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世界二战不是走出大萧条的原因

Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 10:18 pm

弗里德曼总是提醒我们,世界上只有两种经济学家——好的经济学家和坏的经济学家。那谁是好的谁是坏的呢?就看他们说不说有免费午餐。

世界二战不是走出大萧条的原因 

薛兆丰 
2009年2月17日

有些人人认为打仗可以刺激经济。他们有时举例说,美国之所以走出大萧条,是因为打了二次世界大战。美国打塔利班和伊拉克打了八年。这些仗是否值得打,又应该怎么打,这里不讨论,但是否促进了美国的内需,或是否促进了美国的内供,从而改善了美国经济,则有明确答案:打仗对经济有净损害。这是说,在战争中花1元,其产出的价值少于1元。用经济学的术语来说,是“乘数”小于1。这本来很容易理解。打仗真能使国家富强,那也就不用真的杀人了,把弹头去掉,全民常年搞国际军事演习吧。

哈佛大学宏观经济学家巴罗(Robert Barro)教授日前发布短文“乘数的巫术(Voodoo Multipliers)”(见这里)介绍他对二战投入的乘数的实证研究。其研究表明乘数为0.8,而考虑其他因素,他认为若在和平年代搞刺激经济的计划,其乘数将会更低。巴罗写道:

凯恩斯主义者通常认为二战的财政扩张刺激了经济,最终使得美国经济走出了大萧条。我在《宏观经济学:一种现代方法》中作了估算,二战增加了美国国防开支5,400亿美元,而经济增长了4,300亿美元,乘数为0.8。换言之,战争降低了国民收入,而主要的损失出自私人投资、政府非军事采购和净出口,而个人消费支出变化则很小。

In any event, the usual Keynesian view is that the WWII fiscal expansion provided the stimulus that finally got the U.S. economy out of the Great Depression. … I have estimated (in my book Macroeconomics, A Modern Approach) that World War II raised U.S. real defense expenditures by $540 billion (1996 dollars) per year at the peak in 1943–44, amounting to 44% of trend real GDP. I also estimated that the war raised real GDP above trend by $430 billion per year in 1943–44. Thus, the multiplier was 0.8 (430/540). The other way to put this is that the war lowered components of GDP aside from military purchases. The main declines were in private investment, non-military parts of government purchases, and net exports—personal consumer expenditure changed little.

最近一项调查也指出了大量的支持相同观点的研究证据(见这里):

关于体育馆、运动场、运动特许经营和超大型体育活动所带来的经济影响,有着大量的而且是与日俱增的“经同行评议”的经济学文献。这些文献都没有发现足够的证据,能说明这些活动为社会带来更多就业机会、或提高了它们的收入或税入的。

The large and growing peer-reviewed economics literature on the economic impacts of stadiums, arenas, sports franchises, and sport mega-events has consistently found no substantial evidence of increased jobs, incomes, or tax revenues for a community associated with any of these things.

乔治·梅森大学的威廉斯(Walter E. Williams)教授则在2001年写道(见这里):

弗里德曼总是提醒我们,世界上只有两种经济学家——好的经济学家和坏的经济学家。那谁是好的谁是坏的呢?就看他们会不会说世界上会有免费午餐。我们都知道世界上没有免费午餐,但“免费午餐经济学家”却会告诉你“二战把我们带出了大萧条”、“建筑体育馆能刺激就业”、“垄断者想定多高的价格就能定多高的价格”、“政府支出有益于经济”、“贸易盈余是好的而贸易赤字是坏的”。因为我(在梅森经济系里)的同事都是好的经济学家,所以你不会从他们的嘴里听到这些胡说八道。 

My friend and colleague Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman always reminds us there are only two kinds of economists – good economists and bad economists. We’re good economists. … You say, “Nobody’s going to admit that they’re a bad economist so how can we tell the difference?” See if the economist suggests the possibility of a free lunch. We all know that there’s no free lunch but free-lunch economists will tell you things such as: WWII got us out of the Depression; building sports arenas will stimulate employment; monopolies can charge any price they wish; government spending is good for the economy; and trade surpluses are good and trade deficits are bad. Since my colleagues are good economists, you’ll hear no such nonsense from them.

相关阅读

  1. 析“体育经济”
  2. 什么令人丧失信心
  3. 扩张财政旧神话,东亚政客新说辞
  4. Robert J. Barro, “Voodoo Multipliers,” at http://www.bepress.com/ev/vol6/iss2/art5/
  5. Dennis Coates1 and Brad R. Humphreys2, “Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Subsidies for Sports Franchises, Stadiums, and Mega-Events?” Econ Journal Watch, Volume 5, Number 3, September 2008, pp 294-315, at http://www.aier.org/ejw/archive/do-economists-reach-a-conclusion/doc_download/3626-ejw-200809  
  6. Walter E. Williams, “A Dynamite Economics Department,” at http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/articles/01/dynamitedept.html
  7. 张五常,2008年12月,“何日君再来?”(“三十年代美国的大萧条到四十年代终于脱身,不是因为政府大花钱鼓励内需,而是因为第二次世界大战。”)

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