王于漸's 的頭像

香港大學經濟學講座教授及黄乾亨黄英豪政治經濟學教授。

從摩爾觀點看中國現代化之路

《信報》大講堂:為何現代化過程可導致政治變革,有時甚至出現暴力革命?現代化是一個經濟變革歷程,社會從自給農業模式過渡至市場主導的工業制度,過程中包括兩大重要變革

首先是科技演進。在所有前現代社會,自給農業經濟中的生活水平變化甚微,耕作技術數千年來鮮有突破,經濟增長全賴人口增加,而非人均收入增加;直至工業化及市場經濟發展,情況才開始改變。

這項重大變化約於兩個世紀前在西歐出現。根據英國經濟學家麥迪遜(Angus Maddison)教授整理所得的歷史數據【圖】,其中的人均GDP清晰顯示變化幅度之大。在人類文明的歷史長河中,經濟增長的概念相對而言較為新穎激進。二百年前,人們沒有明天會更好的念頭,人稱「黃金時代」大都是過去或上古的年代,現代人卻擔心將來不比現在好。事實上,現代化離不開與時並進,不免挑戰一成不變、否定進化的傳統生活方式,這對今天社會名成利就的一群難免造成衝擊。

第二大變革是現代化經濟,亦即市場經濟,專為適應甚至助長變化而設。在這個框架下,個人消費幾乎全靠別人供應才能滿足。相反,自給自足的農業經濟中,幾乎所有經濟生產及消費由農村包辦而不假外求,外界事件對村內經濟無甚影響。地主與農民以農村為家,生於斯、長於斯,世代相傳,歷久不變。

經濟轉型 政局變天

前現代時期生活的特色包括傳統、習俗,以及濃得化不開的地方色彩,彼此溝通都以方言為主;現代社會則靈活多變、富於創意又無分地域疆界,都市人往往能操多國語言,也有共通語言。現代經濟以市場為基礎,其組成與傳統經濟截然不同,遠自阿當史密斯(Adam Smith)時代已是專門化與分工精細。

在農業時期,各地人民之間在經濟上互不相干,普羅大眾聚居於農村,除卻少數精英分子之外,絕少與外間交往,農村儼然大海中遺世獨立的孤島;除了偶然舉辦的市集以外,大部分商業活動都是長途跋涉的奢侈品交易,專以貴族、大富之家為銷售對象,與人口中佔絕大多數的農民無關。當時「環球經濟」只與全球人口中不到百分之一相關,其中都屬精英分子。(節錄)

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所有評論

4

4seasons - 2013年06月26日 18:16

對中國前途倍添信心當然可喜,香港七百萬人都希望可以對中國有信心,但中國經濟發展太快太急,問題層出不窮,真的可以令人有信心嗎?

彥儒 - 2013年06月26日 21:49

當歐美人對中國開放三十幾年的成就大為認同,批評最甚的總是自己人!

y

ycrwong2 - 2013年07月11日 18:18

I am a professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and I was a Senior Research Fellow at Hoover for a decade beginning in 1991.

I am writing this note because like you I share a concern about the capacity of liberalism to continue to provide a plausible and comprehensive narrative of the effects of globalization.

I have been reading your four-blog essay on China’s Path to Modernization with great interest. I think they are superb. The overarching insight that past modernizing societies experienced violent social revolution that swept away the remnants of traditional structures will surprise and disturb fellow free-market liberals who are prone to believing that economic modernization is sufficient to create liberal polities. Many will be surprised by the critical role you assign to Mao Zedong’s reforms. It is a commonplace that China’s trajectory to a market economy began with the market reforms of Deng, ignoring the social revolution that ensured China’s departure from its traditional way of life. I especially appreciate your reference to Barrington Moore’s comparison of China’ trajectory with that of India, highlighting his fundamental and still relevant but uncomfortable insight: Because India’s democracy arose without dismantling the old power structure; it has done little to advance the economic fortunes of the rural masses.

As a graduate student at the University of Michigan, Barrington Moore’s Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World also inspired me. My dissertation advisor, David Bien, a student of Barrington Moore’s, made sure de Tocqueville and Crane Briton balanced our understanding of Moore. Alexis de Tocqueville to a far greater extent than Moore inspires recent studies.

I remain, like you, a great admirer of Moore but much contemporary research on the social origins of the French Revolution has identified the state building process initiated by the monarchy, not the rising middle classes to be the revolutionary force and engine of revolutionary social change. The centralizing process in France, deprived the seigneurs of their governing function, the many rent-seeking perks and tax exemptions that perpetuated their survival a class, rendered their privileges residual. Meanwhile, the protection extended by royal bureaucracy to peasant communities and urban communes conflicted with the authority of the feudal class, and had a corrosive influence on hereditary power, while inflaming the expectations of the non-noble population. Although the monarchy centralized with a conservative objective of protecting social privilege, it ended by promoting new conceptions of public order, modifying the classifications of status and social responsibility. The new order institutionalized by Napoleon continued the centralizing reforms of the royal bureaucracy.

Contemporary scholarship on the modernization of Britain has also revealed the role assigned to the rising middle classes to be a myth. The ancient nobility was central to the modernization of the Old Regime Europe and were its principal beneficiaries. The important question for comparative east/west history is why did European elites take risks that put their own class based power at risk, risks that elites in East Asia are not willing to take?

Yet, the conservative aspects of European social order, characterized by the continuity of elite rule, strike most scholars of European history as noteworthy. In fundamental ways, elite lineages do not seem to have changed over long stretches of time: “the aristocracy successfully maintained its power during all the vicissitudes of three-quarters of a millennium during which almost everything else changed, quite drastically” (Hexter 1961, 19). Similarly, the British cultural historian and medievalist R. W. Southern concludes “England, for example, retained its basic governance structure despite radical transformations in technology and in population “The slow emergence of a knightly aristocracy which set the social tone of Europe for hundreds of years contains no dramatic events or clearly decisive moments” (1953, 13). A critical question for comparative history is the persistence on the continent of an inter-European aristocracy that survived system-wide changes that arose abruptly and continuously. How did this elite continuity persist over a period of a thousand years, how did individuals and groups within the aristocracy adapt to opportunities that in turn caused the economy to grow.

Indeed, Moore is correct that revolutionary violence swept away obstacles to modernization, but some of the answers to these conundrums do not align with Moore’s perspectives. European social transitions like the French Revolution occurred in the context of a Europe-wide state system shaped by mobilization for victory or defeat in war. Much of the conflict that produced social change was intra-elite and not interclass. Competition among the intercontinental elite was the critical driver of social reforms, and inclusive social fitness was an outcome of intra-state wars. That competition also produced new goods (the printing press and canons) and services (the inns of London, the parliaments and guilds of Old Regime France) these in turn created other goods and services, resulting in transformations that made a previous generation of technologies and social classes extinct.

Despite suggesting these revisions to Moore’s thesis, I agree with all of your major points: 1.To appreciate the range of future trajectories we must understand divergent paths to the modern world. 2. Modernization without violence is rare; democracy is not enough to transform an agrarian economy and the social relations of asymmetric class power that accompanies it. 3. Modernization is a homegrown outcome of social groups facing their own fitness challenges. Transplanting of foreign institutions, even if accompanied by armies of institutional change experts or military intervention, will accomplish very little. 4. The question of why countries end up with different types of political regimes is critical to understanding prospects for future development. No country on the basis of their particular trajectory can dictate the future trajectory of others. No single example exists of the transformation of subsistence, agrarian economy into a commercial and industrial one that can stand as the global optimum for others to follow.

Nevertheless, most of our liberal colleagues, influenced by the seminal works of S.M. Lipset, R. Barro, S. Huntington, C. Johnson and W.W. Rostow are accustomed to thinking that democracy is a stage that all modernizing countries will eventually reach once having attained a certain level of economic development. All these scholars, you note, “assumed that all modernizing societies, from the sixteenth century to the present, had undergone essentially the same process”. Moore’s dictum “no bourgeoisie, no democracy” fits this notion that economic transition leads to political change. My main concern is for liberalism to regain the narrative of globalization.

I entirely concur with the criticisms of modernization theory that you posit in your essay. However, I submit that in times of peace political change is likely to lag behind economic change. Historically, political change is accelerated by warfare to a far greater extent than by economic transition. In the world around us we see many examples of economic liberalism that are not complimented by political liberalism. Racing economies, and lagging polities is a conundrum of economic globalization that we must come to grips with.

The political consequences of China’s economic modernization is a six trillion dollar question that will affect China’s relationship to the West as well China’s relationship to other developing nations and it will have implications for the liberal international system. The future of liberalism as a global norm will be determined by what happens in China.

Hilton Root

 

4

4seasons - 2013年07月15日 18:36

Democracy does not equal harmony. More often than not, the progress of fighting for democracy cannot do without violence. But to many, it is a battle worth getting. 

彥儒 - 2013年07月19日 07:45

"The political consequences of China’s economic modernization ... will have implications for the liberal international system. The future of liberalism as a global norm will be determined by what happens in China.

Root 教授所言非虛,全世界都在看中國發展,國內事件並不只應響香港,而是國際事務。既然已成為世界第二大經濟體,一舉一動更應該深思熟慮,才能對國際社會有利。

吴清心 - 2016年03月19日 00:44

關於:“信報網站論壇的三宗罪”被刪帖一事,再被論壇內部網管人員

蜻蜓88
石亦云

文見亂

Sammy699

侈哆

Liberphile等人

假冒壇友(查其壇內空洞無文)

連續跟帖10多個蓄意以莫须有的:五毛、宣傳不道德或某信仰/主義去誤導他人、神功戲、貼文怪異、、等等言論來蓄意抹黑、惡毒攻擊本港土生土長的著名詞曲作家音樂製作人吳清心先生,意圖隱瞞其(網管、編輯)心理變態和無能真相--信報論壇言論主觀偏颇欠中立、網管、編輯無能和素質低下,自甘墮落,讓其他壇友一同起哄,可謂心狠手辣惡毒至極。

 

針對本港土生土長、真心的愛國愛民愛心音樂家吳清心先生的無理刪帖行為早已開始:見一貼刪一貼,諸位可以在本人論壇中發現真相。

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