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2011 经济学家期刊文章精选 20 篇
(考研英语专用,含参考译文) 考研英语专用,含参考译文)

  1、Education 、 Snooty or what? Oct 14th 2004 From The Economist print edition Inverted snobbery prevents good teachers going where they're needed A clever man wants to do a good thing, but the wicked government stops him. That is the scandalous-sounding story of the difficulties encountered by Tristram Jones-Parry, head of fee-paying Westminster School, one of the best in the country. He retires next year and wants to help teach maths in a state school. Was he welcomed with open arms? No. He was told, he complains, that he would need retraining for the state system. It was a similar story for David Wolfe, a retired American physics professor who teaches in a British state school. He said this week that the authorities told him to sit the GCSEmaths exam normally taken by 16-year-olds if he wanted to continue. The system is not quite as insane as this might suggest. The rules that require state-school teachers to be formally qualified do have exceptions. The Teacher Training Agency insists that Mr Jones-Parry could gain his ticket in just a day, by having an assessor from the state system observe his work at Westminster (a requirement scarcely less ludicrous than the supposed demand for retraining). Mr Wolfe's American PhD would count as an equivalent to the GCSE maths pass normally required. So he would scrape by as well. The General Teaching Council, another quango, has now apologised to Mr Jones-Parry for giving him the wrong information at first, and then leaving his follow-up letter unanswered for six weeks. The real story is the gulf between the two kinds of school. Heads like Mr Jones-Parry hire teachers with good academic credentials but not necessarily with state qualifications. State-school hiring is closely regulated; their teachers need to be expert form-fillers and jargon-wielders, and are much less likely to have good degrees: indeed only 38% of state-school maths teachers have a degree in the subject; in independent schools, 63% do. So it's not surprising that private-school teachers think even the most nominal barriers to their teaching in state schools are offensive and silly. The other side responds in kind: teaching unions this week said snidely that Mr Jones-Parry might be good at teaching advanced maths to well-behaved bright kids, but would not necessarily know how to teach simple sums to rowdy, dim ones. Perhaps. But many state-school parents desperately seeking better maths teaching for their children might consider that risk rather small.
  2、Parents and children 、 Family values Sep 30th 2004 From The Economist print edition Rich kids have little time for their elderly parents. The ingratitude! WHY was King Lear treated so cruelly by his daughters? Until recently, most of the answers have come from scholars with scant knowledge of economic theory. Fortunately, John Ermisch, an Essex economist, is working to remedy this deficiency. His research proves what many parents have long suspected?that increased wealth goes along with filial ingratitude. ?Topic sentence Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, Mr Ermisch shows that affluent parents are
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slightly more likely to supply offspring with money and help with child-rearing than poor parents. But success seems to have precisely the opposite effect on children. The mere possession of a university degree makes children 20% less likely to phone their mothers regularly, and more than 50% less likely to pay them a visit. This is puzzling because self-interested children might be expected to behave in precisely the opposite way. Most wealthy people are descended from wealthy parents, which means they have a lot of patrimony to lose by cutting back on the fawning. “Nothing will come of nothing,” as a pre-retirement and still sane King Lear put it when his youngest daughter dared to withhold her affections. So why are rich kids such brats? There are two likely explanations. The first is that, as their income rises, the marginal cost of providing services goes up. It simply isn't worth their while to help with the shopping, particularly since affluence tends to increase distances between parents and children. And, since personal contact correlates with telephone contact, they are less likely to phone, too. Out of sight, out of mind. Another answer comes from an obscure branch of economics known as strategic bequest theory. This predicts that children will provide only enough services to ensure they get a reasonable share of the inheritance. But that point is reached sooner by those who have only one sibling rival, or none at all. Wealthier families, which tend to be smaller, simply fail to ensure the optimum amount of competition. Given these iron laws, what are parents supposed to do? Good results might be achieved by having more children, or expressing a sudden interest in the local cats' home. But Mr Ermisch is not optimistic. “The only thing they can do is follow their children around,” he says. And don't make King Lear's mistake by handing over the cash first.
  3、The internet 、 Alive and kicking Sep 23rd 2004 From The Economist print edition Competition still exists on the web JUST when you thought you knew the web, along come new competitors to keep things interesting. On September 15th, a new search engine called A
  9.com was unveiled by Amazon, the giant internet retailer. It repackages Google's search results, but with useful tweaks. Searches not only call up websites and images on the same page, but other references, such as Amazon's book search, the Internet Movie Database, and encyclopaedia and dictionary references. Moreover, it keeps track of users' search histories?an important innovation as search becomes more personalised. Many had assumed the market was stitched up by Google and Yahoo! (who account for over 90% of searches), barring the expected entrance of Microsoft. Likewise, the market for online music seemed settled: Apple's iTunes is the leader, its main rivals being RealNetworks and Microsoft's MSN Music. Yet this, too, understates the potential for battle. Last week, Yahoo! bought Musicmatch, an online music retailer and software firm, for $160m. Music downloads are now worth roughly $310m annually but are forecast to grow to $
  4.6 billion by 2008, according to Forrester Research, so there is room for new firms to sprout. Meanwhile, the most surprising new competition is in web browsers. Microsoft was the undisputed champ Informal: champion) after bundling Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system ( =A , in the 1990s and destroying Netscape. However, Microsoft's browser is so vulnerable to attacks by online crooks and various troublemakers that the American and German governments have recommended that users consider alternatives. This has been a boon to two small browser-makers, Opera,
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a Norwegian software company, and Mozilla, which developed the Firefox browser based on an open-source version of Netscape. Firefox boasted 1m downloads within 100 hours of its release on September 14th. Security has become the main competitive difference. The software of both Opera and Mozilla is considered safer (partly because they have fewer users and so are a less attractive target for hackers). Microsoft's share of the browser market has actually shrunk over the past three months from around 96% to 94%. It is a highly symbolic phenomenon, albeit a modest decrease. Even Google is thought to be toying with the idea of launching its own browser. Underlying this ripple of competition is the ability of large companies that already benefit from economies of scale to extend into new areas, says Hal Varian, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. That explains Amazon's A9 search service and Yahoo!'s move into music. As for browsers, “Microsoft had a lock on the market and just dropped the ball. Microsoft hasn't provided any innovation in the browser area and they had poor security,” he says. The message: watch your back. (1? 俗语:擦亮你的眼睛;2?Microsoft 的一款软件,用来阻挡可疑信息或过大邮件。这里一语双关, 反讽十足。 )
  4、Brain scanning 、 No hiding place Oct 28th 2004 | SAN DIEGO From The Economist print edition Studies using functional brain-imaging take on sophisticated topics FEW recent innovations have transformed a field of research as much as functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI). The technique has revolutionised the study of the human brain. By making visible the invisible (the activity of different bits of the living brain on a second-by-second basis), it has revolutionised the study of that organ. But what started out as a medical instrument is now used routinely to probe complex questions about behaviour and motivation. That was the lesson of two studies presented to a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, held in San Diego earlier this week. In one of the studies, Jonathan Cohen, of Princeton University, and his colleagues tried to explain an anomaly that has been nagging economists for decades. If humans were fully rational (at least, rational in the way that economists define the word), they would attach the same monetary value to a week's delay in receiving a payment, regardless of when that week began. So, if someone is offered $10 at the beginning of any given week, or $11 at the end of it, he should make the same choice, whether that week starts now or a year from now. But that turns out not to be how most people judge it. In most cases, they will take the $10 today but the $11 in a year and a week. Dr Cohen reasoned that this inconsistency might reflect the influence of different neural systems in the brain. To test this, he recruited 14 students, the traditional workhorses in such studies. While lying in his brain scanner, the students were offered the choice of receiving an Amazon.com gift certificate worth somewhere between $5 and $40 immediately, or getting one worth 1% to 50% more in a couple of weeks' time. When a participant chose the earlier reward, there was an increase in the activity of his limbic system. This is a region of the brain that is involved in emotion. In contrast, when the choice was to delay gratification in exchange for a bigger reward, brain activity was concentrated in the “thinking” regions, such as the prefrontal cortex. The inconsistency therefore seems to be the result of different sorts of calculation happening in the two cases.
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Of course, that does not answer the ultimate question of why evolution has equipped the brain this way. Dr Cohen speculates that it may have something to do with survival when the arrival of resources is scarce and unpredictable, rather than the subject of contracts and an efficient banking system. But it does shine a new light on issues such as drug addiction and procrastination, which are both situations where the temptation of immediate reward can lead to choices that might ultimately be detrimental. While Dr Cohen's group wrestles with how people make choices, Klaus Mathiak, of the University of Tübingen, in Germany, and his colleagues, are using fMRI to study the effects which certain sorts of choice have on brain activity. Specifically, the team is looking at what goes on in the heads of dedicated video-games players during violent “social interactions” within a game. Dr Mathiak enlisted 13 gamers who played video games for, on average, 20 hours a week. While the gamers stalked and shot the enemy from the relative discomfort of a scanner's interior, the researchers recorded events in their brains. As a player approached a violent encounter, part of his brain called the anterior cingulate cortex became active. This area is associated with aggression in less fictional scenarios, and also with the subsequent suppression of more positive emotions, such as empathy. Dr Mathiak noted that the responses in his gamers were thus strikingly similar to the neural correlates of real aggression. As he puts it, “Contrary to what the industry says, it appears to be more than just a game.”
  5、Television 、 Grim reality Nov 4th 2004 From The Economist print edition America's appetite for reality television is flagging “THE Rebel
 

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