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The Real Truth About Money(e-c)practice [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2008-1-29 22:39:46 |Display all floors
The Real Truth About Money

Sunday, Jan. 09, 2005 By GREGG EASTERBROOK

If you made a graph of American life since the end of World War II, every line concerning money and the things that money can buy would soar upward, a statistical monument to materialism. Inflation-adjusted income per American has almost tripled. The size of the typical new house has more than doubled. A two-car garage was once a goal; now we're nearly a three-car nation. Designer everything, personal electronics and other items that didn't even exist a half-century ago are now affordable. No matter how you chart the trends in earning and spending, everything is up, up, up. But if you made a chart of American happiness since the end of World War II, the lines would be as flat as a marble tabletop. In polls taken by the National Opinion Research Center in the 1950s, about one-third of Americans described themselves as "very happy." The center has conducted essentially the same poll periodically since then, and the percentage remains almost exactly the same today.

  如果你要是制作一张从二战结束为起始时间的图表,那么有关钱、有关钱能买得到的东西方面的每条走势线都是在飙升。可谓是物质主义的一个”统计学里程碑“。平均每位美国人的收入在考虑通货膨胀后几乎翻了三番。一幢典型新房子的大小翻了一倍。曾今能停两辆车的车库是一个目标;现在,我们几乎是“每个家庭三辆车” 的家庭,什么都在涨、涨、涨。但是,如果对从二战结束时为起始时间美国人的幸福程度制成一张图表,那么”幸福程度线“将”像大理石桌面“一样地坦荡。在全国意向研究中心在上个世纪五十年代进行的民意调查中,大约1/3的美国人认为自己”非常快乐“。从那开始,该中心定期会进行基本完全一样的民意调查;现今,这个百分比数几乎完全没有变。

(In a December TIME poll on happiness that phrased the question differently, 17% of respondents said they were brimming with happiness "just about about all the time," and about 60% said they were frequently happy.)


Yet if you charted the incidence of depression since 1950, the lines suggest a growing epidemic. Depending on what assumptions are used, clinical depression is 3 to 10 times as common today than two generations ago. A recent study by Ronald Kessler of Harvard Medical School estimated that each year, 1 in 15 Americans experience an episode of major depression--meaning not just a bad day but depression so debilitating that it's hard to get out of bed. Money jangles in our wallets and purses as never before, but we are basically no happier for it, and for many, more money leads to depression. How can that be?

  然而,如果你将自从1950年起抑郁发生率制成一张图表,上面的线条会表明抑郁如同一种不断蔓延的传染病。根据采用哪种假定,临床抑郁如今的普遍程度是两代人之前的3-10倍。最近由哈佛医学院Ronald Kessler进行的一次研究估计每年中每15名美国人会出现严重抑郁情况--即不是一天,而是抑郁的削弱力量会强大到人们难以起床。 男男女女们的钱包比任何时候都鼓鼓着,但是,我们却没有为此而更加快乐起来;对许多人来说,更多的钱导致了抑郁。这样的情况是怎样出现的呢?

Of course, our grandmothers, many of whom lived through the Depression and the war, told us that money can't buy happiness. We don't act as though we listened. Millions of us spend more time and energy pursuing the things money can buy than engaging in activities that create real fulfillment in life, like cultivating friendships, helping others and developing a spiritual sense.


We say we know that money can't buy happiness. In the TIME poll, when people were asked about their major source of happiness, money ranked 14th. Still, we behave as though happiness is one wave of a credit card away. Too many Americans view expensive purchases as "shortcuts to well-being," says Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. But people are poor predictors of where those shortcuts will take them.

  我们口里说道自己知道钱买不来快乐。 在《时代》杂志民意调查中,当被问及快乐主要来源,钱被人们排在了第14位。可是,我们的表现似乎意味着快乐只有“刷一次信用卡”之遥。太多美国人都将昂贵的商品作为了按Martin Seligman的话说:“一条条通往幸福的捷径”。Martin Seligman是宾夕法尼亚州立大学的一位心理学家。但是,对于那些“捷径”的目的地,人们的预言却不那么准确。

To be sure, there is ample evidence that being poor causes unhappiness. Studies by Ruut Veenhoven, a sociologist at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, show that the poor--those in Europe earning less than about $10,000 a year--are rendered unhappy by the relentless frustration and stress of poverty. But you knew that.

  当然,要肯定的是,大量证据都表明了贫穷是引起不快乐的原因。 由荷兰鹿特丹Erasmus大学社会学家Ruut Veenhoven进行的研究表明,对于穷人--在欧洲年收入低于1万美元的人们--来说,不断沮丧和贫困的压力让这些人不快乐。不过,对于这一点,你已经知道了。

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Post time 2008-1-29 22:41:21 |Display all floors
The surprise is that after a person's annual income exceeds $10,000 or so, Veenhoven found, money and happiness decouple and cease to have much to do with each other. The study, which has been replicated in the U.S., shows that Grandma had a point. Over the past two decades, in fact, an increasing body of social-science and psychological research has shown that there is no significant relationship between how much money a person earns and whether he or she feels good about life. TIME's poll found that happiness tended to increase as income rose to $50,000 a year. (The median annual U.S. household income is around $43,000.) After that, more income did not have a dramatic effect. Edward Diener, a psychologist at the University of Illinois, interviewed members of the Forbes 400, the richest Americans. He found the Forbes 400 were only a tiny bit happier than the public as a whole. Because those with wealth often continue to feel jealousy about the possessions or prestige of other wealthy people, even large sums of money may fail to confer well-being.

  Veenhoven发现,奇怪的是在个人年收入超过1万美元左右后,钱和快乐两者会分离,它们相互不再会有多大关系。 这项在美国。。的研究显示老人们的话是有道理的。 在过去20年来,事实上,越来越多的社会科学上和心理学上的研究开始显示出在人赚多少钱和是否对生活感觉良好之间没有重大关系。《时代》的民意调查发现快乐往往随着当年收入在上升至5万美元的过程中也随之上升。(美国中等家庭年收入在4.3万美元左右)。超过这个数字,收入增加并不会带来显著效果。伊利诺斯州州立大学心理学家Edward Diener采访了福布斯美国富豪榜上前400名富豪。他发现他们比整体公众的快乐程度只稍稍高一点。因为,那些拥有财富的人往往会继续对其他夫人进行的财产和名望产生嫉妒,即便大笔大笔的钱也无法赐予人们快乐。

That seems true because of a phenomenon that sociologists call reference anxiety--or, more popularly, keeping up with the Joneses. According to that thinking, most people judge their possessions in comparison with others'. People tend not to ask themselves, Does my house meet my needs? Instead they ask, Is my house nicer than my neighbor's? If you own a two-bedroom house and everyone around you owns a two-bedroom house, your reference anxiety will be low, and your two- bedroom house may seem fine. But if your two-bedroom house is surrounded by three- and four-bedroom houses, with someone around the corner doing a tear-down to build a McMansion, your reference anxiety may rise. Suddenly that two-bedroom house--one that your grandparents might have considered quite nice, even luxurious--doesn't seem enough. And so the money you spent on it stops providing you with a sense of well-being.

  这点似乎是正确的;因为社会学家们将一种现象称之为”参照焦虑“--更通俗的说法,”相互攀比“。按照这个观念,大部分人在评价自己的财产时都是用别人的做比较。人们往往不会问自己,”我的房子满足了我的需要吗?“而是会问:”我的房子有邻居的漂亮吗?“ 如果你拥有一幢带两卧室的房子;而在周围的人也都有一幢带两卧室的房子,那么,你的”参考焦虑‘程度就低,而你的房子也算不错。但是如果你的两卧室的房子附近周围全都是三/四卧室的房子;拐角处某位正在拆房要建造阔绰的大房子,那么你的“参照焦虑”会升高。突然间,也许在你祖父们眼里看来相当漂亮、甚至是奢侈的两卧室房子似乎就不够了。 所以,你在房子上花的钱就不再给你带来幸福感。

Our soaring reference anxiety is a product of the widening gap in income distribution. In other words, the rich are getting richer faster, and the rest of us are none too happy about it. During much of U.S. history, the majority lived in small towns or urban areas where conditions for most people were approximately the same--hence low reference anxiety. Also, most people knew relatively little about those who were living higher on the hog.

我们猛增的”参照焦虑“是产生自逐渐增大的收入差距。 换句话说,有钱人更快地变得更有钱了,剩下的人就不高兴了。在美国历史大部分时期, 大部分人口居住在小镇或市区。对多数人来说那里的环境都相同-因此“参照焦虑”度低。而且,多数人相对很少了解那些上层阶级。

But in the past few decades, new economic forces have changed all that. Rapid growth in income for the top 5% of households has brought about a substantial cohort of people who live notably better than the middle class does, amplifying our reference anxiety. That wealthier minority is occupying ever larger homes and spending more on each change of clothes than others spend on a month's rent. It all feeds middle-class anxiety, even when the middle is doing O.K. In nations with high levels of income equality like the Scandinavian countries, well-being tends to be higher than in nations with unequal wealth distribution such as the U.S. Meanwhile, television and the Web make it easier to know how the very well off live. (Never mind whether they're happy.) Want a peek inside Donald Trump's gold-plated world? Just click on the TV, and he'll show you. Wonder what Bill Gates' 66,000-sq.ft. megamansion is like? Just download the floor plan from the Internet!

  但是,在过去的几十年间,新的经济力量改变了一切。前5%的家庭的收入在迅速增长,这导致了有一大批人明显比中层阶级生活地更好。增加了我们的参照焦虑度。更有钱的少数人拥有越来越大的房子、花在衣服上的钱比有些人交房租的都多。 这都使得中产阶级焦虑度提高--即便中产阶级也表现不做。在收入平等程度高的像北欧那些国家人们的幸福程度往往要比美国这样存在财富不平等国家的要高。同时,电视、互联网使人们更容易知道真正有钱人是怎么生活(先不管是否这些人是否快乐)想看看Donald Trump的”贴金“的家吗?只要打开电视机,他会带你参观。想了解比尔盖茨66000平方英尺的巨型家是什么样子吗?只要从互联网上下载一份房屋设计图。

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Post time 2008-1-29 22:42:23 |Display all floors
Paradoxically, it is the very increase in money--which creates the wealth so visible in today's society--that triggers dissatisfaction. As material expectations keep rising, more money may engender only more desires. "What people want in terms of material things and life experiences has increased almost exactly in lockstep with the postwar earnings curve," Diener notes. As men and women move up the economic ladder, most almost immediately stop feeling grateful for their elevated circumstances and focus on what they still don't have. Suppose you lived in a two-bedroom house for years and dreamed of three bedrooms. You finally get that three-bedroom house. Will it bring you happiness? Not necessarily. Three bedrooms will become your new norm, and you'll begin to long for a four-bedroom abode.

  一个悖论是:正是--为当今社会制造出如此显眼的富人的--金钱的增加引发出不满足。随着物质期望值不断上升,越多的钱也许只会带来更多的欲望。Diener 指出”在物质和生活体验上的渴求几乎和二战后的收入曲线同步“ 在经济地位提高的过程中,多数人都几乎是紧接着会停止对提示后的环境进行感激;并去关注还没有获得的东西。例如:你过去长期住的是两卧室的房子,一直梦想三卧室的房子。等到终于获得了三卧室的房子;它会给你带来快乐吗?说不准。三卧室将会成为你的新”规范标准“;你将来会开始渴求获得一幢四卧室的住房。

That money never satisfies is suggested by this telling fact: polls show that Americans believe that, whatever their income level, they need more to live well. Even those making large sums said still larger sums were required. We seem conditioned to think we do not have enough, even if objectively our lives are comfortable.

  钱上永远没有满足。下面的事实就是一个很好的证明:民意调查显示美国人相信不论收入水平高低,他们都需要有更高的收入才能生活好。 即便那些赚大钱的人也说需要更多钱(才能活好)。我们似乎被赋予了一个思维定势:我们有的不够多--即便,从客观来说,我们的生活是安逸的。

Then again, if we think our lot is improving, happiness follows. Carol Graham, an economist at the Brookings Institution in Washington, found that people's expectations about the future may have more influence on their sense of well-being than their current state does. People living modestly but anticipating better days to come, Graham thinks, are likely to be happier than people living well but not looking forward to improvements in their living standards. Consider two people: one earns $50,000 a year and foresees a 10% raise, and the other makes $150,000 but does not expect any salary increase. The second person is much better off in financial terms, but the first is more likely to feel good about life.

  相反,如果我们认为生活在改善,那么快乐就会随之而来。华盛顿州Brookings学院的经济学家Carol Graham发现人们对未来的期望值也许比目前状况对他们幸福感的影响程度更大。Graham认为适度地生活但是期望未来更好日子到来的人们要比那些生活条件好但是不期望生活水平提高的人们更快乐。想象一下有两个人:其中一位每年赚5万美元,并期待今后10%的增加;另一位每年赚15万美元,但不期望任何加薪。第二个人从收入上说比第一个人的状况要好许多,但是,第一个人更有可能对生活的感觉更好。

And guess what? The U.S. hasn't had a decent raise in two decades. Income growth has almost come to a halt for the middle class. In real terms, although median household income is higher than ever, median household income has increased only around 15% since 1984. That means most people have never had it better but do not expect any improvement in the near future. People tend to focus on the negative part and ignore the positive.

  您猜怎么着?美国在过去二十年没有出现过一次不错的工资上涨。 中层阶级的收入增长几乎出于停滞。从实际来看,虽然中产家庭收入比过去要高,但自从1984年起总计上涨仅15%。这表明多数美国人的收入虽然提升了,可是在短期时间的收入没有提高。人们往往关注消极部分而忽视积极部分。

Living standards, education levels and other basic measures of U.S. social well-being have improved so much so quickly in the postwar era that another big leap seems improbable. If the typical new house is more than 2,300 sq. ft., if more than half of high school graduates advance to college, if there are more cars and trucks in the U.S. than there are licensed drivers--all current statistics--then the country may need stability and equality more than it needs more money. But because we are all conditioned to think there's something wrong if we don't make more money each year, high standards of living in the U.S. may, paradoxically, have become an impediment to happiness. Fixated on always getting more, we fail to appreciate how much we have. Of course, in the grand scheme it's better that there are large numbers of Americans who are materially comfortable, if a bit whiny about it, than who are destitute. And never forget: 1 in 8 Americans are poor. Poverty remains a stark reality amid American affluence.

  在二战后,人们的生活水平、教育水平和美国社会安康的其它基本措施提高速度和幅度之大让再出现一次”跳跃“发展似乎不可能做到。如果普通新房子面积都在2300平方英尺(约213平米),如果一半以上的高中生进入大学;如果美国的车辆数目比取得驾照的司机数多--。。--那么,这个国家也许对稳定和平等的需求会高过对金钱的需要。但是,因为我们都被设定在了一个认为如果每年不赚更多的钱就是某样东西出了问题的思维定势下,所以才产生了悖论,美国的高生活水平已经成为了快乐的障碍,对”获得更多“念念不忘的我们未能欣赏自己有那么多。 当然,从大的。。上说,出现大数目的物质上感到安逸的美国人就算是有一点牢骚也比做穷人是一件更好的事情。别忘了:八分之一的美国人是穷人;贫穷依然是美国繁荣下的一个突出现实。

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Post time 2008-1-29 22:43:41 |Display all floors
Psychology and sociology aside, there is a final reason money can't buy happiness: the things that really matter in life are not sold in stores. Love, friendship, family, respect, a place in the community, the belief that your life has purpose--those are the essentials of human fulfillment, and they cannot be purchased with cash. Everyone needs a certain amount of money, but chasing money rather than meaning is a formula for discontent. Too many Americans have made materialism and the cycle of work and spend their principal goals. Then they wonder why they don't feel happy.

  放心理学和社会学不说,为什么金钱不能买到快乐还有最后一条理由: 生活中真正重要的东西并不在超市里。爱、友谊、家庭、尊敬、社区席位、使命感--这些对人类成就感都是必不可少的,它们无法用现金购得。每个人都需要一定数目的钱,但是,追求金钱,而不是意义,注定导致不满足。有太多美国人都把物质主义和"工作+消费”的循环作为自己的重要目标;事后,纳闷自己为什么没有感到快乐。

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Post time 2008-1-30 21:03:09 |Display all floors
Of course, our grandmothers, many of whom lived through the Depression and the war, told us that money can't buy happiness. We don't act as though we listened. Millions of us spend more time and energy pursuing the things money can buy than engaging in activities that create real fulfillment in life, like cultivating friendships, helping others and developing a spiritual sense.




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Post time 2008-1-30 21:27:26 |Display all floors
Thank you for your reply:-)

[ Last edited by hly_2009 at 2008-1-30 09:29 PM ]

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