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为何这些年轻富人选择做“叛徒”

更新时间:2019/5/2 11:01:51 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Rich Kid Revolutionaries
为何这些年轻富人选择做“叛徒”

This country is rigged in favor of making the very wealthy even wealthier. That’s what Democrats keep saying on the 2020 campaign trail. And it’s what some of the people who have reaped the rewards of this rigged system think too. Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Roy Disney, is one recent high-profile example. On Tuesday, she called out the “naked indecency” of the $65 million in compensation that goes to Disney’s chief executive, Bob Iger. That figure, she noted, is “1,424 times the median pay of a Disney worker.”

这个国家受到操纵,以便让非常富有的人更加富有。这是民主党人在2020年大选中一直在说的话。这也是一些从这个被操纵的体系中获益者的想法。罗伊·迪士尼(Roy Disney)的孙女艾比盖尔·迪士尼(Abigail Disney)就是最近一个备受瞩目的例子。周二,她指责迪士尼首席执行官鲍勃·艾格(Bob Iger) 6500万美元的薪酬是“赤裸裸的无礼之举”。她指出,这个数字是“迪士尼员工工资中值的1424倍”。

A growing number of privileged young people, a generation younger than Ms. Disney, are also questioning the morality of their advantages and the social arrangements that produce them. Many are involved with Resource Generation, an organization for people under 35 who are in the top 10 percent through their own or their family’s income and wealth.

越来越多享有特权的年轻人,也就是比艾比盖尔·迪士尼年轻一代的人,也在质疑自己的优势地位以及产生这些优势的社会安排是否有违道德。许多人参与了资源一代(Resource Generation)组织,这是一个面向35岁以下者的组织,这些人通过自己或家庭的收入和财富跻身前10%。

These “class traitors” reject the “lie of meritocracy,” as Yahya Alazrak, a staff member of the organization, called it, adding that they are “fundamentally challenging this very core belief that our culture in the United States is built on, that people deserve all of the money that they have,” whether it comes from their work or that of their family members. Instead, these beneficiaries of the system want to change it.

如该组织工作人员叶海亚·阿拉兹拉克(Yahya Alazrak)所言,这些“阶级叛徒”拒绝“精英领导体制的谎言”,并称他们“从根本上挑战了作为美国文化建立基石的一个非常核心的信念,即人们拥有的钱都是他们应得的”,无论是来自他们的工作,还是家庭。相反,这些体系的受益者想要改变它。

In the past few months, I have talked in depth with 20 young people engaged in this work. They tend to come from families whose parents or ancestors accumulated wealth, and they have inherited or stand to inherit millions. Some have tech or other skills that bring them salaries they feel are disproportionately high. Most are white; some are children of South and East Asian immigrants. They have all studied at prestigious universities. Some are in college or graduate school, while those with jobs work in education, tech, the arts or organizing.

在过去的几个月里,我与进行这项挑战的20名年轻人进行了深入的交谈。他们大多来自父母或祖先积累起财富的家庭,继承或即将继承的财产以百万美元计。也有些人拥有一技之长,他们觉得这些技能带来的薪水高得与他人不相称。他们大多数是白人,也有东南亚和东亚移民的后代。他们都曾经就读名校。有些人正在上大学或研究生院,而那些已经工作的人从事的是教育、科技、艺术或组织方面的工作。

Rather than repeat family myths about the individual effort and smarts of their forebears, those from wealthy backgrounds tell “money stories” that highlight the more complicated origins of their families’ assets. If their fortunes came from the direct dispossession of indigenous peoples, enslavement of African-Americans, production of fossil fuels or obvious exploitation of workers, they often express especially acute guilt. As a woman in her early 20s told me of the wealth generated by her family’s global business: “It’s not just that I get money without working. It’s that other people work to make me money and don’t get nearly as much themselves. I find it to be morally repugnant.”

那些来自富裕家境的人讲述的“财富故事”,突出了其家族资产更为复杂的来源,而不是重复有关祖先个人努力和聪明才智的家族神话。如果他们的财富来自对原住民的直接剥夺、对非裔美国人的奴役、从事化石燃料的生产,或者对工人的明显剥削,他们往往表现出特别强烈的罪恶感。一个20岁出头的女子告诉我,她家族的财富来自在世界各地的业务:“这不仅仅是我不工作就能赚钱。而是其他人工作是为了给我赚钱,而他们自己却没有那么多的钱。我发现这在道德上令人反感。”

Even those I have talked with whose family wealth was accumulated through less transparently exploitative means, such as tech or finance, or who have high-paying jobs themselves, question what they really deserve. They see that their access to such jobs, through elite schools and social networks, comes from their class (and usually race) advantages.

甚至在那些与我交谈过的人当中,家庭财富通过不那么显而易见的剥削手段积累的,比如科技和金融,或者是因为他们自己拥有高薪工作,他们也会质疑得到的东西是否应该。他们看到自己之所以得到这样的工作,是因为念了精英学校或者拥有各种社会关系,也就是来自他们的阶级(通常还有人种)优势。

They also know that many others work just as hard but reap fewer rewards. One 27-year-old white woman, who stands to inherit several million dollars, told me: “My dad has always been a C.E.O., and it was clear to me that he spent a lot of time at work, but it has never been clear to me that he worked a lot harder than a domestic worker, for example. I will never believe that.” She and others challenge the description of wealth garnered through work as “earned.” In an effort to break the link between money and moral value, they refer to rich people as “high net wealth” rather than “high net worth.”

他们也知道其他很多人工作同样努力,但回报少。一名有望继承数百万美元的27岁白人女性告诉我:“我爸爸一直都是个CEO,我很清楚他花很多时间在工作上,但我从来都不觉得他比,比方说家政工人工作更辛苦。我绝不信这个。”她和其他人对工作所得财富是“挣得的”说法发起了挑战。在打破金钱与道德价值链条的行动中,他们用“高净值财富”而非“高净值”来指代富人。

Immigrants who “make it” are often seen to exemplify the American dream of upward mobility. The children of immigrants I spoke with, though, don’t want their families’ “success stories” to legitimate an unfair system. Andrea Pien, 32, is a Resource Generation member and a daughter of Taiwanese immigrants who accumulated significant wealth in the United States. She spoke of refusing to be “the token that then affirms the capitalist meritocracy myth, the idea that ‘Oh, if Andrea’s family made it, we don’t need affirmative action, or we don’t need reparations.’”

移民“成功”的人士常被视为实现向上流动的美国梦的典范。但和我交谈过的移民子女却不希望他们家人的“成功故事”使不公平的制度合理化。32岁的安德莉亚·边(Andrea Pien)是资源一代成员,在美国积累起巨额财富的台湾移民之女。她谈到拒绝充当“转而肯定资本主义精英政治神话的标志,或这样一种想法的寄托,即‘哦,既然安德莉亚家可以成功,我们就不需要平权法案了,或我们就不需要赔偿了。’”

In general, these young people don’t believe they are entitled to so much when others have so little. Many describe feeling guilt or shame about their privilege, which often leads them to hide it. One college student, a woman of color, told me that she worried what other campus activists might think of her. “What a fraud, right?” she said. “To be in those spaces and be acting like these are my struggles, when they’re not.” A white woman who lives on her inheritance of more than $15 million spoke of “deflecting” questions about her occupation, so that others would not know she did not do work for pay.

总体上,这些年轻人不认为他们拥有过多而他人拥有过少是理应如此。许多人形容对自己的特权感到愧疚或羞耻,于是常常把它隐藏起来。一名有色人种女大学生告诉我,她担心其他校园活动人士可能会怎么看她。“根本就是个骗子,对吧?”她说。“身在那样的空间里,假装这是我的挣扎,但其实不是。”一名以她所继承的1500多万美元财富为生的白人女性表示,谈论她的职业时,她会问一些“转移话题”的问题,这样别人就不会知道她没有靠自己工作挣钱。

These progressive children of privilege told me they study the history of racial capitalism in the United States and discuss the ways traditional philanthropy tends to keep powerful people at the top. They also spend a fair amount of time talking about their money. Should they give it all away? Should they get a job, even if they don’t need the income? How much is it ethical to spend on themselves or others? How does money shape friendships and relationships? Resource Generation and its members facilitate these conversations, including one local chapter’s “feelings caucus.”

这些进步派特权人士子女告诉我,他们研究美国的种族资本主义史,探讨传统慈善如何倾向于将有权势的人留在上层社会。他们还花大量时间谈论他们的钱。他们是否应当全部捐出?他们是否应找份工作,即便他们不需要工作收入?把多少钱花在自己身上或他人身上是道德的?金钱如何影响友谊与恋爱关系?资源一代及其成员帮助促进这些谈话,一个本地分会还设有“情感核心会议”。

If you’re thinking, “Cry me a river,” you’re not alone. I have faced skepticism from other sociologists when discussing this research. One colleague asserted that rich young people struggling with their privilege do not have a “legitimate problem.” Others ask: How much do they really give, and what do they really give up? Aren’t these simply self-absorbed millennials taking another opportunity to talk endlessly about themselves?

如果你的想法是,“搞得好像多惨似的,”那么有不少人跟你一样。在探讨这项研究时,我曾遇到其他社会学家的质疑。一名同事坚称,年轻富人与特权作斗争并不是个“正经的问题”。还有人则问:他们真正给予了多少,又真正放弃了多少?这些难道不过是自恋的千禧一代又逮着机会无休止地谈论自己?

I understand this view. There is certainly a risk — of which many of them are aware — that all this conversation will just devolve into navel-gazing, an expression of privilege rather than a challenge to it. It is hard for individual action to make a dent in an ironclad social structure. And it is impossible, as they know, to shed the class privilege rooted in education and family socialization, even if they give away every penny.

我理解这种观点。确实存在一种风险——我们中很多人也意识到了——即所有这些谈话难免会退化为一场空谈,沦为对特权的表达而非对它发起挑战。要对铁一般坚硬的社会结构作出一点改变,凭借个体的行动很难办到。而他们也知道,即便捐出手里的每一分钱,要完全摆脱植根于教育和家庭社会关系的阶级特权,是不可能的。

But like Abigail Disney, these young people are challenging fundamental cultural understandings of who deserves what. And they are breaking the social taboo against talking about money — a taboo that allows radical inequality to fade into the background. This work is critical at a moment when the top 1 percent of families in the United States owns 40 percent of the country’s wealth, and Jeff Bezos takes home more money per minute than the median American worker makes in a year.

但就像艾比盖尔·迪士尼一样,这些年轻人正在从根本上挑战文化层面对于谁值得拥有什么的理解。他们也正在打破不许谈钱的社会禁忌——这项禁忌使得极端不平等状况被淡化。在美国百分之一的家庭拥有全国四成财富,杰夫·贝佐斯(Jeff Bezos)每分钟的入账超过美国工薪阶层平均年收入的当下,这项工作至关重要。

As Holly Fetter, a Resource Generation member and Harvard Business School student, told me, “It’s essential that those of us who have access to wealth and want to use it to support progressive social movements speak up, to challenge the narrative that the 1 percent are only interested in accumulation, and invite others to join us.”

资源一代成员、哈佛商学院的学生霍莉·菲特(Holly Fetter)告诉我,“我们这些可以获得财富的人想用它来支持激进的社会运动,重要的是,我们要为此发声,挑战那种1%的富人只对敛财感兴趣的说法,并且邀请其他人加入我们。”

Wealthy people are more likely to convince other wealthy people that the system is unfair. And they are the only ones who can describe intimately the ways that wealth may be emotionally corrosive, producing fear, shame and isolation.

富人更有可能让其他富人相信,这个体系是不公平的。只有他们能够详细描述财富如何侵蚀情感,制造恐惧、羞耻和孤立。

Class privilege is like white privilege, in that its beneficiaries receive advantages that are, in fact, unearned. So for them to conclude that their own wealth is undeserved, and therefore immoral, constitutes a powerful critique of the idea of meritocracy.

阶级特权与白人特权相似,其受益者得到的好处实际上并不是努力赢得的。因此,他们认为自己的财富是他们不应得的,因此是不道德的,这构成了对精英政治理念的有力批判。

The fact that the system is immoral, of course, does not make individuals immoral. One person I spoke with, a white 30-year-old who inherited money, said: “It’s not that we’re bad people. It’s just, nobody needs that much money.” But judgments of systems are often taken as judgments of individuals, which leads white people to deny racism and rich people to deny class privilege.

当然,制度的不道德并不会使个人变得不道德。我采访的一位继承遗产的30岁白人说:“这不意味着我们是坏人。只是,没人需要那么多钱。”但针对制度的评判往往被视为针对个人的评判,这导致白人不承认种族主义,富人不承认阶级特权。

So even the less-public work of talking through emotions, needs and relationships, which can seem self-indulgent, is meaningful. As Ms. Pien put it, “Our feelings are related to the bigger structure.”

因此,即使是对情感、需求和人际关系不那么公开的讨论,看起来像是一种自我陶醉,也是有意义的。正如安德莉亚·边所说,“我们的感觉与整体的组织是相关的。”

One huge cultural support of that structure is secrecy around money, which even rich people don’t talk about.

对金钱的遮掩是这种体制背后的巨大文化支持,即使富人也不会谈论这个话题。

Wealthy parents fear that if they tell their kids how much they will inherit, the kids won’t develop a strong work ethic. Yahya Alazrak, of Resource Generation, has heard people say, “My dad won’t tell me how much money we have because he’s worried that I’ll become lazy.” One man in his early 30s recounted that his parents had always told him they would pay for his education, but not support him afterward until they revealed that he had a trust worth over $10 million. Parents also have a “scarcity mentality,” Resource Generation members said, which leads them to “hoard” assets to protect against calamity.

富有的父母担心,如果告诉孩子他们将继承多少遗产,孩子们就不会养成良好的职业道德。资源一代的叶海亚·阿拉兹拉克曾听人们说,“我爸爸不会告诉我,我们有多少钱,因为他担心我会变得懒惰。”一名30岁出头的男子回忆说,父母一直告诉他,他们会支付他的学费,但等他毕业后就不会给他出钱了,但后来他们透露,他拥有一个价值超过1000万美元的信托基金。资源一代的成员们表示,父母们还有一种“匮乏心态”,导致他们“囤积”资产,以便抵御灾难。

Secrecy also often goes hand in hand with limited financial literacy. Women, especially, may not learn about money management growing up, thanks to gendered ideas about financial planning and male control of family assets. Some people I met who will inherit significant amounts of money didn’t know the difference between a stock and a bond.

这种遮掩往往伴随着财务知识的局限。尤其是对于女性来说,由于理财观念的性别化和男性对家庭资产的控制,她们可能无法在成长过程中学会理财。我认识的一些将要继承大笔遗产的人连股票和债券的区别都不知道。

When wealthy parents do talk about money, they tend to put forth conventional ideas about merit: They or their ancestors worked hard for what they have, scrimped and saved to keep and increase it, and gave some of it away. When their children reject these metrics, parents’ sense of being “good people” is challenged.

当富有的父母谈论金钱时,他们往往会谈起传统价值观念:他们或他们的长辈为自己拥有的东西努力工作、精打细算,用存钱来保持和增加财富,并且捐一些钱。当孩子拒绝接受这些标准的时候,父母身为“好人”的感觉就会受到挑战。

When one woman told her immigrant parents she wanted to give their millions away, it was like “a slap in the face” for them, she said, because they felt they had “sacrificed a lot for this money.”

一个女人告诉她的移民父母,自己打算把他们的数百万美元捐出去,她说,感觉就像是“扇了他们一记耳光”,因为他们觉得自己“为这笔钱牺牲了很多”。

Parents — and the financial professionals who manage family wealth — also tend to follow conventional wisdom about money: Never give away principal. Charitable donations should be offset by tax breaks. And the goal of investing is always to make as much money as possible. As one 33-year-old inheritor said, “No financial adviser ever says, ‘I made less money for the client, but I got them to build affordable housing.’”

父母——以及管理家庭财富的金融专业人士——也倾向于遵循关于金钱的传统智慧:永远不要放弃本金。慈善捐款应该用减税来补偿。而投资的目标总是尽可能多地赚钱。正如一位33岁的继承人所说,“没有哪个理财顾问会说,‘我为客户赚的钱减少了,但我成功地让他们去建造了经济适用房。’”

Talking about how it feels to be rich can help build affordable housing, though. Once the feeling of being a “bad person” is replaced by “good person in a bad structure,” these young people move into redistributive action. Many talked about asserting control over their money, pursuing socially responsible investments (sometimes for much lower returns) and increasing their own or their families’ giving, especially to social-justice organizations. And eventually — like the people I have quoted by name here — they take a public stand.

不过,谈论身为富人的感觉确实有助于廉价住房的建造。一旦身为“坏人”的感觉被身为“不良体制中的好人”所取代,这些年轻人就会将再分配付诸行动。许多人谈到要控制自己的金钱,追求有社会责任感的投资(有时回报要低得多),增加自己或家人的捐款,尤其是对社会公正组织的捐款。最终——就像在本文中透露姓名的人们一样——他们采取了公开立场。

Finally, they imagine an alternative future, based on a different idea of what people deserve. Ms. Pien, for example, wants to be “invested in collective good, so we can all have the basics that we need and a little more.” In her vision, this “actually makes everyone more secure and fulfilled and joyful, rather than us hiding behind our mountains of money.”

最后,基于对人们应该得到什么的不同看法,他们设想了另一种未来。例如,安德莉亚·边希望“投资在集体福祉上,这样我们都能拥有我们所需要的最基本的东西,然后再有一点点盈余。”在她看来,这样“其实会让所有人都能更安全、更充实、更快乐,而不是躲在我们的金山后面。”

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