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To Spend or to Save? Trick Question花钱还是存钱?难解的问题。

时间:2015-09-05 16:14来源:英文论文网 作者:西方经济学宏观经 点击:
提供西方经济学宏观经济论文(英文论文)范例-To Spend or to Save? Trick Question-节约的悖论,指出在经济困难时期,个体的理智行为(存钱)可能对整体经济是有害的。最终,大量的存钱者会失业

To Spend or to Save? Trick Question花钱还是存钱?难解的问题。

 

It’s your fault. Part of it is, anyway. You, the American consumer, spent too much money. You bought too much house, took on too much debt and generally lived beyond your means. Your free-spending ways helped cause the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
And now you’re going to have to do your part to end the crisis. How? By spending. Enough already with the saving that many of you have suddenly begun doing. This very moment, Congress and President Obama are preparing to send you a tax rebate, to inspire you to stimulate the economy. So go out and stimulate. Spend as if the future of your country depended on it.
John Maynard Keynes, the great 20th-century economist, would have appreciated the apparent absurdity in these mixed messages. He coined a phrase, “the paradox of thrift,” to point out that what was rational for an individual during hard times — saving money — could be ruinous for an entire economy. Eventually, many of the savers may end up out of work because everyone else is saving, too.
It’s enough to make you wonder what exactly you’re supposed to do. At his news conference on Monday night, Mr. Obama was asked directly whether people should spend or save their rebate checks. He ducked the question.
Fortunately, though, it has an answer. There are a few ways to help both your own finances and the country’s.
The first involves figuring out how to spend money now to save money later — which can lift the economy today and help individual households cope with their battered finances in the long run. The second involves realizing that Keynes’s paradox isn’t ironclad. In a financial crisis, when banks may need capital as much as retailers or restaurants need business, many people can save without guilt.
What follows is a guide to spending and saving, both sensibly and patriotically.
Besides developing the most famous prescription for curing downturns, Keynes can also be considered the godfather of behavioral economics, as the columnist David Ignatius recently wrote. While other economists obsessed over statistical models that treated people as hyperrational automatons, Keynes wrote about “animal spirits.” He helped explain how psychology shaped economics.
Psychology-tinged economics — that is, behavioral economics — has taken off over the last two decades, and one of its central findings is that most people do not do a good job of planning for the future. They aren’t nearly as nice to their “future self,” as economists say, as to their “present self.”
They eat just one more doughnut and put off exercising until tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. They fail to set aside enough for retirement. Again and again, they choose a bird in the hand — be it dessert, convenience or a little extra cash — over three or four in the bush.
These habits end up causing a lot of trouble. But they also present an opportunity in a time like this. Most people could save themselves a good bit of money by giving proper respect to their future self. They could spend a little now and save a lot later.
McKinsey & Company recently analyzed household spending on energy, for example, and found enormous waste. People heat their homes when they are not there and, thanks to leaks in their walls and heating ducts, also heat the airspace above their roof.
A programmable thermostat, which adjusts the temperature when people are out of the house or asleep, can cost as little as $50. For less than $1,000, people can buy the thermostat, as well as hire a contractor to fix leaks and replace their light bulbs with more efficient ones. In either case, the spending often pays for itself in just a year or two.
“There is a difference between consuming and investing,” says Ken Ostrowski of McKinsey. “And energy efficiency falls more into the category of investing.”
I asked behavioral economists for some other examples, and they helped me come up with a nice little list. Parents of young children can join Costco and make up their membership fee with just a few months of diaper purchases. Drivers can inflate their tires, change their air and fuel filters and start getting better mileage. Frequent book buyers who don’t mind screen reading can buy the new Kindle. It costs $359, but most new books then cost less than $10. 
Families who shop at rent-to-own stores, which charge ridiculous interest rates, can temporarily pare back and then buy furniture or electronics outright.
People who do a lot of laser printing can purchase a printer that uses only a cent or two of ink per page. (Many use far, far more.)
Purified water drinkers can lay off the Aquafina and buy a water filter. Seltzer drinkers can buy a seltzer maker. My wife and I now have one, and it is a beautiful thing indeed.
In these cases — and, no doubt, many others — the initial investment tends to pay off quickly, sometimes in mere months. That’s why such spending is perfectly suited to the moment. It will keep people employed or create new jobs when the economy needs the help. But it will also shore up households’ finances.
The one big caveat is that some people will feel that they can’t afford to lay out an extra $50 or $100 right now. Millions of workers have already lost their jobs, and many others simply want to cut back. In December, households saved an average of 3.6 percent of their disposable income, up from about 1 percent in recent years.
In a normal recession, this new saving would have a lot more downside than upside, just as Keynes explained. But this recession is different. It has been caused by a financial crisis. If Americans don’t get their finances in better shape — if mortgage defaults keep rising and credit card delinquencies soar — banks will remain afraid to lend, and the recession will linger.
Even more immediately, banks need to get their own finances in order. That’s the whole aim of the new bailout plan announced by the Treasury Department on Tuesday. Some additional personal savings can only help that effort.
“The government is pouring hundreds of billion of dollars into banks,” said Richard Thaler, a University of Chicago economist. “What’s so bad about households pouring some money into banks?”
The ideas here don’t apply only to individuals, either. They apply to the stimulus package as well. The federal government is set to spend $800 billion to stimulate the economy. Much of that money will necessarily go to tax rebates, unemployment benefits and other programs without much long-term benefit. But $800 billion is a lot of money. And the best forms of stimulus are the ones that take effect quickly and bring a long-term payoff. That can mean tax credits for home weatherization or money to pay for the installation of computerized medical records — two programs that are still in the stimulus bill.
Whenever this recession finally ends, our future selves are going to be facing some very big bills. They can use all the help we can give them.

是你的错。至少部分是。你——美国消费者——花了过多的钱。你买了太大的房子、借了太多的债、花钱超过收入。你的消费无度助长了这次大萧条以来最严重的金融危机。
你现在不得不有所作为、结束这次危机。怎么做?通过消费。多多消费你们突然开始储蓄的钱。这个时刻,国会和奥巴马总统正准备给你们减税,鼓励你们刺激经济。那么,出去刺激吧。就像国家的未来取决于此那样去花钱。
约翰.梅纳德.凯恩斯,二十世纪伟大的经济学家,意识到了在这些混杂消息中传递出的谬论。他创造了一个词“节约的悖论”,指出在经济困难时期,个体的理智行为(存钱)可能对整体经济是有害的。最终,大量的存钱者会失业,因为其他人也在存钱。
到底该怎么做,的确让人左右为难。在周一的记者会上,奥巴马被问道用减税支票该消费还是储蓄时,他没有正面回答。
幸运的是,有答案。有一些方法既有利于你的财务也有助于国家。
首先,找出现在如何花钱才有利于将来省钱的方法——既可以支撑现在的经济,也能从长期帮助人们应付倍受打击的财务状况。其次,要知道凯恩斯悖论也非无懈可击。在金融危机中,当银行需要资金如同零售店和餐馆需要顾客那样迫切的时候,人们就可以无忧地去储蓄了。
下面是既聪明又爱国的有关消费和储蓄的指导。
除了开出著名的医治萧条的药方,凯恩斯还被认为是行为经济学的教父。当其他经济学家纠缠于把人当做超理性机器的统计学模型时,凯恩斯提出了“活力”的概念。他解释了心理如何影响经济。
带有心理学色彩的经济学(即行为经济学)在二十年间取得了很大进展,它的一个主要发现是:大多数人不能很好的计划未来。他们对自己的未来远不如对现在那么关心。
他们会多吃一个炸面圈,却把锻炼推到明天再明天。他们不能为退休攒足够的钱。他们选择已经在手的(不管是甜点、便利或者额外的一点现金)而不是更多还没有得到的东西。
只顾眼前的习惯导致无数问题。但是在目前这种时刻,它们也会带来机会。通过为未来打算,人们眼下就能省不少的钱。现在投入一点,将来可能收获许多。
麦肯锡公司最近分析了家庭在能源上的花费,发现了很多浪费。人们外出时还在为屋子供暖,由于墙壁和热力管线的散热,他们也加热了屋顶上的空间。
程控调温器最少只卖$50,它可以在主人不在或睡觉的时候调节温度。花费不到1000块钱,人们就可以购买程控调温器,包括雇一个合同工修复热力泄露,以及把灯泡换成更节能的品种。无论如何,这样的花销在一两年内就能收回成本。
我向行为经济学家询问了其他一些例子,他们帮助我做出了一个列表。有小孩的父母可以加入Costco会员商店,只需要几个月婴儿尿片的钱就可以支付会费。开车的人可以把他们的汽车充满气,更换空气和燃油过滤器,以获得更好的费效比。经常购买图书又不介意使用屏幕的人,可以购买一个亚马逊的Kindle阅读器。购买它花费$359,但是以后大多数书籍就可以花不到10块钱下载了。
在利息奇高的先租后买商店购物的家庭,可以暂时减少购物量,全额买下家具或电器。
大量使用激光打印的人,不妨购买每页只花一两分钱的喷墨打印机。
喝纯净水的人可以抛弃百事公司的阿卡菲娜牌瓶装水,然后买一个水过滤器。喝赛尔脱兹水的人可以买一个苏打水制造机。我妻子和我有一台,事实上它棒极了。
在这些实例中,最初的投入会很快收回成本,有时只需几个月。这就是为何这样的开支最适合现在的情况。它会使人们继续保持工作或在经济需要的时候创造新岗位,也有利于支撑家庭财务。
一个警告是人们感觉他们不能再支出额外的50或100块了。几百万人已经失去工作,其他很多人只想削减开支。去年12月份,家庭储蓄的可支配收入从近些年的1%增加到了3.6%。
在普通的萧条中,这些新的储蓄会有更多的负面影响,就像凯恩斯描述的那样。但是这次危机不同。这次由于金融危机引发。如果美国人不能使自己的财务好转(如果抵押贷款违约和信用卡不良行为继续走高),银行会害怕放贷,萧条会逗留不去。
更要紧的是,银行需要规范自己的财务状况。这是财政部宣布的救援计划的全部目的。额外的个人存款只会有助于这一努力。
以上观点不仅仅适合个人,也适用于刺激计划。联邦政府花费八千亿美元刺激经济,大部分的钱必然会流入税收折扣、失业福利和其他没有长期效益的项目。八千亿是一大笔钱。最好的刺激形式是那些可以快速起效,并且能带来长期收益的项目。这也许是维修房屋的税收抵免,或者投资建立计算机化医疗档案——这是目前仍然在刺激计划里的项目。
无论这次萧条何时结束,未来的我们会面临巨额的账单。他们会使用我们现在提供的帮助。

 



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