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与PAP共事?公共选择理论有何建议

23/10/10

作者/来源:On Nation and State(20-10-2010) http://singaporedaily.net
新加坡文献馆译

大选是此该城中的热门话题,或许我们应该探索一个颇为不可能的状况,那就是人民行动党失去了相当数额的议席,却依旧是最大政党。因此,依然控制国会,即便其控制权是脆弱的。那么,反对党要如处理这种局势?

我想反对党应该是会充分利用这种新得到的力量去全面阻截人民行动党的政治议程。换言之,一个全面抗争不于合作的应对政策。

但是,这种想法虽然具有吸引力却在细致分析后站不住脚。我不会羞辱读者的智慧去重复人民行动党那迂腐老套去强调政治稳定的重要性。相反的,我会从公共选择理论中借用一些可供借鉴的论说。最终,政客们和要为自己谋取私利的普通人没两样。

一名政客要如何面对一个艰难的选择情况,他是否要支持一个重要却不受公众欢迎的法规。一个正确的经济分析必需考虑到支持这项法规所涉及到的成本与其所带来的利益。这个成本代价是明显的,他可能丢失了自已的那份工作!

投支持票所带来的好处虽然不是立刻的显而易见,但也并不是政客所不能预见到的。他的支持让该法规获得通过,这有助他的同僚们(尤其是党的领导层)确认他的可靠性,乐意合作,与愿意在面对决策时为党做出坚决的决定。任何在职场上干活的人都知道一个人的形象是何等重要,可以断送或者提升一个有抱负政客的仕途。

一名政客会做出何种的决定取决于他的个人安全感和多数票政党本身的强度。简言之,没有任何议员可以有效的威胁到执政党的掌控权力,或者可以威胁到法规的通过。就是这两个重要动力元素的运作,在基本上解释了为何在新加坡,法规如果不是以全体一致的方式,也可以以强势的大多数支持票获得通过。

那么,这又和反对党的策略有何关系?反对党取得强势的选民支持时可以引发两种效应。其一,可以削减多数票政党的力量,此外,把以前的安全议席推向颠覆点。

在这一种格局下,如果持多数议席政党不能取得少数议席者在国家利益课题上的合作,这将会是个不堪设想的国家灾难。并不是人民行动党要你相信的说法,一党专政有效率,灵活与果断。相反的,那是因为一个能够妥善运作的国会必须基于国会议员之间能够相互信任与合作。

如果占少数议席的政党要和占多数议席的政党全面对抗,不给于合作以通过重要却不受欢迎的法规,这时那个被削弱的多数议席政党就要面对不容易胜任的工作。

一些议员会畏缩不前。一些会干脆拒绝投支持票,一些会受哄骗而做出愚蠢决定。

更多的是,见到有机可乘时会从中谋取私利。有些则会利用投票权去削弱法规的约束权力。有些则会利用这一契机提出个人议程以捞取政治资本。多数议席政党在面对这种情况时会变得无能为力。

这种局势会造成一个没有活力与缺乏干劲的政府。美国就是这一种典型的政府。

这是为何人民行动党会害怕一个寻求改变的反对党。这种情况未必会出现。只要我们具有成熟的思维以及乐意去解决所面对的问题。

我们之所以选出84位国会议员并非是为了让他们相互批斗与为难对方。我们也并非为了让他们借此机会敛财致富。我们投票支持他们是为了让他们代表我们的原则,价值观和意见。我们不可以让他们忘掉这些人民意愿。

如果反对党有幸取得这种胜利,祝贺他们。希望他们不要忽略了摆在我们面前的挑战。为此,支持人民行动党的好政策。反对人民行动党,如果他们犯错。

要做出对国家有利的事。

要做出正确的决策,不是简易的决策。

原文来源:http://onnationandstate.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/work-with-the-pap-what-public-choice-theory-has-to-offer/

Work with the PAP? What Public Choice Theory has to offer.
20-10-2010

With election fever being the talk of the town, perhaps we should touch on the unlikely scenario where the PAP loses a significant number of seats; but remains the largest party. It then retains its control of Parliament, however tenuous. How then should the Opposition respond?

I would believe quite a few think the Opposition should capitalise on its newfound strength and entirely halt the PAP agenda. In other words, a policy of total war and no cooperation.

But this idea, though appealing, does not hold water with more careful analysis. I shall not insult the intelligence of the reader by resorting to the same old clichéd tropes from the PAP, emphasizing the importance of political stability. Rather, I will draw on a key lesson from Public Choice theory: Politicians are ultimately humans looking out for themselves.

Consider the case where a politician has to make the difficult choice of whether to vote for a critical but highly unpopular bill. A proper economic analysis of which choice he should take would take into account the costs and benefits of voting for the bill. The costs of voting are quite obvious: He could lose his job!

The benefit of voting, while not immediately visible, is no less tangible to the politician. Not only does he help to ensure passage, by voting for the bill, he helps to cement the impression among his colleagues (and especially party leadership) that he is a reliable vote, cooperative and willing to make hard decisions for the party. And as anyone in the workplace knows too well, such impressions count. They can make or break the aspiring politician’s career.

It turns out that the answer to the above question hinges on how safe the politician feels as well as the strength of the majority. The MP who faces a tough race is far more concerned about the wrath of his constituents than that cushy top post if he can’t even guarantee his own survival.

Also, with a strong majority, each politician has little bargaining power with the majority. To put it simply, no member can effectively threaten the ruling party’s grip on power or threaten the passage of legislation. It is the combination of these two dynamics in Singapore that explains why bills here tend to pass with strong, if not unanimous support.

So how does this relate to Opposition strategy? A strong showing by the Opposition would do two things. Firstly, it diminishes the strength of the majority. Also, it puts formerly safe seats close to the tipping point.

If under such a scenario, the majority cannot expect any cooperation from the minority on national interests, then we have a recipe for national failure. Not for the reason that the PAP would want you to believe, that a 1 party state is most effective, swift and decisive. Rather, it is because trust and cooperation between lawmakers is required for the effective operation of Parliament.

If the minority declares all out war on the majority, refusing to help pass critical but unpopular policy, the unpalatable task would then fall on the ranks of the weakened majority.

Members will balk. Some will flatly refuse to vote for it, while others will be cajoled into political suicide.

But most, smelling blood in the water, will fully milk the crisis. Knowing the importance of their vote, some will water down the bill. Others will use it to insert their pet projects to shore up their popularity. And the majority is in no position to object.

We end up with feckless government. See the United States for a classic example.

This is why the PAP fears a resurgent opposition. Yet this need not happen. All we need is maturity of thought and a willingness to confront problems.

We did not elect 84 MPs to bicker and obstruct each other. Neither did we pay 84 MPs to enrich themselves. We voted them to be representatives of our principles, our values, our ideals. And we cannot let them forget.

If the Opposition has the good fortune to reap such gains, kudos to them. But let them not lose sight of the real challenges ahead. To that end, support the PAP’s good policies. Oppose them where they are wrong.

Do what is right for the nation.

Do the right thing. Not the easy thing.

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分类题材: 政治_politics ,

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