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> 行业英语 > 金融英语 > 金融时报原文阅读 >  第609课

金融时报:民主之路不容易

所属教程:金融时报原文阅读

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2022年01月14日

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民主之路不容易

1990年以来,世界上民主国家的数量翻了一番。但有些新生的民主国家遇到了各种各样的挑战。马丁·沃尔夫指出,成熟的民主政治从来都不是唾手可得的,四大要素缺一不可。比如说,任何派别都必须尊重民主的游戏规则:赢者不要妄想“通吃”,而输者也应通过民主程序争取自己上台的机会_……

测试中可能遇到的词汇和知识:

universal suffrage['sʌfrɪdʒ] 普选

accountable to对……负有责任的

paternalism[pə'tɜːn(ə)lɪzm] 父爱主义,家长作风

seizure 癫痫,抽搐

“loyal opposition” 忠诚的反对党,英国下议院为第二大党设有专门的头衔:Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition

commonwealth ['kɒmənwelθ] 大众福利,公益

antithesis[æn'tɪθəsɪs] 对立面,反面教材

loot [luːt] 洗劫,抢夺

engender [ɪn'dʒendə; en-] 使产生

salient ['seɪlɪənt] 突出的,显著的

There is no easy path to democracy(1065 words)

Martin Wolf, FT chief economic commentator

Could Ukraine become a stable liberal democracy? The answer to this question has to be: yes. Will Ukraine become a stable liberal democracy? The answer to that is: we do not know. We do know that other countries have reached the destination. But we also know that universal suffrage democracy is a delicate plant, particularly in its early years. What has happened to young democracies in, say, Egypt, Thailand, Russia and Ukraine underlines that truth. Democracy is delicate because it is a complex and, in crucial respects, unnatural game.

My starting point is that government accountable to the governed is the only form suitable for grown-ups. All other forms of government treat people as children. In the past, when most people were illiterate, such paternalism might have been justified. That can no longer be true. As the population becomes more informed, governments that treat their peoples in this way will be less acceptable. I expect (or hope) that, in the long run, this will be true even of China.

The evidence is consistent with this optimism. According to the Polity IV database, almost 100 countries are now (more or less imperfect) democracies. This is double the number in 1990. In 1800, there were none. The number of true autocracies has also tumbled sharply, from around 90 in 1990 to about 20 now. Unfortunately, there has been a rise from about 20 to over 50 in the number of anocracies – regimes whose governance is highly unstable, ineffective and corrupt. Such regimes may be either crumbling autocracies or failing democracies. They are also vulnerable to outbreaks of armed conflict or forcible seizures of power.

What then are the underpinnings of a stable and successful democracy? The brief answer is that a democracy requires a double set of restraints: among the people and between the people and the state. These restraints rest on four features, all of them necessary.

First of all, democracies need citizens. Citizens are not only people who engage in public life, though they are also that. Above all, citizens accept that their loyalty to the processes they share must override loyalty to their own political side. Citizens understand the idea of a “loyal opposition”. They accept the legitimacy of government run by and even for their opponents, confident that they may have their own turn in time. Citizens, it follows, do not use the political process to destroy the ability of their opponents to operate in peace. They accept the legitimacy of dissent and even vociferous protest. They rule out only the use of force. Of course, some opponents are unacceptable – above all those who reject the legitimacy of democratic process. A country short of such citizens is permanently poised on the edge of break-up or even civil war.

Second, democracies need guardians, a term used by the late Jane Jacobs in her superb book, Systems of Survival. Guardians hold positions of political, bureaucratic, legal or military power. What makes them guardians, as opposed to bandits, is that they use their positions not for personal material advantage, but in accordance with objective rules or in favour of a notion of the commonweal. Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine's ousted president, is as good an example of an antithesis to this as one can imagine. Yet his motives for seeking power were also the traditional ones. Throughout history, power and wealth were conjoined. The idea that the two should be separate was and, in many places, still is revolutionary. Mr Yanukovich believed instead in his right to loot and shoot. That is no basis for democratic legitimacy.

Third, democracies need markets. By markets we definitely do not mean the abuse of the power of state to turn public into private wealth, as happened throughout so much of the former Soviet Union. Business people who build their fortunes on such theft are no more legitimate than the politicians who helped them.

Properly functioning markets supported by a well-functioning state provide crucial underpinnings of stable democracy. First, they support prosperity. A society able to ensure a decent and reasonably secure standard of living is also likely to be a stable one. This then would be a society of trust in one's fellow citizens and one's economic future. Second, markets loosen the connection between prosperity and power. They make it possible for people to regard the outcomes of elections as important, but not as matters of life or death either for themselves or for their families. This lowers the temperature of politics from the burning to the bearable.

Finally, if all these complex, albeit essential, systems are to be effective, democracies need accepted laws, including not least constitutional ones (even if sometimes unwritten). The law, enacted and implemented in accordance with accepted procedures, shapes the rules of the political, social and economic game. A country that lacks the rule of law is permanently on the verge of chaos or tyranny – the unhappy fate of Russia over the centuries. Democracy then is about much more than voting. It is certainly not “one adult, one vote, once”. Nor, for that matter, is it “one adult, one rigged vote, many times”. It is a complex web of rights, obligations, powers and constraints.

Democracy is either the political expression of free individuals acting together, or it is nothing. Those who have won an election do not have the right to do as they please. That is not a true democracy, but elected dictatorship. Can outsiders help a people on the road towards democracy? Yes, they can. The helpful economic and political role of the EU in central and eastern Europe has shown that. Are backward steps imaginable? Yes, Hungary is showing just that.

Can bad neighbours blight hopes? Yes, that is possible, too.

We have indeed seen many failures along the path to democracy. Egypt is a salient one: it may have lacked too many of the necessary conditions for success. Today, we can see that Ukraine has created its third chance since 1991. But the country will need a great deal of help. The west has provided such help to others. But the country will itself also need to move towards quite new rules of the social game: it must engender true citizens, honest guardians, proper markets and just laws. Is such a revolutionary shift possible? I do not know. But of one thing I am quite certain. It is well worth the attempt.

请根据你所读到的文章内容,完成以下自测题目:

1.According to Wolf, democracy is not yet suitable for a country…

A.with huge amount of population.

B.with young population.

C.where most people are illiterate.

D.where paternalism is commonly accepted.

答案(1)

2.Democracy needs citizens, according to the article, “citizens” are people who…

A.engage actively in public life.

B.highly respect democratic processes.

C.have no party affiliation.

D.would form coalition government with opponents.

答案(2)

3.Among the following essentials of democracy, which one “lowers the temperature of politics from the burning to the bearable”?

A.Guardians of democracy.

B.Market economy.

C.Rule of law everywhere.

答案(3)

4.The word best summarizes the writer's description of democracy is?

A.delicate

B.complex

C.demanding

D.bearable

答案(4)

5.French philosopher Montesquieu has a famous remark, “constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it”, this article offers what remedy to this?

A.Universal suffrage.

B.Popularization of education.

C.Powerful and unselfish “guardians of democracy”.

D.“A complex web of rights, obligations, powers and constraints”.

答案(5)

* * *

(1)答案:C.where most people are illiterate.

解释:沃尔夫说他的出发点是:只有民主制是适合成年人的。其他非民主制度都假设民众是不能做出选择,并且对此负责的。因此在很多国家,人们认识水平的提高,让非民主制越来越难以接受。

(2)答案:B.highly respect democratic processes.

解释:沃尔夫的定义是:他们对民主程序的忠诚,超过对自己所属政治派别的忠诚,也就是说不管选举输赢都能坦然接受,不会搞的你死我活。

(3)答案:B.Market economy.

解释:作者解释说,市场经济对民主的支持作用,一是提供繁荣和富足;二是让财富不再严重依赖于权力。“有权力靠山就有一切,没有权力靠山就什么也不是”的情况下,政治的热度必然是“灼人”的。

(4)答案:A.delicate

解释:四个词都有道理,但作者在第一段两次提到delicate(微妙的、精美的、易碎的)这个词,并且后面结合最近的一些时事热点来展开。

(5)答案:D.“A complex web of rights, obligations, powers and constraints”.

解释:作者多次强调,Democracy is about much more than voting,不乏elected dictatorship这种情况。 rights, obligations, powers and constraints组成的复杂网络,分别对应在第三段所说的,“制约人与人,与制约民众与政府”这两大课题。


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