昨晚(02-13),爸媽兄長在家中打麻將,而原先想在除夕夜念些書的我,在志豪的熱情邀請下,到了他中平路的家中守歲。

許久不見的阿上、阿興、殺雞也到了志豪家中,由於太久未見,話匣子一打開就停不了。由志豪在美國和碩、阿上的Intel、阿興的HCG、殺雞的書記官,一直聊到了阿上的『攝影副業』、阿興的『免治馬桶』與殺雞的『把妹經濟學』,相當有趣。

而其中與志豪所聊到的台灣媒體亂象、美國的救市政策、Greenspan的利率行為、凱因斯學派……也給了我另外層面的想法,發人省思,也很高興能有志豪這樣知識淵博的朋友,雖然議題較為嚴肅,但討論的過程卻是過癮的。志豪今天餘興未歇,又寫了封email給我,繼續詳談他的想法,真的是很有熱情的一個朋友。


而就在這樣一個充滿嬉鬧、知性的談話中,過了一個難忘的守歲夜晚。送阿上回家後,我再回到家時已凌晨四點,天哪,過去的一年中,還真沒那麼晚睡,這次真的是確實執行『守歲』呢!


【註】守歲:除夕夜,許多人都與家人圍坐一起,談天說笑徹夜不眠,謂之守歲。守歲可祈求雙親長壽,故又稱「長壽夜」。而「不睡」,臺灣話是「不睏」,「睏」字諧音「困」,所以守歲也是靜待「不困窮」的新年。等午夜十二時一到,大家紛紛放鞭炮,以迎接新的一年。



日期2010年2月14日 下午3:55
主题Happy New Year

Dear Phil,
 
Happy new year.
 
I had a good time talking about those topics last night, although I tend to get too much excited all the time…J I apologize if I got too excited.

I believe discussions like this help me to review my thoughts and ideas, which is a very rare opportunity to me because most people have lost their appetite to know this world and talk about it.
 
For the topic of journalism freedom, I still believe any kind of information filtering or control/supervision is totally evil. I believe that you would agree with me that even the situation in TW is not so admirable, but it still provides more truths than it does in China, sometimes truth is just not pretty. The so called “self-discipline” means nothing in the real world because when it starts, people started to lose their freedom to choose what they want to know or what they don’t want to know. Losing that freedom is the start of moving toward information arbitrary and dictation. The example you brought up, the journalism under Chiang’s administration is a perfect proof of my statement.
 
I agree that the journalism in TW has gone to a path of bringing more people to brainlessness and this is definitely TWese’s choice. I think the reason for that is deeply rooted in the Han culture. The more-than-2-millennium history of oppressing people from knowing the world and from having knowledge makes most of Chinese only cares about gossips. Needless to say the “white terror” has just past less than 30 years. Only by changing that culture are we able to bring the democracy to next level and by then, I can only hope the journalism will move up to next level when people start cherishing their freedom of speech. However, controlling or filtering information is definitely a setback to that and will eventually sabotage our very young democracy. 
 
As I said, I don’t trust government at all. Most of time, a government only makes things worse. But there is still a need (demand) for a government, because every now and then, we need the power of the state to make sure everyone is following some basic rules. For example, in the case of journalism freedom, I believe government’s role in this game is to make sure all the agency can’t or won’t make up false stories. A false story is a cheating on the news market (allow me to use the terms in Economics). If a cheating is never punished, then there will be more cheating in that market. Then in the end, there will not be any freedom of speech because it does not matter anymore. That’s what a government really need to intervene and ensure the market is in a healthy competition. This won’t bring in anyone’s judgment, so it’s definitely more subjective.
 
As for the topic of Keynesianism, Roosevelt’s New Deal all the way to the actions that Obama administration has taken in the past year, I think you might find the entire Chicago School of Economics might totally disagrees with you.
 
For Keynesianism, every time when there is a financial crisis, there will be government brings this up and depends on it to resolve the crisis. However, so far, there is no one can prove this would work. A very good example to this is the economical breakdown in Japan. Japan has followed Keynesian’s model for more than 20 years, but so far, there is no sign for them to recover to their economic status in ‘80s. Some Chickago school economists have suggested that Japan has to abandon their mindset on bringing in more government expenditure and expect that would recover Japan’s economy. I think the reason why the Keynesianism is so popular in the time of financial crisis is because it gives a theory background to the governments to justify their intervene of free markets. And people thought that “Almighty” government will save them from that crisis so they just let their government to do that. This is in line with the benefit of political parties and governments because they have people’s authorization to put their hands into more things which might bring them individual benefit politically or financially. However most of time it’s proven wrong and this is why I don’t like the idea of government because political parties’ interests are not in line with mine or yours.. The Roosevelt’s New Deal is a good example. People thought it was Roosevelt’s New Deal that ended the Great Depression, but Milton Friedman proved that it’s because of the Keynesianism caused the Great Depression in the beginning and the New Deal delayed the economy recovery afterwards. And because of Great Depression, the Europe economy dropped even deeper which lead to Hitler’s uprising and the Germany’s invasion of Poland and Czech. Funny is the real termination of Great Depression is the burst of the WW2 which brought a lot of demands of everything from military weapons to agricultural products. Demand goes up and the supply goes up, then everyone makes money from it and then economy recovers. If you paid attention to Wall Street Journals or Economists last year, you might find some very interesting articles judging Obama and other government’s leaders of their pumping so much money into the system and expect that would save the world. In fact, it didn’t and wouldn’t. Ma Yin Jiu’s cash voucher is the same thing. It’s just a waste of money. And now, because Obama’s administration pumping so much money into Wall Street, so they are able to control Wall Street. Politicians are telling Wall Street what to do and what not to do now and I don’t believe those buttheads will be smarter those guys in Wall Street. They are just playing God to grab their political benefits. And they will just kill the creativity in Wall Street and bring their leadership down. As for Gruman, I would say he is just trying to catch eyeballs.
 
As for Greenspan’s management in the past, I had overstated his mistake. However that doesn’t fail my conclusion of his mistake of not revealing enough information to the market. Information disclosure is the only thing that he should be care about.

Best regards,
 
John

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