Official 06 Set 2

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Boom and Bust

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What is the main purpose of the talk?
  • A. to show what happens after an economy has experienced a boom-and-bust cycle

  • B. to illustrate the conditions needed to produce a boom-and-bust cycle

  • C. to demonstrate how boom-and-bust cycles have changed over time

  • D. to explain why the boom-and-bust cycle is not a frequent historical occurrence

显示答案 正确答案: B

我的笔记 编辑笔记

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    NARRATOR:Listen to part of a lecture in an economics class.

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:Now when I mention the terms "boom and bust",what does that bring to mind?

    MALE STUDENT:The dot-com crash of the 90s.

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:[confirming] OK. The boom in the late 1990s when all those new Internet companies sprang up and were then sold for huge amounts of money.Then the bust around 2000…2001 when many of those same Internet companies went out of business.Of course, booms aren't always followed by busts—we've certainly seen times when local economies expanded rapidly for a while and then went back to a normal pace of growth.But, there's a type of rapid expansion, what might be called a hysterical or irrational boom that pretty much always leads to a bust.See, people often create and intensify a boom when they get carried away by some new industry that seems like it will make lots of money fast.[exasperated] You’d think that by the 90s, people would have learned from the past. If they did—well, look at tulips.

    MALE STUDENT:[not sure he heard right] Tulips? You mean like the flower?

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:Exactly. For instance, do you have any idea where tulips are from? Originally I mean.

    MALE STUDENT:Well, the Netherlands, right?

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:That's what most people think—but no, they are not native to the Netherlands, or even Europe.Tulips actually hail from an area that Chinese call the “Celestial Mountains” in Central Asia—a very remote mountainous region.It was Turkish nomads who first discovered tulips and spread them slowly westward.

    Now, around the 16th century, Europeans were traveling to Istanbul and Turkey as merchants and diplomats.And the Turks often gave the Europeans tulip bulbs as gifts which they would carry home with them.For the Europeans, tulips were totally unheard of, er, a great novelty.[humorously] The first bulb to show up in the Netherlands, the merchant who received them roasted and ate them—he thought they were a kind of onion.

    It turns out that the Netherlands was an ideal country for growing tulips.It had the right kind of sandy soil for one thing, but also, it was a wealthy nation with a growing economy, willing to spend lots of money on new exotic things—plus the Dutch had a history of gardening.Wealthy people would compete, spending enormous amounts of money to buy the rarest flowers for their gardens.Soon tulips were beginning to show up in different colors as growers tried to breed them specifically for colors which would make them even more valuable, but they were never completely sure what they would get.Some of the most priced tulips were white with purple streaks, or red with yellow streaks on the petals—even a dark purple tulip that was very much priced.

    What happened then was a craze for these specialized tulips. We called that craze "tulip mania".So—here we've got all the conditions for an irrational boom: a prospering economy, so more people had more disposable income—money to spend on luxuries—but they weren't experienced at investing their new wealth.Then along comes a thrilling new commodity—sure, the first specimens were just plain old red tulips, but they could be bred into some extraordinary variations—like that dark purple tulip.And finally, you had an unregulated market place, no government constrains—where prices could explode.And explode they did, starting in the 1630s.

    There was always much more demand for tulips than supply.Tulips didn't bloom frequently like roses. Tulips bloomed once in the early spring and that was it for the year.Eventually, specially bred, multicolored tulips became so valuable, well, according to records, one tulip bulb was worth 24 tons of wheat, or thousand pounds of cheese.One particular tulip bulb was sold and exchanged for a small ship.In other words, tulips were literally worth their weight in gold.

    As demand grew, people began selling promissory notes guaranteeing the future delivery of priced tulip bulbs.The buyers of these pieces of paper would resell the notes at marked up prices.These promissory notes kept changing hands—from buyer to buyer—until the tulip was ready for delivery.But it was all pure speculation because as I said, there was no way to know if the bulb was really going to produce the variety, the color that was promised.But that didn't matter to the owner of the note, the owner only cared about having that piece of paper so it could be traded later at a profit.And people were borrowing—mortgaging their homes, in many cases—to obtain those bits of paper because they were sure they'd found an easy way to make money.So now, you've got all the ingredients for a huge bust.And bust it did, when one cold February morning in 1637, a group of bulb traders got together and discovered that suddenly there were no bidders—nobody wanted to buy.Panic spread like wild fire and the tulip market collapsed totally.

  • 旁白:听一段经济学讲座。

    教授:当我提及“繁荣与萧条”,同学们都会想起哪些经济事件?

    学生:90年代末的互联网泡沫危机。

    教授:是的。互联网行业兴起于二十世纪九十年代末,当时诸多互联网公司蓬勃兴起,并持续以高价转手。直到约2001年,许多公司都面临破产,互联网行业的繁荣也就宣告终结。当然,行业繁荣并不总是以泡沫而告终。在许多时期,地区经济在高速扩张后回落,继续以正常速率发展。然而,确实存在一种剧烈的行业扩张,被称为超速或非理性繁荣,它通常以产业泡沫破裂而终结。当人们被某些能够迅速带来巨额财富的新兴产业冲昏头脑时,人们往往会不断地为膨胀的行业泡沫加砝码,(直到产业彻底崩溃)。同学们或许认为,经济发展到九十年代,人们应该学会吸取教训,以理性的态度对待产业发展。然而事实并非如此,让我们来回顾郁金香产业泡沫的崩溃过程。

    学生:郁金香?您是指花卉?

    教授:是的。举例来说,同学们知道郁金香发源自何处吗?

    学生:应该是荷兰,对吗?

    教授:许多人都这样认为,但事实并非如此,郁金香并非原产自荷兰或者欧洲的其他地区。郁金香初生于中文称之为“天山”的亚洲中部昆仑山脉,一个非常遥远的山区。土耳其游牧人最先发现了郁金香并将其逐渐带往西方。

    在十六世纪左右,欧洲人不断前往伊斯坦布尔和土耳其经商或从事政治外交活动。当地人便将郁金香球茎作为礼物赠送给欧洲人,然后把它们带回家。对欧洲人而言,郁金香是闻所未闻的极为新奇的物种。最初其球茎出现在荷兰时,收到球茎的当地商人甚至将其烘烤食用,他认为这是某种类似洋葱的食物。

    事实证明,荷兰是种植郁金香的理想国家。一方面,荷兰当地拥有适宜郁金香生长的沙状土,另一方面,荷兰十分富有,经济发展迅速,愿意花大量的钱在新的外来的事物上。另外,荷兰人生性喜爱园艺。富有阶层则不遗余力地花费重金,为他们的花园收集最为稀有的花卉品种(郁金香产业因此面临巨大的消费需求)。郁金香开始呈现不同的颜色,随着种植者试图专门为其颜色培育郁金香花,以进一步增加其球茎的价值,但问题在于种植者并不能确定他们会得到什么颜色的郁金香。当时价格最昂贵的郁金香有花瓣上带有紫色彩带的白色郁金香、带有黄色彩带的红色郁金香,以及一种非常昂贵的深紫色郁金香。

    紧接着一场围绕“特色”郁金香的产业狂潮便展开了,经济学家称之为“郁金香狂潮”。现在我们已经得出了产业非理性发展的必要条件:首先,繁荣的市场经济,缺乏投资他们新的财富经验的消费者拥有大量可支配收入来购买、投资奢侈品。其次,出现某种新奇刺激的商品。虽然最初的郁金香品种较为普通,但随后种植者培育出各种奇特的变种,例如深紫色郁金香等等。最后,产业市场缺乏政府监管,价格得以自由攀升。郁金香价格在十七世纪三十年代开始暴涨。

    市场需求一直远远高于供给。郁金香与玫瑰不同,它每年只在春季花,(因此至为珍贵)而且一年只开一次。最终,特别培育的混色郁金香的价格上升到了不可思议的水平,根据历史记录,一枚郁金香球茎与24 吨小麦或一千磅起司等值。某种特殊球茎甚至与小型轮船等值。换句话说,郁金香已如黄金般珍贵。

    随着市场需求的不断膨胀,商人开始出售本票来确保未来高价郁金香的供给。而本票购买者则以更高价格再次出售本票获利。这些本票在不同投资者之间转手,直到最终郁金香球茎正式交货才会停止。但正如我刚才提到的,郁金香培育者对于花朵色彩的估计是缺乏科学分析的,人们并不能确保球茎确实能够发育成各色花朵。但本票投资者并不关心这一信息,这些投机商人只关心占有本票,这样它就可以在以后以高额利润进行交易。人们甚至通过借款,抵押住房来购买郁金香本票,以为自己发现了一夜暴富的捷径。现在同学们已经知晓了经济泡沫破裂的所有必要条件。而郁金香产业的崩溃也不可避免的来临了。1637 年2 月的一个寒冷的早晨,郁金香球茎贩卖者们聚集在一起,发现突然之间再无人出价,没人想买郁金香了。恐慌情绪如野火般肆意蔓延,郁金香市场彻底崩溃了。

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    题型分析:主旨题

    原文定位

    So—here we’ve got all the conditions for an-an irrational boom: a prospering economy, so more people had more disposable income—money to spend on luxuries—but they weren’t experienced at investing their new wealth. 

    So now you’ve got all the ingredients for a huge bust—and bust it did.

    选项分析 

    本文讲了Tulip Mania,后文分别两次总结了讲过的知识,第一次总结是关于boom的条件,第二次总结是关于bust的条件。可以看出,正确答案B。

    A选项,after boom-and-bust未提及。C选项,change未提及。D选项,not a frequent historical occurrence未提及。

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