2016年4月25日 星期一

miscalled, seconded, seconed, windsecond-guess, beggar-my-neighbour policy, au-pair grannies

"If what are miscalled the lower animals were as silly as man is, they would all perish from the earth in a year.”
--from "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg" by Mark Twain

Retired women find second wind as au-pair grannies

While most au-pairs who go to work for families abroad are young women,
Michaela Hansen thought the idea would also appeal to an older age group.
The concept has developed into a unique and successful business.

The DW-WORLD.DE Article



  • 1 constituting number two in a sequence; coming after the first in time or order; 2nd:he married for a second time Herbert was the second of their six children the second of October the second-youngest player
  • secondly (used to introduce a second point or reason):second, they are lightly regulated; and third, they do business with non-resident clients
  • Music an interval spanning two consecutive notes in a diatonic scale.
  • the note which is higher by a second interval than the tonic of a diatonic scale or root of a chord.
  • the second in a sequence of a vehicle’s gears:he took the corner in second
  • Baseball second base.
  • chiefly British the second form of a school or college.
  • (seconds) informal a second course or second helping of food at a meal.
  • denoting someone or something regarded as comparable to or reminiscent of a better-known predecessor:a fear that the conflict would turn into a second Vietnam
  • 2subordinate or inferior in position, rank, or importance:it was second only to Copenhagen among Baltic ports he is a writer first and a scientist second
  • additional to that already existing, used, or possessed:a second home French as a second language
  • the second finisher or position in a race or competition:he finished second
  • British a place in the second grade in an examination, especially for a degree.
  • Music performing a lower or subordinate of two or more parts for the same instrument or voice:the second violins
  • (seconds) goods of an inferior quality.
  • (the seconds) the reserve team of a sports club.
  • coarse flour, or bread made from it.
  • 3an assistant, in particular:
  • an attendant assisting a combatant in a duel or boxing match.
  • a Cub or Brownie chosen by their pack to assist the Sixer and replace them when they are absent.


[with object]
  • formally support or endorse (a nomination or resolution or its proposer) as a necessary preliminary to adoption or further discussion:Bridgeman seconded Maxwell’s motion calling for the reform
  • express agreement with:her view is seconded by most Indian leaders today
  • archaic support; back up:so well was he seconded by the multitude of labourers at his command


every second

in the second place

as a second consideration or point.

second to none

the best, worst, fastest, etc.: the group has a reputation that is second to none in the building industry





Middle English: via Old French from Latin secundus 'following, second', from the base of sequi 'follow'. The verb dates from the late 16th century

second wind
  1. The return of relative ease of breathing after the initial exhaustion that occurs during continued physical exertion.
  2. Restored energy or strength.




1. To criticize and offer advice, with the benefit of hindsight.
2. To foresee the actions of others, before they have come to a decision themselves.


A commonly used meaning of 'to second-guess' is to criticize the actions of others, after the event. The event in questions was, and often still is, a sporting event. The term is derived as what is known as a back-formation. As back-formations loom large in etymology I'll break off to explain what they are.
New words are usually created from existing words. For example, we all know what 'fishing' means and, armed with that knowledge we could easily coin the word 'fisherman' and a phrase like 'fishing for compliments'. Sometimes though, the order that words and phrases are derived in isn't so obvious. For example, people who rob from houses have been called 'burglars' since the 13th century and it might be supposed that they got their name from being engaged in 'burglary'. However, it wasn't until the 19th century that the legal profession decided that 'that thing that burglars do' needed to be given a name and hence 'burglary' was coined as a back-formation from 'burglar'. Likewise, 'narration' and 'scavenge', which were coined centuries after 'narrator' and 'scavenger'.
The same back route was taken by the phrase 'second-guess'. The umpire in a baseball game used to be called, rather unkindly, 'the guesser'. People who were continually telling the guesser, the manager or the players what they were doing wrong were known as 'secondguessers' and were so defined in the Sporting News Record Book, 1937:
Secondguesser, one who is continually criticizing moves of players and manager.
Another meaning of 'to second-guess' is to anticipate what others might do in a particular situation. This is also of American origin but, somewhat more impressively, refers to a guess made before rather than after the event. An early example of its use comes from Broadcasting magazine, December 1941:
Do not try to second-guess or master-mind our military officials. Leave this for established military analysts and experts, who are experienced enough to await the facts before drawing conclusions.

The return of beggar-my-neighbour policy

Ed Miliband, a candidate for the UK Labour leadership, recently remarked: “I hate what David Cameron is doing to this country.” I sometimes feel the same way, but I suspect for very different reasons.
英国工党领袖候选人之一埃德•米利班德(Ed Miliband)最近表示:“我反感戴维·卡梅伦(David Cameron)对国家的所作所为。”有时候我也有同感,但我觉得理由大不相同。
The academic name for the economic policy into which the British prime minister has stumbled is “mercantilism”. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, this is “the economic theory and practice common in Europe from the 16th to the 18th centuries that promoted government regulation of a nation’s economy for the purpose of augmenting state power at the expense of rival national powers”. Among its doctrines was that the trade balance must be favourable, meaning an excess of exports over imports. Of course, mercantilist thinking has moved on since the 18th century. Instead of coveting gold and silver, modern mercantilist politicians talk of promoting employment. But there are many common threads between the old and the new mercantilism. One of them is the identification of the national interest with that of chosen national corporations, even though we are not allowed to talk of “picking winners”. The modern version is sometimes called corporatism. The economist David Henderson once called it “do-it-yourself economics”, while I preferred “businessmen’s economics”.
现任英国首相无意中选择的经济政策,被学术界称为“重商主义”,《大英百科全书》(Encyclopaedia Britannica)对其的定义是:“欧洲16世纪至18世纪常见的一种经济理论和实践,提倡政府对一国经济加以管理,目标是在损害竞争国实力的情况下增强本国国力。”重商主义的信条中,包括贸易收支必须为顺差,即出口高于进口。当然,重商主义思想自18世纪以来已经有了新的进展。现代重商主义政治家不再觊觎黄金和白银,而是谈论促进就业的问题。但新旧两种重商主义之间有许多共通之处,其中之一就是将选定的国内企业的利益等同于国家利益,虽然我们不能说是“挑选赢家”。现代版的重商主义有时也称作“社团主义”(corporatism),经济学家戴维·亨德森(David Henderson )曾将其称为“自助经济学”(do-it-yourself economics),不过我本来倾向于称之为“商人经济学”。
But I now think the best name is “beggar-my-neighbour” economics. This was coined by the leftwing Cambridge economist Joan Robinson – no market fundamentalist she. By this she meant that because governments were unwilling or unable to promote output and employment by domestic means they had to resort to trying to promote it at the expense of other countries.
但现在,我认为最恰当的名称是“以邻为壑”经济学(“beggar-my-neighbour” economics)。这个词是剑桥大学左翼经济学家琼·罗宾逊(Joan Robinson)创造的,她本人并不是市场原教旨主义者。她创造这一术语所指的是,由于政府不愿意(或没有能力)通过国内手段提高产出和就业,不得不转而通过损害他国利益的做法,而实现上述目标。
The evidence for this beggar-my-neighbour turn is all too abundant. UK citizens are exhorted to take their holidays at home. If French and German holidaymakers heed similar exhortations, who gains? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is being treated as a trade promotion ministry and diplomats are to be replaced by businessmen. Of course, none of this is new. A notorious report on the FCO made similar recommendations more than 30 years ago. The current prime minister is partly following in the footsteps of Tony Blair; but while the latter’s soft protectionism was concentrated on the arms industry, Mr Cameron is trying to spread the net much wider. Do I have to add that not every country can have an export surplus? And countries now in surplus, including China and Germany, are not going to spend their way into payments deficit because of exhortations by the UK or even the International Monetary Fund.
有关这种以邻为壑倾向的证据不胜枚举。英国劝说本国公民在国内度假。如果法国和德国度假客也听从了类似的规劝,那么谁会从中获益呢?英国外交部 (FCO)眼下被当成了贸易促进部,商人将取代外交官。当然,这并不是什么新鲜事。30多年前,一份声名狼藉的报告向外交部提出了类似的建议。现任首相一定程度上是在追随托尼·布莱尔的(Tony Blair)脚步,但布莱尔温和的保护主义举措集中在国防工业,而卡梅伦却试图把网撒得更大。我是否需要补充说明,并非每个国家都能实现贸易顺差?目前的顺差国家,包括中国和德国,是不会因为英国、甚至国际货币基金组织(IMF)的规劝,而通过扩大支出转为国际收支赤字的。
Many of my professional colleagues who hanker after the pre-1980 version of capitalism simply do not remember the endless nagging and exhortation, the exchange controls and travel restrictions, and the attempts to second-guess consumer demand, miscalled “planning”.
It is no accident that beggar-my-neighbour trade policies are associated with what I have previously called Tory Bourbonism in fiscal policy, by which I mean treating the national budget as if it were the budget of a private citizen that has in some sense to be “balanced”. If so-called Keynesian policies for using fiscal policy to manage demand are disavowed and monetary policies prove inadequate, we are left with only export promotion and import discouragement to promote recovery.
以邻为壑的贸易政策,与我此前提到的财政政策中的“保守党波旁主义”(Tory Bourbonism)有一定关联,这并非偶然。“保守党波旁主义”指的是处理国家财政预算时,就像处理一个公民某种意义上需要“平衡”的私人预算那样。如果使用财政政策管理需求的所谓凯恩斯主义政策被摒弃、货币政策效果不佳,那么要推动经济复苏,仅存的手段就是促进出口和抑制进口。
What Tory fiscal Bourbonism and corporatist trade policies have in common is the “fallacy of composition”. This is defined by the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy as that of “arguing that because something is true of members of a group or collection it is also true of the group as a whole”. The fallacy was explained to budding economists in Paul Samuelson’s multi-million selling introductory textbook, but for all the good it has done it need never have been printed.
保守党的波旁主义财政政策和社团主义贸易政策的共同之处是“合成谬误”(fallacy of composition),在《牛津哲学辞典》(Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy)中的定义是“因为某种情况适用于一个群体或集合中的成员,即辩称该情况适用于整个群体。”保罗·萨缪尔森(Paul Samuelson)曾在其销量高达数百万册的入门教材中,向经济学的初学者介绍过这种谬误。不过考虑那本书起到的“好作用”,当初倒不如不印。
Beggar-my-neighbour policies are sometimes justified by the collapse of a bogey called “market fundamentalism”. In fact, the baby is being thrown away with the bathwater. The classic case for competitive markets and free trade was made centuries ago by thinkers such as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Richard Cobden who never expected markets to clear instantly or their participants to have a “correct” model of the economy in mind. Nor did they depend on an excessive deference to financial markets or to derivatives, which had mercifully not been invented. Ranged against them was the old Tory party, which unashamedly backed the landed interest. To be fair, however, the greatest Tory prime minister of the mid-19th century, Robert Peel, changed his mind after listening to a Cobden speech against the corn laws. Turning to a front-bench neighbour, Peel remarked: “You must answer him; for I cannot.” Peel was predictably disavowed by most of the Tories, among them the much overpraised Benjamin Disraeli.
有些时候,“市场原教旨主义”这种妖魔化理论的崩溃,证明了以邻为壑的经济政策的合理性。实际上,婴儿已经和洗澡水一起被泼了出去。数百年前,亚当·斯密(Adam Smith)、约翰·斯图亚特·穆勒(John Stuart Mill)和理查德·科布登(Richard Cobden)等思想家就阐明了竞争市场和自由贸易的经典原因古典论述,他们从未指望市场情况能立即明朗,或市场参与者心目中能有一种“正确”的经济模式;他们也没有过度依赖金融市场或衍生品——幸运的是,当时尚未发明。与他们相对的是托利党,曾厚颜无耻地支持拥有土地的利益集团。不过,公平地讲,19世纪中期最伟大的托利党首相罗伯特·皮尔(Robert Peel)在听过科布登反对《谷物法》的演讲后,就改变了主意。他当时转向坐在前排的邻座说道:“你必须回答他,因为我回答不了。”可以想见,皮尔被多数托利党人所否定,其中就包括盛名之下、其实难符的本杰明·迪斯雷利(Benjamin Disraeli)。
As this is still (just) the holiday season the kindest note on which to end is to suppose that Mr Cameron is consciously or not echoing the sentiment of Calvin Coolidge, US president in the mid-1920s, that “the chief business of the American people is business”. But Coolidge also said many much wiser things, such as: “I have never been hurt by what I have not said”, and: “Four-fifths of our troubles would disappear, if we would only sit down and keep still.”
鉴于现在还(正)是度假季节,最客气的评价,就是假设卡梅伦可能是在有意无意地呼应上世纪20年代美国总统卡尔文•柯立芝(Calvin Coolidge)的观点——“美国人民的要紧事就是做买卖”。不过柯立芝还讲过许多更明智的话,比如:“我从未因自己没有说过的话而受到伤害。”以及“即使坐在那里不动,八成的麻烦也都会消失。”