第五风暴 | The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

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2019年10月5日10:14:43第五风暴 | The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis已关闭评论 359 次浏览
第五风暴 | The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

What are the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works?

"The election happened," remembers Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, then deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. "And then there was radio silence." Across all departments, similar stories were playing out: Trump appointees were few and far between; those that did show up were shockingly uninformed about the functions of their new workplace. Some even threw away the briefing books that had been prepared for them.

Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.

Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.

If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes, unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system—those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at night.

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刚动完手术的麦可.路易士,躺在床上看电视。他的畅销书《橡皮擦计画》才刚出版,正在想下一本书要写什麽。

后来他看到新闻说,川普提名前德州州长裴瑞(Rick Perry)担任能源部长。「能源部是干嘛的?」麦可心想,长这麽大,自己竟然从没把政府的功能弄清楚过。于是,带著好奇心的他,造访了十几个经常见诸媒体、与经济密切相关的部门。

他这才发现,天啊,原来自己根本不了解政府:许多政府机构的实际功能,根本与名称不相符。例如「能源部」,最重要的任务不是什麽顾名思义的制定能源政策,而是掌管攸关你我性命的核子武器!还有「农业部」,其实绝大多数的工作内容「与农业一点关係也没有」。至于常常见报的「商务部」,你可能以为就像我们的经济部,是专门负责制定产业政策、掌管国际贸易的吧?错了,商务部裡预算最庞大的业务,是你想也想不到的:提供气象资讯。是的,可以说没有美国商务部,就没有你我手机裡准确的气象预测。

每隔四到八年,美国总统会换人做,但无论政党怎麽轮替,基层公务员长期默默坚守在岗位上,维持政府运转、保护国家安全、发布天灾预警,却不为你我所知。我们通常只有在公务员出了纰漏、或是闹了什麽丑闻,才会注意到他们的存在。但麦可.路易士警告:该改变这个刻板印象了,要知道核武不会落入坏人之手、弱势孩子有营养午餐可吃、龙捲风来临前的警报声会响起,全都得归功于最基层的公务员。

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  • 版权声明: 发表于 2019年10月5日10:14:43
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