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How Do People Battle Inflation?人类是如何与通货膨胀作斗争的?

2006-05-17 11:18

  Living with constant double——digit inflation may be something new for Americans, but across the Atlantic many Europeans are used to it. How do people who are veterans at battling inflation cope? What tricks have they learned?

  For the answer, staff members of U.S. News & World Report in London, Paris, Rome and Geneva talked to people in many different occupations. This is what they learned:

  Everyone has a strategy for sheltering assets from inflation or for supplementing income.

  In Italy, to protect savings, people are rushing to invest in three-to-six-month government securities that bring from 12 to 15 percent in interest. The earnings are worth even more than this because they are exempt from taxes.

  Throughout Europe, investing in real estate, precious metals and a variety of other tangibles is a favored way to hedge. The French have an estimated 10 billion dollars' worth of gold hidden away. Swiss bankers tell investors to keep 5 to 10 percent of their assets in gold.

  Working an extra job for cash and hiding the income from the tax collector is another increasingly popular method used to cope with high prices caused by inflation.

  Pensions in Italy only recently were linked to the cost of living. In France, generous family allowances help to protect those with children.

  But all the methods for beating inflation are of little use, insists one Swiss banker. In the end, inflation is bad for everybody.

  In Britain, unsold goods gathering dust on the shelves have reached an all-time high, totaling over 10 billion dollars worth. Expensive consumer goods such as autos, kitchen appliances, TV sets, clothing and furs top the list of avoided goods.

  Germans, who have one of the world's best records for fighting inflation, are limiting their use of gasoline, now priced at nearly $2.50 a gallon.

  Surveys show that Italians are using their cars less, economizing more on heating, spending less on clothes and resorting more and more to “do it yourself” repairs.

  Even Italy's famous night life shows the effects of inflation. Says a Milan businessman: “Restaurants, movies, and nightclubs are half empty much of the time.”

  Experienced as they are at fighting inflation, many Europeans are as worried as Americans. When asked how the Swiss were protecting their savings, a Zurich banker replied: “Most of them sit in the corner and cry because they don't know what to do.”

  在生活中,经常遇到两位数的通货膨胀,这对美国人来说还是新鲜事,但在大西洋对岸,许多欧洲人已经习以为常了。那些与通货膨胀相抗争的老手们是怎样对付通货膨胀的?他们学会了哪些窍门呢?

  为寻找答案,驻伦墩、巴黎、罗马和日内瓦的美国世界报导与新闻社的工作人员与许多从事不同职业的人进行了交谈。下面是他们所学到的一些窍门:

  各人都有一套庇护资产免遭通货膨胀的侵害,或者是补充收入的对策。

  在意大利,人们为了不让储蓄遭受损失,赶紧投资三至六个月的政府有价证券,其利率是12% - 15%。收益还不止这个比率,因为它们是免税的。

  整个欧洲,投资房地产、贵金属和各种其它有形资产是一种套期保值的有利方法。据估计,法国有一百亿价值的黄金蒸发掉了;瑞士银行家要投资人将5%—— 10%的资产用黄金保存。

  干一份额外工作获得现款并对税务员隐瞒这笔收入,是对付通货膨胀、物价飞涨的另一种越来越普遍的方法。

  意大利的养老金只是在最近与生活费用挂钩,在法国,慷慨家庭的捐款用来帮助那些孩子较多的家庭度过难关。

  但是所有旨在与通货膨胀相抗争的方法都无济于事,瑞士银行家坚持说,最终,通货膨胀对大家都不利。

  在英国,卖不出去的货物落满了灰尘,堆放在货架上, 达到最高记录,总价值超过一百亿美元。昂贵的消费品,如汽车、橱房用品、电视机、服装和皮装在滞销产品中是最多的。

  德国人,他们具有战胜通货膨胀的最佳记录,正在限制气油的使用,现在的价格为每加仑2.50美元。

  调查资料显示,意大利人在减少用车,节省取暖费用,降低穿衣费用,并越来越热衷于“自己动手修理”。

  甚至连意大利著名的夜生活也受到通货膨胀的影响。一为米兰商人说:“餐馆、影院、及夜总会的大部分时间,卖座率只有一半。

  许多欧洲人与通货膨胀相抗争已算经验老道,但仍惶惶不可终日,和美国人不相上下。当有人问瑞士人是怎样使储蓄存款免遭损失的,一位苏黎士的银行家回答说:“大部分人坐在角落哭泣,因为他们不知道怎么办”。

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