2012年9月30日 星期日

陸奧圓明流【漫畫】


出處


陸奧圓明流的招式總稱:四門

     全身的力量集中集氣 集力 然後一口氣爆發出來
     遍佈全身 使出超越人類身體極限的極限的速度
     輔以四個類別的原始招式攻擊之必殺技


青龍(推測可能代表踢技):

相關招式:
陸奧圓明流  弧月  以腳掌踢 先以一手為支撐 頭下腳上踢擊敵人 通常是踢腹部
                  要害 變化技在於腳掌踢上去後以腳跟疾速劃下的威力可傷敵
陸奧圓明流  裏孤月
陸奧圓明流  雷   用腳背踢後腦要害 前段技是先過肩摔對方
陸奧圓明流  斧鉞 在半空中用腳跟踢頭部 變化技在可攻擊兩次
陸奧圓明流  旋   在空中運用轉一圈的力道  連續攻擊兩次 用左右腳背踢
陸奧圓明流  紫電 用腳尖踢金鵠 中段踢 變化技是踢完中段踢上段頭部
陸奧圓明流  秘技-龍破 踢技的另一境界 身體在來回繞旋轉製造高速度動作
                      然後以一手為支撐於地 朝上目標處以兩腳背互相高速
                      旋轉 製造一真空波破敵

白虎(推測可能代表拳技):

相關招式:
陸奧圓明流  虎砲 近距離以重拳攻擊
陸奧圓明流  牙斬
陸奧圓明流  浮嶽 以上勾拳攻擊 此招的精神 讓山浮動起來
陸奧圓明流  穿指


朱雀(推測可能代表關節技或寢技):折頸後以手軸攻擊腦部

相關招式:
陸奧圓明流  斗浪
陸奧圓明流  蛇破山
不破圓明流  裏蛇破山  朔光
陸奧圓明流  獅子吼
陸奧圓明流  訃之蔓  狼牙
陸奧圓明流  蔓藤落 (這招好像龍造寺徹心也會)
陸奧圓明流  上腕藤蔓扭
陸奧圓明流  飛燕十字蔓


玄武(推測可能代表肌肉技):將敵方用成背面倒地 然後飛躍如海龜 以頭部撞擊其腦髓

相關招式:
陸奧圓明流  金剛 運用全身肌肉力量 使肌肉做奇異的伸縮 為防禦技
陸奧圓明流  浮身 似輕功一類技巧


陸奧圓明流的奧義:無空波 以全身力量集中 將全身肌肉瞬間震動產生巨大衝擊波
                        再以拳頭的拳力釋放出來攻擊(類似波動功的武學??)


暗招
陸奧圓明流  訃霞  用口噴出物以超越常人 以手槍射擊的速度噴吐出攻擊敵人
陸奧圓明流  雹    隨手取物以超越常人 以手槍射擊的速度丟扔擲出攻擊敵人


其他相關:
陸奧圓明流  巖嵐

不破圓明流  神威(不破流所創秘訣)
            無刀金的破

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出處
陸奥圓明流の歴史年表
陸奥圓明流とそれに関わった武将等の歴史年表です
900年代初頭 陸奥初代、誕生
900年代? 陸奥圓明流の誕生  ※1
1147年 源頼朝、誕生
114?年 武蔵坊弁慶、誕生
1156年 陸奥鬼一、誕生(第10代)
1159年 源義経、誕生
平治の乱おきる
1160年 源氏の棟梁である源義朝(頼朝・義経の父)が敗走中に家臣に殺される
1167年 平清盛が太政大臣となり政権を握る
1168年前後 静(鬼一の妹)、誕生
1169年? 義経、平清盛によって鞍馬寺に入れさせられる
1174年 義経、陸奥鬼一・静・武蔵坊弁慶と出会う
義経、鬼一より金璽を受け取り弁慶とともに奥州に下る
1175年 義経、平泉に辿り着き藤原秀衡に会う
1180年 以仁王が平家追討の令旨を出し、治承の乱が始まる
源頼朝挙兵、木曾義仲挙兵
石橋山の戦い
富士川の戦い、水鳥の羽音に驚き平氏軍が敗走する
義経、鬼瀬川宿にて頼朝に会う
1181年 平家の棟梁、平清盛が没する
1183年 木曾義仲、倶利伽羅峠で平家軍を破り入京する
義経、義仲追討のために京に向かう
1184年 義経、義仲軍を破り入京する
義経、静と再会する
一ノ谷の戦いで義経の奇襲により圧倒的兵力差を覆し源氏が勝利する
義経、朝廷より検非違使左衛門少尉に任ぜられる
1185年 屋島の戦いで義経は勝利するが、佐藤三郎嗣信が義経をかばい死亡する
壇ノ浦の戦いにて鬼一が平教経と戦い教経は海中に没す、安徳天皇入水
平家滅亡
梶原景時が義経についての讒訴状を頼朝に出し義経は頼朝に勘当される
頼朝の命により土佐坊昌俊が義経を襲うが鬼一が救う
1186年 佐藤四郎忠信、伊勢三郎義盛が吉野山にて義経の身代わりとなり後に死亡する
静、捕らえられ鎌倉に送られる
静、鶴岡八幡宮の回廊で舞う
陸奥虎一、誕生(静と義経の子、幼名:虎若、第11代)
義経の子が男児であったため由比ヶ浜に埋められる(鬼一によって子は助け出される)
1187年 義経、鬼一・静・虎若・弁慶とともに奥州に帰る
藤原秀衡、没する
1189年 藤原泰衡、義経の居館である衣川舘を襲わせる
弁慶が仁王立ちにて往生し鬼一は義経の身代わりとなり自害する
頼朝、奥州藤原氏を滅ぼす
1192年 頼朝、征夷大将軍に任じられる
1205年頃? 虎若が陸奥の名を継ぎ虎一と名乗る
1221年 承久の乱
1274年 元寇(文永の役)
1281年 元寇(弘安の役)
1310年 陸奥第16代、誕生?
1331年頃? 陸奥第16代、楠木正成と関わる? ※2
1333年 鎌倉幕府滅亡
1336年 室町幕府成立
1467年 応仁の乱
1534年 織田信長、誕生
1535年 陸奥辰巳、誕生(第25代)
1536年? 織田信長の妹・琥珀、誕生
1541年前後 雑賀孫一、誕生
1552年 織田信秀、死亡
陸奥辰巳、織田信長・琥珀と出会う
1556年 虎彦・狛彦、誕生(母、琥珀)
1559年 織田信長、尾張統一
1560年 桶狭間の戦い
1565年 柳生宗厳(後の石舟斎)、上泉伊勢守信綱より新陰流の印可を受ける
1567年 織田信長、美濃平定
1568年 信長、六角氏を破り足利義昭を奉じ上洛する
1569年 雑賀孫一の娘・螢、誕生
1570年 3月 虎彦・狛彦、信長主催の相撲大会にて雑賀孫一と出会う
4月 朝倉討伐の最中に浅井長政の裏切りにより信長が敗走
6月 姉川の合戦
本願寺、信長を仏敵と定める
信長と孫一、戦場にて初めて見える
1571年 信長、延暦寺を焼き打ちする
柳生宗矩、誕生
1572年 三方ヶ原の戦い
1573年 虎彦、武田信玄暗殺
狛彦、雑賀孫一と戦う
信長、足利義昭の軍を破り室町幕府を滅ぼす
8月 浅井・朝倉滅亡
1574年 7月 一向一揆討伐
1575年 長篠の戦い
1576年 5月7日 狛彦、雑賀孫一と再戦し倒す
1578年 上杉謙信、死亡(虎彦の手により?)
1582年 本能寺の変にて織田信長、死亡(この時、陸奥の継承者をめぐり狛彦と虎彦が戦う)
明智光秀、虎彦に殺される
狛彦が陸奥の名を継ぎ(第26代)、虎彦には不破の名が与えられる(不破圓明流の誕生)
1584年 3月、美作の国、吉野郡にて宮本武蔵誕生(1582年説あり)
1585年 羽柴秀吉、関白に任じられる
1593年 陸奥八雲、誕生(母、螢。第27代)
1594年 柳生宗厳・宗矩親子、徳川家康に謁見し無刀取りを披露し柳生新陰流入門の起請文を受ける
1594年? 詩織、誕生
1600年 関ヶ原の戦い(宮本武蔵は西軍にて参戦)
1603年 徳川家康が征夷大将軍に任じられ江戸幕府を開く
1604年 宮本武蔵、京都にて吉岡一門との3度の決闘にすべて勝利する
1607年 柳生十兵衛三厳、誕生
1610年 陸奥八雲、宮本武蔵と出会う
八雲、柳生兵馬と戦う
1611年頃 宮本武蔵、鎖鎌の達人の宍戸梅軒に勝利する
1611年 八雲、九鬼一門を壊滅する
八雲、武蔵と安芸国にて再会し対決、そのとき武蔵は無空波の前に生涯ただ一度の敗北を喫する
1612年 4月 宮本武蔵、小倉舟島にて巌流佐々木小次郎に勝利する
1613年 陸奥天斗、誕生(母、詩織。第28代)
柳生宗矩の次男、友矩誕生
1614年 大坂冬の陣
1615年 大坂夏の陣、真田幸村、豊臣方に属し徳川軍を悩ますも戦死、豊臣家滅亡
秋、真田幸村の九女・真田圓、誕生
柳生宗矩の三男、宗冬誕生
1621年 柳生宗矩、徳川家光の師範となる
1634年 江戸城にて寛永御前試合が開催される、宮本武蔵の養子である伊織ら多数の剣豪が出場する、この時十兵衛は天斗と対決し隻眼となる
1635年 徳川家光、武家諸法度を発布する
1637年 島原の乱
1645年 宮本武蔵「五輪書」を完成させる、5月18日没(享年62歳)
1650年 春、山城国大河原村にて十兵衛、天斗と再戦し死亡
1750年 陸奥左近(第34代?)、誕生
谷風梶之助、誕生
1764年頃 出羽の久保田(秋田)で左近が大平山の山神の藤原三吉の名を利用して、江戸の関取を叩きつけ大怪我をさせる
1767年 雷電為右衛門、誕生
1783年 小諸藩主が小諸八幡宮の祭礼に催した御前相撲で雷電が飛び入りで参加し、岩五郎を倒し評判を呼ぶ(御前相撲の10日後に雷電の張り手が原因で岩五郎、死亡)
雷電、岩五郎の息子の言葉により力士になることを決意する
1784年 雷電、江戸に上り浦風林右衛門の門弟になる
雷電、谷風と立ち会い、その内弟子となる
1787年頃? 葉月(左近の娘)、誕生
1788年 雷電、出雲藩主松平治郷に召し抱えられ、お抱え力士になる
1790年 雷電、西関脇に付出された初土俵の年に東の横綱の小野川を投げる(物言いがつき行司預かりとなる)
1792年 雷電、臼井の浄行寺の檀家である飯田忠八が営んでいた甘酒茶屋「天狗」の看板娘だったおはん(八重)と結婚する
1793年 左近の妻(葉月の母)、流行病で死亡
1794年 左近・葉月親子が雷電と見え、左近と雷電が立ち会うも途中で谷風が止めに入り、代わりに谷風と左近が相撲で戦う
1795年 前年の左近との戦いでの虎砲の傷と風邪が重なり、谷風梶之助が死亡(雷電に10年、相撲界を支えてくれるよう遺言する)
雷電の娘、誕生
1798年 雷電の娘、死亡
1802年 陸奥左近、病死
1804年 雷電、谷風の追善相撲の巡業で奥州に向かう
出羽で葉月と雷電が再会し、立ち会うが葉月の力不足により雷電は戦いを途中でやめ、葉月は20年後の再戦を約する
1805年? 陸奥兵衛(母、葉月。第35代?)、誕生
1810年 雷電、引退する
1819年 雷電、引退後に任命されていた藩の相撲頭取も藩の事情で辞め相撲人生を終える
1825年 陸奥兵衛が雷電と立ち会い、この戦いで雷電為右衛門、死亡(享年59歳)
1835年 11月15日、高知城下、上町にて坂本龍馬、誕生
土方歳三、誕生
1837年 大塩平八郎の乱
1839年 陸奥出海、誕生(第36代)
1844年? 沖田総司、誕生
1848年 ワイアット・アープ、誕生
カリフォルニアで金鉱が発見されゴールド・ラッシュ始まる
1853年 3月、龍馬19歳、剣術修行のため高知を出て江戸の千葉定吉の道場に入門
6月、アメリカ東インド艦隊長官ペリーが4隻の軍艦を率いて浦賀に入港
雷(出海の弟)、誕生
1854年 日米和親条約締結
1857年 龍馬23歳、土佐藩邸における御前試合にて、桂小五郎を破り優勝(出海はこれを観戦)
1858年 春、陸奥出海と坂本龍馬が出会い、その後戦う
陸奥出海、坂本龍馬とともに江戸試衛館にて沖田、土方と出会う
日米修好通商条約締結
1861年 アメリカ南北戦争始まる
1862年 3月、坂本龍馬、土佐藩を脱藩(1863年2月に脱藩罪放免となるも同年12月に再脱藩)
1862年? ニルチッイ誕生
1863年 8月、近藤勇らを局長とする新撰組が結成される
1865年 龍馬31歳、長崎に亀山社中(後の海援隊)を設立する
沖田総司、新撰組一番隊組長、剣術師範頭に任命される
南北戦争終結、リンカーン大統領暗殺される
1866年 龍馬32歳、1月22日、龍馬の尽力により薩長同盟が締結
1月23日、伏見・寺田屋で龍馬襲撃され重傷を負う、龍馬と出海は8年ぶりに再会し以後行動を共にする
3月、龍馬は妻のおりょうを連れ九州各地を旅する
1867年 龍馬33歳、10月、大政奉還なる
11月、龍馬、新政府綱領八策(船中八策)を作成する
11月13日、龍馬、新撰組を脱退した伊東甲子太郎より忠告を受ける
11月15日、龍馬の誕生日の夜、近江屋にて龍馬は伊東甲子太郎らに襲撃され絶命する、同席の中岡慎太郎も重傷を負い17日に死亡
11月18日、油小路にて陸奥出海が龍馬暗殺犯の伊東を殺害する
西郷四郎、会津藩士・志田貞二郎の三男として誕生(実父は西郷頼母)
1868年 1月3日、鳥羽・伏見の戦い勃発(沖田、近藤は療養中につき参戦せず)
4月25日、近藤勇、板橋にて斬首される
5月30日、陸奥出海と沖田、雪中での闘いで沖田死亡(享年25歳)
8月、母成峠の戦い
9月8日、慶応から明治に元号改元
12月、榎本武揚を総裁、土方歳三を陸軍奉行並とする蝦夷共和国新政府発足
1869年 5月11日、陸奥出海と土方、函館にて激闘す
闘いの後、土方は官軍の銃弾に当たり死亡(享年35歳)
5月18日、五稜郭陥落
アメリカ最初の大陸横断鉄道完成
1872年 陸奥天兵、誕生(第37代)
1876年 アメリカ建国百年
雷、アメリカに渡りネズ・パース族のジルコー・マッイイツォ、アラパホー族のニルチッイと出会う
1877年 ワイアット・アープと雷、拳銃と素手で対決
ネズ・パース族とアメリカ軍の激突、雷、この戦いに参戦し戦死
1882年 嘉納治五郎が講道館を創設
天神真楊流に入門していた西郷四郎を嘉納治五郎が講道館に譲り受ける、そのとき西郷四郎は幼時の天兵の業を見て戦慄する
1884年 西郷四郎が元会津藩家老の保科近悳(西郷頼母)の養子となる
1885年? 西郷四郎がイーストレーキという巨漢の外国人を手玉に取り講道館の人気を高める
1886年 西郷四郎が講道館初の五段を受ける
戸塚楊心流の大竹森吉と田中十蔵が講道館に道場破りに来るが西郷四郎が軽くあしらう
警視庁主催の武術大会に講道館が参加し西郷四郎は戸塚楊心流の照島太郎と戦い山嵐で勝利する、その試合を出海・天兵親子も観戦し出海は4年後の対決を想定する
1887年 武術大会において西郷四郎が戸塚楊心流の好地圓太郎を山嵐で破る
1889年 西郷四郎、陸奥天兵と再会する
嘉納治五郎、海外留学の旅に出る
1890年 陸奥天兵、西郷四郎と戦い雷で倒す
西郷四郎、講道館を出奔する
1902年前後 前田栄世(後の前田光世)が西郷四郎と出会い陸奥圓明流の話を聞く
1915年前後 陸奥真玄、誕生(第39代?)
前田光世がビクトル・グラシエーロに柔術を教える
1948年前後 ケンシン・マエダ、誕生
1955年頃? 陸奥真玄と龍造寺徹心が戦う
1957年頃? 龍造寺徹心とフランク・クラウザーが戦う
1965年? ケンシン・マエダが陸奥を倒すために来日するも真玄が50を超えていたという理由で戦わずに帰国する
1966年 陸奥冬弥、誕生
1970年 陸奥九十九、誕生(第40代?)
1985年 九十九と冬弥が戦い冬弥が死亡する
1987年 7月30日 全日本異種格闘技選手権にて陸奥九十九が優勝する
1988年 8月29日  ボクシング世界へビィ級統一トーナメントにて陸奥九十九が優勝
12月24日 ヴァーリ・トゥードにて陸奥九十九優勝

2012年9月27日 星期四

喚醒新聞界的良知 the Newsroom【影集】

轉載來源
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今天要在這裡推薦一部影集:HBO 拍攝的關於新聞從業界的影集 The Newsroom 「新聞急先鋒」。
這部戲大概是在 6/24 左右才開始播的影集,原本是沒有去追的。直到幾天前有人作好了第一集開場的中文字幕,在 FB 流傳,因為氣勢過於震撼,所以才開始注意。
主角 Will McAvoy 是一個極受歡迎的新聞主播,專題 News Night 的風格溫和中立極受大眾喜愛。第一幕是 Will 參加西北大學的座談,一個女學生提問:為什麼美國是世界上最偉大的國家?」座談都在閑扯,直到 一個女學生提問:「為什麼美國是世界上最偉大的國家?」原本 Will 不想要得罪人,亂扯一些答案。但主持人不放過 Will,Will 就大爆炸開始…XD
看了就知道….

這個開場影片很讓人讚嘆,於是我就開始去挖這一部影集剩下的部分和劇集背景:
Will McAvoy 在該次爆發事件之後,雖然當時說了真話(美國並不是世界上最偉大的國家,但…),但影視圈大家對避之唯恐不及。他的老闆 Charlie 趁事件爆發後他去度假時,幫他找了以前的 Partner 準備作新型態的節目。
原本 Will 以為他老闆弄來這個 Producer 是認為西北大學那件事是出包,所以弄出這招搞他。後來才知道 Charlie 是欣賞他,欣賞他那番話找回良知,希望找來一個幫手,讓 Will 的節目轉型,也跳脫收視率的包袱扭曲,去作真的「新聞」,以良知報導「真相」。走出一番新路。
對比國內新聞節目亂象(特別是最近的旺中天走路工事件),看到這套影集真的很感慨。
第一集這一段 clip 並不是目前七集中最令人震撼的片段,第三集開場的陳詞才真正精彩:

因為實在太喜歡這一段的台詞,於是摘錄字幕如下:
晚安 我是 Will McAvoy 
這裡是 New Night
剛剛撥出的影片是 Richard Clarke
小布希總統的反恐中心主任
於 2004 年 3 月 24 號在國會前作證的影像
美國人喜歡那一刻,我喜歡那一刻
成年人要敢於為失敗負責
所以,今天節目的開始,我將加入 Mr. Clarke 的行列
向美國群眾,為我們的失責而道歉

因為在我負責期間這個節目時,我並沒有能夠有效地向傳遞資訊和教育美國選民

讓我先聲明 我並不代表…所有的新聞工作者道歉 並不是所有新聞工作者都需要道歉 我僅代表自己

我是這一系列複雜、重複、無知,且尚未被糾正的失敗的幫兇

我所領導的行業,錯報選舉結果、誇大恐慌事件、挑起政治辯論、隱瞞國家結構的改變 從經濟危機到國力的真實水準

到我們面對的真正威脅。

我所領導的行業如Harry Houdini一般 (知名魔術大師)

嫻熟地分散你們的注意力,同時缺乏審慎地將成千上萬的勇敢年青人送上戰場

我們失敗的原因顯而易見:我們過分重視收視率。

在大眾通訊時代初始,新聞界的哥倫布和麥哲倫-William Paley和David Sarnoff (CBS之父及美國廣播通訊業之父) 

前往華盛頓,與國會簽署一份協議:

「國會允許初有雛形的電視台,免費使用屬於納稅人的廣播頻道, 

條件是這必須是公共服務,即每晚用一小時播報訊息, 

就是我們現在稱為晚間新聞的東西。」

國會未能預料到電視廣告對消費者的巨大影響, 

所以協議中沒有任何一條本能大大改善國家言論秩序的內容; 

國會忘了加上「在任何條件下,於新聞播報期間內都不能有付費廣告」,

他們忘了說「納稅人的廣播頻道是免費給你們使用, 

所以每天有23個小時,你們需要營利,但晚上那一小時,你們只能為國會服務」。

所以現在,那些絕對誠實的新聞人, 比如 Murror Reasoner 和 Huntley 還有
Brinkley 和 Buckley 和 Cronkite 和 Rather 和 Russert ...(皆為知名主播)

現在他們得和我這樣的人競爭

做為新聞主播面對的業界壓力,卻與澤西海岸(肥皂劇)製片人一模一樣 (收視率決定一切) 

那樣的方法對我們很有利,但本節目將不再這樣做。

你可能不相信,這個時代仍有一些偉大的新聞人,他們有卓越的頭腦跟多年的經驗, 和對新聞工作的真摯熱情

但現在他們只是少數人,當碰到馬戲團,他們變得無力競爭,被淹沒了...

我要辭掉馬戲團的工作,轉換隊伍,我要和那些被打擊的人站在一起,

他們仍有贏的信念 我很感動

我希望他們能使我受教。

從今天起,我們播出什麼新聞,如何呈現出來,

都只有一個簡單的原則:在民主制度中,沒有什麼比腦袋清楚的選民更為重要。

我們將努力將新聞放到更大的背景下,因為很少有新聞是獨立存在的;

我們將成為事實的承載者,成為那些含沙射影、投機炒作、言過其實,或胡言亂語的死對頭

我們不是餐廳服務員,只會用你喜歡的方式呈現你喜歡的新聞

我們也不是電腦,只會乾巴巴地說出事實;因為新聞只有在人文背景下才有用

我不會抑制我的個人觀點,但同時我也將不遺餘力展現出不同於我的觀點。

你也許會問,我們憑什麼做出這些決定?

我們是 Mackenzie MacHale 和 我自己

MacHale 是我們的執行製作人,他從超過百篇報導中整理出我們需要的資訊

他是製作人、分析師和技師。我們樂意提供他的資格證書。

我是這節目的總編輯,對於節目上出現的一切,我有最終決定權。

我們憑什麼作這這些決定?

我們是媒體中的菁英

稍後,我們將繼續播報新聞...」

非常非常深的反省。
The Newsroom 每一集處理的題材都很發人深省。不少題材的處理都可以讓你直接勾想起國內的媒體亂象。比如第四集在報導:眾議員Giffords被槍擊事件時。電視台高層一直施壓節目必須馬上報導 Giffords 已死亡(純屬謠言,只因其他台先報導,高層怕沒追到新聞會掉收視率),製作人卻力抗回了:「只有醫生才能宣告一個人死亡,新聞媒體不能」。那一個片段真的會讓看到起雞皮疙瘩。
看到第七集,集集都讓我嘆息,「這只是電視劇」。何時媒體才能夠醒過來與自清呢?
不過 The Newsroom 目前開播才七集,就已經掀起不小的震撼。我真的很推這部電視劇,希望更多人能看到這部影集,能重新思考新聞媒體的本質到底是什麼。



【電子書商情】當當網李國慶演講



資料時間 20120926
當當網_首席執行長 李國慶 (以下為最重點)
1.    大陸Trade Book市場:約200e ~ 300e人民幣。如果含教輔(教科書)300e~400e
2.    當當網市場份額:Trade Book市場,當當網可佔全零售30%
(Amazon雖大,但如以紙本書TradeBook佔美國銷售額10%,由此可知業界說當當網的強勢談判風格之依據)
3.    當當網看電子書市場普及的關鍵點:當市場有200萬台eReader(專屬電子閱讀器,不包括PadSmart Phone),上游內容端就會動起來。
4.    當當網看eReader普及的關鍵點:價格。eReader應同Amazon採貼成本價的方式,然後在服務端(賣書)回收錢,如果是以這標準,大陸的eReader還要比現在便宜一半。
5.    當當網的定價模式:
5-1 與出版社協議定價
5-2 電子書價格應為紙書定價的2-5。大眾書為2-3折,專業書為3-5
5-3 買紙書送電子書是一個好方式。(但不可以反向,賣電子書送紙書)
5-4 按章節銷售(未來趨勢)
5-5 出租、借閱模式。現階段不用考慮,已遭大陸出版上游嚴重杯葛。
5-6 一人購買,全家閱讀
6.     電子書和紙書的競合關係:不談5年後不切實際的未來,以現階段是指有合作關係,而無取代關係。以Steve Jobs傳記為例,當當網賣50萬本,電子書版本賣16-17萬本。其中有8%(4萬人),同時買紙本書與電子書,所以還是以消費者自身需要便利性為主。
7.    當當網看盜版:所有的電子書商的共通敵人都是盜版。盜版書的定價約在比當當便宜30%(5-2,換算後等於紙本書定價的1折到2),但還是很多人
8.    當當網的電子書的新書率:目前販售的電子書有75%都是新書。(這點讓現場人都很訝異)。李國慶解釋,當當網這裡採強勢談判,它們針對部分出版社採取,不供給電子書就連紙書也不上架銷售(這數字太驚人,事後追問確認為: 當當有賣的電子書新書率可達75%,但不是大陸一年的新書,都有75%已轉為電子書)
9.    當當網的毛利率12~15%,約比業界高出10%(這裡主要指大陸Amazom和京東網)。所以當當網歡迎所有的價格戰爭。
10.  當當網的活躍會員數:會員4000萬人,活躍會員2000萬人。

2012年9月24日 星期一

What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy?

What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy?

 audio

The following is adapted from a lecture given at New York University on October 19, 2009.
Americans would like things to be better. According to public opinion surveys in recent years, everyone would like their child to have improved life chances at birth. They would prefer it if their wife or daughter had the same odds of surviving maternity as women in other advanced countries. They would appreciate full medical coverage at lower cost, longer life expectancy, better public services, and less crime.

When told that these things are available in Austria, Scandinavia, or the Netherlands, but that they come with higher taxes and an “interventionary” state, many of those same Americans respond: “But that is socialism! We do not want the state interfering in our affairs. And above all, we do not wish to pay more taxes.”

This curious cognitive dissonance is an old story. A century ago, the German sociologist Werner Sombart famously asked: Why is there no socialism in America? There are many answers to this question. Some have to do with the sheer size of the country: shared purposes are difficult to organize and sustain on an imperial scale. There are also, of course, cultural factors, including the distinctively American suspicion of central government.
And indeed, it is not by chance that social democracy and welfare states have worked best in small, homogeneous countries, where issues of mistrust and mutual suspicion do not arise so acutely. A willingness to pay for other people’s services and benefits rests upon the understanding that they in turn will do likewise for you and your children: because they are like you and see the world as you do.

Conversely, where immigration and visible minorities have altered the demography of a country, we typically find increased suspicion of others and a loss of enthusiasm for the institutions of the welfare state. Finally, it is incontrovertible that social democracy and the welfare states face serious practical challenges today. Their survival is not in question, but they are no longer as self-confident as they once appeared.


But my concern tonight is the following: Why is it that here in the United States we have such difficulty even imagining a different sort of society from the one whose dysfunctions and inequalities trouble us so? We appear to have lost the capacity to question the present, much less offer alternatives to it. Why is it so beyond us to conceive of a different set of arrangements to our common advantage?

Our shortcoming—forgive the academic jargon—is discursive. We simply do not know how to talk about these things. To understand why this should be the case, some history is in order: as Keynes once observed, “A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind.” For the purposes of mental emancipation this evening, I propose that we take a minute to study the history of a prejudice: the universal contemporary resort to “economism,” the invocation of economics in all discussions of public affairs.

For the last thirty years, in much of the English-speaking world (though less so in continental Europe and elsewhere), when asking ourselves whether we support a proposal or initiative, we have not asked, is it good or bad? Instead we inquire: Is it efficient? Is it productive? Would it benefit gross domestic product? Will it contribute to growth? This propensity to avoid moral considerations, to restrict ourselves to issues of profit and loss—economic questions in the narrowest sense—is not an instinctive human condition. It is an acquired taste.

We have been here before. In 1905, the young William Beveridge—whose 1942 report would lay the foundations of the British welfare state—delivered a lecture at Oxford in which he asked why it was that political philosophy had been obscured in public debates by classical economics. Beveridge’s question applies with equal force today. Note, however, that this eclipse of political thought bears no relation to the writings of the great classical economists themselves. In the eighteenth century, what Adam Smith called “moral sentiments” were uppermost in economic conversations.

Indeed, the thought that we might restrict public policy considerations to a mere economic calculus was already a source of concern. The Marquis de Condorcet, one of the most perceptive writers on commercial capitalism in its early years, anticipated with distaste the prospect that “liberty will be no more, in the eyes of an avid nation, than the necessary condition for the security of financial operations.” The revolutions of the age risked fostering a confusion between the freedom to make money…and freedom itself. But how did we, in our own time, come to think in exclusively economic terms? The fascination with an etiolated economic vocabulary did not come out of nowhere.

On the contrary, we live in the long shadow of a debate with which most people are altogether unfamiliar. If we ask who exercised the greatest influence over contemporary Anglophone economic thought, five foreign-born thinkers spring to mind: Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Joseph Schumpeter, Karl Popper, and Peter Drucker. The first two were the outstanding “grandfathers” of the Chicago School of free-market macroeconomics. Schumpeter is best known for his enthusiastic description of the “creative, destructive” powers of capitalism, Popper for his defense of the “open society” and his theory of totalitarianism. As for Drucker, his writings on management exercised enormous influence over the theory and practice of business in the prosperous decades of the postwar boom.
Three of these men were born in Vienna, a fourth (von Mises) in Austrian Lemberg (now Lvov), the fifth (Schumpeter) in Moravia, a few dozen miles north of the imperial capital. All were profoundly shaken by the interwar catastrophe that struck their native Austria. Following the cataclysm of World War I and a brief socialist municipal experiment in Vienna, the country fell to a reactionary coup in 1934 and then, four years later, to the Nazi invasion and occupation.

All were forced into exile by these events and all—Hayek in particular—were to cast their writings and teachings in the shadow of the central question of their lifetime: Why had liberal society collapsed and given way—at least in the Austrian case—to fascism? Their answer: the unsuccessful attempts of the (Marxist) left to introduce into post-1918 Austria state-directed planning, municipally owned services, and collectivized economic activity had not only proven delusionary, but had led directly to a counterreaction.

The European tragedy had thus been brought about by the failure of the left: first to achieve its objectives and then to defend itself and its liberal heritage. Each, albeit in contrasting keys, drew the same conclusion: the best way to defend liberalism, the best defense of an open society and its attendant freedoms, was to keep government far away from economic life. If the state was held at a safe distance, if politicians—however well-intentioned—were barred from planning, manipulating, or directing the affairs of their fellow citizens, then extremists of right and left alike would be kept at bay.

The same challenge—how to understand what had happened between the wars and prevent its recurrence—was confronted by John Maynard Keynes. The great English economist, born in 1883 (the same year as Schumpeter), grew up in a stable, confident, prosperous, and powerful Britain. And then, from his privileged perch at the Treasury and as a participant in the Versailles peace negotiations, he watched his world collapse, taking with it all the reassuring certainties of his culture and class. Keynes, too, would ask himself the question that Hayek and his Austrian colleagues had posed. But he offered a very different answer.

Yes, Keynes acknowledged, the disintegration of late Victorian Europe was the defining experience of his lifetime. Indeed, the essence of his contributions to economic theory was his insistence upon uncertainty: in contrast to the confident nostrums of classical and neoclassical economics, Keynes would insist upon the essential unpredictability of human affairs. If there was a lesson to be drawn from depression, fascism, and war, it was this: uncertainty—elevated to the level of insecurity and collective fear—was the corrosive force that had threatened and might again threaten the liberal world.
Thus Keynes sought an increased role for the social security state, including but not confined to countercyclical economic intervention. Hayek proposed the opposite. In his 1944 classic, The Road to Serfdom, he wrote:
No description in general terms can give an adequate idea of the similarity of much of current English political literature to the works which destroyed the belief in Western civilization in Germany, and created the state of mind in which naziism could become successful.
In other words, Hayek explicitly projected a fascist outcome should Labour win power in England. And indeed, Labour did win. But it went on to implement policies many of which were directly identified with Keynes. For the next three decades, Great Britain (like much of the Western world) was governed in the light of Keynes’s concerns.

Since then, as we know, the Austrians have had their revenge. Quite why this should have happened—and happened where it did—is an interesting question for another occasion. But for whatever reason, we are today living out the dim echo—like light from a fading star—of a debate conducted seventy years ago by men born for the most part in the late nineteenth century. To be sure, the economic terms in which we are encouraged to think are not conventionally associated with these far-off political disagreements. And yet without an understanding of the latter, it is as though we speak a language we do not fully comprehend.

The welfare state had remarkable achievements to its credit. In some countries it was social democratic, grounded in an ambitious program of socialist legislation; in others—Great Britain, for example—it amounted to a series of pragmatic policies aimed at alleviating disadvantage and reducing extremes of wealth and indigence. The common theme and universal accomplishment of the neo-Keynesian governments of the postwar era was their remarkable success in curbing inequality. If you compare the gap separating rich and poor, whether by income or assets, in all continental European countries along with Great Britain and the US, you will see that it shrinks dramatically in the generation following 1945.
With greater equality there came other benefits. Over time, the fear of a return to extremist politics—the politics of desperation, the politics of envy, the politics of insecurity—abated. The Western industrialized world entered a halcyon era of prosperous security: a bubble, perhaps, but a comforting bubble in which most people did far better than they could ever have hoped in the past and had good reason to anticipate the future with confidence.
The paradox of the welfare state, and indeed of all the social democratic (and Christian Democratic) states of Europe, was quite simply that their success would over time undermine their appeal. The generation that remembered the 1930s was understandably the most committed to preserving institutions and systems of taxation, social service, and public provision that they saw as bulwarks against a return to the horrors of the past. But their successors—even in Sweden—began to forget why they had sought such security in the first place.

It was social democracy that bound the middle classes to liberal institutions in the wake of World War II (I use “middle class” here in the European sense). They received in many cases the same welfare assistance and services as the poor: free education, cheap or free medical treatment, public pensions, and the like. In consequence, the European middle class found itself by the 1960s with far greater disposable incomes than ever before, with so many of life’s necessities prepaid in tax. And thus the very class that had been so exposed to fear and insecurity in the interwar years was now tightly woven into the postwar democratic consensus.

By the late 1970s, however, such considerations were increasingly neglected. Starting with the tax and employment reforms of the Thatcher-Reagan years, and followed in short order by deregulation of the financial sector, inequality has once again become an issue in Western society. After notably diminishing from the 1910s through the 1960s, the inequality index has steadily grown over the course of the past three decades.
In the US today, the “Gini coefficient”—a measure of the distance separating rich and poor—is comparable to that of China.1 When we consider that China is a developing country where huge gaps will inevitably open up between the wealthy few and the impoverished many, the fact that here in the US we have a similar inequality coefficient says much about how far we have fallen behind our earlier aspirations.

Consider the 1996 “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act” (a more Orwellian title would be hard to conceive), the Clinton-era legislation that sought to gut welfare provision here in the US. The terms of this act should put us in mind of another act, passed in England nearly two centuries ago: the New Poor Law of 1834. The provisions of the New Poor Law are familiar to us, thanks to Charles Dickens’s depiction of its workings in Oliver Twist. When Noah Claypole famously sneers at little Oliver, calling him “Work’us” (“Workhouse”), he is implying, for 1838, precisely what we convey today when we speak disparagingly of “welfare queens.”

The New Poor Law was an outrage, forcing the indigent and the unemployed to choose between work at any wage, however low, and the humiliation of the workhouse. Here and in most other forms of nineteenth-century public assistance (still thought of and described as “charity”), the level of aid and support was calibrated so as to be less appealing than the worst available alternative. This system drew on classical economic theories that denied the very possibility of unemployment in an efficient market: if wages fell low enough and there was no attractive alternative to work, everyone would find a job.

For the next 150 years, reformers strove to replace such demeaning practices. In due course, the New Poor Law and its foreign analogues were succeeded by the public provision of assistance as a matter of right. Workless citizens were no longer deemed any the less deserving for that; they were not penalized for their condition nor were implicit aspersions cast upon their good standing as members of society. More than anything else, the welfare states of the mid-twentieth century established the profound impropriety of defining civic status as a function of economic participation.

In the contemporary United States, at a time of growing unemployment, a jobless man or woman is not a full member of the community. In order to receive even the exiguous welfare payments available, they must first have sought and, where applicable, accepted employment at whatever wage is on offer, however low the pay and distasteful the work. Only then are they entitled to the consideration and assistance of their fellow citizens.
Why do so few of us condemn such “reforms”—enacted under a Democratic president? Why are we so unmoved by the stigma attaching to their victims? Far from questioning this reversion to the practices of early industrial capitalism, we have adapted all too well and in consensual silence—in revealing contrast to an earlier generation. But then, as Tolstoy reminds us, there are “no conditions of life to which a man cannot get accustomed, especially if he sees them accepted by everyone around him.”

This “disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition…is…the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.” Those are not my words. They were written by Adam Smith, who regarded the likelihood that we would come to admire wealth and despise poverty, admire success and scorn failure, as the greatest risk facing us in the commercial society whose advent he predicted. It is now upon us.
The most revealing instance of the kind of problem we face comes in a form that may strike many of you as a mere technicality: the process of privatization. In the last thirty years, a cult of privatization has mesmerized Western (and many non-Western) governments. Why? The shortest response is that, in an age of budgetary constraints, privatization appears to save money. If the state owns an inefficient public program or an expensive public service—a waterworks, a car factory, a railway—it seeks to offload it onto private buyers.
The sale duly earns money for the state. Meanwhile, by entering the private sector, the service or operation in question becomes more efficient thanks to the working of the profit motive. Everyone benefits: the service improves, the state rids itself of an inappropriate and poorly managed responsibility, investors profit, and the public sector makes a one-time gain from the sale.

So much for the theory. The practice is very different. What we have been watching these past decades is the steady shifting of public responsibility onto the private sector to no discernible collective advantage. In the first place, privatization is inefficient. Most of the things that governments have seen fit to pass into the private sector were operating at a loss: whether they were railway companies, coal mines, postal services, or energy utilities, they cost more to provide and maintain than they could ever hope to attract in revenue.
For just this reason, such public goods were inherently unattractive to private buyers unless offered at a steep discount. But when the state sells cheap, the public takes a loss. It has been calculated that, in the course of the Thatcher-era UK privatizations, the deliberately low price at which long-standing public assets were marketed to the private sector resulted in a net transfer of £14 billion from the taxpaying public to stockholders and other investors.
To this loss should be added a further £3 billion in fees to the banks that transacted the privatizations. Thus the state in effect paid the private sector some £17 billion ($30 billion) to facilitate the sale of assets for which there would otherwise have been no takers. These are significant sums of money—approximating the endowment of Harvard University, for example, or the annual gross domestic product of Paraguay or Bosnia-Herzegovina.2 This can hardly be construed as an efficient use of public resources.

In the second place, there arises the question of moral hazard. The only reason that private investors are willing to purchase apparently inefficient public goods is because the state eliminates or reduces their exposure to risk. In the case of the London Underground, for example, the purchasing companies were assured that whatever happened they would be protected against serious loss—thereby undermining the classic economic case for privatization: that the profit motive encourages efficiency. The “hazard” in question is that the private sector, under such privileged conditions, will prove at least as inefficient as its public counterpart—while creaming off such profits as are to be made and charging losses to the state.

The third and perhaps most telling case against privatization is this. There can be no doubt that many of the goods and services that the state seeks to divest have been badly run: incompetently managed, underinvested, etc. Nevertheless, however badly run, postal services, railway networks, retirement homes, prisons, and other provisions targeted for privatization remain the responsibility of the public authorities. Even after they are sold, they cannot be left entirely to the vagaries of the market. They are inherently the sort of activity that someone has to regulate.

This semiprivate, semipublic disposition of essentially collective responsibilities returns us to a very old story indeed. If your tax returns are audited in the US today, although it is the government that has decided to investigate you, the investigation itself will very likely be conducted by a private company. The latter has contracted to perform the service on the state’s behalf, in much the same way that private agents have contracted with Washington to provide security, transportation, and technical know-how (at a profit) in Iraq and elsewhere. In a similar way, the British government today contracts with private entrepreneurs to provide residential care services for the elderly—a responsibility once controlled by the state.

Governments, in short, farm out their responsibilities to private firms that claim to administer them more cheaply and better than the state can itself. In the eighteenth century this was called tax farming. Early modern governments often lacked the means to collect taxes and thus invited bids from private individuals to undertake the task. The highest bidder would get the job, and was free—once he had paid the agreed sum—to collect whatever he could and retain the proceeds. The government thus took a discount on its anticipated tax revenue, in return for cash up front.

After the fall of the monarchy in France, it was widely conceded that tax farming was grotesquely inefficient. In the first place, it discredits the state, represented in the popular mind by a grasping private profiteer. Secondly, it generates considerably less revenue than an efficiently administered system of government collection, if only because of the profit margin accruing to the private collector. And thirdly, you get disgruntled taxpayers.
In the US today, we have a discredited state and inadequate public resources. Interestingly, we do not have disgruntled taxpayers—or, at least, they are usually disgruntled for the wrong reasons. Nevertheless, the problem we have created for ourselves is essentially comparable to that which faced the ancien régime.

As in the eighteenth century, so today: by eviscerating the state’s responsibilities and capacities, we have diminished its public standing. The outcome is “gated communities,” in every sense of the word: subsections of society that fondly suppose themselves functionally independent of the collectivity and its public servants. If we deal uniquely or overwhelmingly with private agencies, then over time we dilute our relationship with a public sector for which we have no apparent use. It doesn’t much matter whether the private sector does the same things better or worse, at higher or lower cost. In either event, we have diminished our allegiance to the state and lost something vital that we ought to share—and in many cases used to share—with our fellow citizens.

This process was well described by one of its greatest modern practitioners: Margaret Thatcher reportedly asserted that “there is no such thing as society. There are only individual men and women and families.” But if there is no such thing as society, merely individuals and the “night watchman” state—overseeing from afar activities in which it plays no part—then what will bind us together? We already accept the existence of private police forces, private mail services, private agencies provisioning the state in war, and much else besides. We have “privatized” precisely those responsibilities that the modern state laboriously took upon itself in the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

What, then, will serve as a buffer between citizens and the state? Surely not “society,” hard pressed to survive the evisceration of the public domain. For the state is not about to wither away. Even if we strip it of all its service attributes, it will still be with us—if only as a force for control and repression. Between state and individuals there would then be no intermediate institutions or allegiances: nothing would remain of the spider’s web of reciprocal services and obligations that bind citizens to one another via the public space they collectively occupy. All that would be left is private persons and corporations seeking competitively to hijack the state for their own advantage.

The consequences are no more attractive today than they were before the modern state arose. Indeed, the impetus to state-building as we have known it derived quite explicitly from the understanding that no collection of individuals can survive long without shared purposes and common institutions. The very notion that private advantage could be multiplied to public benefit was already palpably absurd to the liberal critics of nascent industrial capitalism. In the words of John Stuart Mill, “the idea is essentially repulsive of a society only held together by the relations and feelings arising out of pecuniary interests.”

What, then, is to be done? We have to begin with the state: as the incarnation of collective interests, collective purposes, and collective goods. If we cannot learn to “think the state” once again, we shall not get very far. But what precisely should the state do? Minimally, it should not duplicate unnecessarily: as Keynes wrote, “The important thing for Government is not to do things which individuals are doing already, and to do them a little better or a little worse; but to do those things which at present are not done at all.” And we know from the bitter experience of the past century that there are some things that states should most certainly not be doing.

The twentieth-century narrative of the progressive state rested precariously upon the conceit that “we”—reformers, socialists, radicals—had History on our side: that our projects, in the words of the late Bernard Williams, were “being cheered on by the universe.”3 Today, we have no such reassuring story to tell. We have just survived a century of doctrines purporting with alarming confidence to say what the state should do and to remind individuals—forcibly if necessary—that the state knows what is good for them. We cannot return to all that. So if we are to “think the state” once more, we had better begin with a sense of its limits.

For similar reasons, it would be futile to resurrect the rhetoric of early-twentieth-century social democracy. In those years, the democratic left emerged as an alternative to the more uncompromising varieties of Marxist revolutionary socialism and—in later years—to their Communist successor. Inherent in social democracy there was thus a curious schizophrenia. While marching confidently forward into a better future, it was constantly glancing nervously over its left shoulder. We, it seems to say, are not authoritarian. We are for freedom, not repression. We are democrats who also believe in social justice, regulated markets, and so forth.

So long as the primary objective of social democrats was to convince voters that they were a respectable radical choice within the liberal polity, this defensive stance made sense. But today such rhetoric is incoherent. It is not by chance that a Christian Democrat like Angela Merkel can win an election in Germany against her Social Democratic opponents—even at the height of a financial crisis—with a set of policies that in all its important essentials resembles their own program.

Social democracy, in one form or another, is the prose of contemporary European politics. There are very few European politicians, and certainly fewer still in positions of influence, who would dissent from core social democratic assumptions about the duties of the state, however much they might differ as to their scope. Consequently, social democrats in today’s Europe have nothing distinctive to offer: in France, for example, even their unreflective disposition to favor state ownership hardly distinguishes them from the Colbertian instincts of the Gaullist right. Social democracy needs to rethink its purposes.

The problem lies not in social democratic policies, but in the language in which they are couched. Since the authoritarian challenge from the left has lapsed, the emphasis upon “democracy” is largely redundant. We are all democrats today. But “social” still means something—arguably more now than some decades back when a role for the public sector was uncontentiously conceded by all sides. What, then, is distinctive about the “social” in the social democratic approach to politics?

Imagine, if you will, a railway station. A real railway station, not New York’s Pennsylvania Station: a failed 1960s-era shopping mall stacked above a coal cellar. I mean something like Waterloo Station in London, the Gare de l’Est in Paris, Mumbai’s dramatic Victoria Terminus, or Berlin’s magnificent new Hauptbahnhof. In these remarkable cathedrals of modern life, the private sector functions perfectly well in its place: there is no reason, after all, why newsstands or coffee bars should be run by the state. Anyone who can recall the desiccated, plastic-wrapped sandwiches of British Railway’s cafés will concede that competition in this arena is to be encouraged.

But you cannot run trains competitively. Railways—like agriculture or the mails—are at one and the same time an economic activity and an essential public good. Moreover, you cannot render a railway system more efficient by placing two trains on a track and waiting to see which performs better: railways are a natural monopoly. Implausibly, the English have actually instituted such competition among bus services. But the paradox of public transport, of course, is that the better it does its job, the less “efficient” it may be.

A bus that provides an express service for those who can afford it and avoids remote villages where it would be boarded only by the occasional pensioner will make more money for its owner. But someone—the state or the local municipality—must still provide the unprofitable, inefficient local service. In its absence, the short-term economic benefits of cutting the provision will be offset by long-term damage to the community at large. Predictably, therefore, the consequences of “competitive” buses—except in London where there is enough demand to go around—have been an increase in costs assigned to the public sector; a sharp rise in fares to the level that the market can bear; and attractive profits for the express bus companies.

Trains, like buses, are above all a social service. Anyone could run a profitable rail line if all they had to do was shunt expresses back and forth from London to Edinburgh, Paris to Marseilles, Boston to Washington. But what of rail links to and from places where people take the train only occasionally? No single person is going to set aside sufficient funds to pay the economic cost of supporting such a service for the infrequent occasions when he uses it. Only the collectivity—the state, the government, the local authorities—can do this. The subsidy required will always appear inefficient in the eyes of a certain sort of economist: Surely it would be cheaper to rip up the tracks and let everyone use their car?

In 1996, the last year before Britain’s railways were privatized, British Rail boasted the lowest public subsidy for a railway in Europe. In that year the French were planning for their railways an investment rate of £21 per head of population; the Italians £33; the British just £9.4 These contrasts were accurately reflected in the quality of the service provided by the respective national systems. They also explain why the British rail network could be privatized only at great loss, so inadequate was its infrastructure.

But the investment contrast illustrates my point. The French and the Italians have long treated their railways as a social provision. Running a train to a remote region, however cost-ineffective, sustains local communities. It reduces environmental damage by providing an alternative to road transport. The railway station and the service it provides are thus a symptom and symbol of society as a shared aspiration.

I suggested above that the provision of train service to remote districts makes social sense even if it is economically “inefficient.” But this, of course, begs an important question. Social democrats will not get very far by proposing laudable social objectives that they themselves concede to cost more than the alternatives. We would end up acknowledging the virtues of social services, decrying their expense…and doing nothing. We need to rethink the devices we employ to assess all costs: social and economic alike.

Let me offer an example. It is cheaper to provide benevolent handouts to the poor than to guarantee them a full range of social services as of right. By “benevolent” I mean faith-based charity, private or independent initiative, income-dependent assistance in the form of food stamps, housing grants, clothing subsidies, and so on. But it is notoriously humiliating to be on the receiving end of that kind of assistance. The “means test” applied by the British authorities to victims of the 1930s depression is still recalled with distaste and even anger by an older generation.5
Conversely, it is not humiliating to be on the receiving end of a right. If you are entitled to unemployment payments, pension, disability, municipal housing, or any other publicly furnished assistance as of right—without anyone investigating to determine whether you have sunk low enough to “deserve” help—then you will not be embarrassed to accept it. However, such universal rights and entitlements are expensive.

But what if we treated humiliation itself as a cost, a charge to society? What if we decided to “quantify” the harm done when people are shamed by their fellow citizens before receiving the mere necessities of life? In other words, what if we factored into our estimates of productivity, efficiency, or well-being the difference between a humiliating handout and a benefit as of right? We might conclude that the provision of universal social services, public health insurance, or subsidized public transportation was actually a cost-effective way to achieve our common objectives. Such an exercise is inherently contentious: How do we quantify “humiliation”? What is the measurable cost of depriving isolated citizens of access to metropolitan resources? How much are we willing to pay for a good society? Unclear. But unless we ask such questions, how can we hope to devise answers?6

What do we mean when we speak of a “good society”? From a normative perspective we might begin with a moral “narrative” in which to situate our collective choices. Such a narrative would then substitute for the narrowly economic terms that constrain our present conversations. But defining our general purposes in that way is no simple matter.
In the past, social democracy unquestionably concerned itself with issues of right and wrong: all the more so because it inherited a pre-Marxist ethical vocabulary infused with Christian distaste for extremes of wealth and the worship of materialism. But such considerations were frequently trumped by ideological interrogations. Was capitalism doomed? If so, did a given policy advance its anticipated demise or risk postponing it? If capitalism was not doomed, then policy choices would have to be conceived from a different perspective. In either case the relevant question typically addressed the prospects of “the system” rather than the inherent virtues or defects of a given initiative. Such questions no longer preoccupy us. We are thus more directly confronted with the ethical implications of our choices.

What precisely is it that we find abhorrent in financial capitalism, or “commercial society” as the eighteenth century had it? What do we find instinctively amiss in our present arrangements and what can we do about them? What do we find unfair? What is it that offends our sense of propriety when faced with unrestrained lobbying by the wealthy at the expense of everyone else? What have we lost?

The answers to such questions should take the form of a moral critique of the inadequacies of the unrestricted market or the feckless state. We need to understand why they offend our sense of justice or equity. We need, in short, to return to the kingdom of ends. Here social democracy is of limited assistance, for its own response to the dilemmas of capitalism was merely a belated expression of Enlightenment moral discourse applied to “the social question.” Our problems are rather different.

We are entering, I believe, a new age of insecurity. The last such era, memorably analyzed by Keynes in The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919), followed decades of prosperity and progress and a dramatic increase in the internationalization of life: “globalization” in all but name. As Keynes describes it, the commercial economy had spread around the world. Trade and communication were accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Before 1914, it was widely asserted that the logic of peaceful economic exchange would triumph over national self-interest. No one expected all this to come to an abrupt end. But it did.

We too have lived through an era of stability, certainty, and the illusion of indefinite economic improvement. But all that is now behind us. For the foreseeable future we shall be as economically insecure as we are culturally uncertain. We are assuredly less confident of our collective purposes, our environmental well-being, or our personal safety than at any time since World War II. We have no idea what sort of world our children will inherit, but we can no longer delude ourselves into supposing that it must resemble our own in reassuring ways.

We must revisit the ways in which our grandparents’ generation responded to comparable challenges and threats. Social democracy in Europe, the New Deal, and the Great Society here in the US were explicit responses to the insecurities and inequities of the age. Few in the West are old enough to know just what it means to watch our world collapse.7 We find it hard to conceive of a complete breakdown of liberal institutions, an utter disintegration of the democratic consensus. But it was just such a breakdown that elicited the Keynes–Hayek debate and from which the Keynesian consensus and the social democratic compromise were born: the consensus and the compromise in which we grew up and whose appeal has been obscured by its very success.

If social democracy has a future, it will be as a social democracy of fear.8 Rather than seeking to restore a language of optimistic progress, we should begin by reacquainting ourselves with the recent past. The first task of radical dissenters today is to remind their audience of the achievements of the twentieth century, along with the likely consequences of our heedless rush to dismantle them.

The left, to be quite blunt about it, has something to conserve. It is the right that has inherited the ambitious modernist urge to destroy and innovate in the name of a universal project. Social democrats, characteristically modest in style and ambition, need to speak more assertively of past gains. The rise of the social service state, the century-long construction of a public sector whose goods and services illustrate and promote our collective identity and common purposes, the institution of welfare as a matter of right and its provision as a social duty: these were no mean accomplishments.

That these accomplishments were no more than partial should not trouble us. If we have learned nothing else from the twentieth century, we should at least have grasped that the more perfect the answer, the more terrifying its consequences. Imperfect improvements upon unsatisfactory circumstances are the best that we can hope for, and probably all we should seek. Others have spent the last three decades methodically unraveling and destabilizing those same improvements: this should make us much angrier than we are. It ought also to worry us, if only on prudential grounds: Why have we been in such a hurry to tear down the dikes laboriously set in place by our predecessors? Are we so sure that there are no floods to come?

A social democracy of fear is something to fight for. To abandon the labors of a century is to betray those who came before us as well as generations yet to come. It would be pleasing—but misleading—to report that social democracy, or something like it, represents the future that we would paint for ourselves in an ideal world. It does not even represent the ideal past. But among the options available to us in the present, it is better than anything else to hand. In Orwell’s words, reflecting in Homage to Catalonia upon his recent experiences in revolutionary Barcelona:

There was much in it that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for.
I believe this to be no less true of whatever we can retrieve from the twentieth-century memory of social democracy.

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