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时间:2019年09月18日 17:36:19

Germanys economy德国经济Watching the wages看工资Germanys economy stutters, even if the fundamentals are strong即使家底殷实,依然难逃困境BLAMING Germany—or at least the austerity prescribed for the euro zone by Chancellor Angela Merkel—for Europes ills may be popular in France. But Germans are inclined, not without some pride, to see their economy as the strongest horse to pull the euro zone out of its misery. Hence the fear caused by a surprising update this month: real output shrank by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in the second quarter from the first, and manufacturing by 1%.为了解决在法国肆虐的欧洲经济问题,德国—至少是德国总理默克尔,制定了经济紧缩计划。但是德国并没有居功自傲,他们更倾向于将自身经济看作一匹最强壮的马,来拉动欧元区走出困境。因此,这种令人惊讶的上升也在这个月带来了担忧:从第一季度到第二季度,真实输出缩减调整到0.2%,制造业调整为1%。Part of the explanation was statistical. Thanks to a mild winter, there was more construction than usual in the first quarter. But geopolitical crises, especially in Ukraine, had a bigger impact. German exports to Russia have plummeted. Given the timing, the drop was due less to sanctions aly imposed than to expectations of more to come. Russia accounts for only 3% of Germanys total trade, so the losses were easily made up in higher exports elsewhere. More devastating is the rising uncertainty over Russia that is causing managers to delay investment. Germanys Ifo business-climate index, a widely watched benchmark, fell in August.说明中有一部分是统计结果。暖冬的原因使得统计结果与第一季度同期相比有了更多的解释。并且由于地域政治危机,特别在乌克兰,产生了更大的影响。德国对俄出口直线下降,因为给定了时间减少了制裁,下降比预期中来的更猛烈。而俄罗斯仅占有德国贸易总额的3%,所以在高出口的地方更容易出现损失。更糟糕的是,俄罗斯持续上涨的不确定性,导致了投资经理人的投资延误,被广泛视为基准的德国IFO商业景气指数在八月份也出现下降情况。Aside from such new risks, however, the underlying German economy still looks strong. The federal budget is close to balance. Unemployment remains low: indeed, labour shortages are an increasing problem. This applies to large businesses such as care for the elderly, but especially to many of the niches for which Germany is famous, such as hearing-aid acoustics, according to the Cologne Institute for Economic Research.除却这些新的风险,德国经济基础看起来依然强劲。财政预算趋于收平衡,失业率也处在低水平范围:事实上,劳动力短缺问题日益严重。根据科隆经济研究所的报告,低失业率适用于那些负责照顾老人的大企业,特别是那些在德国境内十分著名的岗位,比如助听器声学。Germanys best contribution to recovery in the euro zone would be to let wages rise. Whether they are aly doing so will not become clear for months, because Germany reports the relevant statistics more slowly than most. But the willingness is there. In July Jens Weidmann, the president of the Bundesbank, Germanys notoriously hawkish central bank, caused a sensation by calling for pay rises of 3% on average. A new minimum wage should also nudge wages up. It will take effect in 2015 at 8.50 an hour, more than 40% of the median wage.德国对于欧元区恢复的最大贡献在于让工资上涨。无论他们是否在这样做,几个月之内情势也不会明朗,因为德国的相关统计数据比大部分统计慢很多,不过人们对此毫无异议。七月,在德国众所周知的鹰派中央——德意志联邦的行长延斯·魏德曼要求加薪,引起了轰动。他要求的薪资平均上涨幅度为3%。一个新的最低工资标准也可以推动工资上涨。这项在2015年生效的新规定将每小时工资定位8.5英镑,超过了平均水平的40%。Rising German wages would represent the “natural Hume mechanism at work, but with euros instead of gold,” says Michael Burda, an economist at Berlins Humboldt University. By this he means the process first described by David Hume in the 18th century, under which countries on the gold standard adjusted to imbalances not by letting currencies appreciate or depreciate but through rising or falling prices and wages. In effect, Mr Burda says, the euro zone has imposed a gold standard on its 18 members. Prices and wages are falling in several crisis countries. Germany could help by letting its wages rise—if it is willing to accommodate this. If not, there is a serious risk that deflation could take hold across the euro zone as a whole.柏林洪堡大学的经济学者迈克尔·布达说德国提高薪金水平代表“休谟自然体制运转的,是欧元不是黄金”。他的意思是,在休谟体制—由大卫·休谟在18世纪首次提出—下运转的金本位国家调整经济失衡应该通过提高物价和薪酬,而不是货币的升值或贬值。布达先生也表示,欧元区正在向它的18个成员国强加金本体制。物价和薪酬在一些高危国家有所下降。德国可以通过提高薪酬来帮助他们—如果他们愿意接受这个提案;否则,通货紧缩带来的一系列危机将笼罩整个欧元区。German firms certainly have plenty of leeway, after practising wage restraint for the past decade. Known as the sick man of Europe ten years ago, Germany underwent a set of wrenching labour-market reforms starting in 2003. Unions co-operated meekly, often accepting wage rises below inflation and productivity growth. In effect, this was an internal devaluation that made exports more competitive, especially in sectors such as machines and chemicals, according to Karl Brenke at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. The forgone spending power by workers also depressed consumption. The combination led to huge trade surpluses.在过去十年实行的薪酬限制,让德国公司确信它们还有转圜的余地。正如十年前被全欧洲所知的“风险家”,德国自2003年开始经历了一系列复杂的劳动力市场改革。联盟向来是逆来顺受,经常在通货膨胀和生产率提高的情况下接受工资上涨的提议。柏林经济研究协会的卡尔·雪瑞尔克说,国内曾经发生的一场货币贬值实际上让出口变得更有竞争力。工人们丧失消费能力也使消费低迷,二者结合带来了巨大的贸易顺差。Rising wages and consumption in Germany, if they are accepted, would partially reverse this trend. That would lead to smaller trade surpluses, as both the European Union and the Americans are demanding. The only other domestic lever is increased investment, both by the government and by companies, an area where Germany has been stingy in recent years. But because investing requires confidence, Russia is again proving a damper.德国提高薪资和消费,如果人们接受,将会在一定程度上扭转现在的颓势,此举将会减小贸易顺差,这倒是欧盟和美国都希望出现的情况。在德国政府近年来缺乏的领域由政府和公司合作,不断上升的投资成为了国内仅剩的另一个杠杆。但由于投资强调信任,俄罗斯又一次成为了反面教材。 /201409/326633

Science and technology科学技术Psychology心理Snot fair!太不公平啦!Exactly when is something perceived as not fair?究竟在什么情况下人们会觉得不公平?AS THE bankster phenomenon has so eloquently illustrated, Homo sapiens is exquisitely sensitive to injustice.强盗家的现象已经有力地明,人类对于不公平是敏感至极的。 Many people grudgingly tolerated the astronomical incomes of financial traders, and even the cosmological ones of banks chief executives, when they thought those salaries were earned by honest labour.过去,许多人对于操盘手高到天上去的收入,甚至是高管天文数字一般的薪酬,虽愠愠不平,但尚能忍耐,他们曾以为这些收入是靠诚实劳动赚来的。Now, so many examples to the contrary have emerged that toleration has vanished.但如今,随着大量反例的出现,公众的忍耐已经不复存在。Surprisingly, however, the psychological underpinnings of a sense of injustice—in particular, what triggers willingness to punish an offender, even at a cost to the punisher—have not been well established.然而让人惊讶的是,心理学上对于不公平感的成因尚未能做出很好的解释,尤其是为何人们不惜付出代价也要惩罚侵犯者。But a recent experiment by Nichola Raihani of University College, London, and Katherine McAuliffe of Harvard, just published in Biology Letters, attempts to disentangle the matter.但是,英国伦敦大学学院的尼古拉·雷汉尼和哈佛大学的凯瑟琳·麦考利夫最近进行的一项实验尝试对这个问题抽丝剥缕,这一实验的结果发表在了最近的《生物学快报》上。Dr Raihani and Ms McAuliffe tested two competing hypotheses.雷汉尼士和麦考利夫女士对两种对立的猜想进行了验。One is that the desire to punish is simple revenge for an offence.第一种猜想认为,惩罚侵犯者的欲望只是一种报复心理。The other is that it is related to the offences consequences—specifically, whether or not the offender is left better off than the victim.另一种猜想则认为这与侵犯的结果有关—具体来说,即侵犯者的境况是否比受害者更好。Until recently, the temptation would have been to advertise for undergraduate volunteers for such a project.一直到最近,像这样的项目往往会通过广告吸引大学生志愿者。Instead, Dr Raihani and Ms McAuliffe decided to follow a new fashion in psychology and recruit their human guinea pigs through a system called Mechanical Turk.但是雷汉尼士和麦考利夫女士决定采取心理学界新近流行的一种方法,借由一个叫做机械土耳其的系统招收他们实验的小白鼠。This arrangement, run by Amazon, a large internet firm, pays people registered with it small sums of money to do jobs for others.这一系统由网络巨头亚马逊公司组织,注册用户为别人工作后可以领到小额的酬劳。That allowed the two researchers not only to gather many more volunteers than would have been possible from the average student body, but also to sp the profile of those volunteers beyond the halls of academe and beyond the age of 21.通过这个系统,两位研究者不仅找到了比普通学生群体更多的志愿者,还得以将志愿者的范围扩大到了学术界以外和21岁以上的人群。Dr Raihani and Ms McAuliffe asked their Turkers to play a game.雷汉尼士和麦考利夫女士请参与实验的特客玩了一个游戏。In it, the volunteers were paired and given small sums of money.在游戏中,志愿者以两人一组一一配对,并各自获得一小笔钱。One member of a pair could then take a predefined sum from the other, or not, as he chose.组里的一名志愿者可以选择是否从另一名组员那里拿走预定数量的钱。After that the other could, at a certain cost to himself, impoverish his opponent to a greater degree.之后,另一位组员在自己付出一定代价的前提下,可以大量减少对方的财产。The first player might receive ten cents, 30 cents or 70 cents.每一组的游戏者甲最开始可能会收到10美分、30美分或是70美分作为起始财产。The second player always received 70 cents.而游戏者乙则总会收到70美分。The first player was then allowed to take 20 cents of the second players money.然后甲被允许先从乙处取走20美分。Finally, the second player could reduce the first players total sum by 30 cents, but at a cost of ten cents to himself—in other words, he lost money too by doing so.最后乙可以选择使甲的财产减少30美分,但是作为代价他自己也必须拿出10美分—换句话说,这么做乙自己蒙受了损失。The crucial point of the game is that in all three cases the second player suffers the same absolute loss if the first chooses to take money from him.这个游戏最关键的一点在于,无论甲的起始财产是多少,只要甲选择拿走乙的钱,乙都要蒙受完完全全的损失。The offence, in other words, is identical.也就是说,不论哪种情况,乙所受到的侵犯总是一样的。But in the first version of the game he remains ahead if he does not retaliate, in the second he comes out equal, and in the third he ends up behind.但在第一种情况中,如果乙不采取反击,他还能保持领先,第二种情况下甲乙平局,而第三种情况中,乙则会以落后告败。The upshot was that in the first two cases about 15% of second players chose to retaliate if they had money taken.游戏的结果显示,在前两种情况中,只要钱被拿走,15%扮演乙的志愿者会选择反击。This was more or less the same as the number in all three versions of the game who retaliated even though they did not have money taken.而综合三种情况来看,乙在钱没有被拿走的前提下依然选择向对方进行反击的现象也大概占15%。In the third version, though, more than 40% of second players retaliated when money was taken from them—even though the outcome was still that the first player ended up ahead, with 60 cents to the second players 40 cents.但在第三种情况中,一旦钱被拿走,超过40%扮演乙的志愿者会采取反击—即便甲仍然会以60美分比40美分的优势取得游戏的胜利。On the face of things, this result suggests that what really gets peoples goat is not so much having money taken, but having it taken in a way that makes the taker better off than the victim.乍一看,这样的结果意味着真正让人感到愤恨的不是自己的钱被拿走,而是拿走钱的人在拿走钱后财产比受害者多。That will clearly bear further investigation, for example by looking at the case where the first player begins the game better off than the second.显然这个结论需要更多的调查加以明,比如假如从一开始甲的钱就比乙多,结果会如何。It is intriguing, though, that even such trivial sums of money can provoke thoughts of revenge.有意思的是,就是这么不起眼的几十美分也能激发人的报复心理。In light of this, the fate awaiting those astronomically paid bankers could be a particularly nasty one.从这一点看来,等待着那些拿着超高薪待遇的家们的命运颇为险恶。 /201402/276771


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