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#176: Stock Crash of 1929

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Crowds gather in the Wall Street district of Manhattan in reaction to the heavy losses on the stock market on October 24, 1929, or
Crowds gather in the Wall Street district of Manhattan in reaction to the heavy losses on the stock market on October 24, 1929, or "Black Thursday"

Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English.

The election of Herbert Hoover in nineteen twenty-eight made Americans more hopeful than ever about their future.

1928年休伯特.胡佛当选总统,让美国人对他们的未来充满信心。

Hoover seemed to have just the right experience to lead the nation to more economic progress. He was an engineer and businessman who had served in the government as commerce secretary. He understood economics and had faith in the future of private business.

胡佛似乎就是那个能够领导美国经济继续发展的人,他曾经是工程师和商人,他还担任过商务部长,他懂经济,而且他对私营经济的未来充满信心。

On a rainy day in March of nineteen twenty-nine, Hoover rode down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington to become the new president. "I have no fears for the future of our country," he told the cheering crowd. "It is bright with hope."

在1929年3月的一个阴雨天,胡佛骑马走过华盛顿宾夕法尼亚大道,正式成为美国总统。他对欢呼的人群说:"我对国家的未来没有担忧,我们的未来充满希望。"

This week in our series, Faith Lapidus and Bob Doughty tell more about the Republican administration of Herbert Hoover.

(MUSIC)

FAITH LAPIDUS: The clearest evidence of the public's faith in the economy is the stock market. And the New York Stock Exchange reacted to the new president with a wild increase in prices. During the months after Hoover's election, prices generally rose like a rocket. Stocks valued at one hundred dollars climbed to two hundred, then three hundred, four hundred. Men and women made huge amounts of money overnight.

美国民众对经济充满信心明显表现在股票市场上。美国纽约证券交易所股票全面上扬,以此来迎接新总统的上任。胡佛当选总统后的几个月里,美国股票价格就像火箭一样直线上涨,股票价格从一百美元涨到二百美元,再涨到三百美元、四百美元。许多人因此一夜暴富。

Publications and economic experts advised Americans to buy stocks before prices went even higher. Time and again, people heard how rich they could become if they found and bought stocks for companies growing into industrial giants.

媒体和经济专家们不断建议人们在股票价格再次飞涨前赶紧买进。人们不知道多少次听到,有人买到了持续增长的美国公司股票而致富。

"Never sell the United States short," said one publication. Another just said, "Everybody ought to be rich."

有一家媒体这样说:"永远不要低估美国。"另一家媒体说:"任何人都会发财。"

BOB DOUGHTY: A number of economic experts worried about the sharp increase in stock prices that followed Hoover's election. The president himself urged stock market officials to make trading more honest and safe. And he approved a move by the Federal Reserve Board to increase the interest charged to banks.

胡佛当选总统后股价的猛涨让一些经济专家开始担忧。胡佛总统也敦促证券交易所官员要确保交易的诚信和安全,并同时批准美国联邦证券委员会提高银行间的拆借利率。

However, both efforts failed to stop the growing number of Americans who were spending their money wildly on stocks.

然而,这两项措施都没能阻止人们将大量资金投向股市。

Some experts pointed to danger signs in the economy during the summer of nineteen twenty-nine. The number of houses being built was dropping. Industries were reducing the amount of products that they held in their factories. The rate of growth in spending by average Americans was falling sharply. And industrial production, employment, and prices were down.

一些专家从1929年夏天的经济数据中看到了危险的苗头。房地产建设项目下降,工业企业产量下降,美国人平均消费支出急剧下降,而且工业品、就业以及物价都开始下降。

These experts warned that the American economy was just not strong enough to support such rapid growth in stock prices. They said there was no real value behind many of the high prices. They said a stock price could not increase four times while a company's sales stayed the same. They said the high prices were built on foolish dreams of wealth, not real value.

这些专家警告说,美国现有经济实力无法支撑当前不断上涨的股价。他们说,在一家公司的销售维持不变的情况下,其股票不可能上涨四倍,所以高股价并不能真正反映公司的价值,而是建立在人们对财富愚蠢的梦想基础上的。这并不是真实的。

FAITH LAPIDUS: But the prices went still higher. Buyers fought with each other to pay more and more for company stocks. The average price of all stocks almost doubled in just one year.

但是股票价格仍在上涨,股民继续抢购股票。一年中,几乎所有的股票价格都上涨了一倍。

It seemed everybody was buying stocks, even people with little money or economic training.

在美国,几乎所有的人都在买股票,哪怕是没什么钱的人或者没有什么经济常识的人,也在买股票。

A clothing salesman got advice from a stock trader visiting his store and made two hundred thousand dollars. A nurse learned of a good company from someone in the hospital. She made thirty thousand dollars. There were thousands of such stories.

某个服装售货员从一个到他店里买衣服的证券经纪人那得到建议,赚了20万美元。一个护士在医院听某人说有家好公司,于是她也赚了3万美元。类似的故事有千千万万。

By early September, the stock market reached its high point of the past eighteen months. Shares of the Westinghouse company had climbed from ninety-one dollars to three hundred thirteen. The Anaconda Copper company had risen from fifty-four dollars to one hundred sixty-two. Union Carbide jumped from one hundred forty-five to four hundred thirteen.

到1929年9月初,美国股票市场的指数达到了过去十八个月的最高点。西屋公司的股票价格从91美元上涨到313美元;阿纳康达铜业公司的股票价格从54 美元上涨到136美元,联合碳化物公司的股票价格从145美元上涨到413美元。

Life was like a dream. But like any dream, it could not last forever.

生活就像梦一样,但是,梦都是不可能永久的。

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: In September, nineteen twenty-nine, stock prices stopped rising.

During the next month and a half, stock prices fell, but only slowly. Then suddenly, at the end of October, the market crashed. Prices dropped wildly. Leading stocks fell five, ten, twenty dollars in a single day.

而在1929年9月,美国股市不再上涨,在此后的一个半月中,股市开始下跌,但仍是缓慢地下跌。然而,到10月底,突然有一天,美国股市崩盘了,股票价格急剧下跌,跌幅最大的一些股票一天下跌了5、10、20美元。

Everyone tried to sell their stocks. But no one was buying. Fear washed across the stock market. People were losing money even faster than they had made it.

所有人都想抛售,可是没人买。恐惧情绪席卷股市,人们损失的速度远远超过他们赚钱的速度。

FAITH LAPIDUS: The stock market collapsed on Thursday, October twenty-fourth, nineteen twenty-nine. People remember the day as "Black Thursday," the day the dreams ended.

到1929年10月24日星期四这一天,美国股市彻底崩溃,人们将这一天称为"黑色星期四",这一天意味着美国人的股票梦破灭了。

The day began with a wave of selling. People from across the country sent messages to their stock traders in New York. All the messages said the same thing: Sell! Sell the stocks at any price possible! But no one was buying. And so down the prices came.

这一天是从抛售潮开始的。全国各地的人都向纽约的股票经纪人发出同样的指令:卖!不管什么价格,都要卖。但是没有买家,所以价格急剧下跌。

The value of stock for the Montgomery Ward store dropped from eighty-three dollars to fifty in a single day. The RCA radio corporation fell from sixty-eight dollars to forty-four - down twenty-four dollars in just a few hours. Down the stocks fell, lower and lower.

蒙哥马利沃德店的股票价格在一天中就从83美元下跌到50美元,美国无线电广播公司的股票价格在短短几个小时内就从68美元下跌到44美元。股票价格越跌越低。

Several of the country's leading bankers met to discuss ways to stop the disaster. They agreed to buy stocks in large amounts to stop the wave of selling. The bankers moved quickly. And for two days, prices held steady.

美国几位大银行家在一起开会,讨论如何阻止股票狂抛潮,以免形成灾难性后果。他们一致同意大量购买股票,以阻止股票再次抛售。这些银行家行动迅速,在两天之内,稳定了股价。

But then, like snow falling down the side of a mountain, the stocks dropped again. Prices went to amazingly low levels. One business newspaper said simply: "The present week has witnessed the greatest stock market disaster of all time."

但随后,就像雪崩一样,股票价格再次狂跌。一家商报说:"最近这一周证明了股票市场迎来了有史以来的大劫难。"

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: The stock market crash ruined thousands of Americans. In a few short weeks, traders lost thirty billion dollars, an amount almost as great as all the money the United States had spent in World War One.

美国股市暴跌,摧毁了无数美国人的生活。在短短几周里,交易者损失了300亿美元,相当于美国参加一战的总支出。

Some businessmen could not accept what had happened. They jumped from the tops of buildings and killed themselves. In fact, one popular joke of the time said that hotel owners had to ask people if they wanted rooms for sleeping or jumping.

有些商人无法接受现实,跳楼自杀。当时广为人知的一则笑话就反映了这个情况。说的是宾馆老板面对来宾馆的人,不得不问一句,你们来是想住宿呢还是想跳楼?

But the stock market crash was nothing to laugh about. It destroyed much of the money that Americans had saved. Even worse, it caused millions of people to worry and lose faith in the economy. They were not sure what to expect tomorrow. Business owners would not spend money for new factories or business operations. Instead, they decided to wait and see what would happen.

然而,股票市场的崩溃使得人们根本无法体会幽默,它摧毁了美国人大部分的积蓄。更为糟糕的是,股市崩溃让美国人开始对经济感到担忧,并失去信心,对明天充满怀疑。商人们不再投资建厂或新增营业,他们要等等,看下一步会发生什么。

This reduced production and caused more workers to lose their jobs. Fewer workers meant fewer people with money to buy goods. And fewer people buying goods meant less need for factories to produce. So it went. In short, economic disaster.

如此一来产量减少,使更多人失业。越来越少的工人就业,也就意味着越来越少的人有钱去购买商品;而越来越少的人去购买商品,也就意味着人们对产品的需求下降,如此一来,在很短时间内,美国经济的灾难来临了。

FAITH LAPIDUS: Why did the stock market crash? One reason, people had been paying too much for stocks. Everyone believed that prices would go higher and higher forever. People paid more for stocks than the stocks were worth. They hoped to sell the stocks at even higher prices.

为什么股票市场会崩盘呢?一个原因就是人们把太多的钱投入了股市。每个人都认为股票价格会一直涨,人们购买股票所支付的钱远远超过股票自身的价值,而人们希望股票继续上涨,好让他们以更高的价格将股票卖出去。

It was like a children's balloon that expands with air, blowing bigger and bigger until it bursts.

这就像孩子们玩的气球一样,越吹越大,最终爆炸。

But there were other important reasons. Industrial profits were too high and wages too low. Five percent of the population owned one-third of all personal income. The average worker simply did not have enough money to buy enough of all the new goods that factories were producing. Another problem was that companies were not investing enough money in new factories and supplies.

但股市崩盘,还有另一些重要的原因。一个是工业利润太高而工人工资太低。5%的人拥有美国三分之一的国民收入。工人没有足够的钱去购买工厂生产的新商品。另一个原因是一些公司没有投资足够的钱,兴建新厂,添置设备。

There were also problems with the rules of the stock market itself. People were allowed to buy stocks when they did not have the money to do so.

还有一个原因是证券市场自身监管方面的问题,它让那些没有多少钱的人也能到股票市场买卖股票。

BOB DOUGHTY: Several government economic policies also helped cause the stock market crash of nineteen twenty-nine. Government tax policies made the rich richer and the poor poorer. And the government did little to control the national money supply, even when the economy faced disaster.

另外,几项政府政策也促使了1929年美国股市的崩盘。政府的税收政策使富人越富而穷人越穷,政府对货币供应缺乏有效控制,当美国经济面临灾难性危机时也是如此。

The stock market crash marked the beginning of the Great Depression -- a long, slow, painful fall to the worst economic crisis in American history. The Depression would bring suffering to millions of people. It would cause major political changes. And it would be a major force in creating the conditions that led to World War Two.

美国股市的崩溃标志着美国经济大萧条的开始。美国经济大萧条是美国有史以来最漫长、最痛苦,损失最为惨重的经济危机。这次大萧条使数百万美国人遭受其难,而且也改变了美国的政治走向,它还将成为改变世界局势的重要力量,并最终引发第二次世界大战。

We will look at the beginning of the Great Depression in our next program.

(MUSIC)

JIM TEDDER: Our program was written by David Jarmul. The narrators were Faith Lapidus and Bob Doughty. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures at www.unsv.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

___

This is program #176

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