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新娘恨上沃尔玛

来源:天星 更新日期:2009-11-26 点击:

Dear Economist:

亲爱的经济学家:

My newlywed wife and I are deeply in love. There is, however, one issue that threatens the blissful fabric of our marriage. I absolutely insist upon shopping at Walmart. My wife, meanwhile, would rather avoid Walmart at all costs.

我和我的新婚妻子彼此深爱着对方。但有一个问题威胁着我们幸福的婚姻生活。我坚决要在沃尔玛(Walmart)购物。而我的妻子则宁愿不惜一切代价避免去沃尔玛。

I have recently tried to convince her that not only does Walmart offer the lowest prices known to man, but that the chain is also a force for good – lower prices mean better standards of living for all consumers, increased global trade means a tighter-knit international community, and efficient operations translate into higher productivity growth for the economy. My wife complains about poor labour policies, the “fact” that Walmart squeezes suppliers, and that it puts local shops out of business.

最近,我试图说服她接受这样一个观点:沃尔玛不仅提供了我们所见过的最低价格,而且该连锁店还会带来好的影响。更低的价格意味着所有消费者的生活水平会提高,国际贸易增加意味着国际社会之间的联系会更加紧密,高效经营会为经济带来更高的生产力增长。我的妻子则抱怨其恶劣的劳工政策、其压榨供应商及导致地方商店倒闭的“事实”。

Who is right? Will our marriage survive?

我们俩谁对呢?我们的婚姻能经得起考验吗?

Brian Gee

布莱恩·吉(Brian Gee)

Dear Brian,

亲爱的布莱恩,

I have to agree with you about Walmart. Jason Furman, then an economist at New York University, now an adviser to President Obama, famously argued in 2005 that Walmart was (unwittingly) a progressive success story. The chain's prices don't much affect me (I prefer Whole Foods) but Furman reckoned that they benefited low- and middle-income Americans to the tune of around $250bn a year.

我不得不同意你有关沃尔玛的看法。杰森·福尔曼(Jason Furman)曾经是纽约大学(New York University)的经济学者,现在担任美国总统奥巴马(Obama)的顾问。他在2005年提出了一个有名的论点,即沃尔玛是一个(不知不觉)逐步获得成功的故事。该连锁店的价格对我影响不大(我更偏爱全食超市(Whole Foods)),但据福尔曼估测,它们使美国中低收入群体每年获益共计约2500亿美元。

Walmart does not pay much, so it may depress wages. Then again, it may boost wages by offering jobs to the otherwise-unemployed. Either way, the benefits of low prices to Walmart shoppers far outweigh any plausible costs to Walmart employees. And while it is true that Walmart employees tend to be poor, the same is true of Walmart shoppers.

沃尔玛的工资不高,因此,它有可能是在压低工资。但此外,通过向没有这份工作就会失业的人提供工作岗位,它可能拉高了工资。无论是哪种情况,去沃尔玛购物的人所享受的低价好处,远远超过了沃尔玛员工付出的任何看似合理的代价。并且,尽管沃尔玛员工的确一般比较穷,但去那里购物的人也同样如此。

Armed with this information you can confront your wife with confidence. You are sure to win the conversation. The divorce is likely to be more keenly contested.

有了这些信息,你就可以满怀信心直面你的妻子。你肯定会赢得这场谈话。对离婚的讨论可能会比这更加热烈。

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