每日英語跟讀 Ep.K254: 美國勞動階級的逆襲

2021-11-25·4 分鐘

本集介紹

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K254: The Revolt of the American Worker

 

All happy economies are alike; each unhappy economy is unhappy in its own way.

所有幸福的經濟體都是一樣的,而每一個不幸的經濟體則有著自己的不快樂。

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the economy’s problems were all about inadequate demand. The housing boom had gone bust; consumers weren’t spending enough to fill the gap; the Obama stimulus, designed to boost demand, was too small and short-lived.

2008年金融危機之後,經濟問題全是需求不足。房市榮景已經破滅,消費者支出不足以填補缺口。旨在提振需求的歐巴馬刺激計畫,規模太小且太短暫。

In 2021, by contrast, many of our problems seem to be about inadequate supply. Goods can’t reach consumers because ports are clogged; a shortage of semiconductor chips has crimped auto production; many employers report that they’re having a hard time finding workers.

相較之下,我們在2021年的許多問題似乎是供應不足。貨物因為港口堵塞無法到達消費者手中,半導體晶片短缺抑制汽車生產,許多雇主則通報稱招工困難。

Much of this is probably transitory, although supply-chain disruptions will clearly last for a while. But something more fundamental and lasting may be happening in the labor market. Long-suffering American workers, who have been underpaid and overworked for years, may have hit their breaking point.

這種狀況大部分可能是暫時性的,儘管供應鏈中斷顯然將會持續一段時間。不過,勞動市場可能會發生一些更重大與持久的事情。多年來低薪過勞、長期受苦的美國勞工,恐已經瀕臨忍耐極限。

About those supply-chain issues: It’s important to realize that more goods are reaching Americans than ever before. The problem is that despite increased deliveries, the system isn’t managing to keep up with extraordinary demand.

至於這些供應鏈問題,重要的是要了解,到達美國民眾手中的商品多過以往任何時候。問題在於,儘管交貨量增加,但整個系統仍無法滿足異常的需求。

Earlier in the pandemic, people compensated for the loss of many services by buying stuff instead. People who couldn’t eat out remodeled their kitchens. People who couldn’t go to gyms bought home exercise equipment.

疫情初期,人們藉由購買東西來彌補失去許多服務。無法外出用餐的人重新裝潢了他們的廚房,不能去健身房的人們則購買了家用健身器材。

But things will improve. As COVID-19 subsides and life gradually returns to normal, consumers will buy more services and less stuff, reducing the pressure on ports, trucking and railroads.

但情況將有所改善。隨著新冠疫情消退與生活逐漸恢復正常,消費者將購買更多服務與更少商品,進而減輕港口、卡車運輸與鐵路的壓力。

The labor situation, by contrast, looks like a genuine reduction in supply. Total employment is still 5 million below its pre-pandemic peak. Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector is still down

more than 9%. Yet everything we see suggests a very tight labor market.

相較之下,勞動市場的情形看來確實是供給減少。總就業人數仍比疫情前高峰少500萬。休閒餐旅業就業率仍減少超過9%。我們看到的一切均顯示勞動市場非常吃緊。

It seems quite possible that the pandemic, by upending many Americans’ lives, also caused some of them to reconsider their life choices. Not everyone can afford to quit a hated job, but a significant number of workers seem ready to accept the risk of trying something different — retiring earlier despite the monetary cost, looking for a less unpleasant job in a different industry, and so on.

這場疫情顛覆許多美國人生活,似乎也很可能促使他們當中一些人重新思考人生選擇。不是所有人都能承擔得起辭掉討厭的工作,但相當多的人似乎準備承擔風險嘗試不同事物,像是不顧金錢成本提早退休,或在不同產業找一份較不討厭的工作等等。

And although this new choosiness by workers who feel empowered is making consumers’ and business owners’ lives more difficult, let’s be clear: Overall, it’s a good thing. American workers are insisting on a better deal, and it’s in the nation’s interest that they get it.

自覺有權這樣做的勞工們這種新的挑剔情形,雖然讓消費者跟企業主的生活更艱難,但我們要知道,整體來說這是一件好事。美國勞工堅持更好的待遇,讓他們得到符合國家利益。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5853765