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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 经济学人力资本理论探讨

2018年01月09日14:09 来源:互联网
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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 经济学人力资本理论探讨图1

Human capital——The people's champion

人力资本:人的捍卫者

Gary Becker made humans the central focus of economics. The second in our series on big economic ideas.

贝克尔让人成为了经济学的中心焦点。我们六大经济理论的第二篇。

这篇阅读材料还有MP3音频哦!下载>>传送门

WHY do families in rich countries have fewer children?

为什么富裕国家的家庭生育越来越少的孩子?

Why do companies in poor countries often provide meals for their workers?

为什么穷国的公司经常给工人提供饭菜?

Why has each new generation spent more time in school than the one that came before?

为什么每一个新生代都比前一代把更多的时间花在学校中?

Why have earnings of highly skilled workers risen even as their numbers have also increased?

为什么高级技工的收入甚至在人数增长的情况下也上升了?

Why should universities charge tuition fees?

为什么大学应当收取学费?

This is an incredibly diverse array of questions.

这是一组不可置信的多元问题阵列。

The answers to some might seem intuitive; others are more perplexing.

有的问题的答案似乎是凭直觉的;有的更加复杂。

For Gary Becker, an American economist who died in 2014, a common thread ran through them all: human capital.

对于加里·贝克尔,这位2014年去世的美国经济学家来说,一条共同的线索把这些问题全都贯穿了起来:人力资本(human capital)。

Simply put, human capital refers to the abilities and qualities of people that make them productive.

简单地说,人力资本指的是使之具有生产力的人的能力和素质。

Knowledge is the most important of these, but other factors, from a sense of punctuality to the state of someone's health, also matter.

知识是其中最重要的。但是,从守时观念到健康状况等其他要素也非常重要。

Investment in human capital thus mainly refers to education but it also includes other things—the inoculation of values by parents, say, or a healthy diet.

因而,人力资本的投资主要指向教育,但是也包括其他东西。如,来自父母的价值观灌输,或者是健康的饮食。

Just as investing in physical capital—whether building a new factory or upgrading computers—can pay off for a company, so investments in human capital also pay off for people.

如同投资于实体资本——不管是建造新工厂,还是更新计算机——能够给公司有所回报一样,人力资本的投资也能给人们带来回报。

The earnings of well-educated individuals are generally higher than those of the wider population.

受过良好教育的个人的收入一般都高于普罗大众。

【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 经济学人力资本理论探讨图2

All this might sound obvious.

这一切可能听起来是显而易见的。

As far back as Adam Smith in the 18th century, economists had noted that production depended not just on equipment or land but also on peoples' abilities.

远在亚当·斯密的18世纪,经济学家就已经指出,生产不仅取决于设备或土地,还取决于人的能力。

But before the 1950s, when Becker first examined links between education and incomes, little thought was given to how such abilities fit with economic theory or public policy.

但是,在上世纪50年代,即贝克尔首次考察教育与收入间的关系之前,少有对这类能力如何进入经济理论或公共政策的思考。

Instead, economists' general practice was to treat labour as an undifferentiated mass of workers, lumping the skilled and unskilled together.

相反,经济学家的惯例是把劳动力当作是一群无差别的工人来对待,把有技能的和无技能的混杂在一起。

To the extent that topics such as training were thought about, the view was pessimistic.

以至于培训之类的话题一被想到,观点就是悲观的。

Arthur Pigou, a British economist who is credited with coining the term “human capital”, believed there would be an under-supply of trained workers because companies would not want to teach skills to employees only to see them poached by rivals.

亚瑟·庇古(Arthur Pigou),这位被誉为是首创了“人力资本”这一词语的英国经济学家相信,由于公司不想把技能传授给员工,却眼睁睁地看着他们被对手挖走,会存在受过培训的工人的供给不足。

After the second world war, when America's GI bill helped millions complete high school and university, education started to receive more attention from economists, Becker among them.

二战后,当美国的《退伍军人法》(GI bill)帮助数百万人修完了高中和大学时,教育开始受到经济学家的更多的关注,贝克尔就是其中之一。

The son of parents who had never got beyond the eighth grade but who filled his childhood home with discussions about politics, he wanted to investigate the structure of society.

作为虽然从未读过8年级以上却让他儿童时代的家中充满了政治讨论的父母的儿子,他想去研究社会结构。

Lectures by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago, where Becker completed his graduate studies in 1955, showed him the analytical power of economic theory.

米尔顿·弗里德曼在贝克尔1955年读完博士课程的芝加哥大学的讲座给他展示了经济理论的分析力量。

Doctoral degree in hand, Becker, then in his mid-20s, was hired by the National Bureau of Economic Research to work on a project calculating returns on schooling.

随后,在25、6岁的时候,博士学位在手的贝克尔受雇于国民经济调查局(National Bureau of Economic Research),为一个计算教育回报的项目工作。

What seemed a simple question led him to realise that no one had yet fleshed out the concept of human capital.

一个看起来简单的问题让他认识到,至今还没有人去充实人力资本概念。

In subsequent years he developed it into a full-fledged theory that could be applied to any number of questions and, soon enough, to issues previously seen as outside the realm of economics, from marriage to fertility.

在接下来的几年间,他将其发展成一种可以被应用于许多问题并且不久又被应用于从婚姻到生育等一系列之前被视为是在经济学领域之外的许多问题的成熟理论。

One of Becker's earliest contributions was to distinguish between specific and general human capital.

贝克尔最早的贡献之一是区分了特定性人力资本和一般性人力资本。

Specific capital arises when workers acquire knowledge directly tied to their firms, such as how to use proprietary software.

特定性资本出现在工人获取直接与其公司捆绑在一起的知识之时,如如何使用专属软件。

Companies are happy to pay for this kind of training because it is not transferable.

公司之所以乐于为这类培训花钱是因为这类培训不是可以转移的。

By contrast, as Pigou suggested, firms are often reluctant to stump up for general human capital: teach employees to be good software programmers and they may well jump ship to whichever company pays them the most.

相比之下,正如庇古所指出的那样,公司经常是不情愿为了一般性人力资本而掏腰包:把雇员培养成优秀程序员,他们就很可能跳槽付给他们最多的公司。

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