首页  | 专栏作家

Forces at play? 起作用的力量

中国日报网 2022-08-09 13:28


Reader question:

Please explain this sentence: “There are other forces at play”.

My comments:

In other words, there are other factors to be taken into consideration.

Obviously, here we’re discussing some complicated issue, albeit unspecified.

Force, you see, refers to energy and strength. We talk about forces of nature, for instance – wind and rain, etc that changes the weather and therefore affect our everyday life.

We also talk about armed forces. That refers to the army. To invade a country, or for that matter to defend one, a strong armed force is needed.

Forces at play? Forces playing an active role, that is. You see a group of kids kicking a ball around in the park. Those kids were at play. “At play” implies activity, meaning those involved are active – they are playing right now. Parents under the shade of trees watching those kids play are NOT at play. They’re onlookers, playing no active roles in the game.

Other forces at play? Other people or groups also being active, though perhaps in a less conspicuous way.

Less conspicuous maybe, but they’re still forces making their influence in some way. So, don’t ignore them.

Hence, we come round to the above conclusion: Other forces at play means there are other people, group or faction to be taken into consideration. They’re playing a role, too. Don’t ignore them.

Or ignore them at your own peril.

All right, here are media examples of “forces at play”:

1. As the media autopsies the various forces at play in last week’s election results, online social platforms - particularly Facebook – are coming under increased scrutiny for their role in spreading blatantly false news stories.

But it seems even Google’s news search isn’t infallible when it comes to filtering out false information.

For the past several hours, Google’s top news item on a search for “final election results” has directed users to a post from a rudimentary WordPress blog falsely claiming that Donald Trump won the popular vote.

The error was first reported by Mediaite Sunday evening, and it appeared to have been fixed by the following afternoon.

A Google spokesperson didn't immediately respond to our request for comment.

The same evening it was reported, The Daily Show’s Dan Amira noticed a surge in Twitter users citing the blog to insist that Trump had more total votes than Hillary Clinton.

The author of the news site in question – called “70news” – claims the erroneous numbers came from “twitter posts [sic]” and that results from “Wikipedia or [Mainstream media]” don’t match the site’s own because “liberals are still reeling and recovering from Trump-shock victory.”

A sidebar on the site points readers to other false stories involving a conspiracy theory that billionaire Democratic donor George Soros is funding Anti-Trump protests. An entire section of the site is dedicated to “Hillary’s Health.”

For the record, the Associated Press’ latest election tally shows Clinton leading Trump overall by around 670,000 votes.

- Even Google News isn’t safe from fake news articles, Mashable.com, November 14, 2016.

2. The First World War began in the summer of 1914, shortly after the assassination of Austria’s Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, and lasted more than four years, ending in 1918. The Great War left more than 20 million soldiers dead and 21 million more wounded, which can be attributed to trench warfare and the number of countries involved in the war. For aspiring historians, understanding the causes of World War I are equally as important as understanding the conflict’s devastating effects. Though the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was the direct precipitating event leading to the declaration of war, there were many other factors that also played a role in leading up to World War I (WWI).

European Expansionism

In the 1900s, several European nations had empires across the globe, where they had control over vast swaths of lands. Prior to World War I, the British and French Empires were the world’s most powerful, colonizing regions like India, modern-day Vietnam and West and North Africa. The expansion of European nations as empires (also known as imperialism) can be seen as a key cause of World War I, because as countries like Britain and France expanded their empires, it resulted in increased tensions among European countries. The tensions were a result of many colonies often being acquired through coercion. Then, once a nation had been conquered, it was governed by the imperial nation: many of these colonial nations were exploited by their mother countries, and dissatisfaction and resentment was commonplace. As British and French expansionism continued, tensions rose between opposing empires, including Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, leading to the creation of the Allied Powers (Britain and France) and Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire) during World War I.

Serbian Nationalism

Nationalism was one of many political forces at play in the time leading up to World War I, with Serbian nationalism in particular, playing a key role. Serbian nationalism can be dated to the mid- and late-1800s, though two precipitating nationalism events are directly linked to the start of WWI. In the Balkans, Slavic Serbs sought independence from Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, and in 1878, they tried to gain control of Bosnia and Herzegovina to form a unified Serbian state. With the decline of the Ottoman Empire, Serbian nationalism continued to rise, culminating in the assassination of the Archduke of Austria in 1914 by a Bosnian Serb and officially triggering the start of the Great War.

The Assassination of Franz Ferdinand

On June 28, 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip. Ferdinand was chosen as a target because he was to be the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On the day of his assassination, the Archduke traveled to Sarajevo to inspect imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Ottoman territories acquired by Austria-Hungary in 1908. While Ferdinand was traveling in an open car in Sarajevo, Princip fired into the car, shooting Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. Following the assassination, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia, which was rejected and led Austria-Hungary to declare war against Serbia, with German support. Russia then came to Serbia’s defense, therefore initiating the First World War.

- Six Causes of World War I, Online.Norwich.edu, August 1st, 2017.

3. The global economy is facing numerous headwinds and tailwinds. Many of the forces at play will impact your farm.

“Fog is something we’ve been dealing with in all facets of the economy,” says Jackson Takach, chief economist and senior director of strategy, research and analytics at Farmer Mac.

What are the factors on Takach’s radar?

1. Consumer Demand

“For me, it all starts with demand,” he says. “What are consumers demanding and how healthy is the economy in our top trading partners? As much as I never want to say COVID again in my entire life, it’s still hanging around. We have to talk about how it will impact some of the recoveries that we're seeing in foreign markets.”

2. China’s Economic Growth

After seeing dramatic growth, China’s economy has cooled. What will the near-term future hold?

“It’s not going to be the same sort of recovery that it experienced in 2021,” Takach says. “Most economists are looking at something like a 4% to 5% GDP.”

While that is solid growth, especially during the aftermath of COVID, it is down significantly from the 8%, 9% or 10% GDP China posted just a few years ago.

3. U.S. Inflation and Interest Rates

The all-items consumer price index (CPI) for January was up 7.5% from a year ago, according to the Department of Commerce. In December, the CPI rose 7%. Minus food and energy prices, the core CPI rose 6%, the largest 12-month change since August 1982.

These dramatic jumps in inflation hit the farm gate in several ways, Takach says. Anything related to energy, including fertilizer, is up significantly.

- See Through the Fog: 4 Economic Forces at Play, AGWeb.com, February 10, 2022.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣   编辑:丹妮)


Front and center? C位


All in all? 总而言之


All in? 全力支持


Open question? 尚无定论


Rock bottom? 跌至谷底


Baby steps? 慢慢来

中国日报网 英语点津微信
中国日报网 双语小程序