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周其仁:邓小平做对了什么

2011-02-18
周其仁,改革,中国改革30年讨论会,邓小平
周其仁:邓小平做对了什么

科斯教授指定的题目,是The Unfolding of Deng’s Drama,直译回来,就是“邓小平戏剧的展开”——在中文语境里是另外一回事了。

"知识扩展才是中国经济成就的基础。不过若问,为什么中国人、特别是年轻一代中国人对知识的态度有了根本的转变?答案是,改革激发了中国人掌握知识的诱因,而开放则降低了中国人的学习成本。综合起来,早已存在的要素成本优势、改革开放显著降低制度费用、以及中国人力资本的迅速积储,共同成就了中国经济的竞争力。其中,制度成本的大幅度降低,是中国经验的真正秘密。"

"邓小平开启了中国改革开放之路,也开启了中国经济增长之路。不过,他并没有完成中国的改革开放。无论在产权的重新界定,企业家职能的发挥,市场经济框架的完善、还是国家权力的约束与规范方面,中国都有面临大量未完成的议题。作为渐进改革策略的一个结果,很多困难而艰巨的改革任务留在了后面,并面临改变着的社会思想条件。"

周其仁:邓小平做对了什么?The Unfolding of Deng’s Drama
双语版~读懂了这文章,就基本读懂了中国过去30年的经济改革本质

作者:周其仁,北京大学中国经济研究中心教授

——在芝加哥大学“中国改革30年讨论会”上的发言
周其仁:邓小平做对了什么?
The Unfolding of Deng’s Drama

本来我为会议准备的是另一篇论文。可是,6月3日科斯(R.
Coase)教授的助手来信转述了以下意见:“他认为如果没有一篇关于邓小平的论文,这次研讨会将是不完美的”。来信还说,“你可能是提供这样一篇论文最合适的人选”。这当然不是我可以承受的荣耀。不过,我倒愿意说明,为什么自己愿意冒着不自量力的风险,也要尝试着完成已经97岁高龄的科斯——这次研讨会的发起人和主持者——指定要求完成的任务。

This article is based on my presentation at “2008 Chicago Conference on China's
Economic Transformation Program” hosted by Professor Ronald Coase during 14-18
July, 2008 at University of Chicago. I had prepared a different paper for the
conference before Lennon Choy, an assistant of Professor Coase sent me an email
on June 3rd, 2008, in which he conveyed Professor Coase’s opinion that “the
conference would be incomplete without a paper on Deng” and that “you are
probably the best person in China to work on it.” This is an honor that I would
not have been able to live up to, but I convinced myself to take the risk and
try to finish this task assigned by Professor Coase.

第一次看到科斯的名字,是在一本小书上。那是1985年夏天,北京四通公司的一位朋友悄悄给了我两本小书。翻开一看,是张五常著的《中国的前途》和《再论中国的前途》,由香港信报出版。但落在我手上的这两本,却显然是盗印的:开面很小,纸质奇差,有照相翻拍的明显痕迹;封皮上没有字,里面印有“内部读物”的字样。

不知道谁是张五常。可是翻开他的书,就不能放下。在《中国的前途》的第148页,五常这样介绍:“高斯对经济制度运作理解的深入,前无古人,且对中国的经济前途深表关怀”。书中提到了科斯的两篇大文,用产权(property
rights)与交易费用(transaction
cost)的概念阐释了制度和制度变迁的理论。那时我自己对市场交易没有多少感受,因此对“交易费用”不甚了了,特别是对把交易费用似乎假设为零的“科斯定理”,感到有理解方面的困难。但是,对于“产权界定(delineation
of rights)”,却立刻觉得它有非凡的解释力。
I first encountered the name of Professor Coase from a pirated edition of a
small
book, published by the Hong Kong-based Newspaper Press. The copy I was given was
obviously pirated since it had no cover, the quality of the paper was extremely
poor, and one could clearly see that it were printed from photo images.
I did not know who was Caose. But on the page of 148 in China’s Future, it said,

“Coase had a deep understanding of how economic institutions operate and he is
deeply concerned with the future of China.” The book also mentions two important
articles by Coase, which try to explain economic institutions and institutional
change from the point of view of property rights and transaction cost. As I
recall, I had very little first-hand experience of market transaction, and
therefore the concept of “transaction cost” was obscure for me. However, I had
an immediate understanding of “delineation of rights” and thought that this
concept had a great explanatory power.

为什么独对产权界定别有感悟?容我交代一点背景。我是1978年从黑龙江农村考到北京读大学的。此前,我没有机会上过高中,不过是1966年的一个初中生毕业生,经历了三年停课文革后于1968年上山下乡。等我拿到入大学通知书的时候,已在邻近俄罗斯的边陲之地上山下乡十年了。对我这样的人来说,邓小平时代的第一页,就是他于1977年8月做出的恢复高考的决定。这一页改变了我们一代人的命运。

Why is it that I could understand “delineation of rights” right away? Let me
provide my background. I entered China’s People University in Beijing in 1978
directly from the rural Heilongjiang Province, where I had been working as a
farmer since 1968. For someone like me, the first act of Deng’s drama was to
reopen the college entrance exam, a change that would rewrite the fate of an
entire generation.

1978年十月后的北京,是中国伟大变革的漩涡中心。我们为重新获得读书机会而奋发学习。不过在那时的北京城,似乎也摆不下一张完全平静的书桌。我们到西单看过大字报,传阅过当时一切可得的有关日本、美国、欧洲、香港、韩国、新加坡现代化情况的报道,也聚在一起收听十一届三中全会的新闻公报,以及邓小平对意大利女记者法拉奇的著名谈话。站在那个中国开放时代的端口,为了消化大量扑面而来的新鲜信息,我们在自发组织的读书小组里度过了无数不眠之夜。

In October 1978, Beijing was the epicenter of some great transformations China
was undergoing at that time. Although we should have seized this regained
opportunity and studied hard, Beijing was hardly a quiet place for students. We
enthusiastically circulated all kinds of information about the modernizations in
Japan, U.S., Europe, Hong Kong, and Korea. We gathered together to listen to the
news reports of the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of
the Chinese Communist Party and the Italian woman journalist Oriana Fallaci’s
interview with Deng. We spent many sleepless nights discussing all this fresh
information in our study groups.

不过,最打动我们的,还是在一个聚会上听到的安徽农村包产到户的消息。那是亲到现场调查的人带回的第一手报告:大旱天气增加的饥荒威胁,逼得农民悄悄把集体土地分到了户;结果,粮食大幅增产,但“包产到户”却不合法,农民只在底下秘密推进。这个故事让我们兴奋。在贫困好像与生俱来、无可更改的中国农村,原来也存在迅速改善生活的路径!我们的困惑是:为什么被实践证明可以促进生产、解决农民温饱的生产方式,却得不到“上层建筑”的合法承认呢?

However, the most memorable story we learnt from these group meetings was how
the Household Responsibility System (Bao Chan Dao Hu) came into practice in the
rural Anhui Province. Some people who went there themselves came back and told
us that when facing draught and the increasing risk of famine, local peasants
secretly distributed collective land among individual households, and as a
result, agricultural output increased significantly. Since it was against the
law to de-collectivize the land, this practice could only be conducted
underground. This story was exciting since it made us realize that there are
still ways to improve peasants’ life even in the helpless rural China. But we
were also puzzled about why these organizational patterns that were proven to
stimulate productivity and help peasants solve the problems of starvation and
poverty could not be legitimized by the “super-structure” of China.

1980年,以部分北京在校大学生为主、自发成立一个农村研究小组,立志研究中国农村改革和发展面临的种种问题。由于全部有过上山下乡的亲身经历、其中还有几位本人就是农民出身,大家志同道合,心甘情愿地重新走进农村和农民的生活,观察、询问、调查、分析、研究和辩论,提升了对真实世界的认知水平。机缘巧合,这群“北京小子”的工作,得到了杜润生先生等前辈中国农民问题顶级专家的欣赏、指点和支持,把我们带入改革政策的制定过程。其中个人最离奇的经历,就是身为一个非党人士,也参加了80年代中共中央关于农村改革几个政策文件的准备、起草、修订、成文的全过程——按规矩,这些党内文件一旦下发,是不可以让我这样的党外人士阅读的!仿佛在不经意之间,我们见证了历史:对于8亿中国农民来说,包产到户才是邓小平领导中国改革伟大活剧的第一幕。

In 1980, some university students organized the “Research Group for Rural China
Development” to study the various issues in rural reform and development. Since
many of these students have had the experiences of being farmers during the time
of Cultural Revolution (some were actually from peasant families), we shared a
common passion and goal, and we willingly went back to rural China to observe,
inquire, and conduct research in order to increase our understandings of the
real world. We were lucky to have gotten support from Mr. Du Runsheng, one very
senior and highly-regarded expert on rural China. He not only gave us guidance
and support, but also actively involved me, a non-party member, in the
preparation, drafting, and revision of several documents stating the Central
Government’s policies of reforms in the countryside. These documents were not to
be read by people who were not party members! Quite unexpectedly, we became
witness of history-making – the first act of Deng’s drama of reform was none
other than the Household Responsibility System.

一、中国特色的产权界定
I. Delineation of Rights in Deng’s Style

包产到户并不是“新生事物”。调查表明,早在1956年下半年,浙江永嘉县就出现了包产到户——刚被卷入高级社的农民发现“大锅饭”带来出工不出力的消极倾向,就把集体土地划分到农户,以此约束集体成员努力劳动。后来我结识当年主政那个地方的县委书记李云河,他因赞成包产到户而被革职、遣返老家务农长达21年之久!1959-1961年间,包产到户出现在“大饥荒”最严重的所有省份,其中仅安徽一地就蔓延到全省40%的生产队,农民把能够有效抵抗饥荒的责任田称为“救命田”。问题来了:既然包产到户不是邓小平主政中国以后才出现的现象,更不是邓小平自上而下“发明”或推行的一种土地制度,为什么要把农村包产到户改革看成邓小平伟大戏剧的第一慕?

The practice of Household Responsibility System (HRS) was not a new thing
initiated by the Deng era. As early as 1956, Yongjia County of Zhejiang Province
already allotted collective land to individual households in order to rectify
the situation of lacking incentives and to encourage members of the collectives
to work harder. I got acquainted with the head of this county Mr. Li Yunhe.
Because he had supported the practice of distributing land to individual
households, he was demoted and sent back to his hometown for as long as
twenty-one years. Between 1959 and 1961, the HRS was a common practice in all
provinces hit by the Great Famine. Forty-percent of the production teams in
Anhui Province alone had this practice. Farmers there called the land that was
under their responsibility to cultivate as “the land that saved lives.” Now a
problem arises: if the HRS was not an invention by Deng, why did people consider
it the first act of Deng’s drama?

答案要从包产到户本身寻找。“包产到户”的学名是“家庭承包责任制”(household contracted responsibility
system)。在这套制度下,集体的土地分给农户,以农户承担一定的责任为前提。在开始的时候,农户的责任通常联系着“产量”——以相应土地面积的常年平均产量为基线,农户承诺将交多少给国家、多少给集体,以此交换土地的承包经营权。很明白,这是一个“增加的产量归农民”的合约,对生产积极性的刺激作用不言而喻。另一方面,承包到户的土地,并没有改变“集体所有制”的性质——它们还是公有的,只不过按照约定的条件交给农户使用而已。

The answer to this question needs to be found in this practice itself. The
nature of
HRS is a household based contractual responsibility system. In this kind of
setup, collective land is allotted by a contract to individual households, each
in principle assuming a certain amount of responsibility. In the beginning, this
responsibility is tied to output: farmers promise to give a certain percentage
of their gains back to the state or the collectivities based on a calculation of
how much a piece of land can produce on average. The promise is made in exchange
of management rights of a particular piece of land. It is obvious that this is a
contract that allows peasants to keep additional gains for themselves and that
its effect on the stimulation of productivity is beyond doubt. At the same time,
household contract of land does not change its ownership --- land still belongs
to the collectivity; and peasants only have user rights over their allocated
land under certain contractual terms.

农民和基层生产队发明了家庭承包责任制,也证明了这套办法能够有效地增加产量、抵御饥荒。但是,农民和基层生产队并不能决定包产到户能不能得到合法的承认。这是苏式中央集权体制的一个派生物:任何经济组织、生产方式的变动,都被看成事关社会主义道路和方向的大事、因而都必须由最高权力当局决定。在中国,从“三条驴腿的合作社”到几万、甚至几十万人组成的超级人民公社,从要不要办集体食堂到可不可以由社员私养集体的母猪,一切皆由中央和中央主席定夺。可是,毛主席对集体土地承包给农户经营的办法抱有很深的成见。有记录说,虽然严重的饥荒也曾逼迫主席默许包产到户,但只要“权宜之计”产生了效果,经济情况有所改善,他老人家就一定高举阶级斗争和路线斗争的大旗予以无情打击。在整个毛泽东时代,包产到户屡起屡背。

The fact that peasants invented the household contractual responsibility system
proves that this practice could effectively increase productivity and alleviate
the impact of famine. However, peasants do not have the rights to determine the
legitimacy of this system by themselves. A by-product of the Soviet-style
centralization system is that any change in economic institution is viewed upon
as something significantly impacting the model of socialism, and it can be
approved only by the highest authorities. In China, from “a three-donkey-leg
cooperation unit” to a super commune with hundreds and even thousands of
households, decisions from whether one should have a collective cafeteria to
whether members of a commune can be allowed to raise female pigs that belong to
the collectivity, are all made by the Central Party Committee and its chairman.
It is unfortunate that Chairman Mao had deep prejudice against the HRS. Records
indicate that only in some severe conditions of famine, Chairman Mao acquiesced
to adopting this system, but only as a temporary solution. Whenever the
situation got a little better, he would hold up the banner of class struggle and
launch a severe campaign against this practice. Hence, during the Mao era, the
HRS experienced several ups and downs.

自发的合约得不到法律承认和保护,对当事人的预期和行为就有不利的影响。我们看到,自发的包产到户固然可以让农民尝到增产和温饱的甜头,但此种好处究竟能不能持续?未来继续承包的条件有什么改变?以及在什么情况下承包模式又可能被批判?——所有这些疑虑都影响着农户的生产和投资(农地保护和改良)决策。这是来自合约本身性质的一个实质性的困难:作为有待兑现的一组承诺,不稳定的预期无可避免地要增加合约的履行成本。

The lack of legal recognition and protection of contract had a negative impact
on the behavior and expectation of the people involved in a contract. We see
that self-initiated attempts of allocating land to individual households can let
peasants taste the fruit of a greater output and a better life, but will these
benefits last? What changes will be made to the conditions of a future contract,
and when will the contracted responsibility system be criticized again? – All of
these uncertainties affect peasants’ decisions of production and investment.
Some of these difficulties have to do with the nature of contractual behavior:
when it comes to a set of promises yet to be realized, uncertainties of the
future inevitably increase the enforcement cost for a contract.

邓小平的贡献,是把国家政策的方向,转向了对促进生产力的自发合约提供合法承认与保护。这并不是这位伟大政治家一时心血来潮的杰作。据杜润生回忆,早在1962年邓小平就谈到,“生产关系究竟以什么形式为最好,要采取这样一种态度,就是哪种形式在哪个地方能够比较容易比较快地恢复和发展农业生产,就采取哪种形式;群众愿意采取哪种形式,就应该采取哪种形式,不合法的使它合法起来”(见杜润生回忆录,第332页)。这说明,邓小平早就明白“合法承认”
对特定生产关系(产权与合约)的意义。当历史把他推上了执政地位之后,邓小平就用“这样一种态度”来对待农民和基层创造的家庭承包责任制。

The contribution of Deng Xiaoping is that he provided legitimate recognition of
and protection over self-initiated contracts which have been proven to stimulate
productivity. This was not a random decision. According to the recollection of
Du Yunsheng, Deng Xiaoping stated in 1962 that “when it comes to the question of
which production relation is better, we should adopt the attitude of endorsing
whichever form that can enable agricultural production to recover and grow in a
particular locality, and which the masses are willing to adopt. If this
production mode is illegal, we can make it legal.” This statement shows that he
was well aware of the importance of legitimization for a specific mode of
production. When history pushed Deng to power, he adopted exactly such an
“attitude” towards the household contractual responsibility system which was
invented by peasants themselves.

在邓小平路线下,农民家庭承包制获得了长足的发展。家庭承包制由落后边远地区扩展到发达地区农村、进而几乎覆盖了全国所有农村生产队;土地承包的期限由一年、三年、十五年、三十年扩展为“长期不变”;合约的责任从联系产量开始,逐步演变为联系土地资产。农民家庭承包责任制不断得到更高规格的合法承认:从基层的秘密存在,到地方政府的承认,到中共中央政策文件的肯定。最后,2002年,中国的人大通过了《农地承包法》,确立了农户家庭承包责任制的法律地位。按照这部法律,全部农地的使用权、收益权和转让权,都长期承包给了农户;“集体”仍是农地在法律上的所有者,但其全部经济职能就是到期把所有农地发包给农民。随着承包户拥有续订合约的优先权,“长期不变就是永远不变”。

Thus, following Deng’s guidelines, peasants’ household contracted responsibility
system experienced significant expansion. The range of this practice extended
from remote and under-developed regions to centrally located and well-developed
areas.
Almost all the production teams adopted this system. The terms of land lease
grew from one, three, fifteen or thirty years to “long term without any change.”
The responsibility of the contract was initially tied to productivity; gradually
it was tied to the property value of the land. Thus, the household contracted
responsibility system was gradually recognized by the higher level of the
governments: from a secret practice of the grassroots to a system recognized by
the local governments and then endorsed by the in policy of the Central
Government. In 2002, the People’s Congress passed the “Law of the People's
Republic of China on Land Contract in Rural Areas” According to this law; the
rights of usage, income and transfer of farm land are contracted long-term to
peasant households. Although the “collectivity” is still the legal owner of the
land, its economic function only goes as far as subcontracting farm land to
peasants at the end of a term. Since contractors have priority when it comes to
renewing the lease, it is not difficult to transform “long-term invariability”
to “permanent invariability.”

中国人创造的这个经验,让我们想起了科斯在1959年提出的一个命题:“清楚的产权界定是市场交易的前提”(中译见《生产的制度结构》,第73
页)。我们可以说,产权界定也是合约的前提——要不是双方或多方各自拥有清楚的资源产权,他们之间怎么可能达成任何一个合约?可是,中国的实践却提醒人们:恰恰是承包合约才界定出清楚的农民对土地的权利,因为在订立承包合约之前,作为集体成员的农户究竟对集体土地拥有何种权利,通常是模糊不清的。这是不是说,农户的产权反而是经由合约才得到界定的?在这个意义上,我认为可以得出一个新的结论:合约缔结与产权界定根本就是不能分开的同一回事。

This reminds us of Coase’s idea: “The delineation of right is an essential
prelude to market transactions”. Based on this statement, we can argue that a
clear delineation of
rights is the basis of contract. If two or more parties do not have well defined
property rights, how are they going to make a contract? However, the experience
in China shows that it is only through the contracted responsibility system that
peasants’ rights to the land are defined. Peasants’ rights to collective land
are ambiguous until a contract agreement is made. Shall we then argue that
property rights of peasants are defined through contract and that a clear
delineation of property rights and the signing of a contract are but one and the
same thing?

合约可以经由再合约(re-contracted)得到调整,而经由合约不断界定的产权也就可以不断进一步明确其经济含义、并逐步提升产权的“强度”。我们在中国看得清楚,后来被列入宪法保护范围的私人财产权利,最初就是从城乡公有经济的承包合约中产生并发展起来的。私人承包获得的公有资源在约定条件下排他的专用权,不是私产又是什么?按照承包合约,超出约定产量的部分一般归承包人所有,这难道不正在创造更完备的私产吗?随着承包私产和超越承包形成的私产不断由少增多、由弱变强,公有制成员不断扩大对外缔结合约的范围,循序渐进地积累起更多的私产,也进入更丰富多样的市场合约网络。这套经由合约界定出清晰产权的办法,从农业扩展到非农业、进而扩展到城市,奠定了中国市场经济的基础。

A contract can be adjusted through re-contracting. Property rights that are
continuously defined through contract will find their economic content gradually
clarified and the intensity of the rights increased. Those private property
rights that are now protected by the Constitution initially grew out of
responsibility contracts established in the condition of collective economy. The
exclusive rights of usage of public resources obtained through responsibility
contracts are no less than private property rights. According to the
responsibility contracts, those output exceeding the amount specified by the
contractual obligation belongs to the contractor. Isn’t this the same process of
creating private property? Private property is gained by farmers through legal
contracts by accumulating the surplus output exceeding the contractual
requirement. As these surplus output gained volume and intensity, members of the
collective economy gradually enlarged the range of their contracts, accumulated
more and more private rights, and entered into a network of market contractual
relationships of a greater and greater variety.

来芝加哥参加这次会议的时候,正是中国春小麦的收割季节。此刻在华北农村的田野上,有一副壮观的画面:成千上万台拖拉机和收割机,顺着庄稼成熟的路线跨村庄、跨市县、跨省份移动。这些拖拉机和收割设备,有私人的,有多个私人拥有并集合到一个合作社或一个股份公司的,也有“公司”承包给私人经营的。他们作业的范围,早就超越了一个个“集体”的狭小范围,惟有一个复杂的市场合约网,才把他们与数目更加巨大的农户、合作社、公司制农场的收割服务需求连到了一起。甚至政府也参加了进来,一道道紧急颁布的命令,不但要求沿途高速公路对这些农机分文不取,而且要求提供良好的服务。这是经历了30年改革的中国经济的一个缩影:产权与合约构成了所有活跃的生产活动的制度基础。

When I came to Chicago to attend this conference, it happens to be the spring
wheat harvesting season in China now. One witnesses a magnificent sight of
thousands of tractors and harvesters following the path of wheat maturation and
traversing villages, counties, and provinces to collect harvests along the way.
These tractors and harvesting equipment belong either to one individual or
several individuals who have formed a corporation, or they could be leased to
individuals by a “corporation.” The range of this operation goes beyond the
limited sphere of individual “collectivities.” There would have to be a complex
market contractual network in order to establish the connection between those
with machinery and those with the harvesting needs including peasant households,
cooperation units, corporation-styles farms of an even greater number. Sometimes
even the government is involved in this process. Emergency legal documents
issued one after another have ordered highway authorities to not only waive toll
fees to the harvesters, but also provide better service to them. This is a
microcosmic reflection of China’s economy: property rights and contractual
relationships lay a systemic foundation for vibrant productive activities.

邓小平本人不一定看到过“产权界定”的理论表达。可是,邓的改革之道就是坚持产权界定并寸步不移。这套中国特色的产权界定,一直受到来自不同方向的批评。一种批评说,邓的改革逾越了“一大二公”经济的最后边界,因而背离了经典社会主义。这个批评忽略了继续维系一个不断支付昂贵的组织成本的体制的巨大代价,这一点,人们通过比较改革的中国与拒不改革的那些国家经济表现上的显著差别,就可以获得深刻印象。另一种批评认为,基于承包合约的产权改革远不如
“全盘私有化”来得彻底和过瘾。这种批评则看轻了制度变迁所要付出的代价:只要过时的观念和既得利益缠住了相当多的人群,任何“激进和彻底的改革”在实际上寸步难行。甚至,制度选择的“最终目标”也受制于交易费用的状况。例如,这次我们大家到芝大开会,都要借助属于芝加哥市政的“公共通道”。为什么不把天下所有的“公路”都彻底化为“私路”呢?答案是费用。每人一条专用的道路显然太过昂贵,于是社会退而求其次,在保留“公路”的同时约束人们的行路规范。

Deng Xiaoping himself may not have grasped the true essence of the idea of
“delineation of rights.” However, Deng’s path of reform never swerved away from
the principle of “delineation of rights.” Deng’s notion of delineation of rights
received criticism from all directions: some say that Deng’s reform went over
the line of collective economy and moved away from classical socialism; others
say that the reform of property rights based on contracted responsibility is not
as thorough and stimulating as “outright privatization.” These critical voices
may be right in one way or another; however, there is a blind spot in all of
them, that is: the delineation of property rights and the choices of
institutions do not happen without a cost. The first line of criticism ignores
the huge cost required by a system that sustains an expensive organizational
structure. We can get a clear idea of this by observing the differences between
China that welcomes reform and North Korea that rejects it. The second criticism
under-estimates the cost of a structural transformation: as long as enough
people are still bound by what seems to be “outdated” ideas and guaranteed
benefits, then “radical and thorough reform” cannot be realized in actuality.
Even the “ultimate goal” is dependent on transaction costs. For instance, to
come to University of Chicago, we have to rely on the roads provided by the
Chicago municipality. Why cannot the roads be privatized? The answer is cost. It
would be way too expensive for each individual to have his own exclusive road,
so society makes a compromise. While it makes roads public, it also regulates
people’s behavior on the road.

邓小平不为任何批评所动。他始终坚持一点,无论如何也要容许中国人在实际的约束条件下从事制度和组织选择的探索和试验。任何产权、组织或合约形式,只要被证明可以促进生产的增加和人民生活的改善,邓小平就乐意运用自己的政治威望动员国家机器,在“中国特色社会主义”的总标题下为之提供合法承认。这看起来似乎只是一套非常实用主义的策略。但是,有了科斯以来经济学的进展,我发现在中国改革的实践经验里,包含着具有很高普适性的道理,这就是广义的交易费用决定着制度的存在及其变迁。

Deng Xiaoping was not easily persuaded by any critical voice. He believed up
until the end that the Chinese should be allowed to explore and experiment with
different institutional and structural choices within the constraints of
reality. As long as a particular form of property rights, structural or
contractual relationship is proven to increase productivity and improve people’s
lives, as long as it can be recognized and accepted by the relative interest
groups involved, Deng Xiaoping was willing to use his political authority to
mobilize the state mechanism to support it, and provide it with legitimate
recognition under the banner of “socialism in Chinese style.” Whereas this may
seem to be a highly pragmatic approach, economic theory since Coase seems to
suggest that the actual experience of China’s reform had a great deal of
universal value, that is, transaction costs broadly defined determine the status
and transformation of an economic institution.

二、把企业家请回中国
II. Bringing Entrepreneurship back into China

2006年,我访问了浙江东部台州市松门镇的一家民营公司。创办人叫江桂兰,是位农家女,中学毕业后打工10年,1991年靠私人借贷来的20万元,办起了这家塑料制品厂。四年后,江桂兰在广交会上向别人转租来的六分之一展台上,与外商签订了第一个出口合同。又过了十年,江的公司已成为肯德基全球用餐具的主要供货商。等我到访的时候,江的公司有1000多名工人,每年出口600个集装箱制成品。

In 2006, I interviewed the owner of a private company in Songmen Town, Taizhou
City in the eastern part of Zhejiang Province. Her name is Jiang Guilan and
formerly a
peasant girl, who came to the city to work ten years ago. She started a factory
Manufacturing plastic products in 1991, using a private loan of two hundred
thousand
Renmingbi. Four years later, taking advantage of one-sixth of an exhibition
platform rented from someone else at the China Import and Export Fair in
Guangzhou, she obtained the first order from a foreign businessman. Ten years
later, Jiang’s company became the main provider of plastic ware to Kentucky
Fried Chicken’s worldwide stores. When I visited her company, it already had
over one thousand employees and exported as many as six hundred containers worth
of plastic products annually.

江的故事在今天的中国非常平常。比起华为的任正非、阿里巴巴的马云、吉利汽车的李书福、蒙牛的牛根生以及其他大牌明星般的民营公司老总,江桂兰过于普通了。不过,要是在改革前,江的公司就是比现在小一百倍也容易“举世知名”——在那个时代,任何“自由雇佣”工人的企业,绝对都有机会作为“资本主义的典型”而登上政治新闻的榜首!同样是私人办公司,从被看作“资本主义”的洪水猛兽,到被戴上“民营企业家创业”的挂冠,满打满算也只不过30年——中国到底发生了什么?

Jiang’s story is very common in China today. Compared to other star
entrepreneurs
such as Ren Zhengfei of Huawei, Ma Yun of Alibaba, Li Shufu of Jili Auto, and
Niu
Gensheng of Mengniu Dairy, Jiang Guilan’s story may be a lot less legendary.
However, in the pre-economic reform era, Jiang’s company would have made a name
for itself even if it had been a hundred times smaller. At that time, as the
head of a company that had its own employment system, Jiang would have been
notorious for setting a bad example of capitalism. Whereas a private company
would have been considered to be a capitalist monster in the past, less than
thirty years later, the same company became a laudable model of “a private-owned
enterprise.” What has happened in China in the past thirty years?

为了回答这个问题,人们当然要提到来自实际经济生活的压力。一方面,在“短缺经济”下商品和服务的长期匮乏,满足不了城乡居民家庭最基本的生活需要;另一方面,单一公有制经济又容纳不了日益增长的就业要求,特别是不能吸纳包产到户改革后释放出来的巨量“农村剩余劳动力”。两方面压力的汇集,逼迫中国以更灵活的方式组织经济。

People often mention the pressures of everyday economic life in answer to this
question. An “economy of shortage” produced the lack of products and services,
resulting in the inability to meet the everyday life needs of people living in
the city and the countryside. At the same time, a singular public ownership
economy could not create enough employment opportunities whose demand was
increasing day by day; it particularly could not accommodate the great amount of
surplus labor from the
countryside after household responsibility system was started there.

于是,在单一的公有制制经济的身边,出现了野草般顽强成长的“个体户”。当年北京的一个标志性事件,就是回城的下乡知青在路旁摆摊出售“大碗茶”。他们自我雇佣或利用家人劳力,靠私下筹集的小资本捕捉种种市场机会。一些个体户取得了成功,而日益扩展的市场要求他们进一步扩大生意的规模。结果,“个体户”开始越出了“家庭劳力加二、三个帮手”的规模,向着雇佣更多工人的“私人企业”方向演变。挑战来了:社会主义中国怎么可以容许“资本主义剥削”的复辟?

Pressures coming from both directions forced China to adopt a more flexible
pattern to organize its economic activities. So private owned businesses grew
like wild grass side by side with the collective ownership economy. A
significant event in the 1980s is the “big tea bowl (da wan cha)” stalls set up
by young people who had just returned to the city from the countryside. Relying
on self-employment or employing other family members, these people used their
small capital and tried to seize any little opportunity there was on the market.
Some private businesses became successful, and rising market demands required
that they expand their operation; consequently, “individual businesses” started
to grow out of the pattern of “family labor plus two or three helpers” and moved
in the direction of “private businesses” with a work force of a bigger size. At
this point, they faced a challenge: how can socialist China allow the return of
capitalist exploitation?

对传统思维而言,私人拥有生产资料,自由雇佣、特别是雇佣工人超过7人以上的企业,当然就是“资本主义剥削”,与社会主义格格不入。这条马克思和前苏联模式划下的这条铁的界线,中国自1956年完成了“工商业社会主义改造”后,也再也没有逾越过。现在,改革突破了传统戒条,是不是“走资”的疑虑笼罩中国。

According to the conventional thinking, individually owned companies that
control some means of production and employ over seven workers can be considered
as engaging in “capitalist exploitation.” Their operation is completely
incongruent with socialism. China in fact never transgressed this hard boundary
created by Marx and the economic model of the former Soviet Union ever since it
completed “the Socialist reforms of industry and business” in 1956. Now the new
reform challenged these conventional taboos. The anxiety of whether China was
becoming capitalist loomed large over the entire country.

同时高举改革开放与坚持社会主义两面旗帜的邓小平,抓住了一颗瓜子破解难题。80年代初,安徽芜湖个体户年广久炒卖的“傻子瓜子”受到市场追捧,生意迅速扩张。1981年9月,年氏父子三人从雇4个帮手开始,两年内发展成一个年营业额720万元、雇工140人的私人企业。“傻子”当上了老板,争议也从芜湖一路到了北京。如何定夺小小一颗瓜子里面的大是大非?

Deng Xiaoping who held up the two banners of economic reform and socialism at
the same time solved this problem by seizing onto a watermelon seed. In the
beginning of the 1980s, a private businessman Nian Changjiu from Wuhu in Anhui
Province invented the “Dummy Watermelon Seed” (a snack) that quickly became a
popular product on the market. His business expanded. Within two years since
September 1991, the company grew from a size of a father and two sons plus four
helpers to a business with 140 employees and an annual income of seven million
and two hundred thousand Yuan. As the “dummy” became the boss, controversies
arose in Wuhu and went all the way up to Beijing. How could one tell right from
wrong in a small watermelon seed?

我当时供职的农村政策研究机构是杜润生领导的,他组织了关于“傻子瓜子”来龙去脉的调查,并把有关材料报到了邓小平的案头。记得当时传回来的小平指示,斩钉截铁就是“不要动他”四个大字!其中,最了得的还是那个“动”字,因为这一个字就包含了“运用国家机器的强制手段给予取缔和打击”的全部意思。既然历史经验显示过去那套做法效果不佳,小平的意思就是多看看、多试试,再也不准用专政手段对待像年广久这样的民营企业家。

The research institute on rural policies where I worked at that time was led by
Mr.
Du Runsheng. He organized a research group that carefully investigated the
background of the “Dummy Watermelon Seed” and sent a report to Deng Xiaoping’s
office. I remember the reply we got from Deng only contains five words: “Do not
touch him yet.” Of these five words, the most important one is “touch,” which
implies “to use compulsory measures of the state mechanism to ban and suppress.”
“Do not touch him” means that the government is not allowed to use the power of
the state to suppress Nian Guangjiu. What about the word “yet”? This word
conveys a gesture of compromise to Deng’s angry colleagues both inside and
outside the Party. It means “Let’s wait and see. If he turns out to be a
dangerous flood or fierce monster, we would still have time to ‘touch’ him.”

邓小平的办法就是允许实践、并从实际出发来观察和分析。冷眼看“傻子瓜子”,并不难厘清其中的是非曲直:年广久雇佣的140名工人,原本都得不到国有公司的工作机会;年广久付给工人的薪水,不低于当地国有工厂的给付水平;这些工人原本或失业,或从事其他工作但收益还不如给年广久打工。更重要的是,
“傻子瓜子”的市场成功,刺激了更多的瓜子供给——老板与老板的市场竞争加剧了,不但是顾客的福音,更是工人的福音!可是,“资本主义剥削”的公案又作何处理?
Deng Xiaoping allowed experimentation and encouraged on-the-ground observation
and analysis. If one takes a detached perspective towards this watermelon seed,
it is not hard to figure out what can be gained from it: the one hundred and
forty workers Nian employed did not have an opportunity to work in state owned
companies to begin with. The salary Nian paid them was higher than other workers
employed by the state owned enterprises in this locality. If these workers had
not been hired by Nian, they would be either unemployed or self-employed in a
business whose earnings would not be as much as the salaries they would be
getting from Nian. The important thing is that the market success of the “Dummy
Watermelon Seeds” stimulated competition among other producers of watermelon
seeds. This was good news not only for customers but also for the workers. But
how should one determine whether this was a case of capitalist exploitation?

没有人指出,剩余价值学说的基础是交易费用为零。马克思在理论上坚持,当资本在“流通领域”雇佣劳力时,双方交易遵循的是等价原则。在这里,一切商品包括劳力商品的价格等于价值,因此就排除了资本对劳力的剥削。奥秘发生在其后:当资本家带着雇来的工人进入工厂的大门以后,通过组织、指挥、命令工人生产出高于其劳力价值的产品;最后,企业主带着这些产品回到商品流通领域,再次通过等价交换而完成剩余价值的实现。

No one pointed out at the time that the basis of Marx’s theory of surplus value
is the assumption that transaction cost is zero. Marx insists that when capital
employs labor in the “realm of circulation” (Liutong Lingyu), both sides follow
a principle of exchange on the basis of equivalence in value. At this stage, all
commodities including labor have a price that is equivalent of their value, so
there is no exploitation of capital towards labor. The trick happens afterwards:
when capitalists take the workers into the factory, they can organize, control,
and force workers to produce products whose value is higher than the price of
labor. Then owners of the factories take these commodities back to the realm of
circulation and realize their surplus value through another round of exchange
based on equivalence of value.

很明白,在上述各个环节,都没有交易费用这回事。不是吗?资本家似乎可以不费吹灰之力就发现了顾客及其需求的各种细节,从而决定生产什么和生产多少;资本家也不费吹灰之力就发现了待雇的劳力和其他生产要素,从而决定以什么价格、什么合约形式雇多少要素;资本家甚至无需付出监督和管理的努力,就可以使团队产品自动大于团队成员个人产品的算术之和。在这个前提下——也仅仅在这个前提下——我们当然同意马克思的意见:“剩余价值”不但是“多余”的,而且还带有道义上不公正的剥削性质。

It is clear that all these analyses do not take into consideration any
transaction cost.
Is it not? It seems as though capitalists found out about who are their
customers and what are their needs quite effortlessly and make decisions about
what to produce and how much to produce based on this knowledge. It also seems
as though it did not take any efforts for capitalists to discover employable
labor and other key ingredients of production and decide at what price and in
what matter to hire these labor. It seems as though it did not take any efforts
of supervision and management and the product of the team would automatically be
worth more than the total sum of the products of individual members of the team.
Only when we accept these scenarios can we agree to Marx’s view that surplus
value is not only surplus but immoral since it comes from unfair exploitation.

问题是,真实世界里的交易费用绝不为零。一般如商品和服务的买家与卖家,特殊如资本家与工人,他们之间在市场上的互相发现、订约和履约,都要付出昂贵的费用。交易费用不为零,就既不存在自动的“等价交换”,也不存在不需要经营、监督和管理的经济组织。从这点看,发现市场、协调供求、组织生产等项职能,绝不是“多余的”。资本家们获取的报酬,部分是投资于企业的财务资本的利息,部分是作为企业家人力资本的服务回报。至于这些收入的水平高低,是由市场竞争——企业家与企业家的竞争、工人与工人的竞争、商品买家与买家的竞争、以及商品卖家的竞争——决定的。

The question is that in the real world, transaction cost can never be zero.
Whether it is the general relation between provider and buyer of commodities and
services, or the specific relationship between capitalist and worker, their
mutual discovery, the signing and carrying out of contract with each other
requires expensive cost. Since transaction cost is not zero, there cannot be
automatic “equal exchange” or economic organization without supervision. From
this perspective, operations such as the discovery of market, the coordination
of demand and supply, and the organization of production cannot be considered
“surplus.” The profit gained by a capitalist comes partly from the interest of
the financial capital invested in a particular business, partly from the return
for the service of an entrepreneur’s human capital. The actual amount of these
incomes is dependent on market competition between entrepreneurs, workers,
buyers and providers of a particular commodity or service.

资本家当然要利用自己的相对稀缺性谋求更高的收益。像任何市场中人一样,资本家也可能在履行合约的过程中,侵犯、损害各相关利益方——其他股东、各种债权人、工人、上下游供应商、产品经销商、甚至顾客——的利益。人们可以用“剥削”之名囊括所有这些侵权行为,但是无论如何,“剥削”并不是资本家的唯一职能,正如可能的假冒伪劣行径并不是商贩的全部职能一样。在真实世界里,人们节约交易费用的行为与增加交易费用的行为——两者皆可图利——经常混杂在一起。究竟哪一种行为主导了经济,取决于现实的约束条件——习俗、道德、法律及法律的实际执行。

Of course, the capitalist will maximize his relative scarcity and translate that
into greater profit. Like everyone else participating in market exchange, it is
possible that a capitalist will violate and hurt the parties of interests
involved in a transaction, such as other investors, credit holders, workers,
upstream and downstream suppliers, retailers, and even customers. We can use the
term “exploitation” to describe all of these acts of violation. However,
“exploitation” is not the only function of the capitalist, in the same way that
counterfeiting is not the only function of merchants. In the real world,
people’s acts to save or increase transaction cost are often mixed together.
Which act takes priority in a particular economy depends on certain regulatory
conditions, including customs, morality, law and the practice of law.

那么,究竟怎样对待真实过程里的资本家呢?前苏联模式得出的了一个革命的结论——“消灭资本家,消灭一切剥削”。但是,这样一来,把资本家节约交易费用与组织成本的职能也一并消灭掉了。问题是,交易费用并没有随着资本家的被消灭而消失。社会主义经济仍然面临节约建设成本、生产成本、制度成本和组织成本的严重问题。结果,把资本家打翻在地的社会主义国家,只好由自己来扮演“总资本家”的角色,即用“没有资本家的资产阶级法权”(列宁)来管理国民经济。几十年的实践结果表明,中央计划体制不但运行成本奇高,也并没有完全消灭“剥削”——作为等级制替代产权与市场合约制度的产物,官僚特权替代了资本家的剥削;在“大锅饭”的体制下,多劳不能多得的,天天受到“不多劳却多得”行为的剥削。这个结果应该出乎革命家当初的预料,它当然要被反思。邓小平不允许把重新冒头的民营企业一棍子打下去,坚持多试试、多看看,意在探索把复杂问题分开来处理的路径。前苏联和中国自己的历史教训时刻提醒着中国改革的决策者,为什么社会主义经济非要把资本家连同创业精神、市场判断力、组织和协调生产的能力一起抛弃呢?

So how should we deal with the capitalist in real life? The revolutionary
principle that the former Soviet Union and the pre-economic reform China adhered
to is to
“eliminate exploitation by eliminating capitalists.” This also means the
elimination of the capitalist’s function of saving transaction cost and
organizational cost. However, transaction cost does not disappear with the
elimination of capitalists. Socialist economy still has the problem of
production cost, institutional cost, and organizational cost. What results from
the elimination of capitalists is that the socialist nation-state has to play
the role of the “mega-capitalist” who manages economy by using “capitalistic
privilege without capitalists” (Lenin). The experience of several decades in the
past has shown that not only does the cost of running a central planning system
extremely high, but it does not eliminate “exploitation” completely. As a
hierarchical system replacing a system of property rights and market contract,
bureaucratic privilege takes the place of capitalist exploitation. The
consequence is beyond the expectation of many revolutionaries and demands
reflection. Deng Xiaoping does not want to smash the newly emerged private
businesses right on the head because he wanted to experiment and observe more.
He tried to separate out entangled problems and find different solutions for
each of them. I don’t believe that Deng’s generation of revolutionaries could
tolerate any “exploitative” behavior. However, the historical experience of the
former Soviet Union and China itself repeatedly raises the question to
decision-makers: “Why does a socialist economy have to eliminate the creativity,
judgment of the market and the ability to organize and coordinate production
along with capitalists?”

邓小平把企业家请回了中国。他执掌中国后不久,就高度肯定了历史上“民族资产阶级”的代表容毅仁,并大胆决策划出一笔国有资本交付荣先生全权打理
——这开启了“国有资本+企业家”的新经济模式。邓小平还运用自己的政治权威,多次对“傻子瓜子”这个事件表态,不准再动用国家机器鲁莽地扼杀民营企业家。这位革命老人一次又一次耐心地问:允许这些企业家的存在,难道真的就危害了社会主义吗?

Deng Xiaoping brought entrepreneurs back to China. After he gained power, he
strongly approved of the work of the representative of the “nationalist
capitalists”, Mr. Rong Yiren, and boldly allocated an amount of state-owned
capital for him to manage. This was the beginning of the new economic model of
“state capital plus entrepreneurs.” Deng Xiaoping also voiced his opinions from
a position of political power on similar controversies to the one involving the
“Dummy Watermelon Seed.” He disallowed the use of state power to bluntly crush
private businessmen. This senior revolutionary repeatedly ask the same question
over and over again: is it really going to hurt socialism to allow these
entrepreneurs to exist?

越来越多的人得出了正确答案。随着企业家的存在被广泛认为是“对的”(right),创业当企业家就再次成为中国人的一项权利(the
rights)。改革以来,中国发布了多个政策文件、通过了多部法律,并数度修订宪法,逐渐承认并保护了普通人自由缔约、创办各类企业、按投资要素分配收入的合法权利。据一项权威发布,到2007年底,中国的民营经济约占国民生产总值50%,非农就业的70%,税收的30-40%。这是改革前无论如何也不能想象的。

More and more people have reached an answer to this question based on their
experience and observations. As the existence of entrepreneurs began to be
viewed upon as a “right” thing, starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur
once again gradually became one of the “rights” of the Chinese. Since the
beginning of the economic reform, China has issued many policy documents, passed
many laws, and revised its constitution several times to gradually give
recognition to and protection of the freedom of signing contracts, the right of
setting up various businesses and to allocate profit according to the percentage
of investment. According to an authoritative report, by the end of 2007, private
businesses took up fifty percent of the total GNP (gross national product),
accounted for seventy percent of non-agricultural employment, amounted to thirty
to forty percent of taxation income. This would be an unimaginable picture for
the pre-economic reform era.

三 、重新认识看不见的手
III. Seeing the Invisible Hand Again

从1985年5月开始,邓小平连续几年推动“价格闯关”。这意味着,原来由国家规定和控制的物价,要放开由市场决定。此前,中国已形成了一种“价格双轨制”,即按计划指令生产的产品由国家定价,超计划增产的产品则按市场供求决定价格。这个过渡性的体制,在显著刺激增产的同时,也造成分配方面的混乱:
同一个产品的“市场价”高于其“计划价”数倍甚至十数倍,以至于任何有“门路”的人,都有机会把计划轨道上的产品倒卖到市场上而大发横财。一时间,“寻租”盛行,公众反感。邓和他的同事们决心推进价格改革,解决问题。

价格改革之所以被称为“闯关”,是因为此前的波兰,因放开食品价格,影响工人生活,导致大罢工和波兰共产党的下台。中国“价格改革”的代价究竟有多大,能不能平稳推进,没有谁可以打包票。邓小平决心用自己的权威推进价格闯关。他甚至说,乘我们老同志还在,勇敢闯过这一关。

In May 1988, Deng Xiaoping announced to “run the gauntlet on price reform”. This
means that the prices that used to be determined and regulated by the government
would be open for the determination of the market. Before that moment, China had
already developed a “dual-track price system.” This means that the prices of the
products that were within the government’s production plan were determined by
the government, but prices of the products that fell outside this plan were
determined by the market. While this transitional set-up could stimulate growth,
it also created chaos. The “market price” of the same product can be over ten
times higher than the “controlled price.” Some people with connections took
advantage of this chaotic situation to acquire commodities at a “controlled
price” and re-sold them on the market. All of a sudden, “rent seeking” became
very popular, and many people were angry at this situation. Deng and his
colleagues decided that the only way to solve this problem was to reform the
pricing system. Price reform is equivalent to “running the gauntlet” because
previously in Poland, when the government deregulated the price of food, workers
whose lives were greatly affected by this change organized several major strikes
that brought down the Polish Communist Party. There was no guarantee that
China’s “price reform” would not be costly or be able to proceed smoothly. Deng
Xiaoping was determined to use his authority to “run the gauntlet” on price
controls. He even said that it was good to attempt it while the “old folks” were
still alive.

1988年7月,国务院宣布开放名烟名酒价格。这其实是一次试探性的前哨战。8月中旬,中共中央政治局会议通过了《关于价格、工资改革的方案》。不料,会议公报发表的当天,全国各地就出现居民抢购食品和生活用品、又拥到银行挤提存款的风潮。十天以后,国务院宣布加强物价管理、不再出台物价调整项目、提升银行存款利息、全面整顿市场秩序。9月,中共政治局决定开展全国范围的“治理整顿”。第一波“价格闯关”搁浅。

In July 1988, China announced that it would deregulate the prices of brand-name
cigarettes and liquor. This was an exploratory excursion into a battle zone. In
the middle of August, the political bureau meeting of the Central Government
passed “Reform Plans on Price and Wage.” Unexpectedly, on the same day of the
publication of the meeting’s official report, people from all over the country
rushed to the store to buy large quantities of food and daily sundries and took
out their savings from the banks. Ten days later, the State Council announced
that it would re-consolidate price control, withhold new programs of price
adjustment, raise the interest rates on savings, and restore stability in the
market. In September of the same year, the Political Bureau of the Chinese
Communist Party decided to “direct and readjust” markets on a nation-wide scale.
The first attempt at “running the gauntlet” was stalled.

事后我的理解,在累计发放货币过多的条件下“放开价格”,势必把原先“隐形通胀”转成为群众不可能接受的显形高通胀。这证明,即使得到了政治方面的强力支持,在高通胀环境下也难以顺利推进价格改革。中国进入了为期三年(1989-1991)的“治理整顿”期,政府用行政手段抽银根、压投资、管物价;经济增长减速,经济改革停滞。让中国和世界大吃一惊的是,邓小平在1992年春天再次奋力推进中国改革。他以一个88岁退休老人的身份,发表了著名的南方谈话——“不改革开放,只能是死路一条”。邓小平特别提出了长期困扰中国改革的问题:坚持计划体制是不是就等于“姓社”(会主义)?走市场之路是不是就等于“姓资”(本主义)?他的答案石破天惊:计划和市场都不过是配置资源的方式,社会主义同样可以走市场之路。

According to my understanding after this incident, “price deregulation” under
the background of persistent excessive money supply growth had turned the
“invisible inflation” into “visible inflation”. And this could not be accepted
by the public. This shows that even with strong political support, it is
impossible to conduct a smooth operation of price reform. When China entered the
three year period of “directing and readjustment” of markets (1989-1991), the
government used its administrative power to reduce the supply of money, suppress
investment, and control prices. The speed of economic growth slowed down
sharply, and the economic reform was brought at a
stand-still. What surprised the world in 1992 was that Deng Xiaoping gave
another push to the economic reform in China. He made his famous Southern-tour
speech as an eighty-eight year old “retired Party member” without specific
official positions. He stated, “There is no other way out except reform and
opening up.” Deng Xiaoping raised the question that created much anxiety towards
China’s reform: Is adhering to the central planning system equivalent to
sticking to socialism? Is walking down the path of market economy equivalent to
following capitalism? His reply to this question was unexpected: Planning and
market are but ways of allocating resources. Socialism can still follow the path
of market economy.

在邓小平的推动下,中国于1992年再度勇闯价格关。是年,新放开的生产资料和交通运输价格达648种,农产品价格50种,其中包括在全国844个县(市)的范围内,放开了长达几十年由国家统购的粮食价格,并放开了除盐和药品以外全部轻工业产品的价格。到1993年春,中国社会零售商品总额的
95%、农副产品收购总额的90%、以及生产资料销售总额的85%,全部放开由市场供求决定。“价格闯关”最终成行,“用市场价格机制配置资源”从此成为中国经济制度的一个基础。

Encouraged by Deng Xiaoping, China decided to “run the gauntlet” on price
deregulation again in 1992. In the same year, the prices of as many as 648 items
of production materials and transportation and 50 prices of agricultural
products were deregulated. It covered 844 counties and cities all over the
country. The price of food staples, which fell under the state-unified purchase
system for several decades, was now deregulated. The price of all light
industrial products except salt and medicine were all opened up. By the spring
of 1993, 95% of the total value of retail products, 90% of the total of price of
agricultural and by-products, and 85% of the retail value of production
materials were all determined by the demand-supply relationship on the market.
The “gauntlet on price deregulation” is finally broken, and “using market price
mechanism to allocate resources” finally became the basis of Chinese economic
system.

经济学家通常会不遗余力地推崇市场价格机制。这不足为奇,因为有亚当.斯密以来经济学传统的鼎力支持。可是,为什么邓小平也对“看不见的手”情有独钟?这位曾经指挥过百万野战大军、担任过中共中央总书记和国务院副总理的大政治家,分明拥有一双“看得见的手”!他难道不知道,扩大市场价格机制配置资源的范围,总要在某种程度上收缩“看得见的手”发号施令的范围?大权在手,又坚决推进价格闯关,这究竟是为什么?

Economists have long emphasized market price mechanism. This is nothing new
since this is the tradition of Adam Smith and conventional economics. Then why
is it
Deng Xiaoping was also particularly interested in the “invisible hand”? As the
leader of thousands of armed forces and as a statesman who occupied such
important positions as the chief secretary of the Chinese Communist Party
Central Committee and the vice premier of the State Council, Deng Xiaoping had a
pair of hands that were more than visible! He could not have not known that
expanding the range of market control of prices meant restricting the field of
operation that his “visible hands” could control. With great power in hand, he
chose to “run the gauntlet” on price decontrol.

要回答这个问题,我认为涉及三个层面。第一,苏联式计划体制的实质,是把整个国民经济办成一个超级国家公司。这个超级国家公司不得不承受巨大的组织运行成本:收集需求和生产全部信息的成本,决策和指挥的成本,以及发现错误并加以纠正的成本,等等。作为改革前中共第一代领导集体的一员,邓小平多年负责处理国家一线事务,几乎就是这个超级国家公司的执行长。正因为对原有体制不堪重负的成本压力有切身感受,也对原体制的运行效率极不满意,才迫使邓小平比局外批评家更明白,权力过于集中的主要结果,恰恰是无法有效行使国家权力。历史把这位执行长推上了决策人的位置,邓小平决意改革,顺理成章。

Why? I think there are three perspectives from which this question to be
addressed: First, the Soviet-style planned economy turns the entire national
economy into a super corporation of the nation-state. This super corporation has
to put up with huge costs of operation, including the cost of collecting
information about demands and production, the cost of decision- making and
management, and the cost of discovering and rectifying mistakes. As a member of
the first-generation leadership team in the pre-economic reform era, Deng was in
charge of the nation’s frontline economic operation and was practically the
manager of this super state corporation. He knew from first-hand experience the
burden of the huge costs of the old system. He also understood that
over-centralization of power would result in the inability to use state power.
Therefore, he wanted to reform when history gave him an opportunity to be the
decision-maker of the nation-state.

第二,邓小平倡导的开放,启迪了一代中国人,也启迪了他本人。作为1978-1982年一位北京的在校大学生,我感受到那几年涌动的关于中国经济发展的新想法、新冲动,无一例外都来自多年封闭后对外部世界的观察、比较和思考。无论欧美日本,亚洲四小龙,还是南斯拉夫匈牙利和波兰,所有当时在经济成就方面令中国羡慕的经济体,没有一个套用苏联计划模式的。这些经济体都允许“看不见之手”发挥基础的资源配置作用。他们的经验说明,价格机制并不是洪水猛兽,中国为什么不可以大胆试一试?

Second, the reform Deng started enlightened both he himself and the whole
country. As a university student in Beijing from 1978 to 1982, I knew on a
first-hand basis that all the new ideas and initiatives with regard to China’s
economic development came from observing, comparing with, and contemplating
about the experiences of the outside world after living in a relatively closed
society for many years. Whether it was Europe, U.S. or
Japan, the four tigers in Asia, or the former Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Poland,
all the economic units envied by China achieved their economic successes not by
following the model of the Soviet economy. These economic units had strategies
and overall planning, but they all allowed the “invisible hand” to play a
fundamental role. Price mechanism is not a monster. Why cannot China give it a
try?

最后一个层面最为隐蔽。邓小平的哲学,是相信每个普通人都具有改善生活的持久动力。国家要富强,要推进现代化,就必须充分发挥每一个社会成员和所有基层组织的积极性。正是在这样的思想基础上,才产生了上文提到的中国式权利界定和把企业家请回中国的改革政策。新的问题是,当改革开放释放了个人、家庭和基层组织的积极性之后,如何协调(coordinate)十数亿人口爆发出来的竞争致富冲动,就成为新的经济体制必须解决的问题。邓小平倾心于发挥价格机制的作用,是因为他认识到仅靠国家计划之手,根本不足以应对改革开放后如何协调整个中国经济的新课题。

There is a third reason that is somewhat more subtle. The philosophy of Deng
believes that every ordinary person is equipped with a long-lasting incentive to
improve his or her life. For a country to become more prosperous and achieve
modernization, it has to stimulate the enthusiasm of every member of the society
and basic-level organizations. It is this idea that gave rise to the
delimitation of rights in Deng’s style and the re-emergence of entrepreneurship
in China, which I have mentioned previously. The question is once economic
reform has released the enthusiasm of individuals, families and basic-level
organizations, how should we coordinate the desire to become rich by one billion
plus people. Deng Xiaoping emphasizes the coordination of the price mechanism
because he knew that state planning cannot handle the new problem of the
coordination of Chinese economy.

叙述至此,我们也许要为一件事情而感到遗憾,那就是科斯教授从未访华,因此也没有与邓小平先生谋面的机会。不过,我猜想他们俩可能会互相欣赏。科斯在1937年创立的公司理论,出发点是覆盖整个经济的“完备的市场”,由价格机制配置一切资源——这也是大多数经济学家的理论出发点。但是,年轻的科斯早在1937年就发现,价格机制并不免费,因为完成市场交易的成本常常极其昂贵。为了节约由科斯在科学上首先定义的交易费用(transaction
cost),内部似乎不用价格机制、靠企业家的权威和计划来协调的“公司(firm)”就应运而生了。

It is a pity that Professor Coase has never visited China before or had a chance
to meet Deng in person. But my guess is that they would have mutual appreciation
for each other. The starting point of Coase’s theory of the corporation
formulated in 1937 considers the market as the basic economic structure and
emphasizes the coordination of price mechanism. This is the starting point of
most economists. However, Coase already argued at a young age that the price
mechanism is not cost-free. It could be rather expensive to conduct transactions
on the market. In order to save transaction cost, a term that Coase first gave
definition to, the idea of a firm that does not use price mechanism but rely on
the authority of the entrepreneur and planning for regulation is born.

邓小平的出发点是另外一极,即囊括了整个国民经济的超级国家公司。在这里,国家用“看得见之手”的权威和计划协调整个国民经济,固然因为消灭了一切市场交易而不再受到狭义“交易费用”的局限。但是,科斯定义的另一种成本即“组织成本(organization
cost)”,却每日每时困扰着这个超级国家公司。邓小平领导的改革,出发点就是降低超级国家公司的巨额组织成本。为此,他提倡分权改革战略,通过对重新界定权利的合法认定,激发了个人、家庭、基层组织和地方的积极性,还同时把企业家协调和价格机制协调一并请回到中国经济的舞台。

The starting point of Deng Xiaoping is at the opposite end, that is, the
super-national firm that is established based on the elimination of all market
transactions. Here since the nation uses the “visible hands” of its authority
and plans to coordinate the entire economy, it is not confined by narrowly
defined “transaction costs.” However, another kind of cost, which has also been
identified by Coase is “organization cost,” troubles this super-national
corporation on a daily basis. The starting point of the economic reform led by
Deng is to lower the huge organization costs of the super-national company. Thus
he promoted a strategy of the division of power, the rejuvenation of the
enthusiasm of individuals, families and basic-level organizations, and the
re-emerging coordination by entrepreneurs and price mechanism back onto the
stage of China’s economy.

我们有幸目睹了历史性的一慕:一个实事求是的经济学家离开了“看不见之手”支配一切的理论原点,向企业家协调与价格机制协调并用的真实世界出发;一个实事求是的政治家离开了计划经济的教条,向市场与计划并用的体制前进——他们“会面”的地方不是别处,恰恰就是改革的中国!当然,在“看得见之手”与
“看不见之手”之间,边界尚没有完全厘定,摩擦和冲突时有发生。但是,“两手”之间充满意识形态敌意、非白即黑的那一页已经翻过去成为了历史。新的认知是,计划组织与价格机制可以在一个经济体里共存并用,并以实际的运行成本为依凭来划清彼此之间的界线。

We were lucky to witness the unfolding of a historical drama: a down-to-earth
economist abandoned the theoretical origin of controlling everything with the
“visible hands” and moved in the direction of the real world in which
coordination by entrepreneurs and price mechanism was both activated. Another
down-to-earth statesman moved away from the doctrines of planned economy towards
the direction of activating both the market and plan. The meeting point of these
two people is Chinese economy. Of course, the borders of the “visible” and
“invisible” hands have not been clearly defined. Conflicts and friction are
bound to occur. However, the era when the two hands held ideological hostility
and viewed each other in black-and-white manner is over. A new understanding is
that regulation by plan and price mechanism can co-exist in an economic unit,
and one needs to rely on the cost of operation to draw the distinction between
the two.

四、腐败的挑战
IV. The Challenges of Corruption

邓小平关于中国的许多预言都已经实现了。不过,有一点至今还是例外。1985年春天,我在随杜润生先生前往温州调查的路上,听到传来的邓小平指示,大意是中国不能出现百万富翁,不能走两级分化的道路。到达温州的时候,当地人也正在热烈讨论。他们提出的问题是:温州一些民营企业家的身家财产早就超过了百万,分明已是百万富翁,怎么办?讨论得出的结论是,企业家的私人财产只有很小的一部分用于自己和家人的消费享受,大部分还是用于生产——如果把消费资料与生产资料恰当地分开来,温州和中国就“还不能算已经有了百万富翁”。既然如此,邓小平的指示就不算被违背了吧?

Most prophecies of Deng Xiaoping except one have been fulfilled. In a field trip
I made with Du Runsheng to Wenzhou in 1985, I heard about Deng’s instructions
that millionaires should not be allowed, and China should not follow the path of
social disparity. When we arrived in town, the locals were also having heated
discussions on the same issue. Their question to Deng’s comments was: in
Wenzhou, some private entrepreneurs had already owned properties worth more than
one million; they were, obviously, millionaires. Was that a problem? The locals
reached a conclusion that the majority of the private assets of entrepreneurs
were indeed reinvested in production; only a small portion was to be used for
personal and familiar consumption. So if the materials of consumption were
appropriately separated from the materials of production, Wenzhou and China “had
not had millionaires yet.” Therefore, there was no violation of Deng’s
instructions.

仅仅过了十年,个人的消费性财产超过百万的例子在中国就不胜枚举。数千万的世界级名贵跑车在中国热卖——那可不是“生产资料”。2000年的前后,全球顶极奢侈品的专卖店纷纷在北京上海深圳开张,市场说这里是成长最快的奢侈品市场。由于房地产和股票市场的力量,很多专业人士包括工薪家庭,也进入了百万富翁的行列。所有这些,可以不无理由地被看成经济成就的象征。但与此同时,官方统计和报道、国内外学界的调查、以及对社会生活的直接观察,都表明今天的中国还有不少生计艰难、平均每天收入不过1美元的贫困人口。

Only one decade later, numerous personal consumptive properties valued more than
one million dollars emerged in China. Millions of premium cars have been sold in

China—and, they are NOT materials for production. Franchised stores of
world-class luxury goods mushroomed in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen around the
year 2000;
China is now the fastest growing market for luxury goods in the world. Pushed by
the real estate and stock markets, many professionals, including some salary
earners, have joined the club of millionaires. All these are symbols of economic
achievement. However, government statistics, scholarly reports and our
daily-life observations also show that China has still a sizable poor population
whose average daily income is less than 1 US dollar.

学者们用“吉尼系数”描述收入分配差距的状况,发现改革后中国的收入分配差距有拉大的趋向。这类测度可能忽略了一点,即“收入的获取是否合乎公义”
并不是定量技术可以描述的。姚明的高收入是一回事,贪官们卖官鬻爵的收入是另一回事——公众舆论真正痛恨的是后者,因为其收入不合公义。可是,关于收入差距的测算并不能划分这个及其重要的区别。其实,真正威胁改革存亡的严重问题是,即使根据反贪部门公开发布的腐败案例,人们也看到利用公权力腐败——显然不合正义的收入——的趋势在中国有增无减。

Scholars use Gini Coefficient to describe income disparity. They found the
income gap in China has been increasing after economic reforms. This sort of
calculation may neglect the fact that “whether an income comes from legitimate
sources” cannot be quantitatively described. It is one thing to say “Yao Ming
has very high income” is one thing; it is another thing that “corrupt officials
are making windfalls” — public opinion is against the latter, because the source
of the income is unjust. Even based on the cases exposed by the anti-corruption
agencies, people can see the abuse of power and corruption continues to grow in
China.

除了当事人的道德水准外,贪污腐败的趋势到底与什么有关?对此,张五常曾提出过一个理论。在本文开首提及的《中国的前途》里,五常指出,就竞争稀缺资源而言,人类社会形成了两种基本的经济制度。一种以等级制特权来规范和约束人们的行为、防止稀缺资源被彻底滥用。另一种就是产权制度,即以财产权利的界分来划分人们从事经济活动的自由空间,以刺激生产、交换、分工与合作。张五常更推测,当第一种经济制度转向第二种制度即市场经济的时候,腐败将大量发生,因为原来的等级特权无可避免地要争取最高的“权力租金”。这个过程甚至可能形成一种独特的“秩序”,即“制度化腐败”
(institutionalized
corruption)。后来的中国经验的确表明,腐败不仅仅是改革启动的一种伴随物,也是瓦解公众支持改革的腐蚀剂、甚至是终极改革的致命杀手。转型经济怎样应对制度化腐败,是一项严重的挑战。

Aside from the lack of sound ethical standards of the people involved, what
other factors can cause corruption? Steven Cheung once had a theory. In China’s
Future, Cheung pointed out that human society has created two basic economic
institutions to deal with the competition of scarce resources. One uses
hierarchical power to regulate people’s behavior and prevent the abuse of
resources. The other uses property rights system, that is, using the delineation
of rights to define the boundaries of people’s economic activities and stimulate
production, exchange, division of labor and cooperation. Furthermore, Steven
Cheung predicted that when the first economic institution is moving toward the
second one, which is market economy, corruption will happen significantly
because the old hierarchical privileges are going to fight for the highest “rent
of power.” This process will create a specific order, that is,
“institutionalized corruption,” named by Steven Cheung. Later experiences in
China demonstrated clearly that corruption is not only the companion created by
reforms; it also corrodes reforms by dissolving public support, and finally, it
can bring reforms to an end. How to deal with institutionalized corruption has
become a serious challenge for a transitional economy.

邓小平的答案是多手并举:道德教育、党的纪律和法治。我不认为还可以想出更多的办法来遏制腐败。问题是,在上述分权改革、重新界定权利、承认并鼓励民营企业家、大规模利用价格机制的每一个过程中,腐败不但形影相随,且有更快蔓延之势——腐败跑得似乎比改革还要快!1986年9月,邓小平得出了一个重要结论:不改革政治体制,就不能保障经济体制改革的成果,不能使经济改革体制继续前进(邓小平文选,第三卷,第176-180页)。为此,他开始部署中国政治体制改革。

Deng Xiaoping proposed multiple solutions: moral education, law and order. There
were plenty of ways to fight against corruption. The problem is, in the above
mentioned reform processes of decentralization, redefinition of property rights,
the unleashing of private businesses and the use of price of mechanism,
corruption shadowed all of them and continued to sprawl—corruption seemed to run
faster than reforms! Deng reached an important conclusion in September 1986:
without reforming political institutions, the fruits of economic reforms cannot
be protected, and the reforms of economic institution cannot continue to move
forward.” Therefore, he started to plan China’s political reforms.

政治体制改革远为复杂和困难。最主要症结是,经济改革触犯的经济既得利益,还可以用经济手段补偿,但政治改革触犯的既得利益,拿什么来做补偿?举一个例子,原来“享受低价好处”的居民家庭,一旦价格放开后受到损害,政府可发财政补贴给予补偿。但是,原来主管物价的政府部门,价格放开后就面临权力缩减、部门撤并、甚至官员下岗的现实威胁。对于一辈子管物价的官员来说,他身上的专用人力资本一夜之间全报废,他能接受吗?用经济办法来补偿“丧失权力的损失”吗?出价低,不可能被接受;出价高,国家财政不堪负担——等级制其实是非常昂贵的。听任掌权者自己补偿(贪污腐败是也)?公众不可能接受,而那样“补偿”的结果,一定是更舍不得放弃权力。那么,可以不予补偿就取消权力吗?可以,但改革因此就等于革命。

Political reforms are more complicated and difficult than economic reforms. The
key problem lies in the fact that economic interests of the status quo can be
compensated by economic means; but if the political reform is harming the
political interests of the status quo, with what can that be compensated? For
example, urban households which enjoyed the benefits of low prices were affected
economically by the opening up of price control. To deal with this problem, the
government can use subsidies to compensate for the loss of urban dwellers.
However, the government agencies which were in charge of price control would
face cuts of budget, personnel, power and resources. For those officials who had
devoted his whole life controlling price, their specialized human capital
expired overnight. Would they accept this situation? One may think of using
economic means to compensate for the loss of power. But if the price is too low,
the deal would not be accepted. If the price is too high, the state cannot
afford it—a hierarchical system is indeed very expensive! Can you take away
people’s power without any compensation? If so, reform means revolution.

邓小平多次讲过“改革也是革命”。不过他面临另一项约束。作为“权力过于集中”的派生物,中国的党政骨干系统发达,但其他社会软组织发育不足,行政系统实际上负担着社会经济体系的运转。这本身就增加了消化政治体制改革副产品——重新安排官员——的难度。另一个连带的后果,就是国家权力体系一旦失稳,整个社会就容易动荡。所以,推进“也是革命”的政治体制改革,又不得不以“稳定”为边界。于是人们看到,1986年重新提上日程的中国政治体制改革,并没有实质推进。一年以后的中共十三大,通过了酝酿已久的政治体制改革纲领,但没等到切实实施,“价格闯关”的失败以及随后发生的天安门广场事件,就再也没有给中国推进政改的机会。即使1992年邓小平的南巡讲话,也限于推动经济增长与经济改革,而并不是政治体制改革。中国的政治体制改革,是邓小平未竞的事业。

Deng Xiaoping noted that “reform is also a kind of revolution.” But he faced
another constraint. As the result of the “over-concentration of power,” China
has a very strong party and political system, but very weak social
organizations. This intensified the difficulty to absorb the by-product of the
political reform, that is, to re-assign those officials in other positions.
Another consequence is that once the power system is shaky, it tends to cause
social unrest. Therefore, in the process of promoting the reform which “is also
a kind of revolution,” political stability is also the bottom-line condition.
Thus we see that the political reform proposed in 1986 was not implemented in
actuality. One year later, the Outline of the Reform of Political Institution
was passed in the thirteenth Communist Party Plenum. But before the Outline was
implemented, the failure of the loosening up of the price control and the
Tiananmen Square Incident took away the opportunity of China’s political reform.
In Deng’s later Southern Tour Speech in 1992, he promoted mainly economic reform
and economic development. China’s political reform remains an unfinished task of
Deng Xiaoping.

五、小结
V. Concluding Remarks

中国经济增长取得的令人瞩目的成就,为邓小平启动的改革开放提供了一个无可更改的背书。如果用最多数人口的日常生活得到显著改善作为评价标准,邓小平领导的中国改革开放一定会被写入历史。当然,伟大成就的成因是复合的,人们对此也常有不同的看法。我的观点是,正是改革开放大幅度降低了中国经济的制度成本,才使这个有着悠久文明历史的最大的发展中国家,有机会成为全球增长最快的经济。

有观察家以为,“廉价劳动力”是中国竞争力的根本。对此我的问题是,改革前中国劳力和其他要素的价格更为低廉,为什么那时候并没有影响全球市场的
“中国制造”?更深入的分析表明,知识扩展才是中国经济成就的基础。不过若问,为什么中国人、特别是年轻一代中国人对知识的态度有了根本的转变?答案是,改革激发了中国人掌握知识的诱因,而开放则降低了中国人的学习成本。综合起来,早已存在的要素成本优势、改革开放显著降低制度费用、以及中国人力资本的迅速积储,共同成就了中国经济的竞争力。其中,制度成本的大幅度降低,是中国经验的真正秘密。

China’s economic growth has strongly endorsed the reform and opening-up policies
initiated by Deng Xiaoping. His reform no doubt would be documented in China and
the world history for it has evidently improved the daily life of the largest
population on earth. Surely there are multiple factors contributing to this
achievement, and scholars always have different opinions. My argument, based on
my observation and research, is that the reform and opening up have largely
reduced the institutional costs of China’s economy, and allowed this largest
developing county in the world, with its long civilization and history, to
become the largest “growing economy” in the world.
Many consider cheap labor as the foundation for China’s competitiveness. My
question to this is that China’s labor and other productive factors were even
much cheaper before the reforms, and why did the “made-in-China” phenomenon not
happen in the global market back then? A deeper analysis than the cheap labor
hypothesis would argue the expansion of knowledge is the true basis for China’s
economic achievement. Surely I would have to agree on this. But why is there a
radical change of attitude toward knowledge among Chinese people, especially the
younger generation? My answer is that the reform has stimulated the incentives
for Chinese people to go after knowledge, and the opening up has lowered the
cost of learning. Some advantages that already exist, including the cost of key
ingredients for economic growth, reduced institutional costs, and a steep
learning curve have added together to build up China’s economic competitiveness.
Among the three, institutional cost reduction is the true secret of China’s
experiences.

邓小平开启了中国改革开放之路,也开启了中国经济增长之路。不过,他并没有完成中国的改革开放。无论在产权的重新界定,企业家职能的发挥,市场经济框架的完善、还是国家权力的约束与规范方面,中国都有面临大量未完成的议题。作为渐进改革策略的一个结果,很多困难而艰巨的改革任务留在了后面,并面临改变着的社会思想条件。就在科斯先生主办的本次研讨会举行期间,全球金融动荡和油价高企,正给全球经济增长带来前所为没有的新考验。受汇率、利率、资源价格和行政垄断部门等重大改革滞后的拖累,中国经济能不能顺利应对这场新的挑战,保持经济的持续增长,还是未定之数。

Deng Xiaoping initiated China’s reform and opening up and paved the road of
China’s economic growth. But he didn’t complete China’s reform and opening up.
China has a lot of unfinished tasks: the delimitation of rights, the unleashing
of entrepreneurism, the institutional framework of market economy, and the
regulation of the power of the state. As one of the results of the gradual
reform strategy, many difficult reforms are postponed. The social conditions
which contextualize the hard reform tasks are constantly changing. In the time
when we are having this conference, global financial crisis is bringing new
tests to the world. Constrained by the lagging reforms of exchange rates,
interest rates, resource prices and administrative monopoly, it remains
uncertain if China can deal with the new challenges and keep its economic
growth.

前年在深圳,我有幸听到张五常的如下见解:中国人在改革开放以来创立了“人类历史上最好的经济制度”。我自己得到的观察,不容许我像他那样的乐观和肯定。不过,30年来中国的经验的确证明,未来绝不是宿命的。我们有理由相信,中国只要坚持改革开放以来被实践证明做对了的事情,继续推进尚未完成的改革事项,未来的历史将有机会再次证明人们关于中国的乐观断言。

I was fortunate to hear Steven Cheung’s comments at the end of 2006: “The
Chinese have created the best economic institution in human history.” My own
observation does not allow me to be so optimistic. But China’s experiences in
the past 30 years have proved that the future is open-ended. I hope that the
optimistic view on China would be proven right in the future.

作者附记:

科斯教授指定的题目,是The Unfolding of Deng’s Drama,直译回来,就是“邓小平戏剧的展开”——在中文语境里是另外一回事了。于是改用便于理解的本文标题。考虑到报纸的发表习惯,原文注释全部删去,留在以后关于中国改革的学术论文里再仔细交代。本文草稿得到宋国青、汪丁丁、卢锋、薛兆丰、朱锡庆、梁红等人的阅读意见,对作者多次修订文稿帮助很大。英文稿在讨论会前夜才传到芝加哥大学,蒙97岁高龄的科斯教授亲自审阅,并通过他的助手多次传递老人家的评论意见。在7月14日开始的芝加哥大学“中国改革30年研讨会”上,科斯的致辞,张五常的主题报告以及R.Fogel、H.Demsetz、R.Mundell和D.North的评论,以及王宁、
Roy Bin Wong,史正富、许成钢、张维迎、李俊慧、黄亚生、周燕、何东、朱锡庆等提交的论文、发言和讨论,不但增加了作者理解中国改革的视野和深度,更直接推动作者对本文的修订和补充。关于这次芝加哥学术盛会,作者和其他参与者应该还有文字报道与读者分享。这里谨对科斯及各位会议贡献者致以谢意,当然文中尚存的错失之处仍由作者本人负责。

评论分享
这片文章很有名,我去年做research的时候教授专门印给我看的,但是被黄亚生批判的很厉害。。。
Coase,我们学校最长寿的诺贝尔奖。这好像是CS的China Conference第一届呢
政府腐败是全球范围内的问题,如何调整incentive和monitor是关键,不能把所有问题归结于文化,国家文化也好,企业文化也好。
历史可以说明一切,时间可以证明一切
深入浅出的文章,客观公正的评价……在这个五毛横行的年代,难得一见……
在承认他的功绩的同时,也必须说到他同时饿死的很多人。只能说他的改革不彻底,或者说他的时间不够,没来得及完成。但是这些饿死的人却是无辜的。
革命要流血牺牲,改革也要流血牺牲,江山不是自己打下的都只想当个太平皇帝
他做对了什么不好说,但做错了什么那是人尽皆知的
标题过于偏锋了,让人想到deng的另类的丰功伟绩。。。周其仁老师的文章写得真好,文笔通畅、读着也舒服。
从头到尾看完了,想起来大一的时候在白楼二楼听项怀诚讲座的时候,也是这个内容,“振聋发聩"的改革。。。
从科斯经济学的角度看三十年经济与政治改革

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