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2005年NPR美国国家公共电台三月-Consumer Choice: Pros and Cons

时间:2007-07-17 02:33来源:互联网 提供网友:atm009e   字体: [ ]
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Time now for business news.

A key assumption behind the idea of creating private social security accounts is that people will make better choices with their money. It's generally assumed that consumers benefit when they have more options. Steve V. recently brought two people together who have different ideas about making choices.

Russell Roberts is an economics professor at George Mason University. Barry Schwartz is a psychology1 professor at Swarthmore College.

How does the question of choice affect the larger debate over whether to have private accounts or not, Barry Schwartz?

If you imagine a plan where there are private accounts that offer people a variety of options in which they put their retirement2 money, then it seems to me, one justification3 for doing that is to give Americans as much freedom as possible about determining their future. And when life changes from no choice to some choice, it's good in almost every imaginable way. However, when life moves from some choice to mega choice, the apparent freedom that accompanies that turns into a kind of tyranny: People are confused. They are anxious. They don't have enough time to get the kind of information they need, it often ends up paralyzing people rather than liberating4 them.

Russell Roberts?

Oh, I think the issue of choices in social security reform is a key issue and I think having a wide array choices and dealing5 with that array is part of what being a grown-up is all about. And although it does have a challenge that we all face when we deal with choice of information, and dealing with potential regret, I think coping with that is what makes us human.

There's an assumption ,isn't there among free market economists6 that overall, the choices made by millions of people collectively will be better than any one individual could come up with for all of them.

Yeah, I think that's really a dictum of all the economists. I know what's best for me,and you know what's best for you, and I wouldn't wanna dictate7 what's best for you. You may ask me to dictate for you in certain situations. I may ask my brother to help me make a tough decision. But I think what distinguishes an economist's view from others' is the idea : who makes that decision for me? I certainly want someone who cares about me and knows about me to make that decision, rather than a stranger or a bureaucrat8.

When it comes to the stock market, though, I would think a lot of people might say they don't really know what's best for them.

Well, there certainly is plenty of evidence. That's true. And in fact there's an article about how well recent retirees have done with their 401(k) investments. And it probably won't come as a shock to you that people with substantial
wealth have done very well, and people (with)of modest means find themselves much worse position than they would have been in,in an old-fashioned defined benefit pension plan. And it's not stupidity, it's lack of time, lack of inclination9 to devote what time you have to this rather than other difficult choices that you face in life. So I completely agree that part of being a grown-up is making choices. It just doesn't follow from that ,that you're always making people better off by giving them more and more choices and more and more domains10 of life.

That's Barry Schwartz at Swarthmore College. And Russell Roberts, as you were listening to him speak, you were,well I don't wanna say, smirk11 across your face, but it was something of a smile.

Come on. No, it's an interesting argument. I mean the stock market is a paralyzing array of choices, so I'm investing in a handful of index mutual12 funds 'cause I don't like making those choices. And I agree that there're certain situations where more choices are always good. The real question is who's gonna make that decision. Most of us, I think, fight those choices.

Barry Schwartz?

When people are presented with the opportunity to make choices, they're very attracted by large option sets. A set of 20 possibilities looks more attractive than a set of five. So you give them then the set of 20 possibilities, and at that point they discover they don't know how to choose when they finally choose. They're less satisfied with what they've choosen than they would have been if they had choosen from the smaller set.

Barry Schwartz, stepping back a little bit from the social security debate, what's a concrete example in daily life?

I teach at Swarthmore College which is a small school, very selective, wonderful place. Our students get to choose among 300 or so courses every semester the five that they're gonna take. They finally choose and they spend the rest of the semester wondering whether they've been better off taking this course instead of that one, instead of devoting themselves to pursuing the courses they've choosen.I think we're doing them no favor by giving them that much choice, so I agree that choices are essential to well-being13, it just doesn't follow that more choice enhances well-being.

Russell Roberts?

Well, I'm glad they have the freedom to take your course, Barry. But, you know, I think you raised a good point about regret. I think regret's a big challenge. We face that even when we make large choices particularly where to go college, what job to take, who to marry. Those choices are difficult partly because of the array that's available, and also because the idea that there gonna be opportunity you have to pass off.It is often not difficult. I think the issue gonna, as being a grown-up, I won that freedom for myself and my choice of job, my choice of toothpaste, my choice of spouse14, my choice of social security reform,a package or more accurately15 the choice of where I put my money for my future.

Russell Roberts, does the free market and the absolute freedom of choice always serve the consumer best?

Well, people make mistakes, companies cheat.The question is how do you constrain16 those areas to be as small as possible.The second question is how do you create an enviroment where people can use their skills and live their dreams in the most creative way possible. And the free market does that. The ability to make those choices is really what sets us free to innovate17 and be creative. And it's the greatest chance in our living that we see around us. The extraordinary revolution, the medical care of the last hundred years, the extraordinary extension of our standard of living, all spring from the freedom we have to buy and sell from one another ,what Adam Smith called the human tendency to "truck, barter18 and exchange'.

Barry Schwartz?

Well, I think that in fact, the extraordinary innovations we've seen in medical care have almost entirely19 been derived20 from none market-based research in our universities and hospitals over the years. It's not free market competition for profit that's produced this innovation, it's scientists who are driven by a passion for the truth. Yes, there's an important place for the market.It isn't every place. And I think the more important area of life you are talking about the smaller the role market should be.

Barry Schwartz is a psychology professor at Swarthmore College and also author of "The Paradox21 of Choice: Why More Is Less" Thanks very much.

My pleasure.

Russell Roberts is a professor of economics at George Mason University and author of "The Invisible Heart : an Economic Romance". Thanks.

点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 psychology U0Wze     
n.心理,心理学,心理状态
参考例句:
  • She has a background in child psychology.她受过儿童心理学的教育。
  • He studied philosophy and psychology at Cambridge.他在剑桥大学学习哲学和心理学。
2 retirement TWoxH     
n.退休,退职
参考例句:
  • She wanted to enjoy her retirement without being beset by financial worries.她想享受退休生活而不必为金钱担忧。
  • I have to put everything away for my retirement.我必须把一切都积蓄起来以便退休后用。
3 justification x32xQ     
n.正当的理由;辩解的理由
参考例句:
  • There's no justification for dividing the company into smaller units. 没有理由把公司划分成小单位。
  • In the young there is a justification for this feeling. 在年轻人中有这种感觉是有理由的。
4 liberating f5d558ed9cd728539ee8f7d9a52a7668     
解放,释放( liberate的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • Revolution means liberating the productive forces. 革命就是为了解放生产力。
  • They had already taken on their shoulders the burden of reforming society and liberating mankind. 甚至在这些集会聚谈中,他们就已经夸大地把改革社会、解放人群的责任放在自己的肩头了。 来自汉英文学 - 家(1-26) - 家(1-26)
5 dealing NvjzWP     
n.经商方法,待人态度
参考例句:
  • This store has an excellent reputation for fair dealing.该商店因买卖公道而享有极高的声誉。
  • His fair dealing earned our confidence.他的诚实的行为获得我们的信任。
6 economists 2ba0a36f92d9c37ef31cc751bca1a748     
n.经济学家,经济专家( economist的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The sudden rise in share prices has confounded economists. 股价的突然上涨使经济学家大惑不解。
  • Foreign bankers and economists cautiously welcomed the minister's initiative. 外国银行家和经济学家对部长的倡议反应谨慎。 来自《简明英汉词典》
7 dictate fvGxN     
v.口授;(使)听写;指令,指示,命令
参考例句:
  • It took him a long time to dictate this letter.口述这封信花了他很长时间。
  • What right have you to dictate to others?你有什么资格向别人发号施令?
8 bureaucrat Onryo     
n. 官僚作风的人,官僚,官僚政治论者
参考例句:
  • He was just another faceless bureaucrat.他只不过是一个典型呆板的官员。
  • The economy is still controlled by bureaucrats.经济依然被官僚们所掌控。
9 inclination Gkwyj     
n.倾斜;点头;弯腰;斜坡;倾度;倾向;爱好
参考例句:
  • She greeted us with a slight inclination of the head.她微微点头向我们致意。
  • I did not feel the slightest inclination to hurry.我没有丝毫着急的意思。
10 domains e4e46deb7f9cc58c7abfb32e5570b6f3     
n.范围( domain的名词复数 );领域;版图;地产
参考例句:
  • The theory of thermodynamics links the macroscopic and submicroscopic domains. 热力学把宏观世界同亚微观世界联系起来。 来自辞典例句
  • All three flow domains are indicated by shading. 所有三个流动区域都是用阴影部分表示的。 来自辞典例句
11 smirk GE8zY     
n.得意地笑;v.傻笑;假笑着说
参考例句:
  • He made no attempt to conceal his smirk.他毫不掩饰自鸣得意的笑容。
  • She had a selfsatisfied smirk on her face.她脸上带着自鸣得意的微笑。
12 mutual eFOxC     
adj.相互的,彼此的;共同的,共有的
参考例句:
  • We must pull together for mutual interest.我们必须为相互的利益而通力合作。
  • Mutual interests tied us together.相互的利害关系把我们联系在一起。
13 well-being Fe3zbn     
n.安康,安乐,幸福
参考例句:
  • He always has the well-being of the masses at heart.他总是把群众的疾苦挂在心上。
  • My concern for their well-being was misunderstood as interference.我关心他们的幸福,却被误解为多管闲事。
14 spouse Ah6yK     
n.配偶(指夫或妻)
参考例句:
  • Her spouse will come to see her on Sunday.她的丈夫星期天要来看她。
  • What is the best way to keep your spouse happy in the marriage?在婚姻中保持配偶幸福的最好方法是什么?
15 accurately oJHyf     
adv.准确地,精确地
参考例句:
  • It is hard to hit the ball accurately.准确地击中球很难。
  • Now scientists can forecast the weather accurately.现在科学家们能准确地预报天气。
16 constrain xpCzL     
vt.限制,约束;克制,抑制
参考例句:
  • She tried to constrain herself from a cough in class.上课时她竭力忍住不咳嗽。
  • The study will examine the factors which constrain local economic growth.这项研究将考查抑制当地经济发展的因素。
17 innovate p62xr     
v.革新,变革,创始
参考例句:
  • We must innovate in order to make progress.我们必须改革以便取得进步。
  • It is necessary to innovate and develop military theories.创新和发展军事理论是必要的。
18 barter bu2zJ     
n.物物交换,以货易货,实物交易
参考例句:
  • Chickens,goats and rabbits were offered for barter at the bazaar.在集市上,鸡、山羊和兔子被摆出来作物物交换之用。
  • They have arranged food imports on a barter basis.他们以易货贸易的方式安排食品进口。
19 entirely entirely     
ad.全部地,完整地;完全地,彻底地
参考例句:
  • The fire was entirely caused by their neglect of duty. 那场火灾完全是由于他们失职而引起的。
  • His life was entirely given up to the educational work. 他的一生统统献给了教育工作。
20 derived 6cddb7353e699051a384686b6b3ff1e2     
vi.起源;由来;衍生;导出v.得到( derive的过去式和过去分词 );(从…中)得到获得;源于;(从…中)提取
参考例句:
  • Many English words are derived from Latin and Greek. 英语很多词源出于拉丁文和希腊文。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He derived his enthusiasm for literature from his father. 他对文学的爱好是受他父亲的影响。 来自《简明英汉词典》
21 paradox pAxys     
n.似乎矛盾却正确的说法;自相矛盾的人(物)
参考例句:
  • The story contains many levels of paradox.这个故事存在多重悖论。
  • The paradox is that Japan does need serious education reform.矛盾的地方是日本确实需要教育改革。
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TAG标签:   npr  公共电台  consumer  choice
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