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《经济学人》:民主的程度

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Ideas about the links between education, income and democracy are at the heart of what social scientists in the middle of the last century termed the “modernisation hypothesis”. One of its most famous proponents, Seymour Lipset, wrote in 1959 that “education presumably broadens men’s outlooks, enables them to understand the need for norms of tolerance, restrains them from adhering to extremist and monistic doctrines, and increases their capacity to make rational electoral choices.”

关于教育、收入和民主之间联系的看法是上世纪中期被社会科学家称为“现代化假说”的核心。最著名的支持者Seymour Lipset在1959年写到“教育可能拓宽人们的视野,使他们能够理解宽容的必要性,减少他们对极端主义和一元论学说的依附,提高他们做出理性的选举决择的能力。

Since then plenty of economists and political scientists have looked for statistical evidence of a causal link between education and democratisation. Many have pointed to the strong correlation that exists between levels of education and measures like the pluralism of party politics and the existence of civil liberties (see left-hand chart). The patterns are similar when you look at income and democracy. There are outliers, of course—until recently, many Arab countries managed to combine energy-based wealth and decent education with undemocratic political systems. But some deduce from the overall picture that as China and other authoritarian states get more educated and richer, their people will agitate for greater political freedom, culminating in a shift to a more democratic form of government.

自那时起,许多经济学家和政治学家就已经在寻找教育和民主化之间因果关系的统计上的证据。许多人已经指出教育程度与像党派政见的多元化等评测以及公民自由之间存在很强的关联性。当你看收入和民主时,他们的增长模式是相似的。当然也存在例外,至今,许多阿拉伯国家把以能源为基础的财富和良好的教育与非民主的体系结合在一起。但是一些人从整体推断,当中国和别的独裁主义国家得到更多的教育,变得更加富裕,他们的人民将煽动更大的政治自由,最终转变为一个更加民主的治理形式。

This apparently reasonable intuition is shakier than it seems. Critics of the hypothesis point out that correlation is hardly causation. The general trend over the past half-century may have been towards rising living standards, a wider spread of basic education and more democracy, but it is entirely possible that this is being driven by another variable. Even if the correlation were not spurious, it would be difficult to know which way causation ran. Does more education lead to greater democracy? Or are more democratic countries better at educating their citizens?

这个明显的合理的直觉不像它看上去那样稳固。该假设的反对者指出他们之间的联系不是因果关系。虽然过去半个世纪普遍的趋势是不断提高的生活水平,更加广泛的基础教育和更加民主,但是这个趋势完全可能是被其他别的因素驱动的。即使这个联系不是错误的,也很难知道这种因果关系是以哪种方式运行的。更好的教育导致了更大的民主?还是更加民主的国家能够为他们的国民提供更好的教育?



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