F) In his “Special Theory of Relativity,” Einstein described how the only constant in the universe is the speed of light..
G) It is said that Einstein’s success lies in the fact that few people can understand his theories.
Twenty years ago a debate erupted about whether there were specific “Asian values”. Most attention focused on dubious claims by autocrats that democracy was not among them. But a more intriguing, if less noticed, argument was that traditional family values were stronger in Asia than in America and Europe, and that this partly accounted for Asia’s economic success. (1)_________
On the face of it his claim appears persuasive still. In most of Asia, marriage is widespread and illegitimacy almost unknown. In contrast, half of marriages in some Western countries end in divorce, and half of all children are born outside wedlock. The recent riots across Britain, whose origins many believe lie in an absence of either parental guidance or filial respect, seem to underline a profound difference between East and West.
Yet marriage is changing fast in East, South-East and South Asia, even though each region has different traditions. The changes are different from those that took place in the West in the second half of the 20th century. Divorce, though rising in some countries, remains comparatively rare. What’s happening in Asia is a flight from marriage.
Marriage rates are falling partly because people are postponing getting hitched. Marriage ages have risen all over the world, but the increase is particularly marked in Asia.(2)_________
A lot of Asians are not marrying later. They are not marrying at all. Almost a third of Japanese women in their early 30s are unmarried; probably half of those will always be. (3) ____________So far, the trend has not affected Asia’s two giants, China and India.
Women are retreating from marriage as they go into the workplace. That’s partly because, for a woman, being both employed and married is tough in Asia. Women there are the primary caregivers for husbands, children and, often, for ageing parents; and even when in full-time employment, they are expected to continue to play this role. This is true elsewhere in the world, but the burden that Asian women carry is particularly heavy. (4)_______________ Not surprisingly, Asian women have an unusually pessimistic view of marriage. According to a survey carried out this year, many fewer Japanese women felt positive about their marriage than did Japanese men, or American women or men.
At the same time as employment makes marriage tougher for women, it offers them an alternative. More women are financially independent, so more of them can pursue a single life that may appeal more than the drudgery of a traditional marriage. More education has also contributed to the decline of marriage, because Asian women with the most education have always been the most reluctant to wed-and there are now many more highly educated women.
The flight from marriage in Asia is thus the result of the greater freedom that women enjoy these days, which is to be celebrated. But it is also creating social problems. Compared with the West, Asian countries have invested less in pensions and other forms of social protection, on the assumption that the family will look after ageing or ill relatives. That can no longer be taken for granted. The decline of marriage is also contributing to the collapse in the birth rate. (5)________________And there are other, less obvious issues. Marriage socialises men: it is associated with lower levels of testosterone and less criminal behaviour. Less marriage might mean more crime.
Can marriage be revived in Asia? Maybe, if expectations of those roles of both sexes change; but shifting traditional attitudes is hard. Governments cannot legislate away popular prejudices. They can, though, encourage change. Relaxing divorce laws might, paradoxically, boost marriage. Women who now steer clear of wedlock might be more willing to tie the knot if they know it can be untied-not just because they can get out of the marriage if it doesn’t work, but also because their freedom to leave might keep their husbands on their toes. Family law should give divorced women a more generous share of the couple’s assets.
[A] Fertility in East Asia has fallen from 5.3 children per woman in the late 1960s to 1.6 now. In countries with the lowest marriage rates, the fertility rate is nearer 1.0. That is beginning to cause huge demographic problems, as populations age with startling speed.
[B]Asian governments have long taken the view that the superiority of their family life was one of their big advantages over the West. That confidence is no longer warranted. They need to wake up to the huge social changes happening in their countries and think about how to cope with the consequences.
[C]People there now marry even later than they do in the West. The mean age of marriage in the richest places-Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong-has risen sharply in the past few decades, to reach 29-30 for women and 31-33 for men.
[D]Family law should give divorced women a more generous share of the couple’s assets. Governments should also legislate to get employers to offer both maternal and paternal leave, and provide or subsidise child care. If taking on such expenses helped promote family life, it might reduce the burden on the state of looking after the old.
[E]Over one-fifth of Taiwanese women in their late 30s are single; most will never marry. In some places, rates of non-marriage are especially striking: in Bangkok, 20% of 40-44-year old women are not married; in Tokyo, 21%; among university graduates of that age in Singapore, 27%.
[F]In the words of Lee Kuan Yew, former prime minister of Singapore and a keen advocate of Asian values, the Chinese family encouraged “scholarship and hard work and thrift and deferment of present enjoyment for future gain”.
[G]Japanese women, who typically work 40 hours a week in the office, then do, on average, another 30 hours of housework. Their husbands, on average, do three hours. And Asian women who give up work to look after children find it hard to return when the offspring are grown.
In the English-speaking world, people escape from frying pans into fires. In Thailand, the proverb is couched differently: people are said to escape from tigers only to be eaten by crocodiles. (1)_______________With that in mind, the Bank of Thailand raised interest rates on August 24th for the ninth time since mid-2010. But it was a split decision. The economic woes of America and Europe have darkened Asia’s mood. Some can again hear the tiger’s growl.
After last year’s swift recovery from recession, policymakers in developing Asian countries congratulated themselves on the resilience of their economies. (2)_______________In April 2009 the Thai central bank cut rates to 1.25%-lower than in most Asian economies-alongside a fiscal push worth 3% of GDP. Emerging economies were hit harder than optimists expected, but responded better than pessimists feared.
That resilience may be tested again sooner than anyone would have liked. In announcing its latest rate decision, the Bank of Thailand noted the dangers posed to the economy by a slowdown in America and Europe. (3)____________________But the bank found consolation in Thailand’s growing sales to its neighbours and to “new” markets farther afield. Last year China overtook America to become the country’s leading customer.
That trend is not unique to Thailand. Most of its neighbours now sell a smaller share of their exports to America and Europe than they did before the crisis (see chart). The precise percentages may be misleading. These exports include parts and components that may end up in the West, after first being assembled into final products in another country. But there is no denying the trend.
The region’s economies are not, then, as vulnerable to the tiger’s claws as they were in 2008. The crocodile, on the other hand, is uncomfortably close. Thailand’s headline consumer-price inflation (4.1% in the year to July) was too high for the central bank’s comfort, but lower than in many of its neighbours, such as China (6.5%), India, where wholesale prices rose by 9.2%, or Vietnam, where consumer prices rose by an alarming 23% in the year to August.
Asia’s campaign against inflation has dragged on longer than its central bankers hoped. Higher food and commodity prices were expected to drop out of the inflation figures eventually, but instead seem to have leached into other consumer prices. (4)________________The big exceptions are Taiwan, where the discount rate is less than 1.9%, and Singapore, which carries out monetary policy by setting a path for the exchange rate, not the interest rate. With rates in America at rock bottom, and the Singapore dollar set to strengthen against its American counterpart, interest rates in Singapore are extraordinarily low.
Reducing rates would help Asia’s economies withstand a modest slowdown in the West. Goldman Sachs, for example, has cut its 2011 rate forecast for Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan, but has barely trimmed its growth forecasts for these countries.(5)___________
A fiscal response would do more to buoy demand in the rest of the world, as it did from 2007 to 2009, when budget balances deteriorated markedly throughout the region.
With luck, another stimulus package will not be necessary. A modest slowdown in the West might even take the pressure off prices in Asia, without doing undue harm to the region’s growth-a case perhaps of the tiger eating the crocodile.
[A]Thailand remains highly exposed to global trade: exports, including air conditioners, video cameras and fridges, as well as tourism, accounted for over 70% of its GDP in 2010.
[B] But rate cuts would also weaken the region’s exchange rates, sharpening their competitiveness and doing little to help economies outside Asia.
[C]Their docile banking systems, high saving rates and hoards of foreign exchange shielded them from the worst of the financial chaos. Their efforts to tighten fiscal and monetary policy before the crisis struck gave them room to loosen up in response, as exports collapsed and confidence evaporated.
[D]The Thai economy, like many in Asia, sprang free from the great recession surprisingly quickly. This year the bigger threat has been the widening jaws of inflation.
[E]America will overcome its current economic woes and Europe will muddle through.
[F]One consequence of this prolonged fight is that nominal interest rates have been raised off the floor. Indonesia’s policy rate is now 6.75%; India’s is 8%. That gives central bankers some room to cut if the world economy sags.
[G]Thailand’s new prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is contemplating another budgetary splurge. But policymakers elsewhere will be reluctant to spill the red ink again.
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好轻松考研专注于国内大学生高端考研培训。以“高能高分”为教育理念，倡导考生遵循学习的基本规律，稳扎稳打，以轻松的心态来学习。好轻松考研以“学术、励志、激情”为教学风格，倡导教师学术过硬，注重鼓励引导，充满激情的为考生授课。好轻松考研以独创英语学习领域 4R 个性化培训为服务体系，确保考生达成理想的学习效果。
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新航道好轻松考研首席学术专家。上世纪八十年代北京师范大学翻译 学硕士，曾任国际关系学院副教授，有 30 多年的英语教学与翻译经验， 曾多次被评为优秀教师；出版著作与译作 10 多部；1997 年开始从事 考研培训，对考研英语有深入独到的研究，并曾多次参加全国硕士研 究生英语试卷阅卷工作；独创考研英语“四步定位翻译法”、“词汇四通 记忆法”等，著有《考研英语十年真题点石成金》《考研英语核心词汇 笔记》《考研英语英译汉四步定位翻译法》等畅销书。