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English to Chinese: The Living Mountain (Excerpt) General field: Art/Literary Detailed field: Geography
Source text - English The Plateau
Summer on the high plateau can be delectable as honey; it can also be a roaring scourge. To those who love the place, both are good, since both are part of its essential nature. And it is to know its essential nature that I am seeking here. To know, that is, with the knowledge that is a process of living. This is not done easily nor in an hour. It is a tale too slow for the impatience of our age, not of immediate enough import for tis desperate problems. Yet it has its own rare value. It is, for one thing, a corrective of glib assessment: one never quite knows the mountain, nor oneself in relation to it. However often I walk on them, these hills hold astonishment for me. There is no getting accustomed to them.
The Cairngorm Mountains are a mass of granite thrust up through the schists and gneiss that form the lower surrounding hills, planed down by the ice cap, and split, shattered and scooped by frost, glaciers and the strength of running water. Their physiognomy is in the geography books—so many square miles of area, so many lochs, so many summits of over 4000 feet—but this is a pallid simulacrum of their reality, which, like every reality that matters ultimately to human beings, is a reality of the mind.
Th plateau is the true summit of these mountains; they must be seen as a single mountain, and the individual tops, Ben MacDui, Braeriach and the rest, though sundered from one another by fissures and deep descents, are no more than eddies on the plateau surface. One does not look upwards to spectacular peaks but downwards from the peaks to spectacular chasms. The plateau itself is not spectacular. It is bare and very stony, and since there is nothing higher than itself (except for the tip of Ben Nevis) nearer than Norway, it is savaged by the wind. Snow covers it for half the year and sometimes, for as long as a month at a time, it is in clouds. Its growth is moss and lichen and sedge, and in June the clumps of Silence—moss campion—flower in brilliant pink. Dotterel and ptarmigan nest upon it, and springs ooze from its rock. By continental measurement its height is nothing much—around 4000 feet—but for an island it is well enough, and if the winds have unhindered range, so has the eye. It is island weather too, with no continent to steady it, and the place has as many aspects as there are gradations in the light.
Light in Scotland has a quality I have not met elsewhere. It is luminous without being fierce, penetrating to immense distances with an effortless intensity. So on a clear day one looks without any sense of stain from Morven in Caithness to the Lammermuirs, and out past Ben Nevis to Morar. At midsummer, I have had to be persuaded I was not seeing further even than that. I could have sworn I saw a shape, distinct and blue, very clear and small, further off than any hill the chart recorded. The chart was against me, my companions were against me, I never saw it again. On a day like that, height goes to one’s head. Perhaps it was the lost Atlantis focused for a moment out of time.
English to Chinese: Asymmetric Information General field: Bus/Financial Detailed field: Business/Commerce (general)
Source text - English Asymmetric Information
Asymmetric information, as the adjective indicates, refers to situations, in which some agent in a trade possesses information while other agents involved in the same trade do not. This rather self-evident premise has nevertheless revolutionized modern economic thought since the 1970s. Take, for example, two major results in the economics and finance literature, the first fundamental theorem of welfare economics and the Modigliani-Miller theorem. The first welfare theorem states that in a competitive economy with no externalities, prices would adjust so that the allocation of resources would be optimal in the Pareto sense. A key assumption for the theorem to hold is that the characteristics of all products traded on the market should be equally observed by all agents. When such assumption fails to hold, i.e. when information is asymmetric, prices are distorted and do not achieve optimality in the allocation of resources. Standard government interventions such as regulation of monopolies to replicate a competitive environment, or fiscal policy to alleviate the effects of externalities, are no more sufficient to restore optimality. Similarly, in the finance literature, the Modigliani-Miller theorem concluded that the value of a firm is independent of its financial structure. The acknowledgment of asymmetric information within organizations shifted the debate on optimal financial structure from fiscal considerations, to the provision of incentives to align the interests of managers and workers with the interests of stakeholders.
When two (or more) individuals are about to agree on a trade, and one of them happens to have some information that the other(s) do not have, this situation is referred to as adverse selection. Seminal contributions include Akerlof (1970), Spence (1973), and Rothschild and Stiglitz (1976). In 2001, the Nobel Prize in Economic Science was awarded to Akerlof, Spence and Stiglitz “for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information”. Each of the three quoted papers investigates the implications of adverse selection on the product, labor and insurance markets respectively. Akerlof (1970) considers the example of a seller who has private information about the quality of a used car. A buyer would like to acquire a car, but is keen on paying a “fair” price for it, i.e. a price that is consistent with the quality of the car. To make things more concrete, suppose that there are nine different cars, each car having “fair” values, 100$, 200$… 900$ respectively. As the buyer cannot observe quality, owners of low quality cars will always claim they are selling a high-quality product worth 900$. A fair price will then reflect the average quality of the market, in this case 500$. However, under such circumstances, sellers whose cars are worth more than 500$ find such price too low, hence exiting the market. The average price must then drop to 300$, inducing more exits, and so forth. Consequently, at the exception of worst-quality cars worth 100$, no seller is willing to sell a car that a buyer is willing to buy! Spence (1973) refers to a similar mechanism when workers “sell” their labor to firms and have private information about their skills, while Rothschild and Stiglitz (1976) analyzes the insurance market in which private information is instead on the side of the buyer who is better aware of her health condition, or driving skills than the insurer is.
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