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[转载]学者的典范-----怀念约翰·邓宁先生

(2010-04-05 15:46:38)
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[转载]学者的典范-----怀念约翰·邓宁先生

 

    日前晚饭后又到办公室,为的是复印小孩从学校揽来的一点材料。顺便打开双E出版社寄来的册页,却看到了约翰·哈里·邓宁(John Harry Dunning)教授已于元月29日仙逝的消息,我和爱人当场都感到心一沉。去年12月我还给他家寄过圣诞贺卡,想不到老先生这么快就离开了我们。 

    我和邓宁先生相识,实出偶然。当年博士论文完成后,即由学校送校外匿名评审,导师亦不知送到了何处。待到书面评审意见经大学研究生管理部门反馈回来,始知评审人之一是国际投资理论大家约翰·邓宁,这是我事先没有想到的事情。让我更没有想到的是,邓宁先生对我的研究成果大加赞扬。国内一般有客气用语或往脸上贴金的做法,三分肯定说成五分,五分赞许说成高度赞扬。如果我说邓宁对我的论文的评语是高度赞扬,可能有人会按国内的惯例在心里倒扣五分,以为实际上只值五分肯定。但我要说的是,邓宁先生的评语原文的确是十足十地高度赞扬,这在西方国家是十分难得的事。原因在于,西方人重名誉,专业人士在专业场合不当虚言,这不仅是由于基督教文化将撒谎看成是如同在中国文化中辱没祖宗一样不可接受,还由于虚言会被同行看低-----连好坏高下都看不清,那还不有损自己的江湖声誉和地位。我有一个同门师兄弟,论文在我完成之前的大几个月就送出评审,他亦同时应聘到了一所大学做中层职位的研究工作,哪知我毕业离校大半年后因公回访母校,发现他丢下工作返回母校,还猫在那里修改论文,因为一个评审人对他的论文写了长达30多页的评语,指出了无数问题要修改。 

    后来我将博士论文略作修改送交双E出版社出版,又遇到了一件我深感意外的事。双E出版社是世界上著名经济文献出版社,实行匿名审稿。待到审稿通过、清样返回我最后过目时,发现序言乃由邓宁先生所作。那是一篇长序言,从所研究对象的发展状况、该研究在专业领域的地位、该研究的方法与内容等方面着眼,对我的著述进行了全面的评价,当然也是正面的评价-----比当初博士论文的评价更高更细致,并特别提出该著述值得本领域学者、实际工作者以及政府部门政策参谋者“广泛阅读和认真研究”。现在想到这篇序言,我感到很惭愧。虽然当初的研究确实花费了不少心血,但只是自己的初步努力,况且又几年过去了,在此方向上自己并没有更进一步的突破。国内高校环境和学术政策与导向固然难以满足高水平原创性研究的需要,但也有自己倦怠的原因。 

    邓宁先生不仅令我感激,更令我钦佩-----我的观点与他的并不一致。他是理论大家,1958年一篇名为《美国在英国制造业的投资》的开创性论文,就首次在经济学领域解析了国际企业运作机理,此观点日后被激进的加拿大经济学家斯蒂芬·海默用作构筑他的国际企业垄断优势理论,而海默的研究则被认为是开创了国际直接投资研究学科。邓宁先生日后提出的折衷理论,广为中国企业界和学术界所熟悉和接受。他一生著述丰厚,曾在联合国贸发会议和世界上多所大学任教,并被许多大学、研究机构和政府部门聘为高级顾问。这样一位在专业理论层面是泰斗而在知识应用层面又享誉世界的人士,对于观点不同的后辈能给予无私的肯定和赞扬,充分展示了他过人的人格魅力和高尚的学者风范。 

    全球化浪潮席卷世界,不论喜欢与否,潮流是无法阻挡的,顺之者昌,逆之者亡。如何发挥全球化的积极作用,降低或消除全球化的消极作用,就像邓宁先生几年前主编的著作《Making Globalization Good》的书名一样,是学者特别是经济学者的一项重要责任。进一步而言,在这一浪潮中,中国一类的发展中国家,还面临着赶超发达国家的重要任务,相应的问题层出不穷,需要相关学人投入精力和智慧。邓宁先生走了,这是这方面研究的一项重大损失。

    往事历历在目。他在高龄而又学术依然繁忙的情况下,拨冗出席我筹备的国际学术会议,在会上不仅作了高屋建瓴的主题发言,而且全程坐在听众席上,认真听取每位论文发言者的发言并参与即席提问讨论,态度之严谨认真,我想与会的国内外学者都会深受感动。他曾打算让我将他的一部重要著作翻译成中文在中国出版,后因原出版社有关翻译的政策框框限制而作罢。斯人已去,现在想来这些,只能令人空添惆怅,亦对他的风范和学识更加怀念,惟愿邓宁先生在天之灵安息!

 

 

 

附:著名经济学家马克·卡森关于邓宁先生的生平总结

 

Emeritus Professor of International Business at the University of Reading,

 died on 29 January 2009

 

John H. Dunning, was famous for his ‘eclectic paradigm’, first published in 1977,which explained the behaviour of multinational enterprises and the pattern ofinternational direct investment. He made his name in 1958 with a pioneering study of American Investment in British Manufacturing Industry, in which he showed that the productivity and performance of US-owned subsidiaries in the UK was higher than that of UK firms in the same industry, but lower than that of their parent companies in the US. Dunning correctly interpreted this as an indication that the US firms possessed an intangible advantage compared to their UK competitors, and that thisadvantage was sufficiently strong to outweigh any additional costs of doing business abroad. Dunning’s findings were used by the radical Canadian economist Stephen Hymer to support his pioneering interpretation of multinationals as monopolists exploiting their firm-specific advantages overseas. Dunning himself generalised Hymer’s ideas into the concept of an ‘ownership advantage’, which together with‘location advantage’ and ‘internalisation advantage’, explained the behaviour of multinationals within his eclectic paradigm.

 

Dunning’s work was widely used by business historians. In 1983 he published an important paper on ‘Changes in the level and structure of international production: The last one-hundred years’, in which he collated a mass of statistics on foreign investment flows to and from various countries in both the developed and thed eveloping world. This work was used by Tony Corley, Geoffrey Jones and many other business historians, and provided a considerable impetus to the business history research on multinational firms. Dunning’s work was also influential in the debate initiated by Mira Wilkins on ‘free standing firms’.

 

During his Presidency of the Academy of International Business, Dunning initiated anumber of changes which have been of lasting benefit to the profession. He always took a strong interest in the work of young researchers, and was generous with histime. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the literature, and detailed knowledge ofthe strategies of many large multinationals – knowledge that he freely shared with all those who sought his advice. At his eightieth birthday party he described the profession, and especially the younger members of it, as ‘his family’, and they certainly repaid his generosity with respect and admiration – and indeed affection.

 

John Dunning received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions, including several honorary degrees – most recently from Reading University itself –and an OBE. He was an expert advisor to the United Nations for much of his career,and was regularly consulted by national governments. John Dunning, died on 29 January 2009, from liver cancer, aged 81, leaving a major intellectual legacy, supported by an important collection of books and papers, which can be accessed through the John Dunning Centre for International Business at Reading University.

 

Mark Casson

University of Reading 

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