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我们生活在“货币经济社会”

2006-05-17 11:00

We Live in a “Money Economy”

  Money is a vital part of our everyday lives.

  Money can be earned by working, spent on things we need, saved for future spending or borrowed for immediate use.

  Money, as we know it, takes two forms: cash money which consists of coin and paper currency and checkbook money which most people use to pay many of their bills. The important thing to remember, though, is that they are interchangeable. We can deposit cash into a checking account. Or we can write a check as a substitute for cash.

  Money in itself really is useless. But as a medium of exchange it has value. The value is what the money can buy. Here is a simple example.

  Ten years ago one dollar could buy:

  hamburger          postage stamp

  ice cream cone       ball point pen

  Today one dollar can buy:

  hamburger

  Ten years from now one dollar might buy more or less or the same. Strange, isn't it? One dollar always equals 4 quarters or 10 dimes or 20 nickels or 100 pennies. So the dollar itself doesn't change. But what the dollar will buy, how much it will buy, does vary. Why does the value of the dollar change? How does this change affect us? How can we limit the dollar's changing value?

  Imagine our economy as one huge machine. Instead of mills, factories, farms, offices and shops, this one machine turns out all our goods and services. Everyone with a job works this Total Production Machine. Some workers repair and maintain it. But most work to produce cars, washing machines, houses, food, tanks, roads and health services —— almost all the things we need and want.

  Of course, everyone who works the machine gets paid. Some are paid in cash. Others are paid by check. In fact, sometimes this checkbook money is deposited directly into workers' bank accounts.

  Then either with their cash money or checkbook money,people buy things to eat and wear and enjoy. Thus, people work on the machine,get paid by the machine and buy what the Total Production Machine has produced. When people buy all that the machine has produced, then everything is in balance, and the value of our money is stable and healthy.

  钱在人们的日常生活中是不可缺少的。

  挣钱靠工作,日常消费需要用钱,将来消费需要存钱,现在消费需要借钱。

  众所周知,钱有两种形式:一种是现金,包括硬币和纸币;另一种是支票货币,大多数人用来支付账单。不过,你要记住,支票货币是可用于交换的。人们可以把钱存到支票账户上去,或者开出支票代替现金使用。

  钱本身确实没有什么用,但作为交换媒介,它是有价值的。其价值在于它能购买到的东西。举一个简单的例子。

  十年前,一美元可以买到:

  一个汉堡包             一张邮票

  一个蛋卷冰淇淋         一支圆珠笔

  现在一美元只能买到:

  一个汉堡包

  以后的十年,一美元可以买到的东西或多或少,或者相同。奇怪吗?一美元总是等于四个两角五分的辅币,或者十个一角银币,或者二十个五分镍币,或者一百分辅币,因此,一美元本身的价值没有变化。但是,一美元能买什么东西,买多少东西却是变化无常的。一美元的价值为什么会发生变化呢?这种变化对人们的生活有怎样的影响呢?人们怎样才能将这种变化限制在一定的范围内呢?

  把我们生活的经济社会设想为一台巨大的机器,它不是作坊、工厂、农场、办公室和商店,正是这台机器,它生产出所有我们需要的商品和劳务。每一个有工作的人都在开动这台“生产总机器”。有些工人在修理并维护它,但大多数人工作,生产出汽车、洗衣机、住房、食品、储罐、道路和卫生服务——几乎人们所需要的一切东西。

  当然,任何开动机器的人都会得到报酬,有的人得到的是现金,有的人得到的是支票。实际上,这张支票货币有时直接存到工人的银行账户上。

  然后,人们既可以用现金货币,又可以用支票货币购买吃的东西、穿的衣服和享受服务。所以,人们开动机器,从机器得到报酬并购买这台“生产总机器”生产出来的产品。当人们将其生产出来的产品全部购买掉,那一切都处于平衡状态,我们社会中的货币价值就会稳定,机器就会正常运转。

  But once in a while, people decide to buy fewer cars. Or the federal government may cut back its spending on the space program. Perhaps local governments defer building a new school. Or industry decides to spend less on steel, for example, thinking that there is enough stockpiled in the nation's warehouses. And when spending or demand slows, then the machine's speed is reduced.

  Fewer people are needed to work the Total Production Machine. As some incomes are cut out, total buying is even less than before. The machine works still slower and more people are laid off. This state of economic affairs —— the imbalance between demand and supply —— is called recession.

  Sometimes the opposite happens. Instead of cutting back, people, industry and governments may decide to buy more. Demand goes up and our Total Production Machine gets busier. As the demand for its output becomes greater and greater, the machine must work harder and longer to produce more cars, more space capsules, more schools, more steel, more health care —— more of the things that are wanted.

  More people are hired to work the machine. Earnings rise. And spending increases. We push the machine to even greater efforts.

  However, there's a limit to what the machine can produce —— at stable prices. Working at full throttle, the machine must use obsolete and inefficient parts. This is costly. Further, untrained people must be hired who may be less productive. So costs go up still more. And as costs go up, prices go up,too.

  How can we produce more without rising prices? How can growing demand be satisfied at stable prices? To solve this problem, we must improve and enlarge the machine. To produce more at prices that stay level we must add to the machine's capacity. Therefore, part of the machine's output must be assigned to expand its capacity. This means that we must postpone the demand for additional cars, washing machines and services, so that we can spend more on steel mills, electric generating plants and spare parts —— the things that are needed to expand the Total Production Machine.

  It seems, though, that people prefer not to postpone their demand. They would rather spend their incomes right away.

  Some suggest that we get funds for new parts for the Total Production Machine by creating more money.

  The banking system can create more money when people wish to borrow to supplement their spending out of current income. Borrowing may expand the Total Production Machine's output. But when the machine is working near or at full capacity, the rapid creation of more money will not increase production fast enough.

  Since we cannot buy more than is being produced, the additional money only increases the competition for the available supply of products. Too many dollars are chasing too few goods. Prices of many kinds of goods will tend to go up. A dollar will not buy what it did before, and its value —— what and how much it will buy —— will go down. This state of economic affairs —— this imbalance between demand and supply —— is called inflation.

  Inflation hurts many people. Those receiving fixed incomes, such as pensioners, find that their dollars buy less. And people with savings accounts find that inflation reduces the value of their savings.

  Since too little spending may lead to recession and too much spending may lead to inflation, how much new money is needed to keep our economy growing, employment high and prices relatively stable? We are waiting for the answer.

  但是,人们偶尔会决定减少汽车的购买量;或者联邦政府可能会削减其太空计划的费用;或许地方政府会推迟建一所新学校;或者工业部门决定减少钢产量,比如,工业部门认为国家库存已十分充裕。当费用开支或需求减少,这时机器运转的速度就会放慢。

  当开动这台“生产总机器”的人数减少,一些人的收入就会减少,购买总金额就会比以前减少,这台机器运转的速度就会放慢,就会有更多的人被解雇。这种经济状况——供求失衡——就叫经济萧条。

  有时,经济会发生相反的情况,消费者、工业部门和政府不是决定削减开支,而是增加购买金额。需求上升,我们的“生产总机器”运转加快。由于对其产品的需求越来越大,这台机器运转更吃力、时间更长,以便生产更多的汽车、制造更多的太空仓、建更多的学校、炼更多的钢铁、提供更多的卫生保健服务——所需要的更多东西。

  更多的人被雇来开动机器,人们收益增加,开支也随着增加,人们得更努力地去推动这台机器运转。

  然而,在物价稳定的情况下,机器生产的产品就会限制在一定的范围内。如果开足马力,机器的零部件就会老化,甚至失效,这样做成本太高。此外,雇佣的人未经培训,效率低下,因此,成本还会继续上升。随着成本的上升,价格也跟着上升。

  在物价不上升的情况下,怎样才能生产更多的产品呢?在物价稳定时,怎样才能满足不断增长的需求呢?要解决这个问题,我们就必须改进机器,扩大机器的生产能力。为了在价格保持平稳的情况下生产更多的东西,我们必须扩大机器的生产能力。这就意味着我们必须推迟对汽车、洗衣机和劳务的额外需求,目的是为了将更多的费用花在钢铁厂、发电厂和配件厂——用于购买扩大这台“生产总机器”生产能力所需要的一切东西。

  可是,人们似乎不愿推迟他们的需求,宁愿将其收入立刻花费掉。

  有人建议,通过增加发行货币的方法,我们就会获得资金,为这台“生产总机器”制造更多的零部件。在人们希望借到更多的钱,以增补现有收入的花费时,银行系统可以发行更多的货币。借钱可以扩大这台“生产总收入”的产出,但是,当它的生产能力接近或开足马力,过多地发行货币将不会大幅度地增加生产。

  既然我们所购买的东西不能超过现有的生产能力,额外增加的货币只能增加对现有产品的竞争。太多的美元追逐极少的货物,许多货物的价格就会呈上升趋势。一美元就不会买到以前所能买到的东西,而且它的价值——它所能买到的东西和买到多少东西——将会下降。这种经济状况——这种供求失衡的状况——就叫通货膨胀。

  通货膨胀会对许多人造成伤害,那些有固定收入的人,比如领养老金的人,会发现他们手持的美元所能买到的东西减少了,而且有储蓄的人发现,通货膨胀减少了他们储蓄的价值。

  因为消费太少可能会引起经济萧条,过多的消费可能会引起通货膨胀,所以,为保持经济增长,充分就业,物价相对稳定,我们究竟需要发行多少新货币呢?我们等待着答复。

New Words
money n.
economy n.
vital adj.
earn vt.
spend vt.
save v.
cash n.
currency n.
checkbook n.
bill n.
interchangeable adj.
interchange vt.
deposit vt.
check n.
account n.
substitute n.
value n.
limit vt. 
单词
钱,货币
经济
生死攸关的;致命的
赚得;挣得
花钱
节省;储蓄
现金,通货
货币;流通纸币
(空白)支票簿
帐单
可交换的
交换
存钱:把(钱)存在银行户头上
支票
帐户
代用品;代替物
价值
限制或限定在一边界或范围之内
Phrases and Expressions
cash money
paper currency
checkbook money
deposit…into…
a checking account
in itself
postage stamp
ice cream cone
ball point pen
changing value
turn out
短语与词组
现金
纸币
支票货币
把…存入
支票帐户
本身;实质上
邮票
蛋卷冰淇淋
圆珠笔
不断变化的价值
生产;制造

  Notes

  1.We Live in a "Money Economy".我们生活在"货币经济社会"。

  (1)money n.pl.mon.eys或 monies

  ①a commodity, such as gold, or an officially issued coin or paper note that is legally established as an exchangeable equivalent of all other commodities, such as goods and services, and is used as a measure of their comparative values on the market钱,货币,纸币:一种商品,如金子或官方发行的铸币或纸币,把这种货币或纸币定为可与其他一切商品、如货物和服务的等价交换物,并用作市场交换价值的尺度

  ②the official currency, coins, and negotiable paper notes issued by a government通货:由政府发行的官方货币、铸币和可转让纸币

  ③assets and property considered in terms of monetary value; wealth财产,财富:被认为有金钱价值的财产或财富;财富

  (2)economy n.①the system or range of economic activity in a country, region, or community经济体:国家、地区或群体的经济活动体系和范围:

  例:Effects of inflation were felt at every level of the economy.

  通货膨胀影响到每一经济阶层

  ②a specific type of economic system经济制度:特定经济体系类型

  例:an industrial economy工业经济体制;

  a planned economy计划经济体制

  2.The important thing to remember, though, is that they are interchangeable.然而,需要记住的事情是支票货币是可用于交换的。

  (1)此句为"主-系-表"句型结构。其中由that…引导的从句是表语从句。

  (2)动词不定式to remember作后置定语,修饰前面的thing。

  3.But what the dollar will buy, how much it will buy, does vary.但是,一美元能买什么东西,买多少东西却是变化无常的。

  (1)此句的主语是两个主语从句what the dollar will buy和how much it will buy,谓语是does vary,此处的does起强调作用。

  4.Of course, everyone who works the machine gets paid.当然,任何开动机器的人都会得到报酬。

  (1)此句是"主-系-表"句型结构。句中的get作系词,意为"to be successful in becoming成功地变成";paid是动词pay的过去分词,在句中做表语。

  (2)句中的"who works the machine开机器的…"是定语从句。动词work意为to operate操作。

  5.When people buy all that the machine has produced, then everything is in balance, and the value of our money is stable and healthy.当人们将其生产出来的产品全部购买掉,那一切都处于平衡状态,我们社会中的货币价值就会稳定,机器就会正常运转。

  (1)此句中的(all)that the machine has produced是由关系代词that引导的定语从句。由于先行词是不定代词all,所以关系代词只能用that,而不能用which。

  (2)in balance处于平衡状态

  balance n.a state of equilibrium or parity characterized by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces平衡:平衡或均等的状态,具有所有力量被相反的力量所抵消的特点

  (3)句末的healthy解释为"possessing good health健康的;拥有良好健康状况的",意为"社会就像一个机器正常运转"。

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