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BBC随身英语: 带你了解货币的变更史

The changing nature of money

不断更新演变的货币

 

有人说金钱能推动世界运转。作为交易中不可缺少的一环,“钱”这一概念将会怎样改变?从以物易物式的古老经济制度到如今使用现金、信用卡、甚至是网络虚拟货币等支付手段,人们对金钱的定义和理解在不断地更新。本集《随身英语》展望并探讨货币本质的演变过程和前景。

How do you pay for things in a shop? Perhaps you like the tangible reliability of hard cash? Maybe the financial flexibility of a credit card suits you better? Or perhaps you prefer the simple convenience of a smartphone?

在商店里你怎样付款?也许你喜欢有形可靠的现金?也许信用卡的灵活性更适合你?或者你更喜欢智能手机的简单方便?

Whatever you use today, experts believe all these methods could soon become outdated. Instead, we will use our bodies: our eyes, our fingerprints, even our mere presence in the store. In fact it's happening already. Amazon are trialling stores which have no checkouts, where technology tracks the items you've taken from the shelves and deducts the total from your account when you leave the shop.

不管你现在用什么方法,专家们相信这些方法很快就会过时。取而代之的是我们的身体:我们的眼睛,我们的指纹,甚至我们只需出现一下。事实上,这已经成为现实了。亚马逊正在试运营无人商店。在那里,通过技术可以检测到你购买的商品,并在你离开商店时从你的账户中扣除费用。

French supermarket Monoprix takes a different path: you choose your groceries and leave them with a human cashier. You then leave the shop while the cashier tallies up your bill, charges your account, and organises delivery to your home.

法国Monoprix超市的做法却不一样:选好商品后需要去人工柜台。离开商店时,收银员会清算账单并从你的账户上扣取,并组织送货上门。

Amir Sajed, chief executive of Barclaycard, told the BBC that such new developments spell the end of the plastic credit card. Instead, wearable items such as rings, bracelets and keychains will carry chips that allow shoppers to "seamlessly shop, going between the web, an app or in store," he says.

巴克莱银行首席执行官告诉BBC,这些新发展意味着实体信用卡的终结。他表示,戒指、手镯和钥匙扣等可穿戴设备将配备芯片,使购物者能够“在网络、应用程序或商店之间无缝购物”。

And while all the above payment methods are underpinned by accounts held in traditional currencies, let's not forget the rise of alternatives such as Litecoin. Such virtual currencies can rise in value very quickly, but are also susceptible to crashes and threats from hackers. Who knows, perhaps something totally new will take off that changes money as we know it? One such possibility is explored in the movie In Time. It imagines a futuristic society in which the currency is time itself, where people trade the amount of time they have left to live.

尽管上述所有支付方式都以传统货币账户为基础,但别忘了莱特币等替代货币正在崛起。这些虚拟货币可以迅速升值,但也容易崩溃和受到黑客威胁的影响。谁知道呢,也许会有一些全新的东西出现,改变我们所知道的货币?电影《及时》就探讨了这种可能性。它设想了一个未来社会,在这个社会里,货币就是时间本身,人们用剩下的时间进行交易。

Or perhaps we'd do better to wind back the clock to the simpler financial world of the barter economy. While the term conjures images of sacks of grain and herds of sheep being exchanged in ancient times, there are signs that bartering is making a comeback in today's world of modern technology. Startup Let's Barter India has developed an app which facilitates the exchange of goods, and already has around 100,000 members.

或许,我们最好还是回到物物交换经济这个更为简单的金融世界。虽然这个词让人联想到古代交换粮袋和羊群的情景,但有迹象表明,在现代科技的世界里,物物交换正在卷土重来。印度初创公司Let's Barter India开发了一款应用程序,可以方便地进行商品交换,目前已有大约10万名会员。

Maybe the only thing we know for certain is that money will keep evolving.

也许我们唯一确定的是,货币会不断发展。

 

词汇表

tangible

可触摸的

hard cash

现金(包括硬币和纸钞)

outdated

过时的

checkout

付款台

groceries

杂货食品(常用复数)

cashier

收银员

to tally up

结算

to spell

意味着(不好的后果)

wearable

可穿戴的

chip

芯片

seamlessly

不间断地

to underpin

支持、构成

virtual currency

虚拟货币

crash

系统瘫痪

to take off

突然成功

to wind back the clock / to wind the clock back

让时光倒流,回到过去

barter economy

以物易物的经济制度

to conjure

让人联想到(某个画面或情境)

to make a comeback

再度兴起,回归

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