation?” Students offer competing answers, challenge one another across the hall, debate with the philosophers — and learn the art of reasoned moral argument along the way.

 

Besides being educational, the classes make great theater — so much so that Harvard and WGBH (Boston’s PBS station) filmed them and created a public television series that aired across the country in 2009. The series, now freely available online (at www.JusticeHarvard.org), has begun to stir interest in surprising new places.

 

Last year, Japan’s NHK TV broadcast a translated version of the PBS series, which sparked a philosophy craze in Japan and prompted the University of Tokyo to create a course based on Sandel’s. In China, volunteer translators subtitled the lectures and uploaded them to Chinese Web sites, where they have attracted millions of viewers. Sandel’s recent book — “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” — has sold more than a million copies in East Asia alone. This is a book about moral philosophy, folks!

 

Here’s The Japan Times describing Sandel’s 2010 visit: “Few philosophers are compared to rock stars or TV celebrities, but that’s the kind of popularity Michael Sandel enjoys in Japan.” At a recent lecture in Tokyo, “long lines had formed outside almost an hour before the start of the evening event. Tickets, which were free and assigned by lottery in advance, were in such demand that one was reportedly offered for sale on the Web for $500.” Sandel began the lecture by asking: “Is ticket scalping fair or unfair?”

 

But what is most intriguing is the reception that Sandel (a close friend) received in China. He just completed a book tour and lectures at Tsinghua and Fudan universities, where students began staking out seats hours in advance. This semester, Tsinghua started a course called “Critical Thinking and Moral Reasoning,” modeled on Sandel’s. His class visit was covered on the national evening news.

 

Sandel’s popularity in Asia reflects the intersection of three trends. One is the growth of online education, where students anywhere now can gain access to the best professors from everywhere. Another is the craving in Asia for a more creative, discussion-based style of teaching in order to produce more creative, innovative students. And the last is the hunger of young people to engage in moral reasoning and debates, rather than having their education confined to the dry technical aspects of economics, business or engineering.

 

At Tsinghua and Fudan, Sandel challenged students with a series of cases about justice and markets: Is it fair to raise the price of snow shovels after a snowstorm? What about auctioning university admissions to the highest bidder? “Free-market sentiment ran surprisingly high,” Sandel said, “but some students argued that unfettered markets create inequality and social discord.”

 

Sandel’s way of teaching about justice “is both refreshing and relevant in the context of China,” Dean Qian Yingyi of Tsinghua’s School of Economics and Management, explained in an e-mail. Refreshing because of the style and relevant because “the philosophic thinking among the Chinese is mostly instrumentalist and materialistic,” partly because of “the contemporary obsession on economic development in China.”

 

Tsinghua’s decision to offer a version of Sandel’s course, added Qian, “is part of a great experiment of undergraduate education reform currently under way at our school. ... This is not just one class; it is the beginning of an era.”

 

Sandel is touching something deep in both Boston and Beijing. “Students everywhere are hungry for discussion of the big ethical questions we confront in our everyday lives,” Sandel argues. “In recent years, seemingly technical economic questions have crowded out questions of justice and the common good. I think there is a growing sense, in many societies, that G.D.P. and market values do not by themselves produce happiness, or a good society. My dream is to create a video-linked global classroom, connecting students across cultures and national boundaries — to think through these hard moral questions together, to see what we can learn from one another.”

 



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