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經濟學人:巴託比職場專欄--城市孤獨病(2)

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Perhaps this relates to human history. Mass urbanisation is a relatively recent development; if the history of human existence was squeezed into a single day, the Industrial Revolution did not occur until almost midnight. For much of that time, humans lived in small groups of hunter-gatherers; cities may just overwhelm the senses.

也許這與人類歷史有關。大規模城市化是一個相對較新的發展;如果把人類存在的歷史壓縮為一天,那麼工業革命直到午夜才發生。大部分時間裏,人類都以狩獵採集者的身份生活在小羣體中;城市可能會淹沒人們的感官。

Ms Hertz points her finger at two more recent developments. The first is social media. The internet has led to much cyber-bullying (although it has also been a source of companionship during the lockdown). And people glued to their smartphones spend less time interacting socially. But Robert Putnam noticed a tendency towards solitary activity in his book “Bowling Alone”, published in 2000, well before the creation of Facebook, Twitter and other distractions.

赫茲女士指出了兩個最新的進展情況。首先是社交媒體。互聯網引發了許多網絡暴力(儘管互聯網在封鎖期間也是一種友誼來源)。而且,專注於智能手機的人花在社交上的時間更少。但是羅伯特·普特南在2000年出版的《獨自打保齡球》一書中就注意到了一種孤獨活動的趨勢,這遠遠早於Facebook、Twitter和其他娛樂事物的問世。

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The second culprit cited by Ms Hertz is “neoliberalism”, which she defines as a “minimum state, maximum markets” approach. But it is hard to believe that state retreat is as decisive a factor in the loneliness pandemic as she suggests; after all, in 1990 the government of the average advanced economy spent 42% of GDP, and the proportion is the same today, according to the IMF.

赫茲女士提到的第二個罪魁禍首是“新自由主義”,她將其定義為“最小國家,最大市場”的方法。但很難相信,國家倒退是她所謂的孤獨大流行的決定性因素;畢竟,根據國際貨幣基金組織的數據,1990年發達經濟體的政府平均支出佔GDP的42%,而今天的支出所佔比例也是一樣的。

Some changes in behaviour are down to individual choice. Before the pandemic no one was stopping people going to church or taking part in sports. They simply preferred to do other things. Indeed, one reason for the decline in communal activities is that men choose to be with their families rather than head to the bar; American fathers spend three times as much time with their children as they did in the 1960s. That is surely a welcome development.

行為上的一些變化取決於個人的選擇。在新冠疫情之前,沒有人阻止人們去教堂或參加體育活動。他們只是更喜歡做其他事情。事實上,公共活動減少的一個原因是,男性選擇與家人呆在一起,而不是去酒吧;美國父親與子女在一起的時間是20世紀60年代時的三倍,這無疑是一個可喜的發展。

So recreating a communal society may be difficult. When the pandemic ends, people may relish the chance to be with their neighbours and colleagues for a while. But the trend is clear. Technology means that people can get their entertainment at home, and work there, too. It is convenient but it also leads to loneliness. Society will be grappling with this trade-off for decades to come.

因此,重建一個公共社會可能很困難。當疫情結束時,人們可能會享受與鄰居和同事相處一段時間的機會。但趨勢很明顯。科技意味着人們可以在家裏娛樂,也可以在家裏工作。這很方便,但也會導致孤獨。未來幾十年,社會將努力解決這一問題。

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approach [ə'prəutʃ]

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n. 接近; 途徑,方法
v. 靠近,接近,動

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convenient [kən'vi:njənt]

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adj. 方便的,便利的

 
decline [di'klain]

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n. 衰微,跌落; 晚年
v. 降低,婉謝

 
minutes ['minits]

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n. 會議記錄,(複數)分鐘

 
retreat [ri'tri:t]

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n. 休息寓所,撤退,隱居
v. 撤退,向後傾

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decisive [di'saisiv]

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tendency ['tendənsi]

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proportion [prə'pɔ:ʃən]

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