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巴菲特亲笔撰文:美国繁荣,女性是关键

沃伦•巴菲特 2013年05月06日

股神巴菲特认为,美国虽然已经取得了前无古人的伟大成就,但实际上,这个国家到目前为止只发挥了一半的潜力。因为制度和文化的原因,美国女性的潜力还远远没有得到挖掘。因此,只要美国女性能够突破自我,美国未来繁荣可期。

    1980年,沃伦•巴菲特在自己的50岁生日宴会上和《华盛顿邮报》已故首席执行官凯瑟琳•格雷厄姆交谈。

    来源:《财富》杂志

    本刊独家专稿:伯克希尔哈撒韦(Berkshire Hathaway)董事长兼首席执行官沃伦•巴菲特阐释,为什么女性是美国繁荣发展的关键。

    最近有很多文章都在探讨女性和工作的问题,但在我看来,一个与此有关而且极其重要的问题却一直没有人提起。它关系到美国的未来。而对于美国的未来,我并不是个合格的乐观主义者。此前我曾说过类似的话,现在我要说的是另一个观点:我们的前景之所以如此美好,一个重要的原因就是女性。

    首先我要说,1776年建国以来,美国的进步一直令人称奇,堪称前无古人。其中的秘密就在于,在美国的政治和经济体制之下,人的潜能得到了极大的释放。因此,今天的美国人享用着丰富的产品和服务,而仅仅几个世纪之前,人们还无法想象这样富足的生活。

    但美国人的潜能只发挥了不到一半,或者也就是差不多一半而已。在很多情况下,美国在迈向成功的过程中只动用了国内一半的人才。在美国的历史上,无论女性有什么样的能力,大多数时间里她们都只能靠边站。也就是最近几年美国人才开始纠正这个错误。

    虽然《独立宣言》(the Declaration of Independence)主张“人人生而平等”,但男权主义很快就成为美国宪法的核心。宪法第二章中,全部39名男性宪法签署人一再用“他”来指代总统,这很自然。玩扑克时,人们会把这种情况叫做“露出马脚”。

    最终,在1920年,也就是133年之后,美国宪法第十九修正案才赋予女性投票权,从而淡化了对女性的歧视。但这项修正案几乎没有改变美国人的态度和行为。受此影响,在第十九修正案通过61年后,美国最高法院才迎来了第一位女性法官桑德拉•戴•奥康纳,而在她之前已有33名男性担任过这个职务。

    在这61年间,最高法院没有女性法官候选人的情况受到过质疑,而标准的回答仅仅是“没有合格的人选”。选民的态度也大抵如此。1942年,我父亲成为众议员时,全部435名众议员中只有8名女性;而整个参议院只有缅因州议员玛格丽特•蔡斯•史密斯1名女性。

    一旦自身利益受到变革的冲击,当权者自然会予以抵制。这样的自保行为在企业界和政界比比皆是,就连宗教界也不例外。毕竟,谁会愿意让顶尖职位的竞争者增加一倍呢?

    In an exclusive essay the Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA, Fortune 500)chairman and CEO explains why women are key to America's prosperity.

    In the flood of words written recently about women and work, one related and hugely significant point seems to me to have been neglected. It has to do with America's future, about which -- here's a familiar opinion from me -- I'm an unqualified optimist. Now entertain another opinion of mine: Women are a major reason we will do so well.

    Start with the fact that our country's progress since 1776 has been mind-blowing, like nothing the world has ever seen. Our secret sauce has been a political and economic system that unleashes human potential to an extraordinary degree. As a result Americans today enjoy an abundance of goods and services that no one could have dreamed of just a few centuries ago.

    But that's not the half of it -- or, rather, it's just about the half of it. America has forged this success while utilizing, in large part, only half of the country's talent. For most of our history, women -- whatever their abilities -- have been relegated to the sidelines. Only in recent years have we begun to correct that problem.

    Despite the inspiring "all men are created equal" assertion in the Declaration of Independence, male supremacy quickly became enshrined in the Constitution. In Article II, dealing with the presidency, the 39 delegates who signed the document -- all men, naturally -- repeatedly used male pronouns. In poker, they call that a "tell."

    Finally, 133 years later, in 1920, the U.S. softened its discrimination against women via the 19th Amendment, which gave them the right to vote. But that law scarcely budged attitudes and behaviors. In its wake, 33 men rose to the Supreme Court before Sandra Day O'Connor made the grade -- 61 years after the amendment was ratified. For those of you who like numbers, the odds against that procession of males occurring by chance are more than 8 billion to one.

    When people questioned the absence of female appointees, the standard reply over those 61 years was simply "no qualified candidates." The electorate took a similar stance. When my dad was elected to Congress in 1942, only eight of his 434 colleagues were women. One lonely woman, Maine's Margaret Chase Smith, sat in the Senate.

    Resistance among the powerful is natural when change clashes with their self-interest. Business, politics, and, yes, religions provide many examples of such defensive behavior. After all, who wants to double the number of competitors for top positions?

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