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回應「當仁不讓」                                               徐志強    2000/05/27
 

這堨擇錄「當仁不讓」的部份原文:


學生會其中的一個特性是從選舉中產生領袖。和其他學會不同,理論上學生會選舉有其問責性和競爭性。在這種情況底下即使普遍同學領導能力低劣,(問題一)被推舉出來的領袖仍是最勝任的。但是現實例子表明情況並非如此,究竟問題出了在那裡呢?

第三個可能性是志強兄文中所及的分餅仔問題。導致分餅仔的原因是(問題二)中六同學們情同手足,怎能忍心讓同學不得其所願呢﹖在主動和積極的協調底下,大家和和氣氣不是很好?從經濟學的角度來說,這種協商是一種壟斷。由於領袖是由協商而非選舉產生,被選的領袖根本毋須付出應有的代價。反過來說,(問題三)參選者在競選所付出的代價和當選對他的重要性則成正比﹝我們暫且不談參選者背後的動機﹞。(問題四)能獲選的參選者一方面反映他有能力付出,另一方面反映他願意付出。這兩方面在任何推選領袖的過程中都是相當重要。而分餅仔正正就缺乏對這些代價的承擔(問題十一)

最可怕的一種是主屬顛倒,即應擔任領導的走了去做委員而應做委員的走了去做領袖。對於後者我只能給予同情。他們攀上高位可能只是因為太過偉大、捱義氣。但是對於前者,我實在不敢認同。在這些人當中有一類是謙謙君子,他們覺得別人比自己更勝任,所以將領導權拱手相讓。當他們發覺情況出了亂子,要出手相助的時候已為時太晚。權力不在手,就算點改都離不開已定的框框。另一種是下等曹操,他們甘願退居二線只為脅天子令諸侯。不單只(問題五)毋須「背黑鍋」,人們還往往對其英雄行為加以褒獎,覺得他更應該做領袖。其實他只懂紙上談兵。我稱其為下等,因他們缺乏曹操的氣概。雖然他們脅天子令諸侯,但他們無所事事,只是懂得率眾說三道四,對團體本身毫無建樹

古人道當仁不讓(問題十)。唯有在競爭之下,各人才能使出看家本領。唯有當分餅仔的壟斷者、脅天子而不務正業的下等曹操和當仁必讓的謙謙君子(問題六)敢於接受挑戰(問題七)公平地競選,中衰的組織才有復興的一日。
 
 

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Martin: 我很喜歡你的文章。現有十一條問題。
   

(一)  Martin: 為何被推舉出來的領袖會是最勝任的?你自己都已提出
了這麼多理由解釋為何推舉出來的領袖會不是最勝任了罷!

Hin: I meant those “elected” not “selected” sorry for the typo.

Martin: 我想這不是打錯字的問題,而是為何被推(選)舉出來的領
袖會是最勝任的?我實在想不到為何選舉可以領到最勝任的人當
領袖。選舉本身未必可對參選的人的才能有準確的評估,否則也
不有這麼多人靠吹水上位了吧?選舉本身對參選人,甚至當選人
也不一定有什麼制衡力,尤其是任期短的職位。你覺得選舉可以
制衡學生會會長嗎?我覺得呀sir制衡head perfect仲易D。

Hin: I think it is necessary to identify two different issues at stake here.  In
the first place, the question is how to get (select, elect, appoint, whatever) a
good leader to lead an organization.  Second, it is about how the quality of the
leader can be maintained and his performance be monitored.

For the first question, I have no doubt that election may not get the best
candidate, but you are saying this in an absolute basis without comparing it to
other methods.  In the election process, candidates may be just 吹水 or they
can seriously mobilize supporters to demonstrate a likelihood that similar
support and leadership MAY be sustainable when they are really elected.  As
a voter, if I allow some 吹水 guys to get elected, this is at least what I want.
At least they make me laugh or feel entertained during the election process.  I
may regret afterward but it is my choice anyway.  I don’t see there is any
problem with that.  On the other hand, leaders in some organizations like the
Student Union are not only accountable to the student body, but also the
school administration.  Therefore, in the application process, we need the
school administration to sign off the platforms and annual plans.  I think it is
a nice arrangement to an extent because it allows flexible inputs from the
school while allowing maximum participation from the students.
Alternatively, if there are just internal arrangement, appointment, or 分餅仔,
who are these selected accountable to?  Definitely not the student body
because their being elected have no business with them.  They are only
accountable to those who make his position possible.

[N.B. Many social science researches have pointed out that democratic
system need not be the best.  Winston Churchill has once said, democracy is
the worst, except for all other systems at hand.  I believe that there are some
truths in it.  Moreover, there are various systems in King’s and I think it is
a good idea to maintain such diversities so that different models can compete
and the outcome will show which one is the best.  However, democratic
election is the only way the elected would have an interest to respond to the
needs of the voters.  In other methods, the selected only have to respond to
the needs of a small group of influential people.]

On the monitoring issue, there are three forces to supervise the SU: teacher
advisors (or the school administration, broadly speaking), peer group of the
same forms which may or may not involved in the 分餅仔, and finally the
student body.  The first two are available for other organization like prefect
body so that it seems unreasonable that other organizations would have an
edge over the SU.  Yet, the SU has another could-be powerful monitoring
force, namely the student body.  Originally, members of the Representative
Council are granted the power to supervise the functioning of the Union of
their classmates’ behalf.  They can demand active responses from the
Executive branches, approve or overrule the policies of the SU, and even
censure any irresponsible acts of the SU.  Given all these, I don’t see why it
would be more difficult to supervise the work of the Union.  If it is difficult
at all in the SU, it would only in psychological terms because students never
think they can exercise their rights to such an extent.  The executive branch
essentially strips off the power of the class representatives when it hosts the
Council based upon the “agenda” it drafts.  Or, the class representatives
surrender their power so that it looks as if there is nothing special in the SU
comparing with other organizations.  Let me ask you a question, if a house
captain just engage himself in developing relationship with his classmate
without paying any attention to organize house activities, who should I turn
to?
 
 

(二)   Martin:和和氣氣分餅仔為何會有人要「捱義氣」而當會長的?
抑或有人想搭順風車,所以才有人要「捱義氣」?這個「情同手
足」從何說起?

Hin: 分餅仔 doesn’t mean everyone got what he wants.  But it
approximates the expectation and ensures that everyone does have something.
  In a fierce election process, the time schedule may create a situation in
which the losers are left will no position at all. 分餅仔avoids these kinds of
problem.

Martin:我想你是講Quota Vs competition吧。Let me ask:

Who should prefer quota? Who shall prefer competition?

The answer to these questions doesn’t lie on ‘who’, but ‘why’.
People who expect themselves to be losers should prefer quota!! Why do they
expect themselves to be losers? It may be because they are not willing to
 ‘pay’ for the position they want, or they just do not want to do anything
at all. That’s why I think quota will enhance laziness in the clubs and
societies.

Hin: Totally agree.

Hin: On the other hand,「情同手足」may have no solid basis.  People are
just free-riding.  Those who don’t realize it, or those who realize it but still
willing to sacrifice themselves to provide public good will捱義氣.
Obviously, these kinds of情同手足 is fake.

Martin:有人說朋友是被利用的東西。我不得不信也。但是人會被
長期被free-ride嗎?不會。

朋友是被利用的東西,被free-ride。但被free-ride的人也要free-ride朋
友。有來有往,「友誼」這東西(有時是代表很昂貴的public good,
e.g.信用,捱義氣)才有實質的基礎。如果學會?的同學在一年中
會free-ride人,而有時又會被人free-ride的話。那麼,學會便可由這
個「友誼」來支持運作了。

有時,我會想我們不是要杜絕free-ride,而是應該鼓勵free-ride。常
言道:兄弟班,冇計。這個「冇計」便是容許自己被人free-ride,
不過記緊是雙向的free-ride。

Hin:  There should be a difference between free-riding and cooperation.
Fundamentally, both free-riding and cooperation involve multi-parties
engaging in the same team.  The participants share their responsibility and
achieve some tasks.  But the major difference between free-riding and
cooperation rests on the distribution of contribution and reward.  In a
free-riding, one party contributes very little or even nothing but it can still
enjoy the benefit of being part of group; in a cooperation, both parties
contribute.  Even the share of contribution and reward in the latter may not
perfectly equal, I would argue that it is still a cooperation.  In your example,
bilateral free riding should better be termed as cooperation.  In a football
game, there is both defense and offense.  Can we say the defense is
free-riding the offense?  No, unless the defense stands still even when the
team was attacked.
 
 

(三)   Martin:為何當選的重要性會和付出的成本成正比?水對我們很
重要,但也不見得水費很貴啊?!

Hin: That’s actually a pretty good analogy.  Water is very important to us
but there is tons of it in Hong Kong.  Only an idiot will pay a thousand bugs
for a jar of water.  Similarly, if there are so many 肥缺, only an idiot will
pay a high cost to get elected.  Or, if he is not an idiot, then being elected
must have a special value to him.  The scarcity of such a position would
therefore more or less like a drop of clean water in the desert, the price of
water should surge.

Martin: Obviously, the presidency of SU is not a 肥缺, at least it is not as
肥缺 as head prefect or house captains, or even the chairmen of large
societies (e.g. SSG?) Agree or not?  The crux of the problem here is that
scarcity will make up a high ‘price’ to attain the presidency only if
someone think it is of a special value to them (i.e. think it is a 肥缺).

We all agree the presidency is a very scarce good, but how could we make it
possessing some special values? How can we make it become a 肥缺?

Hin: In another article I am about to write, let me prove you that the
Presidency is really a肥缺.
 
 

(四)   Martin:為何「有能力付出」,和「願意付出」會在確立領
袖的過程中相當重要?「付出」的能力即是領導能力耶?

Hin: The contribution here is not simply the energy, but also the leadership.

Martin:   That’s fine.

Hin: Isn’t it important to have a leader who has the capacity to contribute
his leadership (if he has any) and willing to contribute it?  The ability to
contribute doesn’t imply leadership because these contributions may be
useless for an organization.  That’s why I refer to the contribution of
leadership skills.

Martin:   Again, I am asking why should they contribute their leadership?
It doesn’t make sense to say they have to contribute because they are
capable to contribute.

If they will not have a satisfactory reward, I just cannot imagine why a
capable person shall go to contribute his leadership, or even make his
leadership known to others.

Hin: Totally agree.
 
 

(五)   Martin: 下等曹操和「吹水基」有何分別?為何他們不去撈個領
袖銜頭呢?依我論之,當領袖過癮至極,這些人又不是白癡(當了
領袖可以找人背黑鍋呀!),為何會只是繼續吹水呢?

Hin: There are two reasons:

First, these吹水基 have a more profitable post to hold.  From the cost and
benefit analysis, holding another leadership position will cost them less harm
while maintaining similar gains.

Second, some organizations impose relatively huge penalties on the
free-riders and there are relatively easier ways to monitor performance (the
S.U. is among one of these, even you organize nothing throughout the year,
you still have a leadership training scheme and a welfare sub-com to run.  It
is the cabinet standing in the Tin-on mum and facing the representative
council.  If the student body is strong enough, public censure can drive the
presidencies crazy).

Martin: I highly appreciate the second point though I don’t think this is an
example of free-rider. I really think this is the reason why SU presidency is
not a 肥缺, and why 吹水基 is not interested in it.

p.s. 肥缺 may come out because there are great difficulties in the
measurement of performance, or we just cannot drive the chairman away,
even though he hasn’t got any performance.

Hin: My second point, as you have pointed out, help explain why SU seems
not a肥缺 and it is more difficult to free-ride in the SU.  I agree with what
you say in the postscript.
 
 

(六)   Martin:   在相同的得益之下(e.g. 做會長, head perfect…etc),為
何想做會長的同學要選擇高成本的公開競爭,而不用低成本的
「政治協商分餅仔」?難道要同學付出代價去證明自己「敢於接
受挑戰」、「當仁不讓」不成?

Hin: That’s why I say choosing 分餅仔 is rational (because of the low
transaction cost) but sub-optimal.  These kinds of分餅仔 just 架空 their
members or voters (if any).  We have to put the analysis not only on the cost
side, but also on the benefit side.  Of course, if everybody is genius in leading
whatever organizations, then 分餅仔 may be a good choice because the
marginal benefit of selecting a slightly more suitable leader may be less than
compensate for the cost of the election process.

Martin:   That’s a good point.

In a sense, this just reminds me of the ideology behind communism, which
mentions that when all workers are “adequately educated,” they would be
freed from their means of production because their skills are transferable
among different occupations.  I am not saying that it is impossible, but so far
it takes more than half a decade for the workers to be “adequately
educated,” and we are still waiting for its completion.

In short, members will get a good leader through分餅仔only if they are
lucky, and the leaders will become a true leader if there is something called
free-lunch in the world.  So far, I have not ever heard of any case that a leader
can be developed without enduring challenge and demonstrating their
courage.

Martin: I agree your point on getting a good leader through分餅仔only if
they are lucky, and the leaders will become a true leader if there is something
called free-lunch in the world.

I also agree to the point that a leader can be developed without enduring
challenge and demonstrating their courage.

Again, I am asking why should the leaders endure challenge and
demonstrating their courage? Do you think they do so, because they are born
to be ‘leaders’?I think we may have a misconception on leadership. We
always think leadership is a ‘good’, so our fellows should come and take
it, even though they have to pay a high price for it(that is what you said the
presidency is of special value to him). But I suspect we may treat ‘showing
leadership’ is a ‘bad’, and we shall compensate our fellows in order to
make them come. What do you think?

Hin: I think we don’t have any misconception on leadership.  I totally agree
with you that when someone contributes leadership, it has to be rewarded.
But the main point of the article is to say that when putting the reward of a
post aside, there are some ways to explain why we fail to get the best leader.
Insufficient compensation may explain why a perfectly selfish and rational
individual may opt not to run for a position.  But my perspective helps
explain why we can’t get a leader when market is not functioning—when
individual concern more than rationality and self-interest, or when they
don’t have perfect information.
 
 

(七)   Martin:你當選的那一屇學生會是否「公平地競選」?要三
個候選內閣嗎?兩個成嗎?一個又如何?三個內閣用包、剪、
DUB算不算?

Hin: The issue is not really related to how many parties are involved in the
election.  It is mainly about whether ALL the potential candidates have stood
out to fight hard.

Martin:   Again, I will ask why should they come out to fight hard?

Hin: see my response to question 3.

Hin: Obviously, if there is only one party (not because other potential parties
are eliminated due to some political arrangements) the result would be less
optimal because there is no opportunity for the party to show why they are
qualified unless a qualified confidence vote is held.

Martin:   That’s a very good point.

Hin: 包、剪、DUB不算公平競選 simply because 競選 includes
competition and election.  By competition here means a competition through
which their capability is shown, proven, and recognized.

Martin:   That’s a very good point.

Hin: If we can determine who can lead the Union through 包、剪、DUB, it
is either because the voters are genius (who can relate 包、剪、DUB skills
to the skills relevant to leading the Union), or because the Union is
insignificant. 包、剪、DUB is just a more random mode of 分餅仔.
 
 

(八)   Martin:   我們搞競選活動,公開競爭,成本高昂。為何不用包
、剪、DUB代替?

Hin: No cost, no gain.  No battle, no hero.  You think there is free lunch?
Treat me some if there is any.  But I am sure that it will taste like shit.
Please refer to question 7.

Martin: I think the election process may help us measure and estimate the
quality of candidates. We ‘pay’ to estimate the future performance of the
candidates. The main point is that the cost is now solely bore by the
candidates in SU election. Since SU presidency is not a 肥缺, I just cannot
imagine why should the candidates pay such a high price for it. Do you think
the feeling of ‘hero’ shall count so much in secondary school level?

Solely saying “No cost, no gain. No battle, no hero’ just cannot help our
fellows come and participate in SU election. I think that’s why the
enrollment rate for election has been decreasing since the fifth cabinet. We
just cannot tell the candidates why they should come and what will they get
in the process (they are better to be something valuable and measurable). I
think this should be the target of 英萃集 in the future.

Hin: Again, I agree with you that compensating the candidate for the cost is
necessary.  However, if I tell you that there is a goldmine on the top of the
Mt. Himalayas, (or even along the path to the top) you will guarantee that
you will survive and stay healthy throughout the trip so that all you have to do
is to climb up to the top.  What would you do?  Like many investments, you
need to pay the cost upfront in order to be a President, but many people just
imagine that they can be rewarded without paying and cost.  Courage and the
willingness to pay the cost are therefore necessary (but it is not sufficient
because without the capability to make proper investment decision will also
fail the investors).
 
 

(九)  Martin:請嘗試舉出用包、剪、DUB,和用分餅仔的方法去確
立領袖的分別。

Hin: No significant different.  Please refer to question 7.  The major
difference is that 包、剪、DUB is even more economical and “efficient”
(though not effective) because you have to distribute position and it takes time
to negotiate and gather information in the latter case.  In the包、剪、DUB,
you simply have to gather everyone together.  If people prefer分餅仔, I
would suggest them to go ahead for the包、剪、DUB.  It makes more
sense if they are only looking for a sub-optimal outcome.  To back up a little
bit, 分餅仔may be less arbitrary because the “distributor” may have the
capacity to distribute posts more appropriately.  But if you ask me to trust
such a black box process, which no one can possibly monitor, I would rather
leave it to fortune.

Martin:   I highly appreciate the last sentence.
 
 

(十)  Martin: 你是否想用「當仁不讓」(道德價值?)去推動競選行
為?為何不強制性規定學生會一定要透過競選或信任投票才可產
生?

Hin: I try not to emphasize so much on the moral aspect of 「當仁不讓」.
What I try to say is that people should not avoid the election because they are
“generous” or because they are “modest.”  If they have guts and have
the will to contribute, they should step forward and compete in the election.
Let the voters make the decision and tell whether they are eligible, instead of
making the decision on the voter’s behave and bypass the process.

Martin:   I wonder what you guys have done in 英萃集 in past years.

O.K. I have guts and have the will to contribute, but why should I step
forward to contribute my leadership and let others to free-ride on my time
and efforts? Just because I have guts? Why shouldn’t I go to pick up girls?
 

Hin:  I think my response to the question 8 should suffice.  However, I would
like to add that we should not devalue the cost in developing a good
relationship with your significant others.  It still takes up a lot of courage,
energy, and time to commit yourself to your partners.  Here I tend not to
glorify those “sacrifices” their responsibilities as a student in school, but I
also don’t want to discredit those manage to develop a health relationship
and find their “significant others.” J
 
 

(十一)  Martin: 你好像認為「有承擔」是做一個領袖的重要條件。依
我文章而推論之,請問「有承擔」的人會否被下屬架空?你可以
指出「有承擔」和「靚仔」在概念上的分別嗎?

Hin: Of course! A responsible leader may not have leadership at all.  But I
am sure an irresponsible leader would not be a leader.

Martin:   I think you are saying a sense of responsibility is a necessary
condition for leadership but not a sufficient condition. That’s why 「有承
擔」的人一樣會被下屬架空而喪失領導權。

Hin: Agree.

Hin: Being responsible helps you pick up tasks, while being handsome helps
pick up girls.

Martin: 正因如此「有承擔」而又喪失領導權的人便會變成最可憐
的人。同樣被架空,「有承擔」的人比「靚仔」的人慘。「靚
仔」起碼有女溝嘛。所以「有承擔」將會被一屇又一屇唾棄。阿
門。

Hin: Therefore, I always feel bad for those who have the good will but not
the capability.  Pathetic, isn’t it.

 
 
 

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