Oct 2nd 2008
Signs of a pending depression? The Economist’s D-word index
MANY comparisons may be made between the devastation being wrought on America’s financial system today and the Wall Street crash of 1929. One similarity that the world is desperate to avoid is a repeat of the depression of the 1930s. Hopes are pinned on the American bail-out plan that the House of Representatives is set to reconsider on Friday October 3rd. If the fear of depression is anything to go by, the future looks bleak. A survey of newspaper articles over the past two decades shows a sharp spike in mentions of the dreaded D-word, as commentators have started to think the worst. The prognostications may possibly turn out to be true, or perhaps the only thing we have to fear are the fears of journalists themselves.
人们或许将如今美国金融系统遭遇的重创同1929年的华尔街大崩盘做了许多比较。它们有一个相似之处，那就是1930年代经济危机的重复，而这也正是世界所极力避免的。希望都寄托在美国的 救市计划上，众议院将于10月3日周五重新审核该计划。如果用对经济萧条的恐惧作为判断标准的话，前景着实堪忧。对过去20年来新闻报道文章的分析表明， 当评论员们开始对经济状况做最坏打算时，可怕的“萧条”字眼出现频率变高。而目前的萧条指数已经是过去20年来的最高值了。这个预兆可能真的会应验，但或 许记者们自身的恐惧情绪才是唯一应该让我们感到害怕的东西。
Some more equal than others
Oct 1st 2008
Income inequality around the world
NOT everyone agrees that income inequality is a problem to be solved. America and Britain are reckoned to have among the greatest inequality, among rich countries, as measured by the Gini coefficient. Such inequality may be associated with certain problems, for example a study produced last year by Unicef, the UN children’s agency, suggested that the two countries have particularly low levels of child wellbeing. For many ordinary Americans and Britons, however, social mobility and getting opportunities to prosper may be more important. Nordic countries, which are the most equal, regularly do well in happiness surveys. The highest levels of inequality are in poor countries, especially in South America and Africa.