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中英对照|《婚姻与爱情》:钻石可以恒久远,婚姻却是难上难

2017-07-25 从余启 我与我们的世界 我与我们的世界

欢迎打开“我与我们的世界”,从此,让我们一起“纵览世界之风云变幻、洞察社会之脉搏律动、感受个体之生活命运、挖掘自然之点滴奥妙”。

我与我们的世界,既是一个“奋斗”的世界,也是一个“思考”的世界。奋而不思则罔,思而不奋则殆。这个世界,你大,它就大;你小,它就小。

欢迎通过上方公众号名称打开公众号“查看历史信息”来挖掘往期文章,因为,每期都能让你“走近”不一样的世界、带给你不一样的精彩


本期导读:现代社会,结婚一定要有一枚寓意婚姻永恒的钻戒是毋庸置疑的,“钻石恒久远,一颗永流传”这句广告词可以说家喻户晓,好像没一颗高大上的钻戒,婚姻就不尽圆满。


可能最开始你并不认同这个标准甚至有些排斥,但是,时间长了到处都是这种观点,你会渐渐怀疑自己的看法,或者就算内心确信自己没错,也会为了维护所谓的社会关系和谐而表面上认同,或者至少不反对。


说到钻石,世界上90%的钻石是由英国的德比尔斯公司垄断,该公司一直是全球最大的钻石开采和销售企业,“钻石恒久远,一颗永流传”这句奠定钻石在婚姻感情上的象征地位、脍炙人口的广告词就是出自该公司。


钻石这种矿石的学名叫金刚石,是自然界中最坚硬的物质,它的价格如此之高,主要是因为宣传和炒作。如果没有德比尔斯公司一百多年来孜孜不倦的推广经营,钻石可能至今还是单纯的一种“碳元素同素异形体聚合物”,最多在工业上用于各种切割工具。


这样说,并不是表示婚姻不需要钻戒,放眼望去,整个世界都充满着似真似假、表象背后蕴含着更多不为人知的各种内情,就连我们天天都要接触的纸币,都只是在行使它的流通媒介功能而已,而其本身的价值,实际上是微乎其微的。


不过,就算知道了钻石这种矿石价值的来龙去脉,绝大多数人还是会付出不菲的代价想去得到它,毕竟,拥有一颗硕大的、众人艳羡的钻石,足以让自己的虚荣心得到极大满足。


因此看来,好多人们所认为重要的、不可或缺的因素,并不一定是其内心真正需要的,而是在后天成长过程中,由别有用心的人所缔造的舆论,于不经意中进入了人们的潜意识,天长日久后就被当作标准而付诸追求。


所以,女人若觉得男人对自己没有一颗钻戒的赠予就结婚,是对自己的不重视,是对婚姻的无所谓,其实是要看情况的。当经济条件足以支撑起这些时,何妨花钱买花戴!?当节衣缩食,甚至拿着父母的血汗钱来满足虚荣心,或者因为没有一颗钻戒、没有一个体面的婚礼而耿耿于怀甚至分手,那真的就是舍本逐末了。


Diamonds and marriage

钻石与婚姻

A girl’s new best friend

女性密友

The diamond engagement ring may not have a future as a symbol of courtship. What could replace it?

将来,钻石婚戒可能不再是求婚的必备物品,替代它的会是什么东东呢?


PEACOCKS strut; bowerbirds build lovenests; spiders gift-wrap flies in silk. Such courtship rituals play an important role in what Charles Darwin called sexual selection: when the female of a species bears most of the costs of reproduction, males use extravagant displays and gifts to demonstrate their “reproductive fitness” and females choose between them. For human males, shards of a crystalline form of carbon often feature. A diamond engagement ring signals a man’s taste, wealth and commitment, all to persuade a woman that he is a good bet.

孔雀会炫动舞姿,花亭鸟会建造爱巢,蜘蛛会织网捕获美食,所有此类行为,根据达尔文所称的“雌雄淘汰理论”,在求偶过程中均起着重要作用。雌雄淘汰理论认为,当某物种的雌性在繁育后代方面需承担更多时,该物种的雄性就会利用各种花招和甜头,来展示他们在“繁育后代方面的优势”,雌性则拥有从中挑选的权利。而对于人类中的男性来说,由碳元素构成的透明物加工出来的块状晶体,通常会起到非常重要的作用。钻石婚戒,代表着男性的品位、财富以及承诺,所有这些,都是向女性展示值得托付终身的价值所在。


This particular courtship gift was dreamed up by an ad agency for De Beers, the cartel that sold almost all of the world’s diamonds throughout the 20th century. In the 1930s it started to promote a link between diamonds and marriage. Diamonds’ unmatched hardness would symbolise love’s endurance and their “fire”, or brilliance, its passion. Two months’ salary, the firm suggested, was what the ring should cost—a good investment since, as the admen said, “A diamond is forever.”

钻石婚戒这个东东,是由一家为全球最大、历史最悠久、几乎生产了20世纪全球所有钻石的垄断巨头“德比尔斯”提供服务的广告公司凭空想象出来的。20世纪30年代,该广告公司开始鼓吹钻石与婚姻之间具有某种联系,钻石那无与伦比的硬度,象征着爱之恒久、爱之火花、爱之靓丽,以及爱之激情。该广告公司评估,两个月的薪水,应该是婚戒的价位。这样的价位,值得为之投入,毕竟,正如广告所宣传的那样,“钻石恒久远”。


Now, that promise is dimming. Though a growing Chinese middle class will probably prop up demand for a while, millennials in Western countries seem keener on memorable experiences than on bling. Diamonds’ image has been blemished by some being mined in warzones and sold to pay for the fighting. Meanwhile, laboratory-grown “synthetic” diamonds, long fit only for industrial use, are becoming good enough to compete with gems from out of the ground.

而当今,那样的观念正在失去光泽。尽管中国崛起的中产阶层,可能对未来一段时期内的钻石需求,会起到一定的支撑作用,但西方国家的年轻人,越来越注重伴侣之间共有的经历与记忆,而非闪闪发亮的钻戒。有些钻石矿源,来自战乱地区,所得收入被用于战争,这已抹黑了钻石的形象。与此同时,实验室人工合成的钻石,很长时间以来都只能用于工业用途,其质量现在也开始变得足以与自然形成的宝石来竞争。


But the long-term threat to diamonds’ lustre is more surprising: that their price could plummet. In recent years regulators (and market forces) have undermined De Beers’s cartel by limiting the share of other producers’ stones that it can buy. Now responsible for just a third of global sales, the company can no longer manage supply by stockpiling gems when demand turns down. It is spending less on advertising, since it no longer gets the lion’s share of the benefits. But the very value of diamonds lies in being scarce and coveted—that is, costly. In the jargon, they are “Veblen goods”, named after a 19th-century economist: prestige-enhancing trinkets for which a higher price encourages buyers. With most products, lower prices increase demand; with diamonds, they could kill it.

不过,从长期来看,对钻石构成真正挑战的,在于其价位会逐步走低,这点倒是让人感到有点意外。近年来,行业监管者以及市场力量所起到的作用,使德比尔斯从其他钻石生产商的进货有所限制。目前,德比尔斯在全球钻石销售中的占比为三分之一,需求下降时已不能通过囤积存货来调节市场供给。德比尔斯考虑到已不能将钻石推广所带来的大多好处收入自己囊中,因而在广告方面的投入也在减少。不过,钻石的真正价值,在于其稀缺性以及人们对它的渴望,并基于此而所具有的高价位。按照行话来说,钻石是一种“维布伦商品”,这个说法源于19世纪经济学家维布伦的研究结果:能给人们增添荣光的小物件,价格越高,人们购买的欲望就越强。对于多数商品来说,价格越低,需求就越高。而对于钻石来说,价格低了的话,则具有致命性。


Greater equality for women might seem to render male-courtship displays redundant. But mating preferences evolved over millennia and will not change quickly. If diamonds were to cease being a way to signal a man’s marriageability, what might take their place?

女性地位的提高,可能会使得男性展示求偶筹码显得没有必要。不过,人类的求偶习性延续了已有好几千年,一时半会儿也改变不了。若钻石不再能显示男性在结婚方面的优势,替代它的将会是什么东东呢?


A different gift, perhaps. In China skewed sex ratios mean that a prospective bridegroom must own an apartment and shower his future in-laws with cash. But a glittering stone goes to the woman, not her family. And it is more than a gift: it is a status symbol, demonstrating that even as a man approaches the expenses of married life, he can still splash out on a bauble. Or a man could rely on more generic forms of display, such as a fancy degree, good job or sharp suit. But these can impress one woman as easily as another, or several simultaneously. He must show commitment—a need not unique to courtship. Salvadoran gangsters get extravagant tattoos; Japanese yakuza cut off a fingertip. These visible signs of allegiance make it hard to defect, and impose heavy costs. But as marriage proposals they would fall short. Few women would feel proud to carry around their fiancé’s severed pinkie.

或许,会是一种不同的物件。在中国,男女性别比例失调意味着,男性想要当上新郎,就必须拥有住房,并用大把大把的钞票让媳妇的娘家人高兴。而闪闪发光的钻戒,拥有它的是新娘,而不会是她的娘家人。钻戒不仅仅是一件礼物,更是地位身份的显现,并象征着,即使将马上要面对婚后生活的各种开销,男方依然能花大钱买件华丽而没什么实际用处的东东。抑或,男性也可用世俗通用的方式来展示自己的实力,比如耀眼的学历,令人艳羡的工作,或是亮眼的着装。不过,所有这些,对于某位女性具有吸引力,而对于其他女性来说,也同样具有吸引力,或许同时会有多位女性看上。此外,男方还须显示出忠诚,这点在求偶时也是很常见的。萨尔瓦多的黑帮成员,会用怪诞夸张的纹身来呈示忠诚;日本的黑道分子,则会切掉指稍来展示忠诚。通过这些途径呈现出来的忠诚,不容易叛离,且叛离成本较高。不过,求婚时所进行的忠诚许诺,其严厉程度以及其含金量可能就没那么高了。没有女性会拿着未婚夫切掉的小手指到处炫耀并为此而感到自豪。


Love is a multifaceted thing

爱情是个具有多面性的东东

Many millennial women seek a mate who is creative, charitable and earns enough not to live with his parents. The millionaire founder of a startup that makes an app to teach yoga to orphans would be ideal. As a token of his commitment, a suitor might offer the object of his affections 51% of his shares—so much nicer than a joint bank account. Less eligible men could offer instead to link Uber accounts, thus entwining the couple’s reputations: their joint five-star rating would be at risk if either misbehaved. Uber-linking would also allow each to keep track of the other’s whereabouts, discouraging infidelity. Whatever ultimately replaces diamonds, it will surely be digital, not worn on a digit.

很多年轻女性,都想找一位富有创造力、有爱心、能挣足够多的钱养家而非靠啃老过活的男性为伴。或许,科技行业为孤儿开发瑜伽教育应用软件的创业型公司的富翁老板是女性最理想的结婚对象。说不定,男方还会把他持有的51%的股份交出来以表示对婚姻的忠诚,这比开立一个夫妇双方共同持有的银行账户要来得更猛。条件差些的男性,可贡献出自己的打车软件优步账户,这样就可使双方的信用关联在一起,若任何一方有不当行为,他们五星级的信用评级就会面临风险。把双方优步账户关联在一起,也可让双方掌握住对方的行踪,进而减少不忠行为。总的来讲,不管最终替代钻石的是个什么东东,可以肯定的是,那将是数字化的,而不会只基于几个数字,也不会过几年就失去了光泽。


往期精彩:


旧文重发|《经济学人》:日本社会的婚姻问题,映照独身时代的来临

新书速递|《男性之隐》:一百位男性受访者倾吐心声

中美关系|《外媒》:中国邀请特朗普女儿、女婿访华

国际代孕|《经济学人》:能当父母,是件好事,而非犯罪

驻足人生|《幽灵岛》:你存在的意义,完全由你自己定义

全球青年报告|《瓦尔基基金会》:青年就是太阳,青年就是希望

造人那点事儿|《经济学人》:造人途径有N种,该选哪一种?

诗图一家|《命运遐想》:命里有时终须有,命里无时莫强求


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