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随身英语

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。

课文内容

Vocabulary: Money 词汇: 货币

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?

Whatever you use today, experts believe all these methods could soon become outdated.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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

测验与练习

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. What does Amir Sajed believe will happen to credit cards in the future? 

2. What currency is used in the movie In Time?

3. Why might customers find shopping at Monoprix convenient and efficient?

4. Which word means 'vulnerable'?

5. True or false: Bartering has a long history.

2. 请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处

1. Fashion from the 1930s is ______. All the best designers are using it as inspiration again. 

making a comeback      crashing      winding the clock back      outdated 

2. I ______ my old bike for a couple of tennis rackets.

checked out      conjured      bartered      tallied up

3. I always prefer to use ______. I just don't trust banks.

wearable technology      cashiers      hard cash      credit cards

4. On my 60th birthday party I wound ______ and played all my favourite old music.

the clock      the clock back      back clock      wind the clock back

5. For me, the Sahara Desert ______ images of camels, oases and unbearable heat.

underpins      spells      creates      conjures

答案

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. What does Amir Sajed believe will happen to credit cards in the future? 

Amir Sajed believes that technological developments will mean the end of the plastic credit card. He thinks cards will be replaced by wearable items.

2. What currency is used in the movie In Time?

In the movie In Time, the currency is time itself.

3. Why might customers find shopping at Monoprix convenient and efficient?

Customers don't need to wait for items to be tallied up by the cashier; they also receive home delivery.

4. Which word means 'vulnerable'?

Susceptible.

5. True or false: Bartering has a long history.

True. The barter economy existed in ancient times.

2. 请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处

1. Fashion from the 1930s is making a comeback. All the best designers are using it as inspiration again.

2. I bartered my old bike for a couple of tennis rackets.

3. I always prefer to use hard cash. I just don't trust banks.

4. On my 60th birthday party I wound the clock back and played all my favourite old music.

5. For me, the Sahara Desert conjures images of camels, oases and unbearable heat.


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