现代民主的困境

Blight—not on the grain! Drouth—not in the springs! Rot—not from the rain!
What shadow hidden or Unseen hand in our midst Ceaselessly touches our faces?
Archibald MacLeish
枯萎病——不是在谷物上!德卢斯——不是在泉水里!腐烂——不是因为下雨!
什么阴影隐藏或看不见的手在我们中间不停地触摸我们的脸?
阿奇博尔德·麦克利什

MODERN democracies are confronted with a fundamental problem which may be defined as follows : How to curtail the freedom of the individual in economic enterprise sufficiently to effect that measure of equality of possessions and of opportunity without which democracy is no more than an empty form, and at the same time to preserve that measure of freedom of the individual in intellectual and political life without which it cannot exist? The problem may be otherwise stated: Can the flagrant inequality of possessions and of opportunity now existing in democratic societies be corrected by the democratic method? If it cannot be corrected by the democratic method, the resulting discontent and confusion will be certain, sooner or later, to issue in some form of revolutionary or military dictatorship. This then is the dilemma which confronts democratic societies: to solve their economic problems by the democratic method or to cease to be democratic societies.
现代民主面临一个基本问题,可以定义如下:如何充分限制个人在经济企业中的自由,以实现财产和机会平等,没有这种平等,民主只不过是一种空洞的形式,同时维护个人在知识和政治生活中的自由,没有这种自由,民主就不可能存在。这个问题可以换句话说:民主社会中存在的财产和机会的公然不平等能够通过民主方法得到纠正吗?如果不能用民主的方法来纠正,由此产生的不满和混乱迟早会以某种革命或军事独裁的形式出现。这就是民主社会面临的困境:用民主方法解决经济问题,还是不再是民主社会。

I
It is obvious that the problem is intrinsically an economic one. At the present moment it takes the spectacular form of unemployment. For ten years, in virtually every democratic society, from ten to twenty per cent of the working population, for the most part willing but unable to find work, have been kept alive by public or private charity or by jobs created for that purpose by the government. Unemployment is no new thing, but never before in modern democratic societies has it reached the proportions of a major social catastrophe.
很明显,这个问题本质上是一个经济问题。目前,它呈现出惊人的失业形式。十年来,在几乎每一个民主社会中,10%至20%的劳动人口,大部分愿意但无法找到工作,通过公共或私人慈善机构或政府为此目的创造的就业机会得以生存。失业不是什么新鲜事,但在现代民主社会中,它从未达到过重大社会灾难的程度。

The catastrophe cannot be explained as an act of God, cannot be attributed to destructive natural forces beyond human control. The people are famished, but there is no famine. On the contrary, there is wealth in abundance, or should be. Given our natural resources, our man power, and our technical equipment, there could be produced, in this country at least, sufficient wealth to provide all the people with the necessities of life and many of the desired comforts and luxuries. Yet in spite of widespread and insistent human need, the technical equipment is used only in part, the man power is not fully employed. In a land of potential plenty, millions are destitute. Obviously the situation is one which arises not from a lack of potential wealth, but from some defect in the method of producing and distributing wealth. That the defect is a serious one is sufficiently indicated by a simple ironic fact: in a world in which millions are destitute, it is thought necessary, and under the prevailing system of production and distribution apparently is so, to limit the production of the necessities of life in order to keep people from starving.
这场灾难不能解释为上帝的行为,也不能归咎于人类无法控制的破坏性自然力量。人们正在挨饿,但没有饥荒。相反,财富是丰富的,或者应该是丰富的。考虑到我们的自然资源、人力和技术设备,至少在这个国家可以生产足够的财富,为所有的人提供生活必需品和许多想要的舒适和奢侈品。然而,尽管人类有着广泛而迫切的需求,但技术设备仅被部分使用,人力没有得到充分利用。在一个潜力巨大的土地上,数百万人一贫如洗。显然,这种情况不是因为缺乏潜在的财富,而是因为生产和分配财富的方法存在一些缺陷。一个简单的讽刺事实充分表明了这一缺陷是严重的:在一个数百万人贫困的世界里,人们认为有必要限制生活必需品的生产,以防止人们挨饿,而在当前的生产和分配制度下,情况显然如此。

The prevailing system for the production and distribution of wealth is variously denoted by the phrases capitalist system, competitive system, price system, system of free economic enterprise, system of laissez faire. The theoretical justification of it derives from the liberal-democratic ideology —the assumption that social welfare can best be achieved by reducing governmental interference with the freedom of the individual to a minimum. The assumption was never better formulated than in John Stuart Mill’s famous essay, “On Liberty.” Governmental interference in the activities of the individual, he maintained, was never justified except when manifestly necessary to prevent the activities of some individuals from injuring others.
资本主义制度、竞争制度、价格制度、自由经济企业制度、自由放任制度等短语对当前的财富生产和分配制度有不同的表述。它的理论依据来自自由民主的意识形态——社会福利最好通过将政府对个人自由的干预减少到最低限度来实现的假设。这个假设在约翰·斯图亚特·穆勒著名的文章《论自由》中表述得再好不过了他认为,政府对个人活动的干预从来没有正当理由,除非显然有必要防止一些个人的活动伤害其他人。

In the economic realm this meant the maximum freedom of the individual to choose his occupation or business, and to enter freely into contracts for the acquisition and disposal of private property and for the purchase or sale of personal service. It was assumed that the free play of individual initiative, stimulated by the acquisitive instinct, would result in the maximum production of wealth, and that the competitive instinct, operating through the law of supply and demand and the resulting price system, would effect the best possible distribution of it. The function of the government in this system would be reduced to defining and guaranteeing the rights of private property, enforcing the rules of contract, and preserving social order. Having defined the rules of the game, the government should see that they were observed, but should not otherwise interfere with the players. Let the game go on and the best man win! Laissez faire, laissez passer!
在经济领域,这意味着个人最大限度地自由选择职业或业务,自由签订购买和处置私人财产以及购买或出售个人服务的合同。人们认为,在获取本能的刺激下,个人主动性的自由发挥将导致财富的最大生产,而通过供求规律和由此产生的价格体系运作的竞争本能将实现财富的最佳分配。政府在这一体系中的职能将减少到界定和保障私有财产的权利、执行合同规则和维护社会秩序。在定义了游戏规则后,政府应该确保这些规则得到遵守,但不应该干预玩家。让比赛继续,最好的人赢!自由放任,通行证!

Contrary to a widespread belief, laissez faire was never more than a theory imperfectly applied. That imagined happy time when government did not interfere with the freedom of the individual by meddling in business never in fact existed. The institution of private property itself is a most drastic regulation of business enterprise, the law of contract a fundamental interference with the liberty of the individual. But assuming private property and the law of contract as part of the system, there never was a time when government did not find it manifestly necessary, according to Mill’s famous definition, to interfere with the activities of some individuals in order to prevent injury to others.
与普遍的看法相反,自由放任只不过是一种应用不完善的理论。那种想象中的快乐时光,即政府不通过干预商业来干涉个人自由,实际上从未存在过。私有财产制度本身是对企业最严厉的管制,合同法是对个人自由的根本干涉。但是,假设私有财产和合同法是这一体系的一部分,根据密尔著名的定义,政府从来没有发现明显有必要干预某些个人的活动,以防止对其他人的伤害。

In England, the trend towards laissez faire was halted before it was completed. A decade before the doctrine was officially adopted by the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, the government had found it necessary to restrict free business enterprise by passing the first Factory Acts for the protection of women and children. And from that day to this, in England and in every industrialized country, including the United States, the governmental regulation of private property, of free competition and free contract, of the price of commodities and of labor, of the inheritance of property and of the disposal of income from it, has steadily increased. This increase of governmental regulation, this mass of what is called social legislation, has been brought about by the pressure of labor unions supported by the humane sentiment of the community, and underlying it is the assumption, avowed or unavowed, that the system of laissez faire, of free business enterprise, so eminently successful in stimulating the production of wealth, is incapable, without governmental regulation, of bringing about an equitable or even a tolerable distribution of it. It is far too late in the day to ask whether government should interfere in business enterprise. It always has interfered in business enterprise. The only relevant question is precisely to what extent and in what ways it should interfere.
在英国,自由放任的趋势在完成之前就已经停止了。在1846年废除《谷物法》正式采纳这一理论的十年前,政府发现有必要通过第一部保护妇女和儿童的《工厂法》来限制自由企业。从那一天到现在,在英国和包括美国在内的每个工业化国家,政府对私有财产、自由竞争和自由合同、商品和劳动力价格、财产继承和收入处置的管理都在稳步增加。这种政府管制的增加,这种被称为社会立法的规模,是由工会的压力带来的,工会受到社会人文精神的支持,其基础是一种假设,公开或不公开的假设,即自由放任的制度,自由企业,在刺激财富生产方面如此显著地成功,如果没有政府管制,就无法实现公平甚至可容忍的财富分配。现在问政府是否应该干预商业企业还为时过晚。它总是干涉商业企业。唯一相关的问题就是它应该干预到什么程度和以什么方式干预。

Nevertheless, although the governmental regulation of business enterprise steadily increased, the theory of laissez faire was not abandoned. The prevailing assumption was, and still is in democratic societies, that governmental regulation should be kept to a minimum, however high the minimum might in the event prove to be. It was for the most part taken for granted that the basic right and the assured foundation of the economic structure of society was private property in the means of production, free enterprise, and the competitive system. Social legislation was regarded as no more than a limited, if necessary, concession to adverse circumstances, an exception that proved the rule, a series of minor adjustments that would leave the system intact while enhancing its efficiency. In the decade before the Great War it was indeed widely regarded as in some sense a part of the system of free enterprise, a kind of insurance against the subversive doctrines of socialism, a preordained and peaceful method of transforming that anomaly of progress and poverty which Henry George had so graphically described, into that progress and prosperity which the prophets of democracy had so confidently predicted.
然而,尽管政府对企业的监管稳步增加,但自由放任的理论并没有被抛弃。普遍的假设过去是,现在仍然是在民主社会中,政府监管应该保持在最低限度,无论在这种情况下最低限度可能有多高。社会经济结构的基本权利和有保证的基础是生产资料中的私有财产、自由企业和竞争制度,这在很大程度上是理所当然的。社会立法被视为对不利情况的有限让步(如有必要),证明了这一规则的例外情况,一系列微小的调整将使该系统保持完整,同时提高其效率。在第一次世界大战前的十年里,它确实在某种意义上被广泛认为是自由企业制度的一部分,是反对社会主义颠覆学说的一种保险,是将亨利·乔治如此生动地描述的进步与贫困的反常现象转变为民主倡导者如此自信地预言的进步与繁荣的一种注定的和平方法。

Since the Great War, faith in social legislation as a method of validating the system of free enterprise has been much impaired. If we survey the history of a century of governmental regulation of business enterprise, it is obvious that while it has done much to correct minor evils it has done little or nothing to solve the fundamental problem of an equitable distribution of wealth. On the contrary, the problem of the distribution of wealth is more serious and more insistent than it was in the time of Henry George. If the anomaly of progress and poverty is less glaring than it was, the only reason is that while the poverty is more patent the progress is less assured.
自第一次世界大战以来,人们对社会立法作为验证自由企业制度的一种方法的信心受到了很大损害。如果我们回顾一个世纪以来政府对企业监管的历史,很明显,尽管政府在纠正小问题上做了很多,但在解决财富公平分配这一根本问题上却做得很少或什么都没有。相反,财富分配问题比亨利·乔治时期更加严重和紧迫。如果进步和贫困的异常没有以前那么明显,唯一的原因是虽然贫困更加明显,但进步却不那么有保证。

Inevitably, therefore, the question, long since raised, becomes every day more relevant: Can the problem of the production and distribution of wealth be solved, within the framework of the existing system of free enterprise, by any amount of governmental regulation? In short, are the defects of the capitalist system incidental or inherent?
因此,这个早已提出的问题不可避免地变得日益重要:财富的生产和分配问题能否在现有的自由企业制度框架内,通过任何数量的政府管制得到解决?简而言之,资本主义制度的缺陷是偶然的还是固有的?

II
The infinitely complicated process which we call history continuously gives rise to what are called social problems, and at the same time generates those political and intellectual trends that indicate the direction which the solution of those problems will take. The term “solution,” used in this connection, is misleading. It connotes a certain perfection or finality, as in the solution of a mathematical or a chemical problem, which is never possible in social relations. “The function of history,” as J. B. Bury once remarked, “is not to solve problems but to transform them.” In our time the historical process has given rise to the problem of the maximum production and the equitable distribution of wealth, a problem which assumes the double form of social conflict within the nations and diplomatic and military conflict between them. It would be naive indeed to suppose that this problem, in either of its forms, will be “solved” with any notable degree of perfection or finality. It will be solved only in the sense of being transformed; and in looking for the direction which this transformation will take we must consult, not our hopes or our preferences alone, but the dominant political and intellectual trends which provide the conditions within which our preferences can be realized, if at all. Those political and intellectual trends may be discriminated under the terms liberal-democracy, socialism, Fascism, and Communism. The differences between them, both as ideological systems and as going concerns, are obvious and important; but underneath their differences we can note, in respect to what they propose to do and are doing to solve the problem of the distribution of wealth, an interesting and significant similarity. It is a similarity of direction: they are all carrying us, so to speak, toward an extension of governmental regulation of economic enterprise.
我们称之为历史的无限复杂的过程不断产生所谓的社会问题,同时产生政治和智力趋势,指明解决这些问题的方向。在这方面使用的术语“解决方案”具有误导性。它意味着某种完美或终结,如在解决数学或化学问题时,这在社会关系中是永远不可能的。“历史的作用,”正如伯雷曾经说过的,“不是解决问题,而是改变问题。”在我们这个时代,历史进程产生了最大生产和财富公平分配的问题,这个问题呈现出国家内部社会冲突和国家之间外交和军事冲突的双重形式。假设这个问题,无论以哪种形式,都会以任何值得注意的完美程度或最终结果“解决”,这实在是太天真了。它只有在被改造的意义上才能得到解决;在寻找这种转变的方向时,我们必须考虑的不仅仅是我们的希望或偏好,而是占主导地位的政治和知识趋势,这些趋势为我们的偏好提供了实现的条件。这些政治和知识趋势可能会受到自由主义——民主、社会主义、法西斯主义和共产主义——的歧视。它们之间的差异,无论是意识形态体系还是持续经营,都是显而易见和重要的;但是在他们的分歧之下,我们可以注意到,关于他们打算做什么和正在做什么来解决财富分配的问题,有一个有趣和显著的相似之处。这是一个方向的相似之处:可以说,它们都在把我们推向政府对经济企业监管的延伸。

That this is the prescribed direction is evident. In all liberal-democratic countries, during a hundred years past, such regulation has steadily increased. Both Communism and socialism propose to make the regulation complete by abolishing private property in the means of production, and the Communist Soviet regime in Russia has already accomplished this object. Fascism, no less than Communism, proposes to subordinate the individual to the state, and in the principal Fascist countries, although private property in land and capital has not been formally abolished, the national economy has been so far subjected to governmental direction that free economic enterprise has virtually disappeared. Like it or not, the complexities of a highly integrated technological civilization are carrying us in a certain direction—that is to say, away from freedom of the individual in economic enterprise and towards an extension of social regulation. This is therefore the direction which, in democratic as well as in other countries, the transformation of the problem of the distribution of wealth will surely take.
这是规定的方向,这是显而易见的。在所有自由民主国家,在过去的一百年里,这种监管稳步增加。共产主义和社会主义都提议通过废除生产资料中的私有财产来完善这一规定,俄罗斯的共产主义苏维埃政权已经实现了这一目标。法西斯主义和共产主义一样,主张个人服从国家,在主要法西斯国家,虽然土地和资本的私有财产没有被正式废除,但国民经济迄今一直受政府的指导,自由经济企业实际上已经消失。不管你喜不喜欢,高度一体化的技术文明的复杂性正把我们带向某个方向——也就是说,远离经济企业中个人的自由,走向社会监管的延伸。因此,无论是在民主国家还是在其他国家,这都是财富分配问题转变的必然方向。

The question that chiefly concerns us is whether the necessary social regulation of economic enterprise can be effected by the democratic method—that is to say, without a corresponding social regimentation of opinion and political freedom. Can the possessors be sufficiently dispossessed and the dispossessed be sufficiently reinstated without resort to violence—to revolution and the temporary or the permanent dictatorship? The Communists say no—sooner or later, the revolution. The Fascists say no—the totalitarian state is the only solution. They may, of course, be right. It is as futile to suppose that democracy must survive because it accords with the laws of nature or some transcendent increasing purpose, as it is to suppose that the Communist dictatorship must issue in a classless society of free and equal individuals because it is the preordained instrument of a mystical dialectic of history. Nor can we dismiss the rise of dictatorship in half the world as a temporary aberration brought to birth by the ingenuity of sinister or psychopathic individuals. Common men, when sufficiently distressed, instinctively turn to the inspired leader; and dictatorship in our time, as in past times, is the normal price exacted for the failure of democracy to bind common men by their hopes and their fears.
我们主要关心的问题是,对经济企业进行必要的社会管制是否可以通过民主方法来实现——也就是说,没有相应的社会舆论管制和政治自由。占有者能否被充分剥夺,被剥夺者能否在不诉诸暴力——革命和临时或永久独裁——的情况下得到充分恢复?共产党说不——迟早是革命。法西斯分子说不——极权主义国家是唯一的解决办法。当然,他们可能是对的。假设民主必须存在是因为它符合自然法则或某种超越性的增长目的,这是徒劳的,就像假设共产主义专政必须在一个自由平等的无阶级社会中存在一样,因为它是神秘的历史辩证法的预定工具。我们也不能把独裁统治在半个世界的兴起斥为邪恶或精神变态个人的独创性带来的暂时失常。普通人在极度痛苦时,本能地求助于受鼓舞的领导者;和过去一样,我们这个时代的独裁统治是民主失败的正常代价,因为民主无法把普通人的希望和恐惧联系起来。

The survival of democratic institutions thus depends, not upon the attractiveness or logical consistency of theories of government, nor upon any inevitable transcendent historic trend, but upon the possibility of effecting, by the pragmatic democratic method, a sufficient equalization of possessions and opportunity to provide common men with what they will regard as reasonable security. It may be said, it has often been said, that the most brilliant civilizations of the past have paid scant attention to the needs or desires of common men, that the oppression of common men is indeed the price that must be paid for those great and permanent achievements that assure the progress of mankind.
因此,民主制度的生存并不取决于政府理论的吸引力或逻辑一致性,也不取决于任何不可避免的超越性历史趋势,而是取决于通过务实的民主方法实现财产和机会充分均等的可能性,从而为普通人提供他们认为合理的保障。可以说,人们常说,过去最辉煌的文明很少关注普通人的需要或愿望,压迫普通人确实是确保人类进步的伟大和永久成就必须付出的代价。

It may be so, but it no longer matters. The very technology which gives peculiar form and pressure to the oppression of common men in our time has freed common men from the necessity of submitting to it. The time has gone by when common men could be persuaded to believe that destitution is in accord with God’s will, or to rely upon the virtues of noblesse oblige to ease their necessities. Through education in the schools, through the printing press and the radio, common men are made aware of their rights, aware of the man-made frustration of their desires, aware of their power to organize for the defense of their interests. Any civilization in our time which fails to satisfy the desires of common men for decent living, however brilliant or agreeable it may appear in the eyes of its beneficiaries or of posterity, will be wrecked by the power of common men to destroy what seems to them no longer tolerable. The ultimate task of democracy, no doubt, is to achieve a brilliant civilization; but its immediate task is the less exalted one of surviving in any form, and the condition of survival is that it shall, even at the sacrifice of some of the freedoms and amenities of civilization as we have known it, provide for the essential material needs of common men.
可能是这样,但不再重要。正是技术给我们这个时代普通人的压迫带来了特殊的形式和压力,使普通人摆脱了屈从于它的必要性。时代已经过去了,普通人可以被说服相信贫困符合上帝的意志,或者依靠贵族的美德来减轻他们的必需品。通过学校教育、印刷和广播,普通人意识到他们的权利,意识到他们的欲望受到人为的挫折,意识到他们有能力组织起来捍卫自己的利益。在我们这个时代,任何文明,如果不能满足普通人对体面生活的渴望,无论在受益者或后代的眼中看起来多么光辉灿烂或令人愉快,都会被普通人摧毁他们无法容忍的东西的力量所摧毁。毫无疑问,民主的最终任务是实现辉煌的文明;但它的当务之急是以任何形式生存下去,而生存的条件是,即使牺牲我们所知的一些文明的自由和福利,它也要满足普通人的基本物质需求。

Providing for the essential material needs of common men, considered as a problem in scientific engineering, presents no insuperable difficulty: the necessary resources, equipment, man power, and knowledge are available. Given Plato’s ruling class of philosopher-kings, and a docile people responding to suggestion as smoothly as molten iron yields to physical pressure, adequate wealth could be produced and equitably distributed. Unfortunately perhaps, there are no such philosopher-kings; fortunately, there is no such docile people. Government is much less a matter of knowing what is good than of persuading average human beings, stubbornly rooted in conventional habits of thought and action, to do what fallible intelligence judges on incomplete data to be for the moment desirable or necessary: democratic government is a matter of persuading them to do it voluntarily by registering their wishes in the form of ballots freely given. In democratic countries, therefore, the measures taken for effecting a more equitable distribution of wealth can never be based upon the best scientific knowledge available; they can be such only as the majority of citizens will voluntarily sanction and the minority voluntarily submit to.
满足普通人的基本物质需求,在科学工程中被认为是一个问题,并不是不可克服的困难:必要的资源、设备、人力和知识都是可以获得的。考虑到柏拉图的统治阶级哲学家国王,以及一个温顺的民族对建议的反应就像铁水屈服于物理压力一样顺畅,足够的财富可以被生产出来并公平分配。也许不幸的是,没有这样的哲人国王;幸运的是,没有这样温顺的人。政府更重要的是知道什么是好的,而不是说服顽固地植根于传统思维和行为习惯的普通人去做那些不完整数据上的错误情报判断目前是可取或必要的:民主政府是通过以自由投票的形式记录他们的意愿来说服他们自愿这样做。因此,在民主国家,为实现更公平的财富分配而采取的措施永远不能基于现有的最佳科学知识;它们只能是大多数公民自愿认可而少数人自愿服从的。

It is as essential to democracy that the minority should voluntarily submit to the measures adopted as it is that the majority should voluntarily approve them. Democratic government rests upon the principle that it is better to count heads than it is to break them. The principle is a good one, but unfortunately, men will not, under certain conditions, so regard it. By and large the principle works well enough, at least in countries where the democratic tradition is well established, only as long as the issues to be decided do not involve those interests which men will always fight for rather than surrender. Democratic government, being government by discussion and majority vote, works best when there is nothing of profound importance, to discuss, when the rival party programs involve the superficial aspects rather than the fundamental structure of the social system, and when the minority can meet defeat at the polls in good temper, since it need not regard the decision as either a permanent or a fatal surrender of its vital interests. When these happy conditions no longer obtain, the democratic way of life is always in danger.
对民主来说,少数人自愿接受所采取的措施与多数人自愿批准这些措施同样重要。民主政府建立在清点人数胜于打破人数的原则之上。这个原则很好,但不幸的是,在某些情况下,人们不会这么认为。总的来说,这一原则运作得很好,至少在民主传统根深蒂固的国家是如此,只要有待决定的问题不涉及那些人们将永远为之奋斗而不是投降的利益。民主政府是通过讨论和多数投票的政府,当没有什么重大意义时,当竞争对手的计划涉及到社会制度的表面而不是基本结构时,当少数人在民意测验中情绪良好地遭遇失败时,讨论是最有效的,因为它不需要把这个决定看作是对其重要利益的永久或致命的投降。当这些幸福的条件不复存在时,民主的生活方式总是处于危险之中。

The danger has already proved fatal to democratic institutions in many countries—chiefly countries not long habituated to such institutions. But it exists even in those countries in which the democratic tradition is most strongly entrenched, since in these countries too the insistent problem of the distribution of wealth is beginning to involve those fundamental class interests which do not readily lend themselves to friendly discussion and mutual concession. The flagrant inequality of possessions and of opportunity is creating an ever sharper differentiation between the beneficiaries of private property in the means of production and the masses whose present circumstances and future prospects depend less upon individual character and talent than upon the hazards of the business cycle. Accompanying this differentiation there is going on a confused but persistent realignment of political parties: on the Right, conservative parties representing the beneficiaries of the system of free enterprise; on the Left, liberal and radical parties representing the poor and the dispossessed. As the divergence between Right and Left becomes sharper and more irreconcilable, moderate and conciliatory parties tend to disappear, and the rival party programs of the extreme groups, no longer confined to the superficial aspects of policy within the framework of the traditional social system, are increasingly concerned with the validity of the assumptions on which the system rests. Underlying the question of the equitable distribution of wealth is the question of the validity of the institution of private property as a means of effecting it. The present power of the possessing classes rests upon the institution of private property; the present distress of the masses is somehow involved in it. If the present discords should be intensified and prolonged, the danger is that the masses will turn to revolution rather than submit to a system which fails to relieve them, that the classes will welcome forcible repression rather than surrender a system which guarantees their power.
事实已经证明,这种危险对许多国家的民主制度来说是致命的——主要是那些不太习惯这种制度的国家。但它甚至存在于民主传统最为根深蒂固的国家,因为在这些国家,财富分配这一持续存在的问题也开始涉及那些不容易进行友好讨论和相互让步的基本阶级利益。财产和机会的公然不平等使得生产资料中私有财产的受益者和大众之间的差别越来越大,后者的现状和未来前景与其说取决于个人的性格和才能,不如说取决于商业周期的危险。伴随着这种分化,各政党正在进行混乱但持续的重组:右翼保守党派代表自由企业制度的受益者;在左翼,自由派和激进派代表穷人和被剥夺者。随着右翼和左翼之间的分歧变得更加尖锐和不可调和,温和与和解的政党倾向于消失,极端团体的对立政党计划,不再局限于传统社会制度框架内的表面政策,越来越关注该制度所依据的假设的有效性。财富公平分配问题的基础是私有财产制度作为实现这一制度的手段的有效性问题。拥有阶级的当前权力在于私有财产制度;群众目前的痛苦不知何故与此有关。如果现在的不和谐要加剧和延长,危险是群众将转向革命,而不是屈服于一个不能解除他们的制度,阶级将欢迎强制镇压,而不是放弃一个保证他们权力的制度。

The danger is not one to be lightly dismissed. It is certainly greater than many tender-minded liberals profess to think. But for all that, we need not be browbeaten by dogmatic Communist assumptions into believing that the contradictions in the capitalist system cannot under any circumstances be corrected by the democratic political procedure. It is an article of Communist faith, which many advanced liberals and Communist “fellow travelers” seem to accept as a matter of course, that history offers no instance of a ruling aristocracy which has surrendered its power voluntarily, and that accordingly, nothing short of violent revolutionary expropriation will ever induce the capitalist aristocracy to surrender the power which the institution of private property now confers upon it.
危险不容忽视。这肯定比许多思想温和的自由主义者声称的要多。但尽管如此,我们不需要被教条的共产主义假设吓倒,认为资本主义制度的矛盾在任何情况下都不能通过民主政治程序来纠正。这是一篇共产主义信仰的文章,许多先进的自由主义者和共产主义“旅伴”似乎理所当然地接受了这一点,即历史没有提供统治贵族自愿放弃权力的例子,因此,除了暴力的革命征用之外,任何东西都不会诱使资本主义贵族放弃私有财产制度现在赋予它的权力。

The premise is correct enough, but the conclusion is a non sequitur. True enough, no ruling class has ever surrendered its power voluntarily, but it does not follow that no class has ever surrendered its power except under compulsion of naked force. The Roman patricians did not surrender their power voluntarily, on demand; but they nevertheless surrendered it, gradually, under pressure, without incurring the destruction of republican institutions. The English landed aristocracy did not surrender its power voluntarily; but since the eighteenth century, under pressure exerted through the democratic political procedure, it has conceded one strategic position after another. And indeed, in all those countries where democratic institutions still persist, the capitalist classes have, during the last fifty years or more, conceded bit by bit much of that control over private property which they formerly possessed and once thought indispensable. There is no compelling reason to suppose that in those countries where the democratic tradition is strongly intrenched, this process of increasing governmental regulation of business enterprise should not continue, even to the point, if that should prove desirable, of a virtual if not a formal socialization of the basic industries, without incurring the destruction of democratic institutions.
前提足够正确,但结论是不合理的。没错,没有一个统治阶级自愿交出权力,但这并不意味着没有一个阶级在赤裸裸的武力胁迫下交出权力。罗马贵族并没有根据要求自愿放弃他们的权力;但是他们还是在压力下逐渐放弃了它,而没有招致共和党机构的破坏。英国土地贵族并没有自愿放弃权力;但是自18世纪以来,在民主政治程序的压力下,它一个接一个地放弃了战略地位。事实上,在所有那些民主制度仍然存在的国家里,资本主义阶级在过去五十年或更长的时间里,一点一点地承认了他们以前拥有的、曾经认为不可或缺的对私有财产的控制。没有令人信服的理由认为,在那些强烈要求民主传统的国家,这种增加政府对商业企业监管的进程不应该继续下去,即使这种做法被证明是可取的,也不应该在不破坏民主体制的情况下,使基础产业实现虚拟的甚至是正式的社会化。

It is not a question of keeping what we have or scrapping it for some untried ideal social system. There are no ideal social systems. At best it is a question of sufficiently improving what we have in order to avoid that intolerable distress which, if widespread and prolonged, ends in despair and the resort to violence. No infallible panacea for accomplishing this end is available. The desired end can be accomplished, if at all, only by the method of trial and error, by employing the best knowledge available, as far as it can be employed by the democratic political method, to effect those adjustments that will release surplus capital for investment in profitable enterprises and put unemployed men to work at a living wage. What particular measures are best adapted to this purpose I am incompetent to say. It is for the economists to suggest the measures which, however carefully considered, will in the event no doubt prove to be attended with unforeseen consequences. The fact that the task is difficult is no reason for abandoning it. Something must be done, and much must be attempted that a little may be gained. What is chiefly needed is time—time for experiment, for making mistakes and correcting them, time for the necessary economic adjustment in vested interests and the necessary psychological adjustment to new ideas, time for the slow crystallization of public opinion and for registering public opinion in legislative enactments by the cumbersome democratic technique.
这不是一个保留我们所拥有的东西或者为一些未经尝试的理想社会制度而抛弃它的问题。没有理想的社会制度。充其量是一个充分改善我们现有状况的问题,以避免这种不可容忍的痛苦,如果这种痛苦蔓延和持续,最终会导致绝望和诉诸暴力。实现这一目标没有万灵丹。如果有的话,只有通过试错法,通过尽可能利用民主政治方法所能利用的最佳知识来实现这些调整,释放剩余资本用于投资有利可图的企业,并让失业人员以生活工资工作,才能达到预期的目的。我不能说什么特别的措施最适合这个目的。经济学家应该提出一些措施,不管这些措施考虑得多么仔细,最终无疑会带来无法预料的后果。这项任务很难,这不是放弃它的理由。必须做点什么,必须尝试很多,才能收获一点点。主要需要的是时间——进行实验、犯错误和纠正错误的时间、对既得利益进行必要的经济调整和对新思想进行必要的心理调整的时间、慢慢形成公众舆论的时间以及通过繁琐的民主技术在立法中登记公众舆论的时间。

It is true, of course, that there may not be time enough. There may not be time enough in any case. Technological advance has so accelerated the tempo and complicated the character of social change that present social ills can scarcely be properly diagnosed before they have been so far transformed that the proposed remedies are no longer adequate. But if time fails us, it will be less because of inherent defects in the capitalist system or the democratic procedure than because of the disastrous results of modern war in dislocating the national economy and impairing the democratic morale.
当然,时间可能不够,这是事实。无论如何,时间可能不够。技术进步加速了社会变革的速度,并使社会变革的特征复杂化,以至于目前的社会弊病在转变之前几乎无法得到正确诊断,以至于所提出的补救办法不再充分。但是,如果时间流逝,与其说是因为资本主义制度或民主程序的内在缺陷,不如说是因为现代战争在扰乱国民经济和损害民主士气方面的灾难性后果。

III
The ultimate cause of war, no doubt, is to be found in the nature of man; the proximate cause in particular conditions of time and place. Politically, the modern world is organized on the principle of the self-sufficiency and the self-determination of the sovereign state; economically, it is so far integrated that all countries are more or less interdependent. The result is that international conflict in our time arises in great part from the competitive political struggle for economic possessions—for land, markets, essential raw materials, and preferential opportunities for the exploitation of the undeveloped regions of the earth. A rational solution of the conflict would involve either complete freedom for peaceful trade and industrial enterprise or the international allocation of commodities and industrial opportunities according to the legitimate needs of the several countries. A rational solution is impossible, however, because the rights of states are measured by the power they can exert; and the decisions of governments and the attitudes of the people who support governments are largely determined by considerations of honor and prestige and deep-seated racial and national animosities. Such political conflicts for economic power may be, and in the past often have been, mediated to some extent by friendly discussion and mutual concession; but since the essential basis for profitable discussion of differences is agreement in fundamentals, such mediation is less possible now than formerly. The profound divergence between the current ideologies in fundamental concepts makes friendly discussion and mutual concession between democratic countries on the one hand, and Communist and Fascist countries on the other, virtually impossible, and injects into their conflicts a fanatical and intransigent quality unknown since the religious wars of the sixteenth century. Thus in our time the perennial danger of war arising from the conflict for economic power is at once increased and is less easily obviated because of the fears and hatreds arising from the clash of discordant ideological systems.
毫无疑问,战争的最终原因在于人的本性;特定时间和地点条件下的近因。在政治上,现代世界是根据主权国家的自给自足和自决原则组织起来的;从经济上来说,到目前为止,它是一体化的,所有国家或多或少都是相互依存的。其结果是,在我们这个时代,国际冲突在很大程度上源于对经济财产——土地、市场、基本原材料和开发地球不发达地区的优惠机会——的竞争性政治斗争。冲突的合理解决将涉及和平贸易和工业企业的完全自由,或者根据几个国家的合法需要对商品和工业机会进行国际分配。然而,一个合理的解决方案是不可能的,因为国家的权利是由它们能够行使的权力来衡量的;政府的决定和支持政府的人们的态度在很大程度上是由荣誉和威望以及根深蒂固的种族和民族仇恨决定的。这种争夺经济权力的政治冲突在某种程度上可能并且过去经常是通过友好讨论和相互让步来调解的;但是,由于有利可图地讨论分歧的基本基础是基础上的一致,这种调解现在比以前更不可能了。当前意识形态在基本概念上的深刻分歧使得民主国家与共产主义和法西斯国家之间的友好讨论和相互让步几乎不可能,并给它们的冲突注入了自16世纪宗教战争以来从未有过的狂热和顽固的品质。因此,在我们这个时代,由于经济实力的冲突而产生的战争的长期危险立即增加,并且由于不和谐的意识形态体系的冲突而产生的恐惧和仇恨而不容易消除。

War and the imminent danger of war may temporarily abate the social conflict in any country, but the ultimate effeet can only be to diminish the possibilities of resolving it by the democratic method. Political democracy is at best a slow and cumbersome method of managing the affairs of the community. In times of great emergency it is necessary to get things swiftly done, whether well done or not; and in the supreme emergency of war, when arms speak and the laws are silent, the democratic liberties are inevitably subordinated to military efficiency. The temporary eclipse of the democratic liberties is not what matters most. What chiefly matters is that war, by devoting the energies of the nation to destructive ends, disrupts the peacetime economy, impoverishes and demoralizes the people, and thereby intensifies the social conflict which tends to undermine the stability of democratic institutions.
战争和迫在眉睫的战争危险可能暂时缓解任何国家的社会冲突,但最终的效果只能是减少通过民主方法解决冲突的可能性。政治民主充其量是管理社区事务的一种缓慢而繁琐的方法。在非常紧急的情况下,无论做得好还是不好,都必须迅速完成;在战争的极端紧急状态下,当武器说话而法律沉默时,民主自由不可避免地服从于军事效率。民主自由暂时消失并不是最重要的。最重要的是,战争通过将国家的精力用于破坏性目的,扰乱和平时期的经济,使人民贫困和士气低落,从而加剧社会冲突,这往往会破坏民主体制的稳定。

More than a year ago the imminent danger of war was succeeded by war itself. The war is justified as a war for the defense of democracy and the restoration of social order in Europe. The last war was likewise justified: we were told, and many of us confidently believed, that it was fought to make the world safe for democracy. We now know that an outstanding result of the last war was to make half of Europe safe for dictators. What the result of the present war may be no man can say; but it would be naive indeed to suppose that it will do more than the last war did to strengthen democratic institutions throughout the world, or even in the countries where they still exist. On the contrary, if experience is any guide at all, we must suppose that the present war, like the last war, will only accentuate the conditions that lead to revolution, to the disintegration of the democratic virtues, and to the collapse of democratic institutions.
一年多前,迫在眉睫的战争危险被战争本身所取代。这场战争被认为是捍卫民主和恢复欧洲社会秩序的战争。上一次战争同样是有道理的:我们被告知,而且我们中的许多人充满信心地认为,这场战争是为了让世界对民主安全而战。我们现在知道,上一次战争的一个突出结果是让半个欧洲对独裁者来说是安全的。这场战争的结果是什么,谁也说不清;但是,如果认为它会比上次战争更有助于加强世界各地的民主体制,甚至是那些民主体制仍然存在的国家,那就太天真了。相反,如果经验可以作为任何指导,我们必须假设,像上次战争一样,目前的战争只会加剧导致革命、民主美德瓦解和民主体制崩溃的条件。

This is not to say that all of the nations concerned in the present war are equally responsible for it. In the conflict between nations, as in the conflict between individuals, it is not true that it takes two to make a quarrel: one can make a quarrel very effectively if he gives a perverted mind to it. If democracy cannot be safeguarded by war, neither can it be safeguarded by submitting to aggressions designed to destroy it. War is indeed the negation of the democratic idea, and for that reason can in itself do nothing to safeguard democratic institutions; but as the world is now organized it may be the only means of safeguarding the independence of those countries where democratic institutions exist. This much may therefore be said: whatever chance democracy may have for survival in Europe after the present war, it would have a better chance in a Europe in which France and Great Britain retained their independence and prestige than it could ever have in a Europe dominated by the present Nazi regime in Germany. It may be that democratic institution’s will disappear in Great Britain—as they seem already to have disappeared in France—even if she should win the war in the end. It is certain that they will disappear if Germany wins the war. The only conclusion I can draw from this situation is this: if democratic institutions are to be destroyed in any case, it seems better that they should be destroyed by their friends than by their enemies.
这并不是说所有卷入这场战争的国家都要对这场战争负责。在国与国之间的冲突中,就像在个人之间的冲突中一样,争吵需要两个人,这是不正确的:如果一个人有反常的想法,他就能很有效地争吵。如果民主不能通过战争得到保障,那么也不能通过屈服于旨在摧毁民主的侵略来得到保障。战争确实是对民主思想的否定,因此,战争本身并不能保护民主制度;但是,由于世界现在是有组织的,它可能是维护那些存在民主体制的国家的独立的唯一手段。因此,可以这么说:无论战后民主在欧洲生存的机会有多大,在一个法国和英国保持独立和威望的欧洲,它都比在德国纳粹政权统治下的欧洲有更好的机会。也许民主制度会在英国消失——就像它们在法国已经消失一样——即使她最终会赢得这场战争。如果德国赢得这场战争,它们肯定会消失。从这种情况中我能得出的唯一结论是:如果民主机构无论如何都要被摧毁,那么它们最好是被朋友而不是敌人摧毁。

When we consider broadly the problem of preserving democratic institutions from both the national and the international point of view, we seem to be helplessly caught in a vicious circle. We know that democratic institutions are threatened by social discords within the nations, and still more by war between them. We know that if we could resolve our social discords it would be much easier to avoid war, and that if we could avoid war it would be much easier to resolve our social discords. If we could do either of these things without the other, the future of democracy would be fairly secure; if we could do both of them it would be altogether so. Yet we know that social discords are a major cause of war, and that war is the one thing that will make it impossible, if anything does, to resolve our social discords. It is in such situations that reason succumbs to force, in such situations that dictators flourish and democracy declines.
当我们从国家和国际角度广泛考虑维护民主体制的问题时,我们似乎无助地陷入了恶性循环。我们知道民主制度受到国家内部社会不和谐的威胁,更受到国家之间战争的威胁。我们知道,如果我们能解决我们的社会矛盾,避免战争就容易多了,如果我们能避免战争,解决我们的社会矛盾就容易多了。如果我们可以在没有其他事情的情况下做这些事情中的任何一件,民主的未来将是相当安全的;如果我们能同时做这两件事,那就完全是这样了。然而,我们知道社会不和谐是战争的一个主要原因,战争是一件使我们无法解决社会不和谐的事情。正是在这种情况下,理性屈服于武力,在这种情况下,独裁者繁荣昌盛,民主衰落。

It is possible that the crisis which confronts the modern world involves something more serious even than the collapse of democratic institutions. The contradictions in the capitalist system may be no more than symbols of a discord more profound—the discord between the physical power at our disposal and our capacity to make an intelligent use of it. Long ago it was said that man can more easily take a city than govern himself. Never was the saying more true than now. Never before has the intelligence of man placed so much material power at his disposal: never before has he employed the power at his disposal for the realization of purposes more diverse or more irreconcilable. The hand is subdued to what it works in, and the mind admires what the hand can accomplish. Modern man is enamored of mechanical force, is fascinated by the aesthetic precision and sheer power of the instruments he has devised, and will use them for doing whatever by their aid can be done, justifying whatever ends may be achieved by the clean efficiency of the means employed to achieve them. Thus the machines we have invented enslave us. Compelling us to use them on their terms and to adjust our action to their capacities and limitations, they somehow generate social forces which, being too complicated and impersonal to be easily understood, shape our lives to ends we do not will, but cannot avoid.
现代世界面临的危机可能涉及比民主制度崩溃更严重的事情。资本主义制度中的矛盾可能只不过是更深刻的不和谐的象征——我们所拥有的物质力量和我们明智利用它的能力之间的不和谐。很久以前,有人说,人比管理自己更容易占领一座城市。这句话从未像现在这样真实。人类的智慧从来没有赋予他如此多的物质力量:他从来没有利用他所拥有的力量来实现更多样或更不可调和的目的。手被它所做的事情所征服,头脑钦佩手所能完成的事情。现代人着迷于机械力,着迷于他设计的仪器的美学精度和纯粹的力量,并将利用它们来做他们所能做的任何事情,证明通过实现它们的手段的清洁效率可以达到任何目的。因此,我们发明的机器奴役了我们。迫使我们按照它们的条件使用它们,并根据它们的能力和局限性调整我们的行动,它们以某种方式产生了社会力量,这些力量过于复杂和非个人化,难以理解,它们将我们的生活塑造成我们不愿但无法避免的目标。

It is known that in times past certain civilizations long established, brilliant and prosperous and seemingly secure against mischance, slowly decayed and either disappeared altogether or were transformed past recognition and forgotten. What has happened several times in the history of mankind may happen again. There are no barbarian hosts without the gates, but there are plenty of potential barbarians within them. It is then within the range of possibility that the flagrant discord between the mechanical power at man’s disposal and his capacity to make good use of it is carrying the world into another period of protracted and chronic confusion in which democracy will everywhere succumb to dictatorship, reason to naked force, and naked force prove to be the prelude to another dark age of barbarism.
众所周知,在过去的时代,某些文明早已建立、辉煌繁荣,而且看起来很安全,不会遭遇不幸,缓慢衰落,要么完全消失,要么在过去被承认和遗忘。人类历史上发生过几次的事情可能会再次发生。没有大门就没有野蛮人的主人,但是大门里面有很多潜在的野蛮人。那么,人类所掌握的机械力量和他善用机械力量的能力之间的公然冲突,就有可能将世界带入另一个长期和长期混乱的时期,在这个时期,民主将无处不在地屈从于独裁统治,理性屈从于赤裸裸的武力,赤裸裸的武力被证明是另一个野蛮黑暗时代的前奏。

I do not say that this will happen. I do not think it will. But it is futile to suppose that it cannot happen, futile to rely upon the saving grace of some transcendent power—a law of nature, or dialectic of history, or mystical totalitarian state— to bring us to a predestined good end. The only available purposes are our own; the only available intelligence such intelligence as we can command. If then democracy survives, if any tolerable civilization survives, it will be because in some favored parts of the world the mind of man remains unshackled, and, aided by time and fortunate circumstances, proves capable of subordinating the extraordinary mechanical power at its command to the achievement of rational and humane ends. There is more need in our time even than in the seventeenth century to recall the famous dictum of Pascal: “Thought makes the whole dignity of man; therefore, endeavor to think well: that is the only morality.” The chief virtue of democracy, and in the long run the sole reason for cherishing it, is that, with all of its defects, it provides the most favorable conditions for the maintenance of that dignity and the practice of that morality.
我没说会发生这种事。我认为不会。但是,认为它不可能发生是徒劳的,依靠某种超验力量——自然法则、历史辩证法或神秘的极权国家——的拯救恩典来把我们带向一个注定好的结局是徒劳的。唯一可用的目的是我们自己的;我们能掌握的唯一情报。如果民主得以幸存,如果任何可容忍的文明得以幸存,那将是因为在世界上某些受欢迎的地方,人类的思想仍然不受束缚,并且在时间和幸运的环境的帮助下,被证明能够将它所支配的非凡的机械力量服从于理性和人道目的的实现。我们这个时代甚至比十七世纪更需要回忆帕斯卡的名言:“思想造就人的全部尊严;因此,努力好好思考:这是唯一的道德。”民主的主要优点,从长远来看,珍视它的唯一原因是,尽管它有种种缺点,但它为维护这种尊严和实践这种道德提供了最有利的条件。

原文:https://www.vqronline.org/essay/dilemma-modern-democracy

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