约瑟夫·斯蒂格利茨:华尔街的“遗毒”

约瑟夫·斯蒂格利茨:华尔街的“遗毒”

2009年7月

李小科 译

每一次危机都会有它的结束。眼下的情况虽有些惨淡萧瑟,但此次危机终将会过去。没有哪一次危机,尤其像影响如此剧烈的当下危机,在其消退之时不给我们留下一笔遗产。就此次危机而言,留给我们的将是一次在世界范围内展开思想交恶战——哪一种经济制度可以给最大多数的民众提供最大的福祉。这场思想观念之战的激烈,没有什么地方比得过它在第三世界国家达到的程度;占世界人口80%的亚非拉居民,他们当中有14亿人每天仅靠1.25美元维持生存,他们对这个问题的关注和争论热度超过以往。在美国,称某人为社会主义者也许只不过是非常廉价的用语(a cheap shot)。然而,在大多数国家,资本主义与社会主义斗争,至少与被许多美国人贴上社会主义标签的那些东西之间的斗争,仍然很激烈。在当下的经济危机当中,不可能有赢者,只有失败者;而最大的失败莫过于对美国式资本主义的支持了。在将来很长的一段时间里,这种恶果将伴随着我们。

1989年柏林墙的倒塌,标志着共产主义思想已不再可行。共产主义面临的问题早在数年前就显现出来了。但在1989年以后,人们很难在为其辩护。有一度曾出现这样的情况,仿佛共产主义的失败意味着资本主义的必然胜利,而且将以美国式的资本主义取得胜利。弗兰西斯·福山将民主的市场资本主义定义为社会发展的最后一个阶段,以此宣告“历史的终结”。事实上,历史学家可能会将1989年后的20世纪看作美国人的短暂胜利。随着许多大银行和金融机构的倒闭,接连不断的经济动荡和危险投机,这一短暂胜利要结束了。同样,关于“市场原教旨主义”的争论也不再持续,人们不会再围绕“无约束的市场自身是否将确保经济的繁荣和增长”这样的问题争论不休。今天,只有那些上当受骗者仍在坚持市场具有自我调节性,在相信我们依靠市场参与者的利已行为就可确保任何事情的规范运作和有序运行。

这场经济论争在发展中国家进行得尤为起劲。尽管我们这些身处西方的人渐已忘记,在190年前,全世界GDP的三分之一出自中国。但在突然间,殖民剥削和不平等的商业贸易以及发生在欧美的技术革命,将发展中国家远远地撇在了后边;到1950年时,中国经济只占世界GDP的5%。在19世纪中期,英法两国向中国发动战争,促使它开放世界贸易。这就是第二次鸦片战争。这场战争之所以如此命名,原因在于西方国家除了毒品以外,再无其他有价值的东西能向中国出售;它们利用人们吸嗜成瘾后对毒品产生的依赖,向中国市场顷向鸦片。这是西方为了平衡贸易支付差额而做出的最早尝试。

殖民主义为发展中国家留下了一笔复杂的遗产,但有一点却很清楚,殖民地的人们认为,他们曾被残酷地剥削。对于新崛起的领导人来说,马克思主义理论为他们的经历提供了解释;它揭示道,从本质上讲剥削是资本主义制度的基础。二战以后,众多的殖民地迎来独立;这种政治独立终结了经济殖民主义。在诸如非洲这样的地区,以提供很小回报来榨取其自然资源,蹂躏其环境。这种行为的掠夺性显而易见。在其他地方,这种情况却不是很严重。在世界大多数地方,像国际货币基金组织(I.M.F)和世界银行这样的全球性机构,开始被看作后殖民时代的统治工具。这些机构推行市场原教旨主义(又称“新古典自由主义”);后者被美国人理想化为“自由、无约束的市场”。它们督促金融机构实行“三化”:非管制化、私有化和贸易自由化。

世界银行和I.M.F说,它们所做的一切都是为了发展中国家的利益。它们为一批信奉自由市场的经济学家所支持,其中大多数来自自由市场经济学的大本营—-芝加哥大学。最终,“芝加哥人”的计划没有带来他们曾经许诺的硕果。收入停滞不前;哪里有增长,哪里的财富就流向社会顶层。经济危机在特定国家发生得愈来愈频繁——单在过去30年里,就出现过上百次的剧烈危机。

发展中国家的人们越来越不相信,西方人提供帮助的动机是出于利他主义。这一点也不感到意外。他们感觉,自由市场这套花言巧语,即人们通常所说的“华盛顿共识”,只不过是对原有商业利益的包装。西方人的伪善更加重了他们的这种猜疑。欧洲和美国并没有向第三世界国家的农产品开放它们的市场,而第三世界国家可提供的又只有农产品。欧美国家在强迫第三世界国家撤销后者为发展其民族工业而设立的相关优惠,而在此同时,欧美国家却向本国的家场主提供大量的补贴。

自由市场思想原来只是新的剥削形式的一种托辞。“私有化”意味着,外国人可廉价购买发展中国家的矿产和石油。它意味着,他们可以从类似这样的垄断或类垄断当中谋取更多的利润。“自由化”意味着,他们可以从他们的放贷中获取更高的回报;当放贷失败时,I.M.F. 强迫损失社会化,即让所有人为其银行埋单。它也意味着,外国分司可以消灭新兴的行业,即打压创业者的发展。资本在流动,但劳动力却不能流动——除非一个人特有天赋,他可以在全求市场上谋得一分好工作。

当然,这种景象有点以偏概全。在亚洲,一直有人在抑制华盛顿共识。他们对资本的流动采取了多种限制。中国和印度这两位亚洲巨人,都采用各自的方式管理和经营它们的经济,并取得了前所未有的增长。但在其他地方,尤其那些受世界银行操纵的国家,情况却并没有好展。

今天,关于思想观念间的论争在到处蔓延。即使在发展境况已经很好的国家,一些受教育人士和权威人士也认为,当下的游戏规则并不公平;对身处发展中国家,发展境况并不好的弱势朋友,他们深表同情。

对于第三世界批评美国式资本主义的人士来说,美国对当下危机所做的反应只是最后的救命稻草。在十年前东亚发生金融危机期间,美国和I. M. F.要求那些遭受危机影响的国家通过消减支出来减少赤字。这种作法导致爱兹病在泰国等地重新复苏,而对象印尼这样的国家来说,这种作法意味着缩减对饥饿群体的食物补贴。美国和I.M.F.强迫这些国家提高它们的利率,有的甚至超过了50%。他们责备印尼对其银行的严管,要求印尼政府停止“救市”。它们“哀叹”:这开了一个多么糟糕的先例!这是对自由市场这座瑞士闹钟机制多么粗暴干涉!!

美国就对危机与当年对东亚危机的策略形成强烈的反差和对照,也并不是没有被人注意到。为了让美国摆脱危机,我们正亲历和目睹支出与旁大赤字的增长,利率甚至被降为零。银行正得到各种资助。而在华盛顿为应对美国危机出谋划策的一些人,正是当年处理过东亚危机的人。第三世界国家不禁要问,为美国何以要为自己开出不同的药方?

第三世界的许多人为多年来受到的伤害而感到寒心:他们应该接受美国的制度,效仿我们的政策,向美国银行开放他们的市场,以便他们能从中学到“好”的银行规则,在危机降临之时,以“跳楼”价(并非偶然地)将他们的公司和银行出售给美国。不错,华盛顿说,它是一种伤痛,但最终会更好。美国两头出击,把它的财长派往向世界各地。在发展中国家的许多人眼里,能让美国金融巨头天衣无缝地从华尔街迈向华盛顿,又从华盛顿转回华尔街的那扇十字转门,曾带给他们很高的信誉;这些人似乎把财富的权力与政治的权力结合在一起。美国的金融巨头相信,对美国或对世界有利的事情就有利于金融市场;在这一点上他们是正确的。但当他们认为对华尔街有利的事情也有利于美国或有利于世界时,他们却是错误的。

发展中国家认真仔细地审视美国经济的失败,其动机并不是出于幸灾乐祸,它们更多地是想要真正了解,究竟哪一种经济制度将对他们来说奏效。事实上,这些国家都倾向于看到美国经济在短期内快速复苏。他们清楚,他们付不起美国为复苏其经济所做的尝试和努力;他们明白,支出量增加也不会很快见效;他们知道,在未来几年里,美国衰退的余波将额外增加2亿贫困人口。他们越来越相信,美国所倡导的一切经济理念只能远离,不可亲近。

世界对美国式的资本主义模式感到失望,我们为什么应该对此在乎和关注呢? 我们提倡的意识形态已经失去昔日的光环,但这也许是一件好事,它诱蚀得已经不需要再进行修补了。如果每一个人都按着美国的路子走,即使这种作法能够行得通,那么我们还能够再存活下去吗?

毫无疑问,我们的影响将变小,我们不可能再被树为榜样,这种情况正在当下发生。美国曾是全球资本的中枢,因为其他国家相信,我们有应对风险、分配金融资源的专门人才。但现在没有人会这样认为了。汇聚当今世界大部积累的亚洲,已在建立它自己的金融中心。我们不再是资本资源的老大。世界头三大银行现在都是中国人的。美国的最大银行退居第5位。

长久以来,美元是储备货币,各国为增加对其货币和政府的信心而储备美元。但各国的中央银行现在渐渐看清,美元不再是好的价值储备。美元的价值已经在蒸发和下滑。此次危机发生后,美国债务猛长,加上联邦储备金监察小组的巨额借贷,将人们对美元前途的担忧推向高点。中国人已经公开叫板,提议另设一种新的储备货币,以取代美元。

与此同时,用于应对危机的支出,挤占了其他必须开支。对贫穷国家,我们很少慷慨解囊。但事情正变得更糟,中国对非洲的基础设施投资,已经远远超过世界银行与非洲发展银行投资的总合,从而让美国相形见绌。此次危机发生后,非洲国家跑向北京求助,而不是跑到华盛顿。

这我里更为关注的是观念领域的问题。我担心,发展中国家的许多人士在更为清楚地看到美国经济和社会制度的缺点后,他们将得出错误的结论。少数国家,包括美国自身,将很好地从中吸取教训。它们将意识到,成功需要一个能将市场与政府摆正的体制,在这种体制中,有一个强有力的国家在进行有效监管。它们意识到,特殊利益的权力必须被扼制。

但对许多其他国家来说,后果却很糟糕和极为可悲。前共产主义国家在其战后体制失败后,曾普遍转向市场资本主义,弥尔顿·弗里德曼取代马克思成为它们的上帝。新宗教也没有能帮它们把问题解决好。许多国家可能就此得出结论,这不但是那种没有约束的资本主义,即美国式的资本主义的失败,而且是市场经济这一观念的失败,认为市场经济在任何情况下都不可行。旧式的共产主义虽然将不会再被人们捡起,但各种形式的过分干预市场将会再度胎头。穷人饱受市场原教旨主义之苦,因为我们曾奉行的是财富由低层穷人流向顶端富人的经济学,而不是由顶端流向低层的经济学。但在这些新的政权体制下,穷人仍将饱受煎熬,因为新的政权体制将不会带来增长。如果没有发展,那里就不可能有可持续的减贫。不依重市场,就不会有成功的经济。贫穷滋生不满。衰退最终难以避免,无论采取什么措施也无法解决,尤其是那些因为民众对美国式资本主义愤恨而上台的政府,将会导致更大的贫困。全球稳定和美国安全的重要性显而易见。

美国与受过美式教育的全球精英们曾共享一些共同的价值观。经济危机让这些精英们威信扫地。我们已经给那些反对美国的腐化资本主义的批评家们提供了充足弹药,从而去广泛宣传反对市场理论。我们还在继续给他们提供这样的弹药。在最近的G-20峰会上,我们承诺不奉行保护主义,但我们即在我们的刺激方案中加进了一项“只购买美国货”( “buy American”)的条款。后来,为了缓解来自欧盟的反对,我们修改了这项条款,但在事实上却歧视了贫穷国家。全球化使我们更具依赖性;发生一个地区的事情,影响着世界上的另外一个地区,这一点已经被我们所遇到的经济困难以及由其引起的广泛影响所说明。要解决全球问题,就必须有一定的合作和信任,包括分享一些共同的价值观。但这种信任却从来没有牢固过,而且当下还正在被削弱。

另外一个恶果就是对民主的信心。在发展中国家,人们在注视着华盛顿,在思考它的政府管理体制。人们看到的是,华盛顿及其体制允许华尔街根据巨头们根据自身的利益书写规则,从而将风险加给整个全球经济;而危机一旦降临时,华盛顿又转向华尔街求助,索取经济复苏的药方。他们看到接二连三的重新分配,财富从普通民众那里源源不断地流向金字塔的顶端。总之,他们看到了在美国的民主制中存在的、有关政治责任(political accountability)的根本问题。在他们看清这一切后,距离得出“民主制本身是一个致命的错误,而且必将如此”这一结论仅一步之遥。

美国经济终久将复苏,我们海外的盟友也将如此。在很长一段时间里,美国仍将是最受世界敬仰的国度,我们仍将是最富有的国家。不管你喜欢还是不喜欢,我们的行为常被密切关注,我们的成功在被竞相模仿。但我们的失败常受到鄙视。这将我的话题又带回到弗兰西斯·福山。当他认为自由民主制和市场经济的力量终将胜利,且不可能再会有回头时,他错了。但当他相信民主和市场的力量是实现世界正义和世界繁荣的必要条件时,他是正确的。的这次经济危机在很大响度上是由美国的行为酿成,它对民主和市场等核心价值观的打击,远远大于任何极权体制曾对这些价值观曾经造成的损害。其实,世界可能正在朝历史的终结(目的)前进,我们现在只是航行在逆风段而已。


Wall Street’s Toxic Message

By Joseph E. Stiglitz. July 2009

Every crisis comes to an end—and, bleak as things seem now, the current economic crisis too shall pass. But no crisis, especially one of this severity, recedes without leaving a legacy. And among this one’s legacies will be a worldwide battle over ideas—over what kind of economic system is likely to deliver the greatest benefit to the most people. Nowhere is that battle raging more hotly than in the Third World, among the 80 percent of the world’s population that lives in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, 1.4 billion of whom subsist on less than $1.25 a day. In America, calling someone a socialist may be nothing more than a cheap shot. In much of the world, however, the battle between capitalism and socialism—or at least something that many Americans would label as socialism—still rages. While there may be no winners in the current economic crisis, there are losers, and among the big losers is support for American-style capitalism. This has consequences we’ll be living with for a long time to come.

The fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, marked the end of Communism as a viable idea. Yes, the problems with Communism had been manifest for decades. But after 1989 it was hard for anyone to say a word in its defense. For a while, it seemed that the defeat of Communism meant the sure victory of capitalism, particularly in its American form. Francis Fukuyama went as far as to proclaim “the end of history,” defining democratic market capitalism as the final stage of social development, and declaring that all humanity was now heading in this direction. In truth, historians will mark the 20 years since 1989 as the short period of American triumphalism. With the collapse of great banks and financial houses, and the ensuing economic turmoil and chaotic attempts at rescue, that period is over. So, too, is the debate over “market fundamentalism,” the notion that unfettered markets, all by themselves, can ensure economic prosperity and growth. Today only the deluded would argue that markets are self-correcting or that we can rely on the self-interested behavior of market participants to guarantee that everything works honestly and properly.

The economic debate takes on particular potency in the developing world. Although we in the West tend to forget, 190 years ago one-third of the world’s gross domestic product was in China. But then, rather suddenly, colonial exploitation and unfair trade agreements, combined with a technological revolution in Europe and America, left the developing countries far behind, to the point where, by 1950, China’s economy constituted less than 5 percent of the world’s G.D.P. In the mid–19th century the United Kingdom and France actually waged a war to open China to global trade. This was the Second Opium War, so named because the West had little of value to sell to China other than drugs, which it had been dumping into Chinese markets, with the collateral effect of causing widespread addiction. It was an early attempt by the West to correct a balance-of-payments problem.

Colonialism left a mixed legacy in the developing world—but one clear result was the view among people there that they had been cruelly exploited. Among many emerging leaders, Marxist theory provided an interpretation of their experience; it suggested that exploitation was in fact the underpinning of the capitalist system. The political independence that came to scores of colonies after World War II did not put an end to economic colonialism. In some regions, such as Africa, the exploitation—the extraction of natural resources and the rape of the environment, all in return for a pittance—was obvious. Elsewhere it was more subtle. In many parts of the world, global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank came to be seen as instruments of post-colonial control. These institutions pushed market fundamentalism (“neoliberalism,” it was often called), a notion idealized by Americans as “free and unfettered markets.” They pressed for financial-sector deregulation, privatization, and trade liberalization.

The World Bank and the I.M.F. said they were doing all this for the benefit of the developing world. They were backed up by teams of free-market economists, many from that cathedral of free-market economics, the University of Chicago. In the end, the programs of “the Chicago boys” didn’t bring the promised results. Incomes stagnated. Where there was growth, the wealth went to those at the top. Economic crises in individual countries became ever more frequent—there have been more than a hundred severe ones in the past 30 years alone.

Not surprisingly, people in developing countries became less and less convinced that Western help was motivated by altruism. They suspected that the free-market rhetoric—“the Washington consensus,” as it is known in shorthand—was just a cover for the old commercial interests. Suspicions were reinforced by the West’s own hypocrisy. Europe and America didn’t open up their own markets to the agricultural produce of the Third World, which was often all these poor countries had to offer. They forced developing countries to eliminate subsidies aimed at creating new industries, even as they provided massive subsidies to their own farmers.

Free-market ideology turned out to be an excuse for new forms of exploitation. “Privatization” meant that foreigners could buy mines and oil fields in developing countries at low prices. It meant they could reap large profits from monopolies and quasi-monopolies, such as in telecommunications. “Liberalization” meant that they could get high returns on their loans—and when loans went bad, the I.M.F. forced the socialization of the losses, meaning that the screws were put on entire populations to pay the banks back. It meant, too, that foreign firms could wipe out nascent industries, suppressing the development of entrepreneurial talent. While capital flowed freely, labor did not—except in the case of the most talented individuals, who found good jobs in a global marketplace.

This picture is, obviously, painted with too broad a brush. There were always those in Asia who resisted the Washington consensus. They put restrictions on capital flows. The giants of Asia—China and India—managed their economies their own way, producing unprecedented growth. But elsewhere, and especially in the countries where the World Bank and the I.M.F. held sway, things did not go well.

And everywhere, the debate over ideas continued. Even in countries that have done very well, there is a conviction among the educated and influential that the rules of the game have not been fair. They believe that they have done well despite the unfair rules, and they sympathize with their weaker friends in the developing world who have not done well at all.

Among critics of American-style capitalism in the Third World, the way that America has responded to the current economic crisis has been the last straw. During the East Asia crisis, just a decade ago, America and the I.M.F. demanded that the affected countries cut their deficits by cutting back expenditures—even if, as in Thailand, this contributed to a resurgence of the aids epidemic, or even if, as in Indonesia, this meant curtailing food subsidies for the starving. America and the I.M.F. forced countries to raise interest rates, in some cases to more than 50 percent. They lectured Indonesia about being tough on its banks—and demanded that the government not bail them out. What a terrible precedent this would set, they said, and what a terrible intervention in the Swiss-clock mechanisms of the free market.

The contrast between the handling of the East Asia crisis and the American crisis is stark and has not gone unnoticed. To pull America out of the hole, we are now witnessing massive increases in spending and massive deficits, even as interest rates have been brought down to zero. Banks are being bailed out right and left. Some of the same officials in Washington who dealt with the East Asia crisis are now managing the response to the American crisis. Why, people in the Third World ask, is the United States administering different medicine to itself?

Many in the developing world still smart from the hectoring they received for so many years: they should adopt American institutions, follow our policies, engage in deregulation, open up their markets to American banks so they could learn “good” banking practices, and (not coincidentally) sell their firms and banks to Americans, especially at fire-sale prices during crises. Yes, Washington said, it will be painful, but in the end you will be better for it. America sent its Treasury secretaries (from both parties) around the planet to spread the word. In the eyes of many throughout the developing world, the revolving door, which allows American financial leaders to move seamlessly from Wall Street to Washington and back to Wall Street, gave them even more credibility; these men seemed to combine the power of money and the power of politics. American financial leaders were correct in believing that what was good for America or the world was good for financial markets, but they were incorrect in thinking the converse, that what was good for Wall Street was good for America and the world.

It is not so much Schadenfreude that motivates the intense scrutiny by developing countries of America’s economic failure as it is a real need to discover what kind of economic system can work for them in the future. Indeed, these countries have every interest in seeing a quick American recovery. What they know is that they themselves cannot afford to do what America has done to attempt to revive its economy. They know that even this amount of spending isn’t working very fast. They know that the fallout from America’s downturn has moved 200 million additional people into poverty in the span of just a few years. And they are increasingly convinced that any economic ideals America may espouse are ideals to run from rather than embrace.

Why should we care that the world has become disillusioned with the American model of capitalism? The ideology that we promoted has been tarnished, but perhaps it is a good thing that it may be tarnished beyond repair. Can’t we survive—even do just as well—if not everyone adheres to the American way?

To be sure, our influence will diminish, as we are less likely to be held up as a role model, but that was happening in any case. America used to play a pivotal role in global capital, because others believed that we had a special talent for managing risk and allocating financial resources. No one thinks that now, and Asia—where much of the world’s saving occurs today—is already developing its own financial centers. We are no longer the chief source of capital. The world’s top three banks are now Chinese. America’s largest bank is down at the No. 5 spot.

The dollar has long been the reserve currency—countries held the dollar in order to back up confidence in their own currencies and governments. But it has gradually dawned on central banks around the world that the dollar may not be a good store of value. Its value has been volatile, and declining. The massive increase in America’s indebtedness during the current crisis, combined with the Federal Reserve Board’s massive lending, has heightened anxieties about the future of the dollar. The Chinese have openly floated the idea of inventing some new reserve currency to replace it.

Meanwhile, the cost of dealing with the crisis is crowding out other needs. We have never been generous in our assistance to poor countries. But matters are getting worse. In recent years, China’s infrastructure investment in Africa has been greater than that of the World Bank and the African Development Bank combined, and it dwarfs America’s. African countries are running to Beijing for assistance in this crisis, not to Washington.

But my concern here is more with the realm of ideas. I worry that, as they see more clearly the flaws in America’s economic and social system, many in the developing world will draw the wrong conclusions. A few countries—and maybe America itself—will learn the right lessons. They will realize that what is required for success is a regime where the roles of market and government are in balance, and where a strong state administers effective regulations. They will realize that the power of special interests must be curbed.

But, for many other countries, the consequences will be messier, and profoundly tragic. The former Communist countries generally turned, after the dismal failure of their postwar system, to market capitalism, replacing Karl Marx with Milton Friedman as their god. The new religion has not served them well. Many countries may conclude not simply that unfettered capitalism, American-style, has failed but that the very concept of a market economy has failed, and is indeed unworkable under any circumstances. Old-style Communism won’t be back, but a variety of forms of excessive market intervention will return. And these will fail. The poor suffered under market fundamentalism—we had trickle-up economics, not trickle-down economics. But the poor will suffer again under these new regimes, which will not deliver growth. Without growth there cannot be sustainable poverty reduction. There has been no successful economy that has not relied heavily on markets. Poverty feeds disaffection. The inevitable downturns, hard to manage in any case, but especially so by governments brought to power on the basis of rage against American-style capitalism, will lead to more poverty. The con?sequences for global stability and American security are obvious.

There used to be a sense of shared values between America and the American-educated elites around the world. The economic crisis has now undermined the credibility of those elites. We have given critics who opposed America’s licentious form of capitalism ample ammunition to preach a broader anti-market philosophy. And we keep giving them more and more ammunition. While we committed ourselves at a recent G-20 meeting not to engage in protectionism, we put a “buy American” provision into our own stimulus package. And then, to soften the opposition from our European allies, we modified that provision, in effect discriminating against only poor countries. Globalization has made us more interdependent; what happens in one part of the world affects those in another—a fact made manifest by the contagion of our economic difficulties. To solve global problems, there must be a sense of cooperation and trust, including a sense of shared values. That trust was never strong, and it is weakening by the hour.

Faith in democracy is another victim. In the developing world, people look at Washington and see a system of government that allowed Wall Street to write self-serving rules which put at risk the entire global economy—and then, when the day of reckoning came, turned to Wall Street to manage the recovery. They see continued re-distributions of wealth to the top of the pyramid, transparently at the expense of ordinary citizens. They see, in short, a fundamental problem of political accountability in the American system of democracy. After they have seen all this, it is but a short step to conclude that something is fatally wrong, and inevitably so, with democracy itself.

The American economy will eventually recover, and so, too, up to a point, will our standing abroad. America was for a long time the most admired country in the world, and we are still the richest. Like it or not, our actions are subject to minute examination. Our successes are emulated. But our failures are looked upon with scorn. Which brings me back to Francis Fukuyama. He was wrong to think that the forces of liberal democracy and the market economy would inevitably triumph, and that there could be no turning back. But he was not wrong to believe that democracy and market forces are essential to a just and prosperous world. The economic crisis, created largely by America’s behavior, has done more damage to these fundamental values than any totalitarian regime ever could have. Perhaps it is true that the world is heading toward the end of history, but it is now sailing against the wind, on a course we set ourselves.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize–winning economist, is a professor at Columbia University.

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/07/third-world-debt200907

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