Business in China
So much for capitalism
Mar 5th 2009 | HONG KONG
From The Economist print edition
The opening up of China’s economy goes into reverse
FOR two decades, in the 1980s and 1990s, China pushed forward a series of economic reforms that
came at a vast cost, exceeded only by their vaster rewards. Now, as the financial crisis sweeps across
the world, those reforms are going into reverse. It is a sign of how hard governments find it to shake off
the habit of ownership.
When China began to extract production from the hands of the state, big firms were broken up,
reconfigured or closed. Ever so slowly, the government began to privatise its largest industries, selling
slices of companies in public offerings on foreign exchanges, and making them adopt at least the
pretence of modern governance.
How far China has gone in transforming its economy is a matter of debate. Unarguably, it remains a
place where companies face heavy direct and indirect state control. But in places there has also been
dramatic change, and China has prospered as broader economic freedoms contributed to growth.
Outright criticism of the shift was muted, even among bureaucrats opposed to the new approach. But
over the past year this reticence has begun to wane, as the crisis in the West has led to intense criticism
of capitalism—and one domestic industry after another has, as in the West, gone back to the
government for support.
In December China Investment Corporation, one of the country’s many sovereign-wealth funds,
acknowledged buying shares of Chinese banks on the open market. Other government-backed funds are
thought to have been buying as well, which may explain why the banks’ share prices have held up even
as banks elsewhere totter. Meanwhile, the state-controlled China Development Bank is said to be
negotiating a takeover of Shenzhen Development Bank, one of the few financial institutions controlled
It is a similar story in aviation. In the late 1980s the government created three gigantic carriers—Air
China, China Eastern, and China Southern—to provide competition and service where there had
previously been none. The carriers have succeeded in a limited way, dramatically expanding coverage
across China, but management has undergone frequent shifts and none of the airlines has a good
reputation. All three operate at a loss, and two of them, according to the Chinese state-run press, have
received large capital injections from the central government in recent months. A broad, government-
driven reorganisation is expected in the next 18 months.
Similarly, five big power-generation firms were split out of a single company in 2002 to foster
competition. Any sense of true operating independence was badly undermined last year, however,
when the government imposed price caps on electricity, even as the utilities grappled with rising coal
and oil prices. Those prices have since fallen, but so has demand. On February 20th the Chinese press
reported that the government was injecting $13 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) into the companies,
indirectly boosting its stake.
Even China’s car industry, which is alive with competitors, is coming further under the government
umbrella. More than 10 billion yuan in subsidies is being paid to carmakers, and billions of yuan more
are being granted to encourage car sales. Various deals are being mulled between Chinese firms and
distressed foreign brands, and these too would need financial support from the government. Beyond
that, Chinese newspapers report that a broad restructuring is in the offing, which would reorganise the
industry into four state-controlled giants.
In the West the prospect of nationalisation causes companies’ share prices to collapse, but the opposite
often occurs in China, and share prices rise instead. In a state-controlled system, it is good to have the
state’s explicit endorsement and protection. But it comes at a cost. The reason China initially backed
away from state control was because companies were inefficient and corrupt, and ultimately people
suffered. In today’s panic, perhaps, that is a secondary concern. But times will eventually change for
nationalised firms in China—and for those in the West, too.
995 个读者 runningde... @ yeeyan.com 14 小时 8 分钟前 双语对照 原文 字体大小 小 中
化 1980 年代和 1990 年代的 20 年，中国进行了一系列成本巨大的经济改革，这些改革的收益远超
评改革的声音消失了，甚至那些起初反对改革的官员也不再批评。但是 2008 年批评声音又逐渐
政 12 月，中国主 权基金之一的中国投资公司承认正在公开市场收购中国的银行的股份。据悉，其他政府背景的
The new world order
How China sees the world
Mar 19th 2009
From The Economist print edition
And how the world should see China
IT IS an ill wind that blows no one any good. For many in China even the buffeting by the gale that has
hit the global economy has a bracing message. The rise of China over the past three decades has been
astonishing. But it has lacked the one feature it needed fully to satisfy the ultranationalist fringe: an
accompanying decline of the West. Now capitalism is in a funk in its heartlands. Europe and Japan,
embroiled in the deepest post-war recession, are barely worth consideration as rivals. America, the
superpower, has passed its peak. Although in public China’s leaders eschew triumphalism, there is a
sense in Beijing that the reassertion of the Middle Kingdom’s global ascendancy is at hand (see article).
China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, no longer sticks to the script that China is a humble player in
world affairs that wants to focus on its own economic development. He talks of China as a “great
power” and worries about America’s profligate spending endangering his $1 trillion nest egg there.
Incautious remarks by the new American treasury secretary about China manipulating its currency
were dismissed as ridiculous; a duly penitent Hillary Clinton was welcomed in Beijing, but as an equal.
This month saw an apparent attempt to engineer a low-level naval confrontation with an American spy
ship in the South China Sea. Yet at least the Americans get noticed. Europe, that speck on the horizon,
is ignored: an EU summit was cancelled and France is still blacklisted because Nicolas Sarkozy dared
to meet the Dalai Lama.
Already a big idea has spread far beyond China: that geopolitics is now a bipolar affair, with America
and China the only two that matter. Thus in London next month the real business will not be the G20
meeting but the “G2” summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao. This not only worries
the Europeans, who, having got rid of George Bush’s unipolar politics, have no wish to see it replaced
by a Pacific duopoly, and the Japanese, who have long been paranoid about their rivals in Asia. It also
seems to be having an effect in Washington, where Congress’s fascination with America’s nearest rival
risks acquiring a protectionist edge.
Reds under the bed
Before panic spreads, it is worth noting that China’s new assertiveness reflects weakness as well as
strength. This remains a poor country facing, in Mr Wen’s words, its most difficult year of the new
century. The latest wild guess at how many jobs have already been lost—20m—hints at the scale of the
problem. The World Bank has cut its forecast for China’s growth this year to 6.5%. That is robust
compared with almost anywhere else, but to many Chinese, used to double-digit rates, it will feel like a
recession. Already there are tens of thousands of protests each year: from those robbed of their land for
development; from laid-off workers; from those suffering the side-effects of environmental
despoliation. Even if China magically achieves its official 8% target, the grievances will worsen.
Far from oozing self-confidence, China is witnessing a fierce debate both about its economic system
and the sort of great power it wants to be—and it is a debate the government does not like. This year
the regime curtailed even the perfunctory annual meeting of its parliament, the National People’s
Congress (NPC), preferring to confine discussion to back-rooms and obscure internet forums. Liberals
calling for greater openness are being dealt with in the time-honoured repressive fashion. But China’s
leaders also face rumblings of discontent from leftist nationalists, who see the downturn as a chance to
halt market-oriented reforms at home, and for China to assert itself more stridently abroad. An angry
China can veer into xenophobia, but not all the nationalist left’s causes are so dangerous: one is for the
better public services and social-safety net the country sorely needs.
So China is in a more precarious situation than many Westerners think. The world is not bipolar and
may never become so. The EU, for all its faults, is the world’s biggest economy. India’s population will
overtake China’s. But that does not obscure the fact that China’s relative power is plainly growing—
and both the West and China itself need to adjust to this.
For Mr Obama, this means pulling off a difficult balancing act. In the longer term, if he has not
managed to seduce China (and for that matter India and Brazil) more firmly into the liberal multilateral
system by the time he leaves office, then historians may judge him a failure. In the short term he needs
to hold China to its promises and to scold it for its lapses: Mrs Clinton should have taken it to task over
Tibet and human rights when she was there. The Bush administration made much of the idea of
welcoming China as a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system. The G20 is a chance to
give China a bigger stake in global decision-making than was available in the small clubs of the G7 and
G8. But it is also a chance for China to show it can exercise its new influence responsibly.
The bill for the great Chinese takeaway
China’s record as a citizen of the world is strikingly threadbare. On a host of issues from Iran to Sudan,
it has used its main geopolitical asset, its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, to
obstruct progress, hiding behind the excuse that it does not want to intervene in other countries’ affairs.
That, sadly, will take time to change. But on the more immediate issue at hand, the world economy,
there is room for action.
Over the past quarter-century no country has gained more from globalisation than China. Hundreds of
millions of its people have been dragged out of subsistence into the middle class. China has been a
grumpy taker in this process. It helped derail the latest round of world trade talks. The G20 meeting
offers it a chance to show a change of heart. In particular, it is being asked to bolster the IMF’s
resources so that the fund can rescue crisis-hit countries in places like eastern Europe. Some in Beijing
would prefer to ignore the IMF, since it might help ex-communist countries that have developed “an
anti-China mentality”. Rising above such cavilling and paying up would be a small step in itself. But it
would be a sign that the Middle Kingdom has understood what it is to be a great power.
1263 个读者 智威 @ yeeyan.com 2 天前 17:40 双语对照 原文 字体大小 小 中 大
2006 年 11 月，我在北京参加了“国际产权和物权的理论与实践”的研讨会。这并不仅仅是学
1 全国人民代表大会在 2007 年 3 月 16 日通过了新的《中华人民共和国物权法》。
The State of Official Marxism in China Today
The State of Official Marxism in China Today
During November 13–14, 2006, I participated in an “International Conference on Ownership &
Property Rights: Theory & Practice,” in Beijing. This was not just an academic conference, it was
related to a sharp debate taking place in China at that time over a proposed new law on property
rights.1 Although none of the presentations at the conference made any direct reference to the proposed
new law, everyone knew that it was the subtext of the conference debate.
The positions put forth by the participants in this conference provide an interesting window into the
ideological struggle over the direction of social change in China. They illustrate the ways in which
Marxist language and Marxist propositions, intermixed with ideas drawn from mainstream Western
neoclassical economic theory, are used today in China to support the completion of China’s shift to
private property and a market economy. Below I will reproduce some of the statements and positions
voiced (and written) at this conference. But first some background information will help to place the
statements in their historical context.
The supporters of the proposed property rights law were arguing that further economic progress in
China required that private ownership of business enterprises and other assets must be made more
secure. To achieve this end, a new law was needed specifying, and more importantly guaranteeing, the
rights of owners of private property.
Critics resisted the proposed new law, charging that it represented a step toward abandoning the
socialist system. They argued that guaranteeing private property rights, and elevating them to the same
level as public property rights, would undermine the key role of state owned enterprises (SOEs) in a
socialist system. To make matters worse, critics charged, the new law could potentially even safeguard
the ownership claims of those who ended up in control of former SOEs that had been privatized
through a corrupt insider deal.2 This would encourage further fraudulent privatizations of SOEs.
Further, they argued, it would legitimize the exploitation of labor which occurs in private enterprises.
Such political debates are normally difficult to observe in China. This debate had been taking place in
various locations in Chinese society, including academic institutions and various Communist Party and
state institutions. The above conference provided a way for an outsider directly to observe, and even
participate in, this debate.
The main sponsor of the conference was a little-known bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) called the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau. The conference was
cosponsored by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation of Germany, which is attached to the Party of
Democratic Socialism. The latter is descended from the Communist Party of the former German
While there were a few foreign participants, most were from China. The Chinese participants included
professors from various Chinese universities, researchers from the Academy of Social Sciences, and
some party and state officials. Among the latter there was one from the Development Research Center
of the State Council, which provides policy advice to the prime minister, and one from the Central
Party School. The foreign participants were quite diverse intellectually and politically, with most of
them selected by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. I am known in China as a critic of neoliberalism in
general, and privatization in particular, and I was invited to present a Marxist analysis of ownership and
property rights in the United States that might be relevant to the property rights and privatization debate
It has long been commonplace to read in the mainstream media that political debates in China are
typically conducted, not just behind the scenes, but in a kind of Aesopian language. In this conference
Marxism was the official language of discussion, at least for the Chinese participants. Despite the
enormous transformation of China’s economic and social system since the beginning of what is called
the “market reform and opening” in 1978, a kind of “official Marxism” remains the formal state
ideology and the language for discussion of economic issues. Thus, most of the Chinese speakers at this
conference, whichever side of the debate they were on, couched their views in Marxist language and
often used traditional Marxist propositions to buttress their claims. However, Western neoclassical
economic thought has become dominant in the leading economics departments at universities in China,
and in many cases it was neoclassical ideas that underlay the comments of the speakers, whatever the
language used to express them.
A final relevant piece of background information concerns the class structure of China today and its
relation to the CCP. Originally membership in the CCP was open to workers, peasants, and
intellectuals. The rapid development of private business starting in the early 1990s created a class of
indigenous capitalists who, while wealthy and increasingly influential, were at least officially barred
from membership in the ruling CCP. Then a few years ago, after a sharp political struggle, the CCP
membership rules were changed to open membership to “entrepreneurs.” Reverberations of that
political battle, as well as the one over property rights, could be heard in some of the conference
Readers can now appreciate the remarkable statements and positions put forward by various
participants in this conference. In a few cases I provide a direct quotation, but most of the statements
below paraphrase the main theses or points made by various Chinese speakers at the conference. Each
statement below was made by at least one Chinese speaker, and some were repeated, with variations,
by several speakers. In some cases I have added interpretive or clarifying comments in brackets. I begin
with statements by participants who favor the current direction of social change in China—which
represented the vast majority of speakers—and end with pronouncements by the few who either oppose
China’s march to capitalism or are at least resisting the distortion of Marxism to justify that march.
Statements and Themes from the Conference
• When an SOE is turned into a joint stock corporation with many shareholders, it represents
socialization of ownership as Marx and Engels described it, since ownership goes from a single
owner to a large number of owners [among others, this was stated by someone from the Central
• If SOEs are turned into joint stock corporations and the employees are given some shares of the
stock, then this would achieve “Marx’s objective of private ownership of property.”
• In dealing with the SOEs, we must follow “international norms” and establish a “modern
property rights system.” [As in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s, the
terms in quotes were euphemisms for capitalist norms and capitalist property rights.]
• Enterprises can be efficient in our socialist market economy only if they are privately owned.
[This statement, voiced by several people, comes directly from Western “neoclassical”
• SOEs exploit their workers and are state capitalist institutions, and SOEs often have a very high
rate of exploitation. [The point was that privatizing SOEs will not introduce exploitation or
capitalist relations since both are already present in SOEs.]
• The nature of ownership of the enterprises has no bearing on whether a country is capitalist or
socialist. Enterprises should always be privately owned and operated for profit. What makes a
country socialist is that the government taxes the surplus value and uses the proceeds to benefit
the people through pensions and other social programs. [Along with justifying privatization, this
implies that, as China’s economy becomes much like those of the United States and Western
Europe, China is not abandoning socialism since, by this definition, all of the industrialized
capitalist countries are actually socialist.]
• The United States has companies with millions of shareholders, which is a far more socialized
form of ownership than anything that exists in China.
• “[After the Second World War] Capitalism not only gave up its fierce antagonism to labor, but
even began combining with labor....Modern capitalism...is gradually creating a new type of
capitalism that is more like socialism.”
• The CCP followed the correct approach, in line with classical Marxism, during the period of
New Democracy [i.e., the period directly following the 1949 liberation, when the party said it
was completing the bourgeois democratic revolution but not yet trying to build socialism]. The
change in policy after that period [when the party shifted its aim to building socialism] was an
error, and instead the New Democracy policy should have been continued. [This was spookily
simiqilar to the widespread argument in Moscow in 1989–91 that the Soviet Communist Party
should have stayed with the New Economic Policy of 1921–27, which called for a mixed
economy with a significant role for private business and with market forces playing the main
• Besides current labor and past labor [the latter the Marxist term for the labor required to
produce the means of production], there is a third type of labor, namely “risk labor.” Marxist
theory should take account of this third type of labor, which is expended by those who take
risks through entrepreneurship. [The obvious point was that “entrepreneurs,” i.e., capitalists, are
a type of worker, and hence it is correct that they are allowed to join the Communist Party.]
As I listened to these themes—and as I raised questions about them in the question/discussion periods
—I had a strong feeling of déjà vu. Many of them were the same themes I had heard (and had argued
against) in Moscow in 1991, the last year of the Soviet Union, coming from Soviet academics and party
and state officials.
Now for some comments by Chinese conference participants that swam against the private property
and privatization tide:
• A thorough study of the original German versions of Marx and Engels’s writings on
communism shows that they clearly viewed communism as involving the abolition of private
property. Those who have argued that this idea arose from a mistranslation of Marx and
Engels’s works are mistaken. We should not distort Marxism to justify current policies. [Some
“Marxists” in China have been arguing that Marx and Engels never actually wrote that
communism would involve abolition of private property.]
• Privatization is not the right solution to the problems of the SOEs. The right to use capital
should belong to the workers and serve their interests.
• “Informal privatization” [in which an SOE’s director illegally turns it into his private company]
creates capitalist enterprises and should not be permitted.
• While some SOEs may have low profit rates, profitability is not a good measure of an
enterprise’s contribution to social and economic welfare.
• The many Chinese economists who support the theories of Ronald Coase [a rightwing British
property-rights theorist who is known for opposing any significant state regulation of private
business] are mistaken. The Chinese followers of Coase claim that Marx had no theory of
property rights and that Coase supplies the property rights theory that China needs. On the
contrary, property rights are the legal manifestation of production relations, a relationship which
Marx analyzes at some length. Contrary to Coase’s view, private property is not necessary for
efficiency. Public ownership should be primary. [This older leftist academic economist cited at
some length statements by the well-known U.S. left-of-center economist Joseph Stiglitz
condemning the work of Coase. The reliance by a leftist Chinese economist on the pro-capitalist
—yet somewhat heretical—U.S. economist Stiglitz to make a criticism of Coase reminded me
of 1991 in Moscow, when the few leftist Soviet economists struggled to criticize free market
theory by citing people such as John Kenneth Galbraith.]
1. The new “Property Rights Law of the People’s Republic of China” was passed by the National
People’s Congress on March 16, 2007.
2. After such corrupt insider privatizations, the newly privatized enterprise is often then sold to a third
party, who at least officially was not involved in the original privatization process. Opponents charged
that one of the provisions of the proposed new law (article 106) would hold the final owner blameless
and secure that person’s right of ownership, as long as the final owner could claim that she or he
obtained the property with “benign intent.”
5270 个读者 boxi @ yeeyan.com 5 天前 15:36 双语对照 原文 字体大小 小 中 大
- 纳吉布.马福兹，作家 (1911- )
厄科 - Echo（回音）。
为美丽。为了纪念纳西塞斯，仙女们就把这种花 命名为 Narcissus，也就是水仙花了。而这亦是
水仙花为何总是长在水边的原故。也因为这个故事，人们用 Narcissism 形容那些异常喜爱自己
The clever man tells, the wise man knows quietly
You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his
- Naguib Mahfouz, writer (1911- )
A clever man will always tell you answers. He will tell you things you may not even care about. His
purpose is to impress. To be more accurate, his purpose is, like that of Narcissus, to see himself
reflected in the reaction on your face.
It may be arrogance, hubris or insecurity that causes him to seek a reaction from you. You are the
fulfillment of the need of a clever man. You are the audience that satisfies his need.
A wise man will not try to convince you of anything. A wise man is trying to build himself, not to build
you. He asks questions because he wants to learn more. He needs to learn more because he is aware of
how little he knows about so many things. He is aware less of what he knows than of what he does not
A wise man will not proselytize you. If you are willing and eager, he may guide you to find your own
answers. He will not push you because he is on his own quest.
Then we have those who are neither clever, wanting to convey to us how much they know, nor wise.
They do not ask questions. They wish to give the impression that they know as much as they need to
They have learned from the ethics of business that they should "never let them see you sweat." Never
give the impression that you don't know. When you don't know, fake it. Pretend. Most times the others
won't know that you don't know.
While that is the apparent ethic of business, it's not a real one. The person who doesn't ask questions
and who doesn't know will never rise against the competition because deep down the others know the
truth. The ones who know will reach where they want to go.
The ones who do not ask questions don't try to learn. They remain ignorant. Comfortably ignorant, as
they persuade even themselves that they know as much as they need to know.
Yet they are always poor. Poor of spirit because they think of themselves first. Poor of intellect because
they close doors of opportunity to learn. Poor of character because they deceive even themselves, thus
have no hesitation about deceiving others.
A wise man will share what he knows. But you will have to ask. Otherwise he will be busy.
He has his own quest. He will assume that you have your own.
14 亿人口的国家里，单身妈妈毕竟太少了。即使偶然碰到个别单身妈 妈，往往不是因为离婚就
Why Single Mothers in China Are So Rare
I have never met a single mother in China. Not one. Do they exist? Sure, but even in a country of
1.4 billion people, they are few and far between. And if you do happen to run into a single mother, it is
more than likely that she lost her husband through a divorce or early death. Women choosing to keep
their babies out-of-wedlock in China is almost unheard of.
“I spent a few weeks last winter taking care of a friend who had an abortion,” an acquaintance of
mine related to me during my recent trip to western China. “She had a boyfriend in University who got
her pregnant and she really had no choice but to get rid of it.”
“Did anyone suggest to her that she keep the baby and at least give it up for adoption?” I asked.
“Of course not,” came the reply. “Having a baby without a husband could have ruined her chance to
graduate from university and have a successful career.” According to my friend, the boyfriend had no
intention of marrying the girl as the relationship was not that serious.
Unlike in America, where organizations like Planned Parenthood are supposed to present other
options to mothers who are contemplating an abortion, there is no such counsel given in China. If a
woman is single and pregnant in China, there is only one option; the baby must go.
Not that keeping a baby out-of-wedlock in China would be easy. Most university students in China
are completely dependent on their parents for financial support and choosing to have a baby would
place an extra burden on them. Just as my friend suggested, for many young women, choosing to have
a baby could very well mean the end of their higher education.
But even more importantly, there is still a strong social stigma that is placed on women in China
who have children before they are married. It is simply not culturally acceptable.
“It would bring shame on her family,” explained my friend. While the age old tradition in China of
‘checking the sheets’ after the wedding night to make sure the bride was a virgin may be fast fading
away, most Chinese parents are afraid of ‘losing face’ in front of their family members in friends. An
unmarried daughter with a child would be a constant source for rumors and gossip. Having sex before
marriage is one thing, but having a baby before marriage would most definitely bring shame upon the
girl’s entire family. And then there would be the question about who the girl could marry someday. It
would take a special man to marry a single mother in China and the wedding process, which is so
important in Chinese culture, would be naturally tainted in the eyes of the girl’s relatives.
Thus, there is no such thing as pro-choice in China. There is only one choice; the baby is sacrificed
to secure the future of the girl. In China, an abortion procedure is as common as having one’s tonsils
“She was only one month pregnant when she had the abortion,” my aquaintance told me. “She
didn’t see it as a person. It was just a medical procedure.”
Yet, according to my friend, the girl that she took care of suffered both physically and emotionally
from the experience.
“It was a horrible thing for her to go through,” my friend admitted. “She was very sad.”
As was I when I heard this story. The girl never had a choice and the baby never had a chance.
独眼巨人（Cyclope，又翻译成“车轮眼”，因为 cyclope 在希腊文中原本是“ring-eyed”之意）是一种巨大的生物。他
的《工作与时日》Works and Days，和关于众神及世界的起源的描述《神谱》Theogony.其作品是研究希腊神
希腊神话中其实有两代独眼巨人。 第一代是三兄弟，是大地女神盖娅（Gaia，Mother Earth)和天空之神乌拉
诺斯（Uranus，Sky)的孩子，分别叫作 Brontes (“雷鸣”), Steropes (“闪电”), Arges (“电光”).第二代独眼巨人是波塞冬
和 百手巨人（Hecatonchires，赫卡通刻伊瑞斯，希腊神话里面的百手三巨人，指的是由 Uranus 和 Gaia 所生的三个
儿子布里亚柔斯 Briareus, 科托斯 Cottus 和古阿斯 Gyges,每个人各有 50 个头,100 只手，曾经和众神在与泰坦巨人的
Keeping an Eye Out for the CYCLOPES
The Cyclopes were giant beings with a single, round eye in the middle of their foreheads.
According to the ancient Greek writer Hesiod, they were strong, stubborn, and “abrupt of
emotion.” Their every action ebbed with violence and power and their name means "ring-
There are actually two generations of Cyclopes in Greek myth. The first generation consisted
of three brothers, Brontes (“thunderer”), Steropes (“lightning”), and Arges (“brightness”), who
came from the union of Gaia (Mother Earth) and Uranus (Sky). The second generation
descended from Poseidon, and the most famous of these was Polyphemus from Homer’s
According to some versions of early Olympian history, the Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires
(Hundred-handed-ones) were failed attempts by Mother Earth to create a race of mortals to
populate the planet.
Brontes, Steropes, and Arges (the three descended from Gaia and Uranus) were the
inventive blacksmiths of the Olympian gods. They were skilled metal workers and created
Zeus’ thunderbolts, Poseidon’s trident, and Hades’ Helmet of Darkness that was later used by
Perseus while on his quest to decapitate Medusa.
However, they spent the majority of their early existence imprisoned. Their father Uranus
(sky) hated all of his offspring (the Titans, Cyclopes and Hecatonchires or hundred-handed-
ones) and kept them confined deep within Gaia (earth). The defeat of Uranus by his son
Cronus (a Titan) freed the Cyclopes for a time, but Cronus was a paranoid ruler. He feared
the Cyclopes’ power and cast them into Tartarus (the place of punishment in the underworld)
where they remained imprisoned until Zeus (an Olympian and son of Cronus) released them,
requiring their aid in the Titanomachy (battle of the Titans).
With the assistance of the Cyclopes and their thunderbolts, Zeus overthrew Cronus and the
Titans and became ruler of the cosmos. He was grateful for the Cyclopes’ help and allowed
them to stay in Olympus as his armorers and helpers to Hephaestus, god of smiths. The
Greeks also credited them with building the massive fortifications at Tiryns and Mycenae in
It is said that the god Apollo killed the Cyclopes to avenge the death of his son Asclepius,
whom the Cyclopes had killed for bringing mortals back to life. The ghosts of the Cyclopes
then went to live in the caverns of volcanic Mount Aetna - this legend served to explain the
smoke that frequently rose from that mountain.
Brontes, Steropes, and Arges are mainly mentioned in passing in most of the myths to convey
strength in heroes and the fine quality of weapons but are major characters in one other event
– their deaths at the hands of Apollo. Zeus struck Asclepius, Apollo’s son, down with a
thunderbolt for having risen a person from the dead. Apollo was outraged and killed the
Cyclopes who had forged the deadly thunderbolt. It appears that Apollo’s rage was
misplaced, yet by killing the Cyclopes, he was indirectly punishing Zeus. The ghosts of
Brontes, Steropes, and Arges are said to dwell in Mt. Aetna, an active volcano that smokes as
a result of their burning forges.
The second generation of Cyclopes was a band of lawless shepherds living in Sicily who had
lost the skill of metallurgy. Polyphemus, son of Poseidon and the sea nymph Thoosa, is the
only notable individual of the lot and figures prominently in Homer’s Odyssey. Odysseus and
his crew landed on Sicily, realm of the Cyclopes. He and a few of his best men became
trapped in Polyphemus’ cave when Polyphemus rolled a large boulder in front of the entrance
to corral his sheep while Odysseus was still inside. Polyphemus was fond of human flesh and
devoured many of the men for dinner. On the second night, Odysseus told Polyphemus that
his name was “Nobody,” and tricked him into drinking enough wine to pass out. While he was
incapacitated, Odysseus/Nobody blinded him with a red hot poker. Polyphemus shouted in
pain to the other Cyclopes on the island that “Nobody” was trying to kill him, so no one came
to his rescue. Eventually, he had to roll away the stone to allow his sheep to graze. Odysseus
and the remaining crew clung to the bellies of the exiting sheep where Polyphemus could not
feel them as they passed him on their way to pasture and escaped.
As Odysseus sailed away from the island, he shouted to Polyphemus that it was Odysseus
who had blinded him. Enraged, the Cyclops threw huge boulders at the ship and shouted to
his father, Poseidon, to avenge him.
Recent scholars have hypothesized about the origin of the Cyclopes’ single eye. One
possibility is that in ancient times, smiths could have worn an eye patch over one eye to
prevent being blinded in both eyes from flying sparks. Also, smiths sometimes tattooed
themselves with concentric circles which could have been in honor of the sun which provided
the fire for their furnaces. Concentric rings were also part of the pattern for making bowls,
helmets, masks, and other metal objects. Notice that the first generation Cyclopes were
associated with metal-working while the second generation was not. Apparently, the lawless
band of Cyclopes is a later addition to the myths. The incidence with Polyphemus seems to
have had an independent existence from the Odyssey before Homer added it to his epic
adventure. It was probably told as a separate myth at certain functions.
It is uncertain why the Cyclopes were demoted from the smiths of the gods to a lawless group
of monsters with no reverence for the gods. When the universe came into being, there were
many monsters and vague forms that were gradually replaced with beings with more human
forms. Order was replacing chaos. The monsters were phased out, and this could have lead
to the transformation of the “good” Cyclopes to the “evil” Cyclopes that were destined to be
fought and defeated by the divine human form.
They next arrived at the country of the Cyclopses. The Cyclopses were giants, who inhabited
an island of which they were the only possessors. The name means "round eye," and these
giants were so called because they had but one eye, and that placed in the middle of the
forehead. They dwelt in caves and fed on the wild productions of the island and on what their
flocks yielded, for they were shepherds.
Ulysses left the main body of his ships at anchor, and with one vessel went to the Cyclopses'
island to explore for supplies. He landed with his companions, carrying with them a jar of wine
for a present, and coming to a large cave they entered it, and finding no one within examined
its contents. They found it stored with the richest of the flock, quantities of cheese, pails and
bowls of milk, lambs and kids in their pens, all in nice order. Presently arrived the master of
the cave, Polyphemus, bearing an immense bundle of firewood, which he threw down before
the cavern's mouth. He then drove into the cave the sheep and goats to be milked, and,
entering, rolled to the cave's mouth an enormous rock, that twenty oxen could not draw. Next
he sat down and milked his ewes, preparing a part for cheese, and setting the rest aside for
his customary drink. Then, turning round his great eye, he discerned the strangers, and
growled out to them, demanding who they were, and where from. Ulysses replied most
humbly, stating that they were Greeks, from the great expedition that had lately won so much
glory in the conquest of Troy; that they were now on their way home, and finished by
imploring his hospitality in the name of the gods.
Polyphemus deigned no answer, but reaching out his hand seized two of the Greeks, whom
he hurled against the side of the cave, and dashed out their brains. He proceeded to devour
them with great relish, and having made a hearty meal, stretched himself out on the floor to
sleep. Ulysses was tempted to seize the opportunity and plunge his sword into him as be
slept, but recollected that it would only expose them all to certain destruction, as the rock with
which the giant had closed up the door was far beyond their power to remove, and they would
therefore be in hopeless imprisonment.
Next morning the giant seized two more of the Greeks, and dispatched them in the same
manner as their companions, feasting on their flesh till no fragment was left. He then moved
away the rock from the door, drove out his flocks, and went out, carefully replacing the barrier
after him. When he was gone Ulysses planned how he might take vengeance for his
murdered friends, and effect his escape with his surviving companions. He made his men
prepare a massive bar of wood cut by the Cyclops for a staff, which they found in the cave.
They sharpened the end of it, and seasoned it in the fire, and hid it under the straw on the
cavern floor. Then four of the boldest were selected, with whom Ulysses joined himself as a
The Cyclops came home at evening, rolled away the stone and drove in his flock as usual.
After milking them and making his arrangements as before, he seized two more of Ulysses'
companions and dashed their brains out, and made his evening meal upon them as he had
on the others. After he had supped, Ulysses approaching him handed him a bowl of wine,
saying, "Cyclops, this is wine; taste and drink after thy meal of men's flesh." He took and
drank it, and was hugely delighted with it, and called for more. Ulysses supplied him once
again, which pleased the giant so much that he promised him as a favor that he should be the
last of the party devoured. He asked his name, to which Ulysses replied, "My name is
After his supper the giant lay down to repose, and was soon found asleep. Then Ulysses with
his four select friends thrust the end of the stake into the fire till it was all one burning coal,
then poising it exactly above the giant's only eye, they buried it deeply into the socket, twirling
it round as a carpenter does his auger.
The howling monster with his outcry filled the cavern, and Ulysses with his aides nimbly got
out of his way and concealed themselves in the cave. He, bellowing, called aloud on all the
Cyclopes dwelling in the caves around him, far and near. They on his cry flocked round the
den, and inquired what grievous hurt had caused him to sound such an alarm and break their
slumbers. He replied, "O friends, I die, and Noman gives the blow." They answered, "If no
man hurts thee it is the stroke of Jove (Zeus), and thou must bear it." So saying, they left him
Next morning the Cyclops rolled away the stone to let his flock out to pasture, but planted
himself in the door of the cave to feel of all as they went out, that Ulysses and his men should
not escape with them. But Ulysses had made his men harness the rams of the flock three
abreast, with osiers which they found on the floor of the cave. To the middle ram of the three
one of the Greeks suspended himself, so protected by the exterior rams on either side. As
they passed, the giant felt of the animals' backs and sides, but never thought of their bellies;
so the men all passed safe, Ulysses himself being on the last one that passed.
When they had got a few paces from the cavern, Ulysses and his friends released themselves
from their rams, and drove a good part of the flock down to the shore to their boat. They put
them aboard with all haste, then pushed off from the shore, and when at a safe distance
Ulysses shouted out, "Cyclops, the gods have well requited thee for thy atrocious deeds.
Know it is Ulysses to whom thou owest thy shameful loss of sight."
The Cyclops, hearing this, seized a rock that projected from the side of the mountain, and
rending it from its bed he lifted it high in the air, then exerting all his force, hurled it in the
direction of the voice. Down came the mass, just clearing the vessel's stern. The ocean, at the
plunge of the huge rock, heaved the ship towards the land, so that it barely escaped being
swamped by the waves. When they had with the utmost difficulty pulled off shore, Ulysses
was about to hail the giant again, but his friends besought him not to do so. He could not
forbear, however, letting the giant know that they had escaped his missile, but waited till they
had reached a safer distance than before. The giant answered them with curses, but Ulysses
and his friends plied their oars vigorously, and soon regained their companions.
Land Your Dream Job: Ditch School and Get a Library Card
Article by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead; follow him on twitter.
What if you could do what you love for a living and make a great income at it? On top of that, what if
you didn’t have to go to school, spend hundreds of hours in a classroom and end up with a mountain of
debt when you finally earn your degree? Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
It’s true that the average college graduate earns more than someone without a bachelor’s degree.
However, a good chunk of the biggest innovators and multimillionaires in the world were either high
school or college drop outs. (See: Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Johnny Depp, Bill Gates and Quinten
So how did they do it?
Is it really possible to make as good of a living being self-taught, as someone with an expensive
degree? Each path has their unique benefits and drawbacks, and I’m not trying to convince you one
way or another. I’m just pointing out that the playing field has changed a lot in the past decade, and it’s
more possible than ever to trail blaze your own path. The biggest point is to determine what works best
A lot of people don’t know this, but I never graduated from high school. At the beginning of my
sophomore year I just stopped having an interest in going to class. The work was too easy for me and I
felt I was being forced to learn about things that I had no interest in. I felt like I had no participation in
my own education. So I stopped going.
A few years later I ended up attending a community college. I never finished that either, but I did like it
a lot better than high school. I didn’t choose a set major; I just took whatever classes interested me. I
had no desire to actually obtain a degree, I only wanted to learn about the things that interested me.
Honestly, I think taking classes that you find interesting should be a greater focus in college, because
too much emphasis is being placed on partying and fulfilling course requirements. College is your
chance to study the things you care about. Who cares if they don’t apply to your major? I didn’t.
In case you’re wondering what kind of options are out there, here are a few career opportunities that
don’t require a college degree:
• Life coach
• Software developer
• Social media consultant
• Public speaker
• Professional photographer
The possibilities are only limited to your imagination. Most of the skills needed for these pursuits can
be learned with a simple library card and self teaching. You can obviously study most of these career
paths in a formal setting as well, but it’s not necessarily required.
It’s my opinion that over the course of the next decade, we’ll see a lot more people on the scene of the
self starting career path. The amount of free information and self educations resources is exploding.
Places like Wikipedia and Personal MBA are changing the playing field. Not only that, but it’s
becoming easier to establish yourself as an expert and build your network than ever before. Things like
blogging and online content publishing platforms can allow you to demonstrate your expertise without
decades of climbing your way up the corporate ladder. Social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn can
allow you to cut out the middle man and build direct, mutually beneficial relationships with the people
you need to know.
Despite how romantic this all sounds, this path isn’t always bed of roses. There are some qualities you
need in order to be a self-made renegade:
• Be a self starter. This means that you have to be self motivated to learn and immerse yourself
in the knowledge of your field.
• You have to have passion. Your source for motivation will come from your passion. If you’re
not passionate about what you’re doing, it will be hard to keep going.
• Self-reliance. Since there’s no course to follow, you’ll have to pave your own way. You need a
certain amount of creativity and self-discipline to remain persistent.
• It helps to have a tribe. It will be much easier to stay true to your goals when you have support
from a group of like-minded people or from a mentor.
I’m not claiming that the traditional path doesn’t have any value. There are benefits and disadvantages
to each side. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a college graduate vs. the self educated person.
College degree pros:
• Curriculum is laid out before you. You don’t have to do much work researching what you need
to learn about, you simply follow the course structure.
• Network is built for you. If you do things right in college, you can likely come out with an
already strong network of business / professional contacts.
• Credibility. A reputable degree proves you’ve thoroughly studied your profession.
College degree cons:
• Curriculum can be too rigid. If you’re learning the same things everyone else is learning in your
profession, how do you differentiate yourself?
• To put it bluntly, college is expensive.
• You are forced to learn things you don’t really care about. Course requirements for a degree
often require that you to take classes with hardly any relevance to your major.
Self educated pros:
• No strict curriculum allows you to be more flexible in building a knowledge base. If you’re
highly motivated, you’re likely to pick out things that a traditionally educated person would
• Has the possibility to take less time. If you’re smart, you can establish yourself in a profession
in much less time than by first getting a degree.
• You’re more in control of how long it will take to become established.
• Less expensive. A library card and access to Wikipedia are free.
Self education cons:
• Not easy if you’re not disciplined.
• You have to build your own network. Hanging out at library doesn’t give you much opportunity
to network with others in your field.
• You have to establish credibility. If you don’t have a degree to back you up, you’ll have to
demonstrate your competence through past successes. This is kind of irrelevant anyway,
because college degree or not, a client or company will want to see not just what you’ve studied
or your grades, but what you’ve actually accomplished.
• Some fields require a degree. There are some fields where being self-educated isn’t enough to
practice your profession legally. See: doctor, lawyer, etc. This is, however, a small fraction of
the career spectrum.
So if you’re thinking about the DIY path, here are some good resources to get you started:
• Google Scholar - Easily searched peer-reviewed papers, theses, books and articles on your
topic of interest.
• Wikipedia - Information and background on nearly every subject.
• Personal MBA - Follows the philosophy that you can teach yourself everything you need to
know about running a successful business.
• MIT OpenCourseWare
• Finance Your Freedom - A great blog on creating your own career path and ditching the
mainstream by Clay Collins.
• Career Renegade - An awesome book by Jonathan Fields on unconventional career paths and
doing what you love for a living. It also has a solid chapter on self teaching resources.
If you’re looking to become a chemist, anthropologist, a doctor or a lawyer, the self-educated path is
probably not the best choice for you. If you’re looking for a career in technology, social media, writing
or starting your own business, self teaching is probably your best bet. It all depends on what you want
out of life. You can obviously have a hybrid of both, too.
In the end, what really matters is real world experience, something no library, classroom or teacher
This article was written by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind. To
learn more about how to live without limits, grab a subscription to Illuminated Mind.
If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or StumbleUpon. I’d appreciate it. :)
897 个读者 MINSHENG @ yeeyan.com 3 天前 11:24 双语对照 原文 字体大小 小 中 大