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厌恶便宜货背后的真相 – 译学馆
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厌恶便宜货背后的真相

Why We Hate Cheap Things

我们并不认为自己讨厌廉价货 但是经常表现的像是我们原意这么做 比如菠萝
We don’t think we hate cheap things, but we frequently behave
as if we rather do. Consider the pineapple.
哥伦布是第一个因为壮丽的自然景观和充满生机的景象而感到高兴的欧洲人
Columbus was the first European to be delighted by its physical grandeur and vibrant sweetness.
他给欧洲带回了许多东西
He brought some back to Europe,
但是菠萝被证实极其难运输 而且成本高 难种植
but pineapples proved extremely difficult to transport and very costly to cultivate.
很久以前 只有皇室成员才能吃得起
For a long time, only royalty can afford to eat them.
俄国的凯瑟琳女王和英国查理二世都是它的死忠粉
Russia’s Catherine the Great was a huge fan, as was Charles II of England.
17世纪任意一种水果卖价都相当于如今5000磅的价钱
A single fruit in the 17th century sold for today’s equivalent of £5000.
菠萝令众多爱好者深陷其中无法自拔
The pineapple was so exciting and so loved
在1761年 第四任伯爵邓莫尔在苏格兰建造了一座寺庙
that in 1761, the 4th Earl of Dunmore built a temple on his Scottish estate in its honor,
雷恩·克里斯朵夫毫不犹豫地
and Christopher Wren had no hesitation
把这种明显不合地域的水果雕刻在伦敦的圣保罗南塔
in topping the south tower of St. Paul’s in London with this evidently divined fruit.
在十九世纪末 有两件事发生了变化
Then, at the very end of the 19th century, two things changed:
大型的菠萝贸易种植园在夏威夷被建起
Large commercial plantations of pineapples were established in Hawaii,
而此时恰好蒸汽船技术也取得了巨大的进步
and there were huge advances in steam ships technology.
运输成本大幅下降的同时无意中转变了我们食用菠萝的心理
Transport cost plummeted and unwittingly transformed the psychology of pineapple eating.
现在 你能花大约1.5磅的价钱买一个菠萝
Today, you can get a pineapple for around £1.50
味道和原来并无差别
It still taste exactly the same,
但是如今 菠萝的魅力大不如前了
but now, the pineapple is one of the world’s least glamorous fruits.
你从不会在高级晚宴或是地标建筑上见到它
It’s never served smart dinner parties, and it would never be carved on top of a major civic building.
菠萝本身没有改变 只是我们的态度变化了
The pineapple itself hasn’t changed, only our attitude to it has.
细细回味菠萝的历史 不难发现人们对事物的喜爱与它的价格之间有一种奇怪的重叠
Contemplation the history of the pineapple suggest a curious overlap between love and economics.
当我们需要花很多钱来得到一样好东西时 这样东西会被捧上天
When we have to pay a lot for something nice, we appreciate it to the full,
然而 当它在市场上的价格下跌时 我们会对它们渐渐失去兴趣
yet, as its price in the market falls, passion has a habit of fading away.
自然地 如果一个物体没有什么价值 那么设定再高的价格也于事无补
Naturally, if an object has no merit to begin with, a high-price won’t be able to do anything for it.
但如果它真的物美价廉 那它就可能落入被忽视的危险
But, if it has a real virtue and yet a low price, then it’s in severe danger of falling into neglect.
我们能在很多地方见到这个模式 例如天上的白云
It’s a pattern that we see recurring in a range of areas, for example, with a sight of clouds from above.
1927年 一个叫查尔斯·林德伯格的无名小卒
In 1927, a hitherto unknown airmail pilot called Charles Lindbergh
成为了史上第一个独立完成飞跃大西洋的人
became the first man to complete a solo crossing of the Atlantic in this plane the Spirit of St. Louis.
他的成就令人惊叹 当时人们把他奉为上帝一般
He was awestruck and felt he was becoming for a time almost god-like.
20世纪的大部分时间 他的经历都是举世无双的
For most of the 20th century, his experience remained rare and extremely costly.
因为当时人们把穿越大洋当作是不可能完成的事
There was therefore never any danger that the human value of crossing an ocean by air would be overlooked.
但是这仅仅持续到了1970年夏天 波音747
But this lasted only until the arrival of the Boeing 747
和一张廉价机票的出现终止了这种狂热的崇拜
and a cheap plane ticket in the summer of 1970.
现在 几乎再也没有人会从飞机窗户往外看了
Now, almost no one looks out of the plane window anymore.
那为什么我们会将廉价和缺乏价值联系起来呢?
Why then do we associate cheap prices with a lack of value?
这种反应似乎是长时间未工业化的后遗症
Our response seems a hangover from a long pre-industrial past.
纵贯人类历史 价格与质量的紧密联系是一直存在的
For most of human history, there truly was a strong correlation between cost and value.
通常来说 物品的价格越高 它的质量就会越好
The higher the price, the better things tended to be,
因为简单来说 质优价廉的物品是很难寻找的
because it would simply noway both for prices to be low and quality high.
所有的物品都必须由能工巧匠纯手工制作
Everything had to be made by hand, by expansively trained artisans
再加上原材料的运输又极其困难
with raw materials that were immensely difficult to transport.
因此那些昂贵的刀剑 夹克 窗户或是独轮车看起来总是质量上乘的
The expensive sword, jacket, window, or wheelbarrow were simply always the better ones.
这种价格与质量之间的关系
This relationship between price and value
一直被人们奉为颠扑不破的真理
held true in an uninterrupted way until the end of the 18th century,
直到18世纪 感谢工业革命 使这一切发生了改变
when, thanks to the industrial revolution, something extremely unusual happened.
人们终于找到了如何生产低价高质量的产品
Human beings worked out how to make high quality goods at cheap prices
凭借科技和劳动力的重新分配
because of technology and new methods of organizing the labor force.
然而 尽管付出了巨大的努力
However, despite the greatness of these efforts,
工业化还是不可避免地产生了副作用
instead of making wonderful experiences universally available,
没有让这种好的新生产方式普及全众
industrialization has inadvertently produced a different effect.
这些机器似乎夺走了原本属于人们的纯真 兴趣以及财富
It seemed to rob certain experiences of their loveliness, interest, and worth.
当然 我们不会因此拒绝购买便宜或不值钱的东西
It’s not, of course, that we refuse to buy inexpensive or cheap things,
只是对买到不值钱的东西从而感到的兴奋有点不自在
it’s just that getting excited over cheap things has come to seem a little bizarre.
面对100磅一小罐的鲟鱼籽
One is allowed to get very worked up over the eggs of the sturgeon,
人们总会表现得异常激动
£100 for a small pod,
但对于2磅12只的鸡蛋
but we have to be very circumscribed by one’s enthusiasm for the eggs of a chicken,
我们则不会有这么大的反应
12 for £2.
一个令人畏惧的阶级观念在背后操纵着
There is an intimidating hierarchy operating in the background
导致我们对自己缺少 且必须拥有的东西产生崇拜感
shaping what we’re allowed to be grateful for, and fill that we lack and must have.
价格的差异导致了一些微妙的变化
The price tells us something very special is going on here,
但这些变化有时也会发生在更便宜的东西上
but it maybe going on in a cheaper thing, too.
我们应该怎样进行这华丽的逆转?
How do we reverse this?
答案在一个十分令人意外的地方
The answer lies in a slightly unexpected area:
一个4岁儿童的大脑
the mind of a 4-year-old.
他喜欢踩水洼 且一小时前开始下雨了
Here he is with the puddle, it started raining an hour ago.
现在街上到处都是水洼 没有比这更令他兴奋的事了
Now, the street is full of puddles, and there could be nothing better in the world,
在他看来最有趣的就是看随着他小跳靴子溅起来的
the riches of the Indies would be nothing next to the pleasures of being able to see the rippling of the water
水的波纹
created by jumping one’s boots.
大大小小的漩涡中似乎蕴藏着一个神奇的水下世界 这足以让孩子们着迷
Eddies and whirlpools, the mind new waves, the oceans beneath one, it’s all fascinating.
有时孩子们比我们更有优势
Children have great advantages.
他们对自己的形象和金钱毫无概念
They don’t know what they’re supposed to like and they don’t understand money
因此他们的判断不会以价格为依据
so price is never a guide of value for them.
他们甚至会花一个小时玩一粒小纽扣
They’ll spend an hour with 1 button.
有一个人为孩子们买了价值49磅的瑞士手工玩具
One buys them the £49 wooden toy made by Swedish artisans
却发现他们更喜欢装玩具的纸箱子
and finds that they prefer the cardboard box that it came in.
比起精美的玩具 他们更喜欢DIY店里的钉子等玩具的零部件
They prefer the nail and screw section at the DIY shop to the fanciest toy department.
如果孩子们知道U盘只需要1磅
A child might be deeply surprised, even shocked
他们可能会十分惊讶
to learn that a USB stick can be had for just over £1.
如果价格仅仅由人力和它本身的价值所决定 那么孩子们这样想是正确的
Children would be right if prices were determined by human worth and value.
可事实上并不是这样的 这样的想法关注的只是东西的基础成本
But they are not, they just reflect what things cost to make.
所以遗憾的是 我们常常认为这就是定价规律
The pity is therefore, that we do treat them as a guide to what matters,
当我们觉得某样东西的价格不合理时
when this isn’t what a financial price should ever be used for.
我们不可能重回童年 幸运的是有人可以解答我们的疑惑
We can’t directly go back to childhood, but we have got people who can help us in this area:
艺术家
artists.
他们是天天与灵感打交道的人们
They are the experts recording and communicating their enthusiasms
像孩子对价格的观念一样 带领他们走向未知的方向
which, like children, can take them in slightly unexpected directions.
法国画家保罗·塞尚花了大一笔钱
The French artist, Paul Cézanne, spent a good deal of the late 19th century
在他普罗旺斯的工作室买了画于19世纪晚期的一组苹果
painting groups of apples in his studio in Provance.
他被画作中苹果真实的质地 优美的形态以及鲜艳的色彩深深吸引
He was thrilled by their texture, shapes, and colors.
他十分喜爱那些苹果表面从金黄到暗红的渐变
He loved the transitions between the yellowy golds and the deep reds across their skins.
塞尚对苹果可以说是爱到了极点
Cézanne had all the all-love-and-excitement before the apple
就像上文中贵族对菠萝的喜爱那样
that aristocrats once had for the pineapple.
塞尚在他自己的画室里开始了一场革命
Cézanne, in his studio, was generating his own revolution,
这场革命并非像工业革命那样普惠大众
not an industrial revolution that would make once costly objects available to everyone,
而是更进一步 欣赏产品
but a revolution in appreciation, a far deeper process
使我们注意到的一个更为重要的是 我们所支持的东西
that could get us to notice what we already have to hand.
不同于批量生产带来的产品价格下跌 塞尚提升了人们的欣赏品位
Instead of reducing prices, he was raising levels of appreciation,
这在经济上对我们来说是难能可贵的进步
which is a move that’s perhaps more precious to us economically
因为这意味着突然我们可以用更少的钱换来更多好东西
because it means that we can suddenly get lot more great things for very little money.
我们需要反思看待价格的方式
We need to rethink our relationship to prices.
我们一直在以错误的方式来看待它
We’ve been looking at prices in a wrong way.
我们盲目的为他们定下固有的价值
We fetishize them as tokens of intrinsic value.
他们限定了我们所能得到的快乐
We’ve allowed them to set how much excitement we were allowed to have in given areas.
但是价格却反其道而行
But prices would never meant to be like this.
我们过于关注价格
We’re breathing too much life into them,
因此亲爱的 我们也对廉价产品抱怨太多了
and therefore darling too many of our responses to the inexpensive world.
令人惊奇的是 其实我们都比自己想的富有得多
We are astonishingly already a good deal richer than we are encouraged to think we are.

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价廉一定不物美?这段视频会带大家解读这样的奇怪心理现象。

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