与我的审查员同行

本文翻译自 Peter Hessler 《纽约客(The New Yorker)》文章 Travels with My Censor(节选)

我的中文审查员是上海译文出版社编辑张吉人。去年九月的时候,他陪同我参加一场作品推广之旅。那是我平生首次与我的审查员一同参加作品推介活动。在京沪高铁,张吉人就坐在我边上;在北京的宾馆里,他和我住同一层楼;他列席于我的中国媒体采访活动;他甚至在一张五彩的表格上整理了我的行程计划,标着十三个小时,五场活动。其他作者曾提醒过我小心这样的日程表,所以我在旅行之前要求张先生给我更多的自由时间。而他立刻回答:「以我的经验,在中国搞这种活动总是强度很高很累人的。这点希望你能理解。」

就是这样,没商量,没道歉。在中国,就是有这样一种残酷的诚实,以至于连被审查的媒体都可能说一些你不想听到的东西。在我的旅行中,一家叫《文汇报》的上海媒体,发了篇六千字的报道,开头这样写「彼得·海斯勒今年45岁了,他胖了不少,眼角也出现了皱纹。」在北京,一位电视节目主持人结束采访后,关掉摄影机对我说:「说真的,比起你的,我更喜欢你妻子写的书。」 Continue reading

关于生意的事

本文翻译自 The Business of Business

2000年,两位美国法学教授,耶鲁大学的 Henry Hansmann 与哈佛大学的 Reinier Kraakman 宣布,企业法领域争论最激烈的问题已经盖棺定论了。数十年来,保守派和进步派就一家公司究竟应该追求股东利益最大化还是更广意义上的社会利益争论不休。如今,保守派赢了。盎格鲁-撒克逊资本主义大获全胜,且全球司法制度都趋向于股东价值模式。那两位真是生逢其时啊。在他们的文章发表之后,如安然、安达信、世通等许多公司骄傲地践行股东利益最大化,最终引火上身。六年后倒闭的雷曼兄弟引发了全球经济危机。通用电气前老板杰克·韦尔奇就追求股东利益最大化战略说了句一个保守主义学校招贴画上小孩的话:「这是最蠢的想法了。」

该模式的捍卫者可能会反驳,不能因为一个坏苹果而丢了一整筐。这些害群之马现在能够通过严格的法律予以应对。然而股东价值模式在概念上就和它在实践层面上一样有问题。其倡导者认为,股东实际上是公司的合法拥有者。可股东仅仅拥有股权,而股权就是一种能获得股息以及在一些事务上拥有投票权的权利而已。公司拥有者给股东有限责任的收益:债权人只能对公司资产行使权益而非对股东资产。它还给了公司以「资本锁定」,这样他们就能作长期计划:如果股东要拿回他们的钱,那么他们就得出售自己的股份。

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Why Business Cards Still Exist?

On the cards from The Economist

The business world is obsessed with the notion of disruptive innovation. But there are lots of things that do not need to be disrupted or innovated. Your columnist finds paper diaries less fiddly than electronic ones. Having dinner with someone is a better way of getting to know them than Skypeing. And exchanging business cards still seems to be an excellent way to initiate a lasting relationship. The ritual swapping of paper rectangles may be old-fashioned but on it will go.

The author has a point on scepticism towards obsession of disruptive innovation, but it doesn’t match the business card issue. The only reason of why business cards still exist, in my view, is merely because electronic business card or anything else similarity are not snappy enough.

Interestingly, perhaps people’s tolerance is much greater than we expected. I saw many people in China would rather scanning WeChat QR code (such an inhuman way) to get contact info than exchanging business cards. Or in some places, business card is just a subtle way you get one’s phone number for getting WeChat account.

It Is “Passion Stigma”

Rebecca Rosen on The Atlantic:

But such affordances come with strings attached: Employees with this perk often wind up working extra hours at nights or on weekends. Why? Not to make up for lost productivity but in an effort to demonstrate their commitment to and passion for their jobs. Researchers call the phenomenon “the flexibility stigma.”

As a matter of fact, even for those who are not doing flexible jobs, they have to attribute extra time on working once they desire to earn a higher achievement. For example, a recruitment consultant who is passionately working on executive search must sacrifices one’s after working hours to have face-to-face interview with candidates since they have little time to spare for such confidential issue.