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展望2200

发布者: 五毒 | 发布时间: 2024-6-1 03:36| 查看数: 51| 评论数: 0|



I used to be a Malthusian.

我曾经是马尔萨斯人口论的拥护者。

This was my mental model of the world: exploding population, small planet; it's going to lead to ugly things.

这曾是这个世界在我脑海中的样子──爆炸性的人口,渺小的星球,一切都指向一个不祥的未来。

But I'm moving past Malthus, because I think that we just might be about 150 years from a kind of new enlightenment.

但我现在已经抛弃了马尔萨斯,因为我觉得再过150年,我们将迎来一个新的启迪。

Here's why.

原因就在于此:

This is the U.N.'s population data, you may have seen, for the world.

你可能看过这个,这是联合国发布的世界人口的数据。

And the world's population expected to top out at something hopefully a bit less than 10 billion, late this century.

世界人口的预计上限希望是可以稍低于100亿,并将在本世纪末叶达到。

And after that, most likely it's going to begin to decline.

在那之后,人口数量将开始下降。

So what then?

不过那又怎样呢?

Most of the economic models are built around scarcity and growth.

大多数的经济模型都是建立在缺少和增长两个概念上,

So a lot of economists look at declining population and expect to see stagnation, maybe depression.

因此,许多经济学家关注人口下降,并预计会出现停滞,甚至是萧条。

But a declining population is going to have at least two very beneficial economic effects.

不过衰减的人口数量至少会带来两项非常有益的经济效应。

One: fewer people on a fixed amount of land make investing in property a bad bet.

其一,固定的土地总额加上逐渐减少的人口将使得地产投资变成不佳的赌注。

In the cities, a lot of the cost of property is actually wrapped up in its speculative value.

在城市里,房地产的一大部分费用事实上都被倾注于这些投机性的价值中。

Take away land speculation, price of land drops.

减少地产投机,土地的价格便会降低。

And that begins to lift a heavy burden off the world's poor.

这也将移除世界上贫困人口的一个巨大负担。

Number two: a declining population means scarce labor.

其二,锐减的人口意味着劳动力稀缺。

Scarce labor drives wages.

稀少的劳动力将带动工资的增长。

As wages increase that also lifts the burden on the poor and the working class.

而随着工资的增长,穷困人口和工薪阶层的负担将进一步减轻。

Now I'm not talking about a radical drop in population like we saw in the Black Death.

当然了,我并不是在讨论那种黑死病带来的急剧人口下降。

But look what happened in Europe after the plague: rising wages, land reform, technological innovation, birth of the middle class; and after that,

不过看看在那场瘟疫发生后,欧洲所发生的一切:上升的工资,土地的改革,科技的创新,还有中产阶级的诞生。随之而来的,

forward-looking social movements like the Renaissance, and later the Enlightenment.

是极具前瞻意识的社会运动,比如文艺复兴,还有随后的启蒙运动。

Most of our cultural heritage has tended to look backward, romanticizing the past.

我们大部分的文化遗产都倾向于回望过去,将过去涂上浪漫的色彩。

All of the Western religions begin with the notion of Eden, and descend through a kind of profligate present to a very ugly future.

西方所有的宗教都是始于伊甸园这个概念,然后走过放荡的现今,直向一个极其丑恶的未来。

So human history is viewed as sort of this downhill slide from the good old days.

所以人类的历史才会被看作是在走下坡路,从过往美好的日子开始堕落。

But I think we're in for another change, about two generations after the top of that curve,

但我认为,我们即将迎来另一项改变── 在那个曲线到达顶端的两代人口之后,

once the effects of a declining population start to settle in.

一旦随人口数量的缩减而带来的效应得以安顿落实。

At that point, we'll start romanticizing the future again, instead of the nasty, brutish past.

到那时,我们将可以再次憧憬美好的未来,而不是纠葛于那粗野可恶的过去。

So why does this matter?

不过,这关我们什么事呢?

Why talk about social-economic movements that may be more than a century away?

为什么要讨论一个多世纪以后的社会经济运动?

Because transitions are dangerous times.

因为过渡期往往是最危险的时刻。

When land owners start to lose money, and labor demands more pay, there are some powerful interests that are going to fear for the future.

当土地所有者开始赔钱,劳动力要求更多工资时,一些强大的利益集团就会对未来感到担忧。

Fear for the future leads to some rash decisions.

对未来的恐惧将会导致鲁莽的抉择。

If we have a positive view about the future then we may be able to accelerate through that turn, instead of careening off a cliff.

如果我们对未来充满希望,我们就可以加速冲过那个转折点,而不是坠入那个深渊。

If we can make it through the next 150 years, I think that your great great grandchildren will forget all about Malthus.

如果我们能够很好地度过接下来的150年,我相信你的曾曾祖孙们将会彻底遗忘马尔萨斯。

And instead, they'll be planning for the future and starting to build the 22nd Century Enlightenment.

取而代之的,是对未来的悉心布置,并将开启22世纪的启蒙运动。

Thank you.

谢谢大家。


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