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双语文章--最大的恐惧

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最大的恐惧

作者: 爱尔兰都柏林大学 赖小琪

雪下了整整一周了. 这场雪下得又久又大, 让人又喜又忧. 喜的是这是我人生中第一次见到雪. 依然记得上周五清晨醒来到厨房吃早餐时, 透过落地玻璃, 我被眼前的银装素裹的世界惊呆了, 久久伫立窗前, 不肯离去. 眼前的景物仿佛就是童话世界里描述的一般, 是那么的浪漫与美丽, 让人徘徊陶醉! 后来在雪地上照相, 在宿舍前面和住在我们宿舍楼的人打雪仗……那种兴奋的情形至今想起来仍然让我笑意荡漾. 特别是那天下午打雪仗, 当被别人扔来的大大的雪球砸到脸上和脖子上时, 虽然感到无比的寒冷, 但是却非常兴奋. 然而这场雪也带来了不少麻烦. 最近看午间新闻, 发现很多地方由于雪下得太大, 积雪太厚而导致公交系统不畅甚至暂停了. 有些地方的电力系统与供水系统也被破坏, 导致停电停水. 这几天多数学校都停课了. 由于天天下雪, 我没法出去买日用品, 眼见食物也快吃光了, 所以也有点心烦.

It has been snowing for one week. This snow is heavy and lasting, making people happy as well as worried. The greatest happiness for me is that it is my first time to see snow. I can still remember how shocked I was at a silver world when I went to the kitchen for breakfast and saw through the ground glass the landscapes outside in the early morning on Friday. I was standing before the ground glass for a long time, reluctant to leave. The scenery before me was like the one depicted in the fairytale, fantastically romantic and charming! Later I took a lot of photos in the snow and played snowballs with students living in the same dorm with me. Thinking of the scenarios that day, I cannot help smiling again. Especially in the snowball playing, when I was stricken by the upcoming snowballs in the face and neck, I felt considerably thrilled, though I felt terribly cold at the same time. Nonetheless, this snow has also brought about numerous troubles for Ireland. I have kept track of the local news at noon recently and learnt that due to the heavy snow, traffic conditions in some places have severely deteriorated and even halted. In some regions, the power systems and water supply systems have also been devastated. Most schools have been closed these days. I could not go out to buy necessities and now I am going to run out of food, so I feel kind of upset.

俗话说: 瑞雪兆丰年. 然而这场雪是否真的意味着爱尔兰的来年是一个丰年呢? 谁也说不准, 而且我想大众们都有一种悲观的情绪. 关注国际新闻的朋友都知道, 最近爱尔兰面临着很大的经济危机. 850亿欧元的经济援助计划是否会成功? 没有人可以说得准. 然而根据我的直觉判断, 这个危机可不是这么容易走得出来. 我发现了一个很有趣的现象: 爱尔兰得到越多的援助, 它的危机仿佛更加严重, 大家更不愿持有欧元, 将它抛售得更厉害, 导致欧元的汇率一降再降. 看着欧元的汇率趋势图, 我忍不住会想: 受到IMF和欧盟其他国家的援助本来是个利好的消息, 为什么欧元却仍然不停下跌呢? 850亿欧元可不是一个小数目, 使用得当估计可以帮爱尔兰勉强走出危机. 后来我渐渐地发觉: 援助的金额越大, 大众会觉得问题越严重, 越难解决, 危机感也就越重, 所以他们都不敢冒险持有欧元, 不敢进行投资, 结果只会导致股市崩盘, 汇率狂跌.

There is a prevailing saying that a good snow signifies an upcoming prosperous year. However, it is still beyond anyone’s guess whether Ireland will embrace another prosperous year. What’s worse, now the public hold a pessimistic attitude. Anyone who keeps track of the international news must have known that Ireland is at present facing a severe economic crisis. Whether the 85 billion Euros bailout can free this country from the crisis remains unknown. But according to my intuition, there is still a long story to tell. Whereas, I do observe a very interesting phenomenon: the more bailout Ireland receives, the more serious the crisis seems to become! People are more reluctant to keep Euros and sell them more frequently, leaving Euro’s exchange rate falling nonstop. Watching the Euro’s exchange rate trend, I could not help asking myself: It should be a good news to Ireland that it receives the bailout from IMF and other EU members, but why is the value of Euro still plummeting all the time? The 85 billion bailout is not a small sum of money and is supposed to help Ireland out of the crisis if appropriately used. Later, I came to realize the reason: the larger sum of money Ireland receive, the more severe the public feel the problem to be. So the public simply have a greater sense of crisis and are not willing to hold Euros and do further investment. The sequential result is the breakdown of the stock market and the plummeting of the Euro’s exchange rate.

其实, 只要大众们不要恐慌, 该消费的正常消费, 该投资的正常投资, 配合政府的工作, 危机是很快过去的. 然而, 这个道理简单易懂, 实施起来可是举步维艰. 群众的恐慌是一国经济的最大的敌人. 这或许应验了罗斯福的一句名言: 我们唯一值得恐惧的就是恐惧本身. 而这种恐惧本身来源于一种博弈. 比如说, 哪天你听说你存钱的银行面临破产了, 哪怕这本身只是一个流言, 你也会毫不犹豫地飞奔到银行门口和其他存户一起挤兑. 这是一场结果几乎是一定的博弈: 你一定会去取钱. 再好比国内有些公司, 某段时间突然面临着资金周转困难, 银行债主一旦得到消息后便纷纷跑去要求偿债. 这些公司可能本身发展得很不错, 也很有前景, 只是暂时面临营运资本不足, 只要哪个银行肯再借它一点钱让它渡过困境, 它以后就会飞快地发展. 然而, 没有一个银行肯冒险再借钱给它. 大家都在想: 万一再借钱给它, 它最后还是栽了, 那我岂不是血本无归? 于是, 大家都要求公司偿债, 直到把它逼到宣告破产为止.

Actually, as long as the masses do not panic about the crisis and cooperate with the government by maintaining a balanced consumption and investment, the crisis could be soon overcome. Nevertheless, it is easier said than done. The panic from the public is literally the archenemy for a nation’s economy. It may indeed typify a famous quote from Roosevelt: The only thing we should fear is fear itself. This fear is in essence a game. For instance, one day you are told that the bank in which you deposit all your money is facing bankruptcy. Even though it is merely a rumor, you will not halt the least to dash to the bank along with other depositors. This is indeed a result-known game: you are doomed to take the money from the bank at hearing the rumor. Another typical example is that when a company encounters cash flow difficulties, banks and other creditors, once getting the news, will flock to the company and ask for clearing the debts. Actually this company may indeed be in promising development and merely falls short of working capital temporarily. So long as one bank can lend it more money, it can go through the difficulties and develop rapidly. However, none of the banks is willing to take a risk by further lending money to it. Every creditor is thinking to himself: If I lend money to this company and it fails to recover eventually, I will suffer a greater loss! therefore, everyone is requiring the company to clear the debts until it announces bankruptcy.

当个人与大众进行博弈时, 妥协的永远是个人. 我们不是败给了无知, 我们只是败给了恐惧. 我们永远在想: 要是大家都这样做而我不这样做,最后我就惨了!于是,大家的行为就变得一致, 结果大家最后都很惨!所以,有时候信息过于透明公开,并不见得就一定是件好事.或许特别时期,就必须采取特别手段.好比爱尔兰,虽然得到了850亿元的援助,可是如果它对外宣称只得到100亿欧元的援助并且声称这个金额应付危机绰绰有余,或许大众就不会这么恐慌,对政府和经济恢复信心,这时政府再用850亿欧元的财力以及群众们的力量,渡过危机指日可待.然而这只是我的一个假设,一方面这种"信息欺骗"几乎不可能做到,另一方面,爱尔兰面临的问题繁多,并不是区区一个简单的谎言可以解决的.在这里我想要表达的是,如果某些真相被说了出来会使境况变得更糟,那么隐藏真相甚至歪曲真相或许是一件好事!当一切事过境迁时,再把真相公诸于众,或许更加合适,因为那时境况已经变好,大家对当初的真相是如何也就不会探究了,反而会赞赏当初当机立断的人!

When the individual is playing game with the public, he is destined to make concession. We are not defeated by our ignorance but our fear. We are always thinking: if everyone does so and I don’t, I will suffer a great loss! Then, everyone behaves in a consistent manner, and therefore, everyone is suffering ultimately. Hence, sometimes the thorough transparency of information is indeed not a good thing. Maybe in some special time, we need to adopt some special means. Take Ireland for example again. Though it has received 85 billion Euros bailout, the public may have not got so panic if the government had only announced a 10 billion bailout to the public. The public may have restored the confidence in the government and meantime the government can utilize the power of its people’s confidence and the 85 billion bailout to battle the crisis. The success may be foreseeable. Yet, it is only my assumption that can barely become reality due to the following two reasons: On the one hand, it is out of the question to implement this “ information deceit”; on the other hand, Ireland is now facing far more problems than the crisis itself. These problems can hardly be solved by a mere “lie”! What I want to express here is that if a truth, once spilt, will deteriorate the scenario, then hiding the truth or even distorting the truth may be applauded for! It may be more proper to reveal the truth when everything is gone, because at that time, no one will care much about the truth in the past. On the contrary, they may even make compliment to those who could make a quick and wise decision in the worst situation!
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