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时间:2017年10月18日 15:08:43

Business商业American property美国房市The great realtor rip-off房地产经纪人大敲竹杠Why is it so expensive to buy or sell a house in America?在美国,买卖房子怎么就这么贵?IN BRITAIN, if you want to sell your home, an estate agent will list the property, find a buyer, help you negotiate a deal and guide you through the transaction, all for a commission of 2-3% of the sale price. In America, realtors provide the same services for roughly double the fee.在英国,如果你想卖掉自己的房子,房地产中介就会列好财产清单,找买家,帮你达成协议并指引你完成交易,做这么多只为赚取房屋售价2-3%的佣金。而在美国,房地产经纪人提供同样的务,却要两倍的价格。Are they worth it? The shouty realtors in David Mamets film Glengarry Glen Ross (pictured) certainly think so. (;[My] watch costs more than your car…thats who I am.;) Others disagree. Chang-Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago finds that American property brokers cause ;social waste; of billion a year via overcharging and inefficiency.这个高价真有所值吗?David Mamet的电影《拜金一族》中大吵大闹的房地产中介(见图片)肯定认为值。(;[我]的表比你的车都贵,这就明了我的身价。;)他人却不这么认为。芝加哥大学的谢长泰发现,美国房地产经纪人的高收费和低效率引发的一年80亿美元的;社会浪费;。Economists are baffled. The internet has squelched inefficient middlemen in other industries, from insurance brokers to travel agents. Why not American realtors? Although scores of discount brokers and for-sale-by-owner websites have sprouted up, traditional full-service realtors have somehow maintained their market share of 80% without reducing fees.经济学家有些摸不着头脑。互联网已经消除了从保险业到旅行业等其他行业的混日子的中介。可是为什么这些行业中没有美国的房地产界?虽然贴现经纪人人数和for-sale-by-owner网站的点击率不断蹿升,传统的全包式务中介在不减少佣金的情况下仍保持了80%的市场份额。The business used to operate like a series of local cartels. In a typical area, a handful of brokers controlled a shared database of available homes, and limited their cheaper rivals access to those listings. In 2008 in the ed States and 2010 in Canada, regulators struck deals with realtors to open up these databases. Yet since then the average commission has actually risen, from 5.0% in 2005 to 5.4% in 2011, according to REAL Trends, a research firm.该行业以前的经营模式就像当地垄断联盟组织。在典型的地区,一群中介控制了闲置住房的数据库,并避免出低价的对手得到这些数据。在2008年的美国和2010年的加拿大,监管人士没能和中介们达成一致公开他们的数据库。而从那以后,平均佣金就从2005年的5%涨到2011年的5.4%,研究机构REAL Trends表示。Why are high fees so persistent? One counterintuitive theory is that Americas housing bust has buoyed them. Selling a home is easy when prices are rising. But when financing dries up and volumes dip, sellers may need an agents expertise and energetic marketing to find a buyer.为什么手续费高居不下?一个反常理的理论是美国的房屋业的低迷反倒振奋了房地产中介。房价上涨的时候是卖房的好时期。但是由于资金短缺,待售房数量减少,卖家可能需要中介的经验和充满活力的营销手段来找到买家。Never give a sucker an even break绝不能轻易放过一个傻瓜Another theory is that clients are suckers. Agents routinely tell buyers not to worry about the fat commission because ;the seller pays it.; Meanwhile, they tell sellers not to worry because they will jack up the price of the home to cover it. According to Steve Murray of REAL Trends, two-thirds of clients choose an agent because of a prior personal relationship or referral. They may be reluctant to haggle with realtors to whom they have social ties.另一个理论是客户都是傻瓜。中介经常告诉买家不要担心高昂的佣金,因为;卖家付这些钱;。同时,他们告诉卖家不用担心,因为他们会把佣金加在房屋售价里。据REAL Trends的Steve Murray称,三分之二的客户选择中介是因为有私交或是受人推荐。他们可能也不愿意和与他们有人际交往的中介讨价还价。A third theory is that the industry is less competitive than it looks. In most areas a few big brokers handle most transactions. They set high fees, which lure ever more people into the profession: between 1998 and 2005 the number of members of Americas National Association of Realtors grew by 67%. These agents waste time competing with each other for the exclusive right to sell each home, sapping productivity. According to Norm Miller of the University of San Diego, an average agent in Britain closes 40-50 deals a year, compared with just seven in America.第三种理论是房地产行业并不像想象的那样竞争激烈。在大部分地区,少数大型的经纪商掌控大部分交易。他们定高手续费,引诱更多的人进入该行业:在1998年到2005年之间,美国房产经纪人协会的成员数上涨了67%。这些中介机构浪费时间,彼此竞争卖掉每个房屋的经手权使行业生产力走向衰竭。根据圣迭戈大型的Norm Miller称,英国一所普通的房屋中介一年经手40-50个交易,而美国的一年平均只有7个。Cynics say the industry has captured its regulators. The property commissions of American states are usually made up of brokers. Perhaps this is why many states have banned commission rebates-a form of discounting-or set up ;minimum-service; standards that stop brokers offering fewer services for less money.愤世嫉俗的人称该行业俘获了它的监管者。美国房地产业佣金一般是给中介经纪人的。也许这就是为什么许多州禁止了佣金回扣——一种折扣形式——或是设立;最低限务;标准以阻止经纪人少务少挣钱的原因。The biggest cause, however, is probably the interdependent nature of the business. Since both the buyer and seller are represented by agents in most transactions, brokers must collaborate to close deals at the same time as they compete for listings. Buyers agents have an incentive only to show their clients homes whose sellers offer them a standard 3% commission.然而,最主要的原因大概是该行业相互依赖的本性。由于在大多数交易中买方和卖方都有经纪人,而经纪人必须在互相竞争得到房屋资产数据的同时协作达成交易。当房屋卖家给他们提供3%的佣金时,买方的经纪人才向他们客户展示代售房屋。To solve this problem, many sellers agents offer to cut their own fee while still offering the full price to the buyers agent. Alas, word soon sps that they are giving rebates. That makes many buyers agents steer their clients elsewhere-either in solidarity with full-service brokers or because they fear a discounter will leave them with the lions share of the work.为解决这一问题,许多卖家的代理商削减自己的佣金同时仍向买方中介报全价。这样的话,马上就有谣言传他们给了回扣。这就使许多的买方中介把客户带到其他的地方看房子——或是与提供全包务的中介团结一致,或是因为他们害怕贴现会给他们惹上大部分的交易工作。Such stealth discrimination is hard to prove: buyers agents can always say they ignored a listing because it did not meet their clients needs. But Colby Sambrotto, the founder of ForSaleByOwner.com and USRealty.com, a discount broker, says that after trying to sell his own home in New York by himself, he was forced to hire an agent to get it shown to potential buyers.现在还很难明这种隐形歧视的存在:买家的代理商可以永远称他们忽略财产清单是因为其并没有满足客户的需求。但是ForSaleByOwner.com和USRealty.com网站的创始人Colby Sambrotto称,在自己尝试卖掉位于纽约的房产后,他不得不雇一个中介向潜在买家展示房子。Such retaliation is hardly universal: Mr Sambrotto says it was a ;regular exception rather than the rule; for his firms clients in most markets. But because discounters need to make up for lower commissions with higher volumes, even a small amount of discrimination is often enough to drive them out of business. The demise of the 6% commission may still be inevitable. But for now, it seems a long way off.这样的报复心理并不是普遍的:Sambrotto称对于他公司的各个市场的客户来说,与其说是规则,不如说是;正规的例外;。但是由于折现需要用更高的数额弥补较低的佣金,就算是小丁点的歧视都足以把他们赶出这个行业。6%佣金时代的终结可能仍是不可避免的。但是就现在来说,仍是长路漫漫。 /201210/202641

If youre too busy to remember to eat, your stomach will remind you its time to refuel by growling. Well look at what happens in your gastrointestinal tract, or GI tract, when youre hungry and when youre full.如果你太忙了而忘记了吃饭,你的胃会咕咕叫着提醒你去吃饭。让我们来看看当你饥肠辘辘或者饱餐一顿时,在你的消化道里发生了什么?Your GI tract is an involuntary muscle which is constantly contracting and expanding. After youve eaten, your gastrointestinal muscle contracts and relaxes in order to move food from your stomach into the intestines. When the GI tract has finished digesting a meal, it continues to process the liquids and gasses remaining in the intestines. This process often causes your stomach to rumble when youre hungry.你的消化道是一组非随意肌,它会不停的收缩扩张。吃饭后,你的胃肠肌会收缩与放松,这样就能将食物从胃部移入肠道。当消化道消化完食物后,会继续处理残留在肠道的液体和气体。这个过程经常使你在饥饿时胃部咕咕作响。Stomach growling is caused by intestinal contractions squeezing and popping intestinal gasses. Actually, stomach rumbles are simply flatulence that stays inside the body. The same contractions that cause your stomach to growl also clean out the GI tract. To see how this cleaning movement works, picture a long hose made of a pliable material. If there were an object, say an egg, at the end of the hose, you could push it from that end to the other by squeezing all along the length of the hose. This is how the GI tract keeps itself clean.肠道挤压在它里面的气体使得胃里产生咕咕的低鸣声。实际上,肚子咕咕叫就是体内的肠胃气胀。这种收缩虽然会让肚子咕咕叫,但也会帮助清理消化道。想要了解这个清理运动是如何进行的,就试着幻想一条柔韧型材料做成的长软管。如果软管的末端有一个物体,比如说一个鸡蛋,你可以通过不断挤压软管把鸡蛋推向另一端。这就是消化道如何自我清理的过程。In order to push out bits of food particles left over from a meal, your gastrointestinal tract creates waves of contractions all along the length of the intestines at a rate of two or three per minute. All of this activity in your GI tract when youre hungry can be very noisy, as anyone who has been in the middle of a pre-lunch meeting when stomachs started rumbling can tell you.为了排出餐后少数的食物残渣,你的消化道每2至3分钟就会产生一个沿着肠道传播的收缩运动。当你感到饥饿的时候,消化道里所有的活动都会显得聒噪。在午餐前开会时肚子突然咕咕作响的员工会告诉你这有多么尴尬。原文译文属!201301/219781

Today, we have again called the Syrian charge in London, here to the foreign office, he has been given 7 days to leave the country, other Syrian diplomats will be expelled, two other diplomats will be expelled at the same time. And our allies and partners around the world will be taking similar action and announcing it today, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the ed States, Canada and Australia. Of course, we will seek other ways to increase the pressure as well. We will discuss it in the European Union a further tightening of sanctions on Syria. And I’ve had discussions with Russia that I had yesterday, we will go on trying to increase the international pressure on the regime, this is a part of that tightening of pressure.今日,我再次传召驻伦敦利比亚法官前来外交部,要求他在7天之内离境,同时其他两名叙利亚外交官将会被驱逐处境。我们在世界各地的盟友,合作伙伴也会采取同样的行动,在这里我宣布盟友包括法国、德国、意大利、西班牙、美国、加拿大和澳大利亚这七个国家。我们也会寻求其他方式来施压。我们会在欧盟讨论对叙利亚实行更为严厉的制裁。我们已经同俄罗斯商榷过,我们会继续向叙利亚政府施加更大的国际压力。Apparently, according to Kofi Annan’s spokesman, he conveyed in the frankly possible terms, the importance of President Assad stopping the violence. So it’s clear that Kofi Annan has expressed concern about the regime’s involvement in what appears to be ongoing violence, not just that incident in Houla on Friday which is shot so many and led to this diplomatic coordination of countries’ expelling Syrian envoys around the world. Now, Kofi Annan, I think was hoping for President Assad to agree to do more, but in the face of this blankly denials and the shifting of blame to these terrorists groups. It appears that the regime’s continuing on the familiar path, blaming someone else, blaming the armed uprising and saying that he’s actually sticking to ceasefire and ceasefire which is clearly not in place at all.根据安南的发言人,很明显安南会在任期内向阿萨德总统转达制止这场暴力事件的重要性。很明显安南对政府干涉这场似乎还在持续的暴力事件表示十分担忧,不仅仅是指星期五发生的胡拉屠杀事件,该事件使许多平民遇害,并迫使全世界的外交协同国家驱逐利比亚大使。我认为,现在安南希望阿萨德总统做一些有意义的承诺,而不是断然否决,将事件嫁祸于恐怖分子团体。看来叙利亚政府在重复之前的老路——推卸责任,责怪反对派武装起义,并坚称自己在严格遵守停火协定,但很明显停火协定根本不起作用。201206/186373

Books and Arts; America and the politics of recovery;文艺;美国与复苏政治学;The big promise;What did Barack Obamas stimulus package really achieve?高飞的承诺;巴拉克·奥巴马的刺激计划究竟有何成就?The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. By Michael Grunwald.《新“新政”:奥巴马时代隐藏的变革史》,迈克尔·格伦沃尔德著。The word “boondoggle”, Michael Grunwald points out, was coined back in the days of the original New Deal, to describe “make-work” bits of arts and craft paid for by the government at a price that was out of all proportion to their actual value.迈克尔·格伦沃尔德指出:政府常常以与实际价值完全不成比例的价格来为一些无用的奢侈品买单,其中就包括“为扩大就业而安排的工作岗位”——早在罗斯福新政时代,人们就创造了“无效投资”一词来描述这一概念。This is not necessarily a bad thing. In times of economic woe, when normal patterns of consumption and investment are frozen, prodigal government spending can sometimes be the only way to break the vicious circle of declining demand and shrinking employment. Value for money, paradoxically, can sometimes be an unaffordable luxury. To sum up John Maynard Keynes, it can even make sense to bury money in bottles, so that miners, and the suppliers of their pickaxes and overalls, and those who sell food and materials to those suppliers can, in turn, benefit from the circulation of money that they dig up. Mr Grunwalds newbook is the story of what was arguably the greatest boondoggle in history and the politics that surrounded it, both before and since.这并不一定是什么坏事。在经济困难时期,常规的消费和投资模式会陷入僵局,慷慨的政府开有时候可能是打破需求下滑、失业率上升这个恶性循环的唯一途径。很矛盾的是,现金价值有时候奢侈得难以承受。将凯恩斯的观点简单概括一下:甚至连把钱放在瓶子里埋起来都是有意义的——这样矿工就能把这笔钱挖出来,从而用于流通;于是矿工本人、矿工的鹤嘴镐和工装裤的供应商、以及向这些供应商销售食物和材料的人都可以依次从这种流通中获益。格伦沃尔德这本新书介绍的可能是史上最大的一笔无效投资,以及这笔投资前后的政治背景。Barack Obamas 7 billion stimulus package, enacted within a month of his taking office in January , amounted to about 4% of Americas GDP. In the Depression of the 1930s, the biggest stimulus in any year of Franklin Roosevelts New Deal amounted to only about 1.5% of GDP. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as Mr Obamas bill was formally named, was a tale that grew in the telling. In the months running up to the election in November 2008, the economy entered virtual free-fall. The severity of the downturn surprised the participants, but long before he was elected, Mr Obama knew that he faced a crisis of 1930s proportions.巴拉克·奥巴马于年1月上任后的一个月内通过了7870亿美元的刺激计划,这笔资金约占美国 GDP 的4%。而20世纪30年代的大萧条时期,在富兰克林·罗斯福的“新政”年间,最大的一笔刺激方案也只占当时 GDP 的约1.5%。奥巴马法案的正式名称为《美国复苏与再投资法案》,它的规模越来越大了。在2008年11月大选前的几个月,美国经济几乎直线下滑。衰退的严重性让各位候选人感到吃惊。但奥巴马在当选以前很早就意识到了他将面临像20世纪30年代那样严重的危机。Mr Grunwalds book does a meticulous job, casting much new light on the advance thinking of Mr Obamas team, both before the election and, especially, during the long transition. In the last quarter of 2008, the final three months of the Bush era, the American economy contracted by an astonishing 8.9%. By early job losses hit 800,000 a month. The size of the policy response grew too. An early plan, calculated at 0 billion, grew, long before inauguration day, to around 0 billion. And that, as Mr Grunwald makes clear, was very much at the low end of what Mr Obamas economists thought was required.格伦沃尔德的这本书做了细致入微的研究,让人们对当年选举前、特别是在漫长的过渡时期中的奥巴马团队先进思想有了更多的了解。在2008年最后一个季度,布什时代最后的三个月里,美国经济萎缩了8.9%,令人惊讶。截至年早期,失业人数达到每月80万人。政府也加大了应对政策的力度。早在奥巴马就职日之前,预估价值为3000亿美元的早期计划就提高到了约8000亿美元。格伦沃尔德表明,甚至连这个数目都大大低于奥巴马经济学家的预期。One thing that may surprise ers not fully acquainted with the grisly nature of political sausage-making is the degree of cynicism that surrounded the passing of the Recovery Act. It was naive of Mr Obama to expect the Republicans to play ball. But because he needed to win at least a couple of their votes in the Senate to break the threat of a filibuster, he tried hard to court them. Mr Grunwald lays out in shocking detail how the Republican leadership decided early and wholeheartedly not to co-operate with the new president. So deep was their opposition that they even opposed things that they supposedly supported, such as the Recovery Acts deep tax cuts and its emphasis on infrastructure.有些读者对于政治“裹香肠”那可憎的特性并不完全了解。他们可能会感到惊奇——针对《复苏法案》的通过,政界存在严重的犬儒主义。如果奥巴马期待能与共和党合作,他就太天真了。但他需要在参议院赢得至少部分共和党的选票,以避免自己的议案遭到阻挠。因此,他极力取悦共和党人。格伦沃尔德清楚地提及了共和党领导层是如何早早决定完全不与新总统合作的,细节所到令人震惊。共和党的反对情绪极为强烈,以至于本应持的观点,他们都加以反对——如《复苏法案》所主张的深度减税、强调基础设施等等。As cynical as this may have been, it made political sense. If the stimulus succeeded, Mr Obama would get all the credit. If it failed, the Republicans could portray themselves as having been on the side of fiscal prudence. Since then, the economy has stubbornly refused to grow at anything beyond an an . Many Republican economists, such as the respected Mark Zandi, who advised John McCain in his contest with Mr Obama, agree that without it, things would have been even worse. But the problem is that it did not work well enough. As a result, the Republicans triumphed at the mid-term vote and Mr Obamas ratings are now uncomfortably low as he struggles for re-election.尽管共和党的这种态度可能有些愤世嫉俗了,但它在政治上是说得通的。如果刺激成功了,奥巴马将得到各方的赞扬;如果刺激失败了,共和党人会表示他们可是一直都持稳健的财政方针的。自从那时起,美国经济一直衰弱无力,顽固地拒绝增长。许多共和党经济学家(比如受人尊敬的马克·赞迪,他是约翰·麦凯恩同奥巴马争夺总统宝座时的谋士)同意,如果没有奥巴马的刺激计划,情况将变得更糟。但问题在于该计划的成效并不是十分显著。于是,共和党在中期选举投票中获胜了;而奥巴马力争连任,得票率却低的可怜。Mr Grunwalds heart plainly beats on the left, and it is clear that he admires Mr Obama, with his “hyper-rational side”. At the same time, the author does make some effort to explain the Republican point of view. The whole point of an economic stimulus is that it is supposed to stimulate. It needs to move money out of the door fast, get it quickly to where it can do most good and not carry with it a tail of long-term spending commitments. But Mr Obamas agenda was always much bigger than that, and it is in explaining this that Mr Grunwalds book is at its best.可以看出,格伦沃尔德倾向于左派;他有“过于理性的一面”,显然比较赞赏奥巴马。然而,他的确也做了一些努力来阐述共和党的观点。经济刺激的全部意义就在于它应当去进行刺激。它需要让资金涌出闸门,迅速把这笔钱送到能带来最多效益的地方,而不是拖着长期开投入的尾巴。但奥巴马的胃口总是远不止如此,而格伦沃尔德这本书最擅长的就是解释这一点。Much of the meat involves parsing the issues that riled the Republicans: how the stimulus bill was to be used as a tool to transform American society. Right from the start, Mr Obama wanted his Recovery Act to spend money on a low-carbon future, on radical school reform, on health reform and on creating jobs. All of these, Mr Grunwald thinks, are laudable aims. Many ers would agree. But Republicans in Washington have other views. New energy projects, like job creation, should be left to the market, not picked by bureaucrats; school and health reform should be a matter for individual states. What they saw was an attempt to use the crisis to push the political economy of America in a more statist and Washington-centric direction. Mr Grunwald does not attempt to deny that; it is simply that he has no problem with it.本书的主要部分大多都在剖析共和党感到恼怒的几个问题:如何将刺激法案用作转化美国社会的工具。从一开始,奥巴马就要求《复苏法案》在以下几个方面进行投资:向低碳社会的转变、彻底的学校改革、卫生改革以及创造就业岗位。格伦沃尔德认为所有这些目标都是值得赞赏的。许多读者也会认同这一点。但华盛顿的共和党并不这么想。他们认为新能源项目和创造就业岗位应当交给市场去引导,而不是由当局来推动;学校改革和卫生改革应当根据各个州的具体情况进行。他们认为奥巴马在试图利用危机把美国的政治经济推向一个以华盛顿为中心、中央集权度更高的方向。格伦沃尔德并未试图否认这一点;他对此完全没有异议。The most interesting part of the book is the part that leaves most questions open. What will be the legacy of all Mr Obamas greening and rebuilding? Mr Grunwald waxes on about the cleverness of Steven Chu, the presidents energy secretary,and all the amazing things that his scientists think they can do with their oodles of new cash. But there have also, as he admits, been many failures. Mr Grunwalds instinct is to praise the splashing around of government money for untested new technologies which, when exposed to life without the government teat, may quickly wither. Governments make bad venture capitalists, as the book es Larry Summers, a key member of the presidents original team, as saying.本书最有趣的部分在于它将大多数问题留给了读者思考。奥巴马的众多环保和重建措施将给美国留下什么样的遗产?格伦沃尔德描述了奥巴马的能源部长——朱棣文的机智,也描述了这位总统手下的科学家——他们认为利用大笔新有资金可以做一些惊人的事情。但格伦沃尔德承认,奥巴马政府也存在不少失败之处。有些政府资金经过种种周转,用于未经检验的新技术,格伦沃尔德本能地对此加以赞扬。但当这些新技术离开政府的怀抱以后,可能很快就夭折了。本书引述了奥巴马早期团队重要成员劳伦斯·萨默斯的言论:政府并不是好的风险投资家。The truth is that no one really knows yet how well spent the longer-term parts of the immense Recovery and Reinvestment Act will turn out to have been. But no writer has yet gone this far, at least in unravelling where the money has gone. “The New New Deal” is the most interesting book that has been published about the Obama administration. Even Republicans should it.事实上,《复苏与再投资法案》篇幅很长,其中的长期部分最终能否妥善付诸实施,还没有人真正清楚。但还没有任何作家进行过如此深入的探究,至少还没有人阐明这笔资金的去向。在关于奥巴马政府的出版物中,《新“新政”》是最有趣的一本书。即使是共和党人都应该拿来读一读。 /201210/202799


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