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富贵闲人无事忙 (推荐)  

2009-03-21 14:09:11|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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中文博主按:这当然还是我的美女同事译的好作品,她说:“(这篇文章)辣得过瘾!”对小事的过度关注,对大事的漠不关心,是政治经济的一个通病。相信博友们能从中国政策建议者那里找到太多的案例,譬如最近的“茅于轼先生”的“茅厕高论”,在我看来,就是一例。这篇文章的中文标题,归功于伟大的曹雪芹,他在《红楼梦》里戏谑宝哥哥是“富贵闲人”,是“无事忙”,放在这儿,倒是再贴切不过了。当然,还有一个好标题,那就是伟大领袖毛主席写的那首打油诗:“大事不汇报,小事天天送。此调不改正,必定搞修正!”我更喜欢曹雪芹一些。


Trivial Pursuit

TheAIG bonuses now being debated in Congress and everywhere else representabout .001 percent of annual GDP. If a typical Congressman spent thatfraction of a 2000 hour work year on the topic, it would consume onlyabout 1 minute of his or her time.
AIG的奖金问题引发了国会和街头巷尾的热议。这些奖金金额占年GDP的0.001%。如果一个普通的国会议员,要把每年2000个工作小时的同比例时间花在这个讨论上,应该是1分钟。

Yes, I know, that calculationis silly in many ways, but here is my point: Regardless of how outragedyou are about the AIG bonuses, it is probably not an optimal allocationof resources for our elected leaders to spend large amounts of time andenergy on the topic. The economy has bigger problems right now, and itwould be better to focus attention on those.
我知道,这种计算从很多角度来说都很傻,但我的看法是:无论对AIG的奖金感到多么愤怒,我们民选出来的领导们,在这个问题上花费大量的时间和精力,可能不是对资源的最优配置。目前的经济存在更大的问题,更值得关注。

Unless, of course,you think that our elected leaders are more likely to make things worsethan better. In that case, jabbering on about the AIG bonuses may bethe perfect activity to keep them busy.
当然,除非我们选出来的领导只会坏事,在AIG的奖金问题上喋喋不休,也许是让他们保持忙碌的最好方式。


---

Updates from my readers: As evidence for my last conjecture, a reader recommends a research study that finds:
来自读者的更新:一个读者推荐了下面这个研究成果,来证明我以上的猜测:

Stockreturns are lower and volatility is higher when Congress is in session.This "Congressional Effect" can be quite large -- more than 90% of thecapital gains over the life of the DJIA have come on days when Congressis out of session.
当国会开会的时候,股票收益更低,波动性更大。这种“国会效应”可能会非常大――DJIA一生中90%的资本利得,来自国会休会期间。

Anotherreader remarks that "the 'Congressional Effect' is merely a modern,attenuated version of John Randolph of Roanoke's famous observationthat 'No man's life, liberty or property are safe whilst thelegislature is in session.'"
 另一个读者评论道,“John Randolph有个著名的Roanoke判断,‘在立法机关开会期间,没有一个人的生命、自由和财富是安全的’,‘国会效应’仅仅是它的现代微缩版。”

This second reader also offers a good observation about how our leaders prioritize their efforts:
这个读者还就领导们如何优先安排他们的工作,提供了一个很好的评议:

Thephenomenon you describe in this post was identified by Norman Augustinein his book ("Augustine's Laws") as "inversion": the tendency formanagers to spend disproportionate amounts of time and energy on theinconsequential. He attributed this behavior to the (in)ability of mostmanagers to comprehend the larger issues. As an example, he described aboard meeting in which it was proposed to spend several millions tobuild a large power plant (this was back in the 1960s), a proposalquickly and uncontroversially approved. The same group then spent amuch longer time, with much more vigorous debate, on the proposedexpenditure of a fraction of this sum on an ancillary building to housea maintenance facility. Augustine surmised this was because (1) no onehad the slightest clue as to how much a power plant should cost, but(2) everyone had an idea of how much a tool shed should cost.
 你所描绘的现象在Norman Augustine的书里(“Augustine
法则“)被称为“本末倒置”(inversion):经理们倾向于把大量的时间和精力花在无关紧要的问题上。他将这种行为归因于,大部分经理没有能力理解大问题。比如,他描写了一个董事会开会讨论一个提议,花数百万建造一个大型的发电厂(1960s的事情了),这个提议毫无争议地很快就通过了。然后,这个董事会花了长得多的时间,更激烈地讨论了另一个提议,用这笔金额的一小部分,建个辅助建筑以维修设备。Augustine推测,出现这种现象的原因在于:(1)没有人知道发电厂到底要花多少钱,(2)而每个人都会对一个工具棚的花费指手画脚一番。

(A third reader claims the correct citation is Parkinson's Law of Triviality.)
(第三个读者认为,正确的说法,应该叫Parkinson无事忙定律(“Parkinson’s Law of Triviality”),而不叫“Augustine法则"。)

Yes, indeed, that sounds like what is going on in the Washington right now. Our nation's leaders are focused on the tool shed.
的确,这就像华盛顿正在做的事情。我们国家的领导人正为区区的一个工具棚纠缠不休。

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