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          通貨膨脹,通常不是什么好事

          所屬教程:金融英語講解

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          qinting

          2019年09月25日

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          In general, people seem to know that inflation is often not a good thing in an economy. This makes sense, to some degree- inflation refers to rising prices, and rising prices are typically viewed as a bad thing.

          總體來說,人們似乎知道通貨膨脹對一個經濟體來說通常不是什么好事。這是情理之中的事,在一定程度上,通貨膨脹就意味著物價上漲,而物價上漲一般都被視為壞事。

          Technically speaking, however, increases in the aggregate price level need not be particularly problematic if prices of different goods and services rise uniformly, if wages rise in tandem with the price increases, and if nominal interest rates adjust in response to changes in inflation. (In other words, inflation need not reduce the real purchasing power of consumers.)

          從技術上講,如果所有商品和服務的價格都以統一的幅度上漲,如果工資水平也隨著物價一起上漲,并且如果名義利率也跟隨通貨膨脹進行調整,那綜合物價的上漲就不太會是個問題。(換句話說,這種情況下通貨膨脹并沒有削弱消費者的購買力。)

          There are, however, costs of inflation that are relevant from an economic perspective and cannot be easily avoided.

          不過,從經濟學的角度看,通貨膨脹還是會帶來些很明顯的成本,而且這些成本無法輕易避免。

          通貨膨脹,通常不是什么好事

          Menu Costs

          菜單成本

          When prices are constant over long periods of time, firms benefit in that they don't need to worry about changing the prices for their output.

          如果物價在很長一段時間內保持穩定,那么企業是獲益的,因為他們不需要改變自己產品的售價。

          When prices change over time, on the other hand, firms would ideally like to change their prices in order to keep pace with the general trends in prices, since this would be the profit-maximizing strategy.

          而如果物價隨時間變動了,企業當然就會想跟隨總趨勢來提高自己產品的售價,畢竟這是能讓利潤最大化的策略。

          Unfortunately, changing prices is generally not costless, since changing prices requires printing new menus, relabeling items, and so on.

          不幸的是,更改價格通常不是沒有成本的,因為要改價格需要重印菜單、重新貼標等等。

          Firms have to decide whether to operate at a price that is not profit-maximizing or incur the menu costs involved in changing prices.

          企業必須決定是繼續使用不能使利潤最大化的老價格,還是承受更改價格帶來的菜單成本。

          Either way, firms bear a very real cost of inflation.

          不管選哪個,企業都需要為通貨膨脹承受貨真價實的損失。

          Shoeleather Costs

          “皮鞋成本”

          The term shoe leather costs refer to the figurative cost of replacing shoes more often due to the increase in the number of trips to the bank, but shoe leather costs are a very real phenomenon.

          皮鞋成本這個說法是在比喻你由于頻繁往返銀行磨壞了鞋之后需要付出的置裝費,雖然名字是一種比喻,但這個成本卻是真真切切存在的。

          Shoeleather costs are not a serious issue in economies with relatively low inflation, but they become very relevant in economies that experience hyperinflation. In these situations, citizens generally prefer to keep their assets as foreign rather than local currency, which also consumes unnecessary time and effort.

          皮鞋成本在通貨膨脹較低的經濟體中通常不是一個嚴重的經濟問題,但它在那些經歷惡性通貨膨脹的經濟體中就很明顯了。在這種情況下,公民們通常更愿意持有外匯而不是本地貨幣,而這就又要消耗不必要的時間和精力。

          Whereas firms are the ones who directly incur menu costs, shoe leather costs directly impact all holders of currency.

          就像企業會直接承受菜單成本一樣,貨幣的所有持有者則要直接承受皮鞋成本。

          When inflation is present, there is a real cost to holding cash (or holding assets in non-interest bearing deposit accounts), since the cash won't buy as much tomorrow as it could today.

          如果你持有的是現金,或者持有無利息的存款賬戶,那么當通貨膨脹來臨的時候你就會承受一些損失,因為你的錢明天能買到的東西已經比今天少了。

          Therefore, citizens have an incentive to keep as little cash on hand as possible, which means that they have to go to the ATM or otherwise transfer money on a very frequent basis.

          因此,民眾通常傾向于盡量少持有現金,這意味著他們必須非常頻繁地通過ATM機或其他方法來存取金錢。

          通貨膨脹,通常不是什么好事

          Misallocation of Resources

          資源誤置

          When inflation occurs and prices of different goods and services rise at different rates, some goods and services become cheaper or more expensive in a relative sense.

          當通貨膨脹發生但不同的商品和服務的價格上升幅度卻不一樣時,這些商品和服務就相對地變得更貴或者更便宜了。

          These relative price distortions, in turn, affect the allocation of resources toward different goods and services in a way that would not happen if relative prices remained stable.

          這種價格上的相對扭曲會影響資源在不同商品和服務上的配置,而這種問題在相對價格穩定的情況下就不會出現。

          Wealth Redistribution

          財富再分配

          Unexpected inflation can serve to redistribute wealth in an economy because not all investments and debt are indexed to inflation.

          意料之外的通貨膨脹可以對經濟體中的財富進行再分配,因為并不是所有的投資和債務都會跟隨通貨膨脹一起變動。

          Higher than expected inflation makes the value of debt lower in real terms, but it also makes the real returns on assets lower.

          比預期更高的通貨膨脹會讓實際債務變低,但也會讓資本的實際回報率變低。

          Therefore, unexpected inflation serves to hurt investors and benefit those who have a lot of debt.

          因此,意料之外的通貨膨脹會傷害投資者,但對那些負債者卻是有利的。

          This is likely not an incentive that policymakers want to create in an economy, so it can be viewed as another cost of inflation.

          這通常不是一個經濟體的政策制定者想看到的現象,所以我們也可以把這視為通貨膨脹的另一種成本。

          Tax Distortions

          稅收扭曲

          In the United States, there are many taxes that do not automatically adjust for inflation.

          在美國,有很多稅并不是自動跟隨通貨膨脹變動的。

          For example, capital gains taxes are calculated based on the absolute increase in the value of an asset, not on the inflation-adjusted value increase.

          比如,資本利得稅是按資本的絕對增值來算的,而不是按照根據通貨膨脹調整后的價值來算的。

          Therefore, the effective tax rate on capital gains when inflation is present may be much higher than the stated nominal rate.

          因此,當通貨膨脹發生的時候,實際的資本利得稅率可能比名義上的要高。

          Similarly, inflation increases the effective tax rate paid on interest income.

          同樣地,通貨膨脹也會提高利息稅的實際稅率。

          General Inconvenience

          整體上的不便

          Even if prices and wages are flexible enough to adjust well for inflation, inflation still makes comparisons of monetary quantities across years more difficult than they could be.

          即便物價和工資都能靈活地根據通貨膨脹進行調整,通貨膨脹還是會讓對比不同年份的金錢價值變得更困難。

          Given that people and companies would like to fully understand how their wages, assets, and debt evolve over time, the fact that inflation makes it more difficult to do so can be viewed as yet another cost of inflation.

          由于企業與個人都想更好地了解自己的工資、財產和債務變動情況,那通貨膨脹的這種作用就能被視為另一種成本了。


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