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英国论文网:British and Dutch GDP:The spread of the cri(52)


reputation. The second group will want low interest rates and the possibility of
providing the minimum possible guarantees.
The unalterable fact that the objectives of these two groups are, at least in part,
conflicting leads to tensions being inevitably offloaded onto professional intermediaries.
They always run the risk of being seen as parasites who are happy to sit
back and let others toil – the people who produce tangible goods and save up to
ensure that they can retire in peace – before fleecing them mercilessly. It must be
acknowledged that the victims of this prejudice often do practically nothing to
dispel it; indeed, at times their conduct seems designed to lend it credence.
Evident examples of this are to be found in the current global financial crisis.
Yet, the pivotal role of finance in our lives has never been apparent as in the
present turbulent days.
Market: did it fail?
In this crisis, who has failed, State or Market? I argue that it is more a State failure,
but by virtue of a paradox. One firmly established conclusion of centuries of economic
science is that the market must be ‘regulated’ or it is no market. If the government
practices absolute laissez-faire, the free competitive market cannot last; it
is strangled by the monopolistic spirit of operators. This is a law of nature, a sort
of economic entropy. The pure competitive market is the optimal regime from the
standpoint of ‘buyers,’ i.e. the community as a whole, but the worst possible for
the ‘sellers,’ a powerful minority constantly trying hard to oppose it. Such a market
is a limiting condition that the public authorities may seek to approximate
only by virtue of unflagging effort. Clear, comprehensive, specific rules are essential;
and farsighted, attentive regulators and supervisors who cannot be captured
by the ‘sellers’ are indispensable. They must obviously be efficient: the burden of
the regulatory apparatus that inevitably weighs on private agents ought to be nondistorting,
light and non-bureaucratic. But we cannot do without it.
74 The First Global Financial Crisis of the 21st Century Part II
This forms the essence of what to my mind is the most advanced contribution
of liberalism to economic thought. Nobody should confuse the great principles of
liberty with the arbitrariness of complete laissez-faire. Eighty years ago, an Italian
champion of liberalism in politics and a neatly pro-free-market economist, Luigi
Einaudi, wrote:
The maxim of economic liberalism (is) taking on a third – I would call it a religious
– meaning. In this interpretation, ‘economic liberals’ are those who accept the
maxim of laissez-faire, laissez-passer almost as if it were a universal principle. (…)
The whole subsequent history of the doctrine demonstrates that economic science


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