网站导航     在线客服  
   首页    托福   冲刺宝典   托福阅读   正文
学生选择在小站备考:30天 468211名,今日申请1938人    备考咨询 >>


2018年05月04日11:47 来源:小站整理
参与(1) 阅读(813)



The future of America

Bland comfort

Why Americans need to beware of becoming complacent




AMERICA is the land of opportunity, they say. Inspired by the ambition of its Founding Fathers, its people revel in their dynamism. Diversity is their strength, as captured in the national motto—E pluribus unum (“Out of many, one”). Americans embrace change and reinvention, and this, they like to think, setstheir country apart from Europe or Asia. 有人说,美国是一片充满机遇的土地。美国人在开国元勋们的雄心鼓舞下尽情挥洒自己的活力。多样性是美国的优势所在,也写在了美国的国家格言——E pluribus unum(“合众为一”)中 。美国人拥抱变化与再创造,而他们也乐意认为这一点将美国与欧洲或亚洲国家区别开来。

Tyler Cowen, an economist, believes that this ideal is self-indulgent nonsense. America is losing its vim, he says, and Americans are settling into stagnation. In his new book, “The Complacent Class”, Mr Cowen shows not only that Americans move less now, crossing state lines at around half the average rate that they did between 1948 and 1971, and stay longer in their jobs, but American entrepreneurialismis flounderingtoo. Markets are becoming more concentrated. Fewer new companies are being started, and many struggle to grow. Even in the vaunted technology sector the creation and expansion of new firms peaked in 2000. Sluggish growth in productivity and living standards is making America more like Europe and Japan.经济学家泰勒·考恩(Tyler Cowen)认为这种完美之说是洋洋自得的无稽之谈。他说,美国正在失去激情,美国人也渐渐安于停滞。在他的新书《自满阶级》(The Complacent Class)中,考恩表明,美国人搬家比以往更少,穿越州界的频次是1948年至1971年间平均频次的一半。他们持续做一份工作的时间更长了。美国的创业精神也陷入了困境。市场正变得越来越集中。新创立的公司更少了,许多创业公司为了增长而苦苦挣扎。即使在志得意满的技术行业,新公司创建和扩张的数量已在2000年达到了顶峰。生产力和生活水平增长缓慢让美国变得更像欧洲和日本了。

On the surface, Americans enjoy more choice than ever before. From over 1,400 types of music on Spotify, a music-streaming service, to a swipeable卡片式 menu of dating options, and rare books available at the click of a button, consumers have never had it so good. But there is a dark side to being able to select the perfect product, neighbourhood or partner. Freedom to choose means that it is ever easier for people to marry, live near or school their children with other people of the same kind. In the South, the proportion of black students in majority-white schools was 44% in 1988; in 2011 that figure was 23%—lower than in 1968. Segregationby income has risen dramatically in the past few decades. The American elite might celebrate diversity in dinner-table conversation, but in practice Americans are cocooning themselves in enclavesof like-minded folk.从表面上看,美国人享有的选择比以往任何时候都要多。从音乐流媒体服务Spotify上提供的超过1400种音乐类型,动动手指就可挑挑拣拣的约会人选,到点一个按钮就可阅览的绝版书籍,消费者从来没有像现在这样优越过。但是,能够选择完美的产品、居住地或伴侣也有其阴暗的一面。自由选择意味着人们从来没有像这么容易地与同类人结婚、聚居或把孩子送入同一所学校。在南部,白人占多数的学校在1988年时黑人学生的比例为44%,而2011年这一数字为23%——比1968年时还低。因收入造成的隔离在过去几十年里急剧上升。美国的精英们在餐桌上交谈时可能会歌颂多元化,但实际上美国人正在把自己封闭在志同道合者的小圈子里。

Segregation shuts off growth and stymiesinnovation. Poorer states used to be able to attract talented people by offering them a combination of promising job opportunities and cheaper housing. But now no one expects Louisiana to catch up with Silicon Valley. For the past few decades poorer states have been caught in a vicious circle, says Mr Cowen, where the expectation that they will not catch up makes it harder for them to do so. 隔离会抑制增长、阻碍创新。贫穷的州以前还能够通过提供有前途的就业机会加之更便宜的住房来吸引优秀人才。但现在,没有人觉得路易斯安那能赶上硅谷。考恩说,过去几十年间,较贫穷的州陷入了一个恶性循环: 人们不期望它们能够赶上,这使得它们更难翻身。

When it comes to economic segregation, market forces are not helping, or at least not when they are combined with restrictions preventing the construction of more low-cost housing. A housing market that allocates the nicest housing to the highest bidder will inevitably push poor folk out of sight—and thus out of mind. Richer, well-educated people want to live near each other, and high house prices conveniently discourage poorer people from spoilingthe view. 就经济隔离而言,市场力量帮不上什么忙,至少在许多仍限制建造更多廉价房屋的市场里是这样。将最好的住房分配给出价最高者的住房市场将不可避免地把穷人推到视线之外——于是眼不见心不烦了。受过良好教育的富裕人群希望相互比邻而居,高房价很方便地防止了穷人在旁边煞风景。

There will be consequences, says Mr Cowen. Hyman Minsky, an economist who grew up during the Great Depression, had a theory that financial stability would breed overconfidence, sowing the seeds of future instability. Largely ignored in his lifetime as he pushed against the prevailing wisdom that efficient markets would protect capitalist society against disaster, his idea became widely celebratedonly after the financial crisis appeared to confirm it in 2007-08. Complacent financiers, regulators and central bankers allowed risk to build and put the whole system in danger. 考恩说这会带来严重后果。在大萧条时期长大的经济学家海曼·明斯基(Hyman Minsky)有一套理论,认为金融稳定会滋生过度自信,撒下未来不稳定的种子。他不认同高效市场能保护资本主义社会免受灾难这一流行观念,因而他生前很大程度上被忽视。直到2007年至2008年的金融危机证实了他的理论,他的思想才得到了广泛的承认。自满的金融家、监管机构和央行行长听任风险累积起来,将整个体系置于危险之中。

Extending the idea to all society, as Mr Cowen does, is trickybecause of the difficulty in telling the difference between complacency, contentmentand submission. He is unclear who the complacent class really are, and who exactly is responsible for the mess. Are Americans betraying their history of reaching for the American dream, or are they suffering because of a rotten system? (Were the bankers greedy, or responding to incentives?) 像考恩那样用这套理论解释全社会就有问题了,因为要区分自满、知足与屈服并非易事。他并不清楚自满阶级具体是谁,以及到底谁该为这个烂摊子负责。是美国人背叛了追逐美国梦的传统,还是因一个腐烂的体制而受苦?(银行家们是贪婪,还是对激励做出了反应?)

Still, there is some truth to Mr Cowen’s diagnosis that America’s strength is undermined by its divisions and by a willingness to protect the powerful. Pockets of rich Americans and the lack of opportunity implied for those who are shut out of those pockets represent a festeringproblem, says Mr Cowen. In a crisis, the system’s creakiness will leave it ill-equipped to cope. In the final chapter he reveals his fear that the biggest story of the last 15 years is the growing likelihood that “a cyclical model of history will be a better predictor than a model of ongoing progress.” 尽管如此,考恩的诊断,即美国的优势被分裂和保护强者的意愿所削弱仍有一定的道理。考恩说,美国富人的钱袋,以及被钱袋拒之门外者缺乏机会是一个不断恶化的问题。在危机时,体制的腐朽会让它没有能力应对。他在最后一章中揭示了他的担忧,即过去15年中最重要的事越来越可能是“历史的周期性模型的预测能力比持续进步模型更强” 。

The main question Mr Cowen raises is whether a dose of disorderliness will joltAmerica back tostrength. He offers an optimistic scenario, in which driverless cars allow Americans to overcome the pain of having to commute over longer distances, or where global crises convince them that they should live for the moment. Artificial intelligence, clean cheap energy and alternatives to tranquillisingopioidscould all return America’s lost dynamism. 考恩提出的主要问题是,一定量的无序能不能震动美国,使之重新恢复优势。他提供了一个乐观的情景:无人驾驶汽车让美国人摆脱了通勤距离加长的痛苦,或全球危机让他们相信自己应该活在当下。人工智能、清洁廉价的能源和阿片类镇静药物的替代品都可能让美国找回失去的活力。

But the pessimism of his analysis sits uncomfortably with these rosy scenarios. Other, likelier forms of chaos include populist politicians bent on sowing division, or even international violence. The path from those to a restored, vibrant America seems longer and rockier. In cycles, things often go down before they go up.但在这些美好的情景中,他的分析仍然不安地表现出了悲观的情绪。更有可能出现其他形式的混乱,如民粹主义政客播撒分裂的种子甚至是跨国暴力。要从这样的状况回到一个恢复元气、充满活力的美国,路途似乎更加遥远和坎坷。在周期中,上升之前往往要下跌。




考前演练 实战模拟 托福TPO全真模考 你练了吗 托福TPO模考软件 2017托福考试真题回忆与解析 详解托福阅读考试的评分标准 【TPO托福模考软件】TPO1-53完整托福模考软件配套资... 不可不做不可再错 托福经典加试一篇搞定! 【托福写作范文】TPO1-35独立写作题目及范文内容汇总 TPO是什么?托福在线备考免下载在线托福免费模拟