来源:www.putclub.com 2019-03-28

Affluence Happiness (and how to measure it
HAVING grown at an annual rate of 3.2% per head since 2000, the world economy is over half way towards notching up its best decade ever. If it keeps going at this clip, it will beat both the supposedly idyllic 1950s and the 1960s. Market capitalism, the engine that runs most of the world economy, seems to be doing its job well.
But is it? Once upon a time, that job was generally agreed to be to make people better off. Nowadays thats not so clear. A number of economists, in search of big problems to solve, and politicians, looking for bold promises to make, think that it ought to be doing something else: making people happy.
The view that economics should be about more than money is widely held in continental Europe. In debates with Anglo-American capitalists, wily bons vivants have tended to cite the idea ofquality of lifeto excuse slower economic growth. But now David Cameron, the latest leader of Britains once rather materialistic Conservative Party, has espoused the notion ofgeneral well-being” (GWB) as an alternative to the more traditional GDP. In America, meanwhile, inequality, over-work and other hidden costs of prosperity were much discussed in the mid-term elections; andwellness” (as opposed to health) has become a huge industry, catering especially to the prosperous discontent of the baby-boomers.
Much of this draws on the upstart science of happiness, which mixes psychology with economics. Its adherents start with copious survey data, such as those derived from the simple, folksy question put to thousands of Americans every year or two since 1972:“Taken all together, how would you say things are these dayswould you say that you are very happy, pretty happy or not too happy?” Some of the results are unsurprising: the rich report being happier than do the poor. But a paradox emerges that requires explanation: affluent countries have not got much happier as they have grown richer. From America to Japan, figures for well-being have barely budged.
The science of happiness offers two explanations for the paradox. Capitalism, it notes, is adept at turning luxuries into necessitiesbringing to the masses what the elites have always enjoyed. But the flip side of this genius is that people come to take for granted things they once coveted from afar. Frills they never thought they could have become essentials that they cannot do without. People are stuck on a treadmill: as they achieve a better standard of living, they become inured to its pleasures.
Capitalisms ability to take things downmarket also has its limits. Many of the things people most prizesuch as the top jobs, the best education, or an exclusive home addressare luxuries by necessity. An elite schooling, for example, ceases to be so if it is provided to everyone. Thesepositional goods”, as they are called, are in fixed supply: you can enjoy them only if others do not. The amount of money and effort required to grab them depends on how much your rivals are putting in.


这些大都与现今正势如破竹般发展的“快乐学”有关,这也将心理学融入经济学。“快乐学”的追随者们从浩如烟海的数据调查出发,例如自1972年起每隔一两年便要向数千名美国人进行的问卷调查。问题简单又平常,如“总的来看,你觉得眼下自己过得如何?是非常幸福,基本幸福,还是不太幸福呢?” 得出的结论中有些是不足为奇的,如相比穷人,富人普遍感觉更幸福。但这里有一个矛盾没法解释——富裕国家却并没有随着富裕程度的提高而增加幸福感。从美国到日本,幸福指数一直没有变化。
快乐学为这一矛盾提供了两个解释。首先,它注意到,资本主义善于将奢侈品变成必需品, 给大多数人送去上层精英们惯于享受的一切。但这一美妙功能带来的副作用是:人们把一度觊觎而现在拥有的一切都视作理所当然。以前从未奢望拥有的那些浮华虚饰如今变成了不可或缺的必需品。人们陷入了一个怪圈:当生活水平提高的时候,反倒为其所赋予的愉悦所伤。



cater  vi.备办食物,满足(需要),投合
[真题例句] “Instead of intimate shops catering to a knowledgeable elite.” these were storesanyone could enter, regardless of class or background. This turned shopping into a public and democratic act.”[2006年阅读1]
[例句精译] “不像那些个人商店那样,只满足有学识的精英人士的需求”,这些商店“不论阶级与背景,任何人都能进入。这推进了购物大众化和民主化的进程。”
prosperous  a.繁荣的,兴旺的
[真题例句] America and Americans were prosperous beyond the dreams of the Europeans and Asians whose economies the war had destroyed.[2000年阅读1]
[例句精译] 美国的国富民强是那些经济遭到战争破坏的欧亚诸国做梦也无法想到的。
derive  v.取得,导出,引申

[真题例句] “Anthropologyderives from the Greek words anthroposhumanand logosthe study of.”[2003年翻译]
[例句精译] Anthropology(人类学)一词来源于希腊词anthropos(人类)和logos(研究)。
elite n.①[总称]上层人士,掌权人物,实力集团;②出类拔萃的人(集团),精英
[真题例句] Reporters tend to be part of a broadly defined social and cultural elite (②), so their work tends to reflect the conventional values of this elite.[2001年阅读3]
[例句精译] 记者们属于广义的社会文化精英的一部分,因此他们的工作往往反映了这些精英传统的价值观。
stick  n.棍,棒,手杖;v.①刺,戳,扎;②粘合,附着;③坚持,固守
[真题例句] This means that our noses are (3:limited) to perceiving those smells which float through the air, (4:missing) the majority of smells which stick

(v.②) to surfaces.[2005年完形]
[例句精译] 这就意味着人的鼻子只局限于察觉飘浮于空气中的气味;而错过大部分粘附于物体表面的气味。
[真题例句] You will be on safer ground if you stick (v.③) to scapegoats like the Post Office or the telephone system.[2002年阅读1]
[例句精译] 如果你选择去评论邮局或电话局这样的替罪羊,那你就会处于比较安全的境地。
exclusive   a.①专有的,独占的;②除外的,排他的
[真题例句] 61. Physical dependence on certain substances results from.[1997年阅读3]
[B] exclusive (①) use of them for social purposes
[例句精译] 61. 对某些物质的生理依赖是由于。
[B] 出于社交目的而专用这些物质