《经济学人》:民主的程度
日期:2011-06-29 11:00

(单词翻译:单击)

Economics focus经济聚焦

Degrees of democracy
民主的程度

More education does not necessarily lead to greater enthusiasm for representative politics
受教育程度越高并不一定对代表制政治产生更大的热情

Jun 23rd 2011 | from the print edition

ON JUNE 20th Zine el-Abedine Ben-Ali, Tunisia’s former ruler, was sentenced in absentia to 35 years in prison. Many trace the origins of the popular rebellion that forced him from office to frustration over the treatment by the police of a young man with few job prospects. That combustible mixture of authoritarianism, unemployment and youth has played a big role in sparking many of the popular uprisings across the Middle East and north Africa that followed Tunisia’s. But some argue that increased education should also take credit for the Arab spring.

6月20号,前突尼斯总统Zine el-Abedine Ben-Ali在其未出席的情况下被判35年监禁。许多人探求这场大规模的反抗的根源,由于警察部门过分的对待一个没有就业前景的年轻人导致的反抗迫使他从当政者变为了阶下囚。即突尼斯之后,包括独裁主义、失业和年轻人的易冲动的混合体在中东和北非引起许多大规模的暴动。但是一些人认为增加的教育也应该为这场阿拉伯承担责任。

Many of the countries where disaffection with strongmen rulers has spilled over into revolt have seen their education levels rise sharply in recent decades. Young people in these countries are far better educated than their parents were. In 1990 the average Egyptian had 4.4 years of schooling; by 2010 the figure had risen to 7.1 years. Could it be that education, by making people less willing to put up with restrictions on freedom and more willing to question authority, promotes democratisation?

许多由于对强硬领导人不满情绪涌出而导致起义的国家,其教育水平在近几十年中有大幅的提升。这些国家中的年轻人受到的教育远好于他们的父母。1990年平均每个埃及人接受4.4年的教育,到了2010年这个数字提升到7.1年。是教育促使民主化么?教育使得人们更少愿意忍受对自由的限制,更愿意挑战权威。

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?

The modernisation hypothesis suggested a particular direction of change: more education and income should beget greater democracy. But as the right-hand chart shows, there is virtually no statistical association at all between changes in a country’s level of education and its measured level of democracy. If this is true, there is no particular reason to hope that more education will lead to a more democratic world.

现代化假说表明一个特定的变化方向:更好的教育和更多的收入应该能够导致更加民主。但是正如右边的图表所示的那样,在一个国家教育水平的变化和它测量的民主水平之间确实没有统计上的关系。假如真是这样的话,就不存在特别的原因希望更好的教育导致一个更加民主的世界。

A recent NBER paper* sheds light on why this might be the case. Those who posit that more schooling leads to greater democracy often have specific ideas about how people’s attitudes change as a result of their becoming more educated, arguing that it creates people who are more willing to challenge authority. It is possible, however, that education reinforces authority and the power of ruling elites; indeed, it may often be designed to do precisely this. The study tried to find out which of these competing ideas of the effects of education is more accurate.

最近一个NBER论文解释了为什么可能是这样。那些假设更好的教育导致更加民主的人通常有一个特定的想法,认为作为人们得到更好教育的结果之一,人们的态度会发生改变,这导致了更加愿意挑战权威的人。但是,教育增强了权威和管理精英的力量是可能的,事实上,教育可能经常被设计去这样做。研究试图去找出这些不同的关于教育影响的观念中哪个是更加正确的。

The authors compared a group of Kenyan girls in 69 primary schools whose students were randomly selected to receive a scholarship with similar students in schools which received no such financial aid. Previous studies had shown that the scholarship programme led to higher test scores and increased the likelihood that girls enrolled in secondary school. Overall, it significantly increased the amount of education obtained. For the new study the authors tried to see how the extra schooling had affected the political and social attitudes of the women in question.

作者在69所小学挑选了一群肯尼亚的女同学进行对比,任意挑选一些学生给予一个奖学金,一些则没有这样的资助。奖学金计划导致了原先的学生有更好的成绩,并增加了被高中录取的可能性。整体来看,这明显增加了所获得的教育。对于这个新的研究,作者试图去看额外的教育如何影响妇女对于政治和社会的态度。

Class divide
What they found was in many ways contradictory. For instance, girls who benefited from the scholarship and got more schooling were more independent and less accepting of the traditional sources of authority within the family. But although education seemed in some sense to have “liberated” them in terms of their personal aspirations, it did not seem to have had the broader effects that proponents of the modernisation hypothesis would have expected. In particular, those with more education did not become more favourably inclined towards democracy. In fact, education deepened their sense of identification with their ethnic group and increased their tolerance for political violence. There was little evidence that having more education made them more engaged in civic life or political organisations.

他们的发现在许多方面都是自相矛盾的。例如,收益于奖学金而得到更好教育的女孩更加独立,更少的接受传统家中的权威。但是虽然在某种意义来看教育似乎在他们个人志向上使他们更加自由,但是它看上去并没有现代化假说的支持者所期望的那样产生更广泛的影响。特别是,那些受到更好教育的人并没有变得更倾向于民主。事实上,教育加深了他们对他们民族的认同感,增加了他们对政治暴力的容忍度。没有证据表明拥有更好的教育使他们更多地参与到公民生活或政治组织。

This is not entirely surprising. Education may make people more interested in improving their own lives but they may not necessarily see democracy as the way to do it. Even in established democracies, more education does not always mean either more active political participation or greater faith in democracy. In India, for example, poorer and less educated people vote in larger numbers than their more educated compatriots. Indeed, the latter often express disdain for, and impatience with, the messiness of democracy. Many yearn instead for the kind of government that would execute the corrupt and build highways, railway lines and bridges at the dizzying pace of authoritarian China.

完全不要感到惊讶。虽然教育是人们更注重改善他们自己的生活,但是他们也许不一定把民主作为达到目的的方法。甚至在已有的民主社会,更好的教育不总是意味着更积极地政治参与或更加坚定的民主信仰。例如,在印度,更贫穷、接受更少教育的人比接受过更好教育的人参与选举投票的人多。事实上,后者经常对混乱的民主表现出蔑视和漠不关心。相反,许多人向往这种政府,它能以独裁主义的中国那令人眩目的步伐惩治腐败,修建高速公路、铁路和桥梁。

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重点单词
  • hypothesisn. 假设,猜测,前提
  • primaryadj. 主要的,初期的,根本的,初等教育的 n. 最主
  • correlationn. 相互关系,相关
  • overalladj. 全部的,全体的,一切在内的 adv. 总的来说
  • combinev. 结合,联合,使结合 n. 集团,联合企业,联合收割
  • decentadj. 体面的,正派的,得体的,相当好的
  • unemploymentn. 失业,失业人数
  • popularadj. 流行的,大众的,通俗的,受欢迎的
  • enthusiasmn. 热情,热心;热衷的事物
  • spuriousadj. 假的,伪造的