「我離港前到過一間精神科醫院。當時有位病人禮貌地問,一個以作為世上最悠久民主政體而自傲的國家,如何能夠將此地交給一個政治制度非常不同的國家,且既沒諮詢當地公民,又沒給予他們民主的前景,好讓他們捍衞自己的將來。一個隨行同事說,奇怪,香港提出最理智問題的人,竟在精神科醫院。」彭定康 金融時報

“During a visit to a mental hospital before I left Hong Kong, a patient politely asked me how a country that prided itself on being the oldest democracy in the world had come to be handing over his city to another country with a very different system of government, without either consulting the citizens or giving them the prospect of democracy to safeguard their future. Strange, said one of my aides, that the man with the sanest question in Hong Kong is in a mental hospital.”Chris Patten Financial Times

Non Chinese literate friends, please simply switch to English Version provided by LOUSY Google Translation

Please participate in the unregistered demography survey of visitors at the right hand side bar. You are: ?

敬請參與在右下方的不記名訪客分佈調查問卷,你是: ?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

慎防買到檸檬

慎防買到檸檬



不是談真的 “檸檬”,不過因為檸檬是酸溜溜的,所以是另有所指:
A “Lemon” is an American slang term for a car that is found to be defective only after it has been bought.


因此在北美洲有一本書,叫作:Lemon Aid,初初本來只是幫助準車主選擇二手汽車,但漸漸伸展到很多的消費品。


Phil Edmonston Lemon Aid Series:

Lemon Aid for used Cars and Trucks

Lemon Aid for SUVs Vans, and Trucks

Lemon Aid for New Cars and Minivans


其他的又有:


Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Luxury


Lemon-Aid for Consumers Department of Consumer Affairs


身為消費者,購買貨物就有一個風險,買賤價平價貨物,買盒蛋返來一兩隻壞了,還可以一掉了之。購買減價中價的貨品,多有 Warranty 保養期,不過包修理已經落後,因為人工貴所以多是換新的。但購買貴價品例如:一輛汽車、一層樓、一間屋,相信很難換過新的吧,那末身為消費者的你,就要冒很高的風險了。





學術方面有位先生 George Arthur Akerlof,寫了一本書:"The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism",為自己贏到了 2001年度的 諾貝爾經濟學獎。


【維基百科】"The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism" is a 1970 paper by the economist George Akerlof. It discusses information asymmetry, which occurs when the seller knows more about a product than the buyer.

"The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism", published in Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1970, in which he identified certain severe problems that afflict markets characterized by asymmetric information, the paper for which he was awarded the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize.



除了贏得諾貝爾獎外,這位先生也得了另一個大獎,就是娶了 Janet Yellen 做老婆。如今 Yellen (台灣譯作:葉倫 國內譯作:耶伦 香港如今跟從國內譯作:耶倫 以前是譯作:葉蓮)這位太太就是繼承 伯南克 之後,貴為 Chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve 美國聯邦儲備局的主席。


兩夫婦也曾共同寫書: In “Efficiency Wage Models of the Labor Market”, Akerlof and coauthor Janet Yellen (his wife) propose rationales for the efficiency wage hypothesis in which employers pay above the market-clearing wage, in contradiction to the conclusions of neoclassical economics.


回頭再讀讀 George Akerlof 的得獎文章。


【維基百科】Akerlof's paper uses the market for used cars as an example of the problem of quality uncertainty. A used car is one in which ownership is transferred from one person to another, after a period of use by its first owner and its inevitable wear and tear.

There are good used cars ("cherries") and defective used cars ("lemons"), normally as a consequence of several not-always-traceable variables, such as the owner's driving style, quality and frequency of maintenance, and accident history.

Because many important mechanical parts and other elements are hidden from view and not easily accessible for inspection, the buyer of a car does not know beforehand whether it is a cherry or a lemon. So the buyer's best guess for a given car is that the car is of average quality; accordingly, he/she will be willing to pay for it only the price of a car of known average quality.

This means that the owner of a carefully maintained, never-abused, good used car will be unable to get a high enough price to make selling that car worthwhile.

Therefore, owners of good cars will not place their cars on the used car market. The withdrawal of good cars reduces the average quality of cars on the market, causing buyers to revise downward their expectations for any given car.

This, in turn, motivates the owners of moderately good cars not to sell, and so on. The result is that a market in which there is asymmetric information with respect to quality shows characteristics similar to those described by Gresham's Law: the bad drives out the good. (Although Gresham's Law applies more specifically to exchange rates, modified analogies can be drawn.)



Gresham's Law: the bad drives out the good. 豈不就是我們常說的:「劣幣驅逐良幣」李嘉誠都出口說:「有能力嘅人唔出聲,無能力嘅人爭住做!」


繼續再讀讀 George Akerlof 的得獎文章。


【維基百科】The paper by Akerlof describes how the interaction between quality heterogeneity and asymmetric information can lead to the disappearance of a market where guarantees are indefinite.

In this model, as quality is undistinguishable beforehand by the buyer (due to the asymmetry of information), incentives exist for the seller to pass off low-quality goods as higher-quality ones. The buyer, however, takes this incentive into consideration, and takes the quality of the goods to be uncertain.

Only the average quality of the goods will be considered, which in turn will have the side effect that goods that are above average in terms of quality will be driven out of the market. This mechanism is repeated until a no-trade equilibrium is reached.

As a consequence of the mechanism described in this paper, markets may fail to exist altogether in certain situations involving quality uncertainty. Examples given in Akerlof's paper include the market for used cars, the dearth of formal credit markets in developing countries, and the difficulties that the elderly encounter in buying health insurance.

However, not all players in a given market will follow the same rules or have the same aptitude of assessing quality. So there will always be a distinct advantage for some vendors to offer low-quality goods to the less-informed segment of a market that, on the whole, appears to be of reasonable quality and have reasonable guarantees of certainty. This is part of the basis for the idiom buyer beware.

This is likely the basis for the idiom that an informed consumer is a better consumer. An example of this might be the subjective quality of fine food and wine. Individual consumers know best what they prefer to eat, and quality is almost always assessed in fine establishments by smell and taste before they pay.

That is, if a customer in a fine establishment orders a lobster and the meat is not fresh, he can send the lobster back to the kitchen and refuse to pay for it. However, a definition of 'highest quality' for food eludes providers. Thus, a large variety of better-quality and higher-priced restaurants are supported.



人生有幾多次要作出重要選擇呢?年幼時父母必代為選擇,輪到自己最大機會,就是入大學時,自己要選擇那一間大學,那一個學院書院,選修那一個科目甚麽學系,中國人多不選興趣,而是著重容易搵工搵錢的學系,還有就是單學位還是雙學位,最怕就是錯選了個 ”Lemon 檸檬“。


畢業出來要求職選入那一行,選買車揀買樓安居樂業,遲些便要揀老公搵老婆,以前興從一而終,但有很大的不明朗,驚娶錯妻嫁錯郎,害怕撿了件 “Lemon 檸檬”。如今後生的一代,先同居、之後生仔/女、最後才結婚,方為禮成,漸成風氣。


社會方面投票選舉一個市長,更甚者更高層次的選首領揀領袖。上兩次中央為香港人挑選的特首:董建華 和 曾蔭權,在香港人來說都是被人視為 “檸檬”,在第三次搵特首,中央搵來專業人士,做 Surveyor 的 梁振英 當特首,事實上是比 “檸檬” 更 “檸檬“。


讀完 維基百科 Summarized 拙要 George Akerlof 的得獎文章,其實這不就是我們香港人,即將在 2017年普選特首時,各方所面對的 Quality Uncertainty and the Political Mechanism,有人害怕會被北京又錯選了個 ”檸檬“ 給港人,而北京的考量就是出現類似 ”政黨輪替“ 在香港出現,衝擊內地的 “一黨專政”。


如今政改諮詢如火如荼,港人分裂成激進派保守派,其實雙方都是害怕,害怕 fear 就因為有不明朗 uncertainty 所造成:

Fear comes from uncertainty.
When we are absolutely certain,
whether of our worth or worthlessness,
we are almost impervious to fear.

by:William Congreve


嗜悲 是 認命派,既然在 1997年決定留港,生是香港人死也做香港的鬼,Cherries or Lemons 照啃!!!





伸延閱覽:
Why “lemon” for a faulty or defective item? stackexchange.com
The Market for Lemons 維基百科
George Arthur Akerlof 維基百科
Fear comes from uncertainty brainyquote.com


我的舊文:
檸檬茶






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