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我要不要退奖金?

THE PROBLEM 问题

  I work for a US bank in London and have just been given a bonus for 2008, which was 60 per cent of my 2007 bonus. It is a sign of the respect my managers have for me and I am grateful for it. However, my bank has received billions of dollars from the US government, so that my bonus is being paid for by taxpayers - which seems wrong. What should I do? Give it back? Give it to charity? Resign? Or keep it on the grounds that the bank is entitled to pay staff what it needs to keep them?

  我为一家设在伦敦的美国银行工作,刚刚收到2008年的奖金,金额是我2007年奖金的60%.这表示主管对我的尊重,我对此心怀感激。不过,我所在的银行接受了美国政府数十亿美元的财政支持,因此我的奖金是纳税人支付的——这似乎不太对劲。我该怎么办?退还?捐给慈善事业?辞职?还是留着它,理由是银行有义务给想留住的员工支付奖金?

  LUCY'S ANSWER

  It is a sign of how low your trade's reputation has fallen that most Financial Times readers assume I've made you up. A banker with a conscience is not a creature they can understand.

  这是一个信号,表明你所在的行业的信誉下降到何种程度,以至大多数《金融时报》读者怀疑我是在炒作你。一个有良知的银行家不是他们所能理解的。

  The few who credit you with existence do not credit you with sense: they think your guilt is misplaced.

  少数相信你确有其人的人,不相信你在用脑子,他们认为你愧疚错了地方。

  I don't agree. It is right and proper to feel queasy about this money being dumped in your lap. It does not matter how good your performance was last year; banks that have been rescued should not be paying out bonuses at all. You suggest bonuses could be justified to stop bankers from jumping ship, but where are the safe harbours they are meant to jump into?

  我不同意这种看法。这么一大把钱扔到你怀里,感到不安是正确而合理的。你去年表现有多好不要紧;说到底,接受纾困资金的银行就不应该发奖金。你提出说,奖金是用来阻止银行从业者跳槽,这么做合情合理,但他们想往哪儿跳,哪里是他们的避风港呢?

  In spite of all this, I don't think you should give the money back. For a start, you may find it impossible to do so for bureaucratic reasons. Most banks are hopeless at processing payments that are irregular; it would not surprise me if no one could even tell you which account to pay the money into. Even if you cleared that hurdle, you still should not pay it back because the bank would almost certainly lose it - just as it has lost its shareholders' money.

  抛开所有这些,我真的不认为你应该把钱退还给银行。首先你会发现,出于官僚主义的原因,这么做是不可能的。大多数银行在处理非常规薪酬方面心力憔悴;如果没人能告诉你该把钱退到哪个账户,我一点也不觉得奇怪。即使你扫除了这一障碍,你仍不应该退钱,因为银行几乎肯定还是会损失这笔钱——就像他们损失了股东的钱一样。

  What should you do with your ill-gotten gains? You suggest giving it to charity, but as charities were not the victims of your bank's incompetence, I don't see why they should be beneficiaries of your act of reparation. The victim was the economy, and so you should take your bonus, pay your tax and spend the rest in empty shops.

  你该怎样处理你的非正当收益?你提出捐给慈善事业,但慈善团体不是你银行不当行为的受害者,我看不出为何它们应该成为你补偿行为的受益人。受害人是经济,所以你应该拿着你的奖金,上完税,然后把剩余的钱全部花在空荡荡的商店里。

  If you feel the need to protest against this rotten remuneration system, you need strength in numbers. I suggest you start a support group for bankers with a conscience. You would be making history as the first trade union devoted to reducing its members' income.

  如果你感到有必要对这个腐败的薪酬体系提出抗议,你需要数字方面的支持。我建议你为有良知的银行家设立一个支援组织。你将创造历史,成为建立行业组织致力于减少其成员收入的第一人。


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