力学不倦分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/Mech 读万卷书,参非常道,书在手中,道在心中;行万里路,勘寻常物,路在脚下,物在眼下。https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Li-Qun_Chen

博文

斯蒂格勒论经济学—读Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

已有 1084 次阅读 2022-9-14 22:55 |个人分类:休闲阅读|系统分类:人文社科

Stigler毕竟是经济学名家,读他的回忆录而没有增加经济学的见识,未免有买椟还珠之憾。该回忆录也是本出色的经济学普及读物,有经济学的整体特性以及在社会生活中的作用,也有具体的经济学观点和学说,还有作者的学术经历。

 

作为大师级的经济学家,Stigler对经济学的终极和直接目标有非常简洁清晰的说明。“In economics, the ultimate goal is to increase the understanding of economic life: What happens and why. The more immediate goal is often to develop a theory or conceptual system that helps to identify the central forces in economic life and by this route help achieve the ultimate goal. The second task is to persuade fellow scholars that one is right. A brilliant piece of work that no one reads, or, if read, everyone disbelieves, is an object failure. A theory or idea that is fully accepted by one’s fellow is a magnificent success. Indeed, general acceptance is the fundamental test of excellence. Scholars, though they ofter seek exemption, are subject to the rule that a man may not judge his own case. (p. 64) ”简言之,经济学就是发展理论并同行相信,从而刚透彻地理解经济生活。

 

经济学理论不是数学游戏,重要的不是逻辑上无懈可击,而是能解释经济现象。“A theory may be logically impeccable, or be capable of being made so, and yet yield no important contribution to the explanation of economic phenomena. (p. 65)” 经济学家似乎比科学学家谦逊,只想到解释,没有要求预测。如同所有学科的新理论一样,经济学的新知识也不容易被世人接受。“… the ‘best’ economic knowledge at any one time does not go around wearing a halo so it can be readily identified by everyone. (p. 53)”

 

经济学在现代社会取得巨大的成功,虽然我觉得法学更成功,至少是在美国。“Economists have been remarkably successful in selling their product in this century. …All of the tedious humor about the differences of opinion among ecenomists…, or their infatuation with abstract thinking…, are really envious jibes. Denunciation ofAmericais almost the only bond that unifies European intellectuals, and criticism of economics is the chief bond joining the other social sciences. How much sweeter is envy than pity. (p. 87)” 成功会引起嫉妒,古今中外人性都是如此,变化和差别的只是形式。让人嫉妒总是比让人可怜强,很有道理!

 

经济学的重要地位要求经济学家在知识方面更为专业。“…it is more important that a society be intelligent in its economic policies than it its use of nuclear power….I hope for our society’s sake, therefore, that we will become increasingly more professional in the use of our knowledge. (p. 179)” 事实也是如此,经济学是真正意义上的社会科学。“…able colleagues and collaborators, the support of students, the availability of time for reseach—and because the leisured gentleman has almost disappeared from our society, economics became almost exclusively an academic science by the beginning of the twentieth century. (p. 38)” 而且从业者多在大学任教。“There are advantages to living outside a university (did Ricardo have to attend numerous committee meetings?), but they are clearly swamped by the advantages of academic life when it comes to doing economic research. (p. 38)”

 

除了上述经济学宏观特性,有些涉及经济学具体内容之处也很有意思。

 

对经济人假设,Stigler给出有趣的类比。“A fomous hypothetical figure in economics is the ‘economic man’ –a perfectly rational individual who calculates precisely the costs and benefits of every action and then undertakes those actions whos benefits exceed their costs. …the economic man and the perfect Christian would have one thing in common –neither one would have any friends. (p. 17)”,类比有趣归有趣,但经济学多了人的偏好这个参量。

 

观人行重于言,或者叫论迹不论心。“Economists have a doctrine in which I place great faith, that of revealed preference. It states that people display their true preferences by what they do, not by what they say. (p. 47)” 如果大家都在嚷嚷房子贵,但买的人事实上就是认为不贵;高校青椒都说待遇低,但接受了职位的事实本身就是觉得待遇还可以。

 

供求关系是经济学分析的核心。“To an economist no truth is more firmly held than the one that as something gets more expensive, people buy less of it. (‘Demand curves have negative slope.’) (p. 200)”通俗地说,就是物以稀为贵。“So anything scarce, and worth having, has been costly for someone to obtain. It wasn’t free to them, and if they give it away, the chances are that the recipient will end up giving something valuable in exchange. (p. 204)”。“稀为贵”的不仅是“物”,也包括服务等。这其实也是种生活常识。看到他人做出与己不同的选择,往往应该高兴。例如,在我还是小助教时,当时还没有读任何经济学的书,教研室有两位青椒毅然下海,停薪留职走了;我不羡慕,也无意效仿,但还是很高兴。

 

Stigler还提到了著名的Coase定理。 “…when there are no transaction costs the assignments of legal rights have no effect upon the allocation of resources among economic enterprises. …Coase Theorem (p. 77)”这些大师级人物对该定理从怀疑到被说服的过程记述也很有意思。

 

Stigler用些笔墨写其所属的Chicago经济学学派,事实上Stigler是该学派核心人物之一,前面提到的Coase也是该学派核心人物。最重要的人物或许是Milton Friedman,他和夫人的回忆录Two Lucky People: Memoirs of Milton and Rose D. Friedman内容更丰富多样也更有生活气息。Chicago学派强烈推崇市场经济体制。“…a competitive economic system performs important economic tasks efficiently. Those goods get produced that people want the most; workers and capitalists are induced to put their labor and capital into the most productive uses; and historically an immense creativity was unleashed. (p. 138)” 因此也反对集体主义对个人自由的限制,喜欢竞争形成的秩序。“That hostility to collectivist restrictions on personal freedom, as well as the liking for a competitive order, were somewhat stronger in the University of Chicago’s economics department than at most other place (except, and especially, the London School of Economics). (p. 139)”

 

Stigler对该学派特点有精当概括。“This Chicago orientation had three main facts. The first was that the goal of efficiency is pervasive in economic life, where efficiency means producing and selling goods at the lowest possible cost (and therefore the largest possible profit). This goal is sought as vigorously by monopolists as by competitors, and monopoly power is of no value in expaining many phenomena which have efficiency explanations. (p. 162) …A second main theme of the Chicago School of industrial organization is that it is virtually impossible to eliminate competition from economic life. (p. 164)…A third facet of the Chicago School’s work was on the theory of public regulation. …We initiated the study of why acts of regulation were undertaken and what their effects actually were (called positive analysis). (p. 165)” 事实上,竞争的不可避免是对社会生活最深刻的洞见。任何限制竞争的尝试,往往只是改变竞争的形式。现在的减负、破“四唯”或“五唯”,也“应作如是观”。

 

Chicago大学也是现代价格理论的发源地。“…modern price theory is a powerful weapon in the understanding of economic behavior, not simply a set of elegent theoretical exercises suitable for instruction and the demonstration of one’s mental agility. (p. 162)” 就社会政治观点而论,同在Chicago大学执教的HayekChicago学派的同盟军。“He presented a reasoned, lucid argument, but it is an argument largely in abstract terms. There are no dramatic factual claims, no attacks on the motives or competence of opponents, on studied exaggeration of the vices of centrally planned economic systems. Hayek has always been both a gentleman and a scholar. (p. 141)” both a gentleman and a scholar是令人向往的人格境界。

 

 

斯蒂格勒谈大学—读Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈学者Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈专家—读Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈知识Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈学界Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈发表Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈社会Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记

 

斯蒂格勒谈名家Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist札记




https://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-220220-1355365.html

上一篇:银川明都察院旧址
下一篇:呼和浩特内蒙古博物院之恐龙
收藏 IP: 101.87.43.*| 热度|

该博文允许注册用户评论 请点击登录 评论 (0 个评论)

数据加载中...

Archiver|手机版|科学网 ( 京ICP备07017567号-12 )

GMT+8, 2022-12-6 19:44

Powered by ScienceNet.cn

Copyright © 2007- 中国科学报社

返回顶部