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AIG与总统2009-03-24
[2009.03.19] AIG and the president AIG与总统
AIG and the president
AIG与总统
Easy does it
简单如它
Mar 19th 2009
From The Economist print edit

ion

Barack Obama needs to damp down the fury over bonuses, not add to it.

巴拉克?奥巴马必须减缓公众对于红利和奖金方面的愤怒情绪,而不是去增加它。

AP



“RESIGN or go commit suicide.” According to Charles Grassley, these are the only honourable choices open to the executives of American International Group (AIG) who have taken $220m in bonuses since the insurance giant was bailed out with $170 billion of taxpayers’ money. When even Republican senators start advising businessmen to kill themselves, you know things have got nasty.

“签署或者准备自杀” Charles Grassley说,对于那些美国国际集团(AIG)的高管来说这是唯一的令人满意的选择,政府用纳税人的钱向这个保险业的巨头注资1700亿美金,之后这些高管一共得到了二百二十万的奖金红利。当共和党参议员开始劝告商务人士们自杀时,你应该知道事态已经十分严重。

The row has been fanned by the media, delighted at last to have a simple story to tell about a financial crisis that is hideous in its complexity as well as its consequences, and stoked by politicians from the most junior representatives to the president himself. This week Barack Obama ordered his treasury secretary to find a legal way to claw back the bonuses (see article). The Democratic leadership in Congress suggested a special tax, set as high as 98%, to do it if that failed.

公众的情绪被媒体点燃了,以前平常的一件事在金融危机的大背景下变得复杂并可怕,而且得到了从中级议员到总统的各层各界的政治家们的关注。这周巴拉克?奥巴马命令他的财务部长寻找合法的方式收回这些奖金红利(见文章)。国会上,民主党的领导者建议如果没有合适的收回红利的方法,可以对这些奖金红利实施一种高达98%的特别税收。

Revenge is pleasant, but dangerous

复仇虽然大快人心,但十分危险。

The instinct to punish such shameless greed is understandable. The financial crisis and its repercussions have been horribly unjust. A handful of people took staggering risks with America’s largest financial institutions. The gambles went wrong, but they made out like bandits, and now the institutions they wrecked are being bailed out with public money.

惩罚不知廉耻的贪婪的本能是可以理解的,但金融危机和他的后续影响被严重的不公正对待了。许多人与美国大型的金融机构一起面对危机。虽然赌博输了,但他们却表现得像强盗一样,而且这些遭受破坏的机构还通过由政府注资来度过险情。

Raging at bankers, however, is a dangerous road to tread. Banks and insurers are being bailed out not because they deserve it, or for the sake of their employees, but because there is no choice. America lacks an orderly system for winding down big financial institutions such as AIG; letting them fail would ultimately have been costlier than saving them, and the pain would have fallen on Main Street even more than on Wall Street. More broadly, demonising finance and bankers makes it politically harder to repair the financial system, which involves working with, and even rewarding, them. Some financiers now say they are reluctant to take part in government bail-out schemes, precisely because they fear retrospective vengeance in the future. That will slow the recovery.

报复这些银行工作者是个十分危险的途径。银行和保险机构被注资不是由于他们应得,或是为了他们的员工,而是因为除了这样做以外我们已经别无它法。美国缺少一个完备的系统,而只有有了完备的系统才可以让美国的大型的金融机构倒下(而不会对国家产生重大的影响),比如AIG;让这些金融机构倒下比拯救他们花费得更多,并且倒下后,落在平民阶层的伤痛比富人阶层的还要多。推广来说,金融及银行业若成为魔鬼将会给修复金融系统,包括与金融系统的合作甚至奖励,带来政治上的困难。一些金融家现在说他们不情愿去参加政府的资助计划,准确来说是因为他们害怕过去曾发生的复仇将会在未来发生在自己身上。这些都将减缓经济复苏的脚部。

Besides, it is not clear what Mr Obama can do about those AIG bonuses. Since it seems unlikely that there is a legal way to avoid paying them, his protest will merely have served to highlight his impotence. The same thing happened when the British government tried, and failed, to get the boss of the ruined Royal Bank of Scotland to surrender part of his pension.

而且,奥巴马总统对AIG奖金红利的处理方法也还不明确。因为似乎不存在一个合法的方式可以避免支付它们,他的反对仅仅强调了它的重要性。同样的事情也在英国政府发生过,英国政府曾想让搞垮苏格兰皇家银行的经理放弃他的部分退休金,但这个行动最终却以失败告终。

Mr Obama has several other options, but none looks good. He could try to use executive power to break the contracts; but that would tie him in legal knots and might undermine confidence in the rule of law. Investors are already fearful that nasty things could happen to some of the debt they hold, such as having it converted into stock against their will.

奥巴马总统还有一些其他的解决办法,但却没有一个看起来是可行的。他可以利用他自己的职权去解除合约;但这将会使他卷入是否合法的争论而且可能会损坏法律的权威。投资家们已经开始担心这种让人道德败坏的事情将会发生在他们自己身上,由于他们所持有的一些债券,可以选择例如将债券转化为股票的方法,尽管这种方法并不是投资者们心里的想法。

Alternatively, Mr Obama could seek to recoup the money, on behalf of taxpayers, by withholding an equivalent amount from the next tranche of bail-out money, some $30 billion, due to be paid to AIG. A moment’s thought should show how foolish that would be. The bonuses would still remain in the pockets of the employees whose failures deserve censure, not reward. AIG itself would get less; but that would send the odd signal that the government had been prepared to give the company more than it really needed.

或者,奥巴马总统可以尝试补偿那些纳税人一半的金额用来支付给AIG,这需要下一期注资资金提供大约三百亿的资金。仅是片刻的思考就可以让我们意识到这个计划有多傻。这个奖金红利仍然待在那些带来了失败并且应该受到责备的员工的口袋里,而这些员工本来却不应该得到这些奖励。AIG将会得到更少的资助;但这也成了奇怪的信号表明这个政府正在准备给这些公司比他们自己需要的更多的钱。

Or else Mr Obama can simply ventilate a bit, as he has done, but actually do nothing. That might seem harmless enough. But by revving up the outrage he will probably weaken his position with Congress. Getting money from the legislature has not been easy, even for the newly elected Mr Obama. He pushed his stimulus package through Congress by a wafer-thin margin; the Troubled Asset Relief Programme, money to be used for bailing out banks, was originally turned down by Congress. If Mr Obama now has to go back for either a second stimulus package or a new round of funding to buy toxic assets from the banks, he could face stouter opposition. Perhaps realising this, the president had rowed back a bit by mid-week.

或者奥巴马总统可以简单的通融一下,正如他以前所做的,但这个解决方案没能解决问题。不过这个方案看起来对任何一方都没有损害。但如果通融这些让人愤怒的事情,他在国会的地位很可能会被降低。从当局得到钱不是件容易的事情,尽管是从新上任的奥巴马总统手中。他推进的刺激计划在国会上以少量的票数领先而获得通过,提出用钱注资银行的问题资产救助计划很明显被国会否定了。如果奥巴马总统从头再来发起第二轮的经济刺激计划或者开始新一轮的注资买入银行的有害资产,他将会面临更多的反对声。很可能是意识到了这点,总统很可能在这周中做出一些让步。

Mr Obama’s best course is to explain, calmly and patiently, why bailing out banks and honouring contracts are necessary evils. He needs to eschew easy gestures, just as he should have avoided delighting a few populists this week by closing down a scheme that lets Mexican trucks into America. It demands leadership, which he was elected to provide. In the past few weeks he has shown signs of forgetting that.

奥巴马最该做得事情就是冷静并且有耐心的解释,为什么注资银行和本来值得尊敬的合同是魔鬼。他需要避免简单的回答,就像这周,他应该避免为了取悦一些平民党党员而否决让墨西哥卡车进入美国的计划。他需要一些在他竞选时才具有的领导力。在过去的几个星期里他让人觉得已经忘记了这些领能力。


发表于13:36 | 阅读全文 | 评论 0 | 编辑 | 分享 0农业:绿色崛起2009-03-24Agriculture

Green shoots
绿色崛起

Mar 19th 2009 | HONG KONG
From The Economist print edition

No matter how bad things get, people still need to eat
不管事情变得多糟糕,人们仍然需要食物

AT A time when much of the global economy is falling apart and demand both for consumer goods and the firms that make and finance them is collapsing, the notoriously cyclical world of agriculture is holding up remarkably well. Prices for grains and meat are down from the peaks of mid-2008, but are 30-50% above their averages over the past decade. There is reason to believe that this strength is more than just another of the many bubbles that have recently inflated, only to pop.

当全球经济体的一大部分开始解体,同时构成这些经济体并为其提供资金的消费品和实业的需求开始衰退的时候,总是周期性陷入困境的世界农业却开始持续向上的良好发展。2008年中期,世界谷物和肉类的价格开始从最高点回落,但是依旧比过去几十年的平均水平高30-50个百分点。我们有理由相信,与那些近期开始恶性膨胀而破碎的经济泡沫比起来,农业经济的抗打击强度要高得多。

Higher prices are hardly a universal blessing: they are good for farmers, many of whom are poor, but bad for consumers. Some of the increase can be blamed on the shift of crops from food to fuel, prompted by wildly inefficient subsidies. But high prices are also a sign of progress because their single largest cause is the steady increase in demand from poorer countries, as people there eat more food—especially more protein. More people are better nourished thanks to a bit more grain, a lot more meat, and much more milk.

偏高的价格注定不会是皆大欢喜的:这对于大部分还处在贫穷的农民来说是好事,但是对消费者来说却无疑是糟糕的。某些价格的上扬可以归咎于在离谱的低效补贴的刺激下,某些国家将原本是食物的农作物当作燃料来使用。但是高价同时也是产业的进步一个标志,因为价格升高的最大的独立因素是贫穷国家的需求正在不断平稳的上升,那里的人们开始需要更多的食物——特别是蛋白质。只要有多一些的谷物、肉类和牛奶,更多居民的营养状况将会更好。

China’s role has been profound, reflecting its enormous economic progress and huge population. In the past decade, says Carlo Caiani of Caiani & Company, an investment-advisory firm based in Melbourne, the consumption of milk has grown seven-fold, and that of olive oil six-fold. China is consuming twice as much vegetable oil (instead of less healthy pork fat), 60% more poultry, 30% more beef and 25% more wheat, and these are merely the obvious foods. Scores of niches have expanded dramatically: people are drinking four times as much wine, for example.

令人瞩目的经济进步和庞大的人口数量,让中国在这一方面扮演的角色更加的意义深远。根据墨尔本一家咨询公司Caiani & Company的Carlo Caiani的说法,与十年前相比,中国的牛奶和橄榄油的消费量分别增长了6倍和5倍,菜油(替代了不够健康的猪油)的消耗量翻了一番,家禽、牛肉和小麦同比上涨了60%、30%和25%。上面所列举的数据仅仅来自一些显而易见的食物,事实上许多市场的扩大是动态的,比如说,人们正在饮用四倍之多的啤酒。

And yet even with all this growth, people in China still, on average, consume only one-third as much milk and meat as people in wealthy countries such as Australia, America and Britain. The gap is even larger with India, which is also growing fast. Overall, protein intake in Europe and America is unlikely to expand much, but a combination of rising incomes and population in developing countries could increase demand by more than 5% annually for years to come. “Once people are accustomed to eating more protein, they won’t take it out of their diet,” says Mr Caiani.

虽然消费量上升的如此可观,但仅就牛奶和小麦两方面来看,中国人民的平均消费水平只是富裕国家如澳大利亚、美国和英国的三分之一。若拿印度来与这些发达国家比较,差距就更大了。总的来说,欧洲和美洲的蛋白质摄入量已经趋于饱和,但在发展中国家,收入和人口增长的双重刺激使得人民的食物需求每年以5%的速度递增。“当人们开始习惯蛋白质食物的时候,他们就不会想把它们从餐桌上拿走了”,Caiani先生如是说。

Expanding supply at the same rate will be difficult, because the amount of arable land under cultivation is growing by only a fraction of a percentage point each year. In China and India many of the most fertile areas are the ones being developed for roads and factories. That means existing land is becoming more valuable, and must become more productive.

以相同的速率扩大供给量在未来将会愈加困难,因为可耕种耕地的数目每年只会以很小的百分比增加,更糟的是,在中国和印度,很多肥沃的土地被用来建设道路和工厂,这就意味着耕地更加宝贵,而产量必须更高才能满足人民的需求。

The consequences stretch from one end of the food chain to the other, as higher food prices prompt a response. BASF, one of the world’s largest producers of agrochemicals, saw 9% growth last year in agricultural sales, including 16% growth in Asia. It expects the industry to grow by 17% this year, which has begun well, the global economic tumult notwithstanding.

这种影响会从食物链的一端延伸到另一端,最终导致食品价格的升高。去年,世界最大的农业化学药品生产商之一BASF在农业领域的销售上升了9%,而在亚洲是16%。尽管世界经济持续动荡,但基于如此良好的开端,BASF期望今年的销售量能增长17%

Its competitors are also prospering. The share prices of Agrium, CF Industries, Bunge and Syngenta spiked last year along with food prices, then tumbled (along with the shares of nearly every other company), but then stabilised, even as the rest of the stockmarket continued to tank. Monsanto, which a decade ago had been praised and then trashed for selling highly efficient genetically modified seeds, has seen its popularity restored for exactly the same reason. After years of strong growth, and with the prospect of more to come, its shares are valued at 20 times trailing earnings, nearly double the market average.

该公司的竞争对手也经营着它们蒸蒸日上的生意,Agrium, CF Industries, Bunge和Syngenta的股价去年先是随着食品价格的上涨而大幅上扬,随后大跌(当时几乎所有其他公司的股价都在下挫),然后稳定下来而没有随着股市一起崩溃。孟山都,十年之前因为其经营的高效转基因种子而闻名于世,该公司经过多年强劲的发展,获得了众多的荣誉好评,其股价是追踪盈余的整整二十倍,几乎是市场平均水平的两倍。

Interest in the industry is still growing. A conference for fund managers tied to agriculture held annually in Sydney by Austock, an Australian broker, attracted a few dozen contrarian souls three years ago. This year’s event, which began on March 16th, had to be restricted to several hundred ticket-holders, with many others turned away. Deals are also being done. On March 13th Terra Firma, a private-equity firm based in London, announced it would buy 90% of Consolidated Pastoral Company, the vast Australian cattle holdings of the Packer family, which encompass 5m hectares (12m acres) of land.

人们对农业相关产业的兴趣只增不减,每年在悉尼,澳大利亚经纪公司Austock都会举办一届基金经理的会议,在三年前就已吸引了几十位逆向投资的灵魂人物。去年3月16日,举办方只发放了几百张入场卷,因此很多慕名而来的人只能转身离开。产业之间的交易也一直在进行着,在3月13日,一家位于伦敦的私人直接投资公司Terra Firma宣布收购联合畜牧公司90%的股份,后者是Packer家族的澳大利亚大型畜牧产业,占地5百万公顷(12万英亩)。

In February Nufarm, an Australian agrochemical maker, won approval for its acquisition of AH Marks, one of Britain’s oldest chemical companies, which has a valuable portfolio of herbicides. Nufarm itself only barely avoided being acquired in 2007 in a joint bid by an American private-equity firm and a Chinese state-owned company. Shares of Mosaic, a maker of fertiliser, have been swept by one acquisition rumour after another. Last year COFCO, China’s state-controlled food conglomerate, bought 5% of Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer. Al Qudra, an Abu Dhabi-based investment company, said it had bought big tracts of farmland in Morocco and Algeria, and was closing in on purchases in Pakistan, Syria, Vietnam, Thailand, Sudan and India.

去年二月,澳大利亚农业化工品制造商Nufarm获得了不列颠老牌化工公司之一、生产一系列高价值除莠剂的AH Marks的收购许可。而此前在2007年,Nufarm公司好不容易才避免了一家美国私人直接投资公司和一家中国国有企业的联合收购。世界第二大化肥生产商Shares of Mosaic不停的陷入一个又一个恶意收购案。而在去年,中国国有粮食集团COFCO购买了世界最大肉类生产商Smithfield5%的股份。位于阿布扎比的公司Al Qudra声称它们购买了摩洛哥和阿尔及利亚的大量耕地,同时正在跟进巴基斯坦、叙利亚、泰国、苏丹和印度的收购案。

In November China Agri-Industries, a subsidiary of COFCO, established a partnership with Wilmar, the world’s largest trader in palm oil. Landkom, listed on London’s AIM market, and Black Earth Farming, listed in Stockholm, have each made big investments in farming in Ukraine. And reports are circulating in China about local investors buying 50,000 hectares of farmland in Argentina, and considering other investments in Argentina and Brazil.

时年十一月,中粮集团(COFCO)的子公司中国粮油控股有限公司,与世界最大的棕榈油经销商丰益国际建立了合作关系。伦敦交易所二板市场上市的Landkom和斯德哥尔摩证券上市的Black Earth Farming各自在乌克兰农业市场投入了大量资金。当前有报告显示,中国本土投资者在阿根廷收买了5万公顷的耕地,而且考虑是否继续在阿根廷和巴西投资。

Even China is finally opening up to private agricultural investment, in part because new laws allow farmers to lease land, thus making possible economies of scale. Asian Bamboo, a company that is listed in Frankfurt, leases 27,000 hectares in Fujian province. It announced profits for 2008 of (原文此处有一欧元符号)21m ($30.4m) on sales of (原文此处有一欧元符号)44m, reflecting how, at least for the moment, agriculture can be an extraordinarily high-margin business.

虽然现在中国已经开放私有农业投资许可,一部分原因是新近通过的法案允许农民流转土地承包权,这就导致合理的规模经济的形成。法兰克福的上市公司Asian Bamboo在福建省承包了2万7千公顷的农田,公司声称它们2008年的利润额达到两千一百万欧元(折合三千零四十万美元),销售额为四千四百万欧元,这些数据——至少在当时——揭示了农业如何成为一种超高利润的行业。

There are limits to what can be done, however. By far the most ambitious of all the land deals in the past year was Daewoo Logistics’ contract with the government of Madagascar to lease 1.3m hectares, almost half the country’s arable land, to produce corn for Daewoo’s home country, South Korea. But after riots and a coup in Madagascar, the deal is off. These tensions are not unique. In response to local concerns about the loss of critical food supplies, several governments have imposed taxes or other restrictions on exports: on a key ingredient of fertiliser in China, on grain in Argentina, on rice in India. That sort of meddling undermines some investments and businesses. But in a strong market, it makes the businesses that can operate freely all the more lucrative and valuable.

但是,当前所有允许的商务操作都有不同的限制,截至目前为止,最充满风险的土地交易发生在去年,韩国大宇物流(Daewoo Logistics)租赁了马达加斯加一千三百万公顷的农田,接近该国可耕耕地的一半,目的是为了生产谷物来满足国内的需要。但是在国民骚动和一场突然的政变之后,马达加斯加的新总统在上台后立即宣布该交易作废。类似的紧张局势在世界范围内并不罕见,在某些国家,政府为了打消当地民众对紧缺食物不断流失的担忧,就对相应的出口,比如说中国的化肥关键成分、阿根廷的粮食和印度的大米,进行征税或加上其他的限制,如此这样的政府干涉就削弱了投资和商务的基础。而在坚挺的市场中,商业操作更加自由,因此产生的利润将会更高。

发表于13:35 | 阅读全文 | 评论 0 | 编辑 | 分享 0关于基金2009-03-24本文章为话题广告


今天看到了这样一篇文章: 

 我算不上是一个老股民,炒股也不过是3年多,当然也经历着上证指数从2000多点爬到6124点的牛市。当上证还是5000多点的时候,身边没买的朋友开始叫我卖了一些股票,不要等股市跌回原型,竹篮打水一场空。经过了几天思想上的挣扎,最后我决定拿一小部分钱为家里添置一些家具,就把剩下的钱分两批:一份作冒险型,用来买股票,另一份钱作是保本但进取,用作购买基金。如今,我的股票仓已经损失将近70%、就反思为什么买的股票会跌得那么多,但我定投的华安收益债券基金却依然平稳。最近听说,华安收益债券基金的升级版华安强债基金又推出来了,债券投资以外,还可兼顾股市投资!比纯债基金收益高,比买股票风险低!华安强债基金有下面这些好处是买股票所不能比拟的原因在于:
  投资成本比较均衡,最大限度地分散了风险。常规基金一次性行为面临高买低卖的风险,而强债基金即可投资股票二级市场的增强型债券基金更容易受到投资者的青睐,堪称保守投资者的进取之选。以华安强化收益债券型基金为例,首先,该基金资产配置范围更广,也更灵活。除了涵盖偏债基金的高收益债组合与打新股之外,还可以参与二级市场的投资,而其股票投资比例上限只有20%。既有利于保证本金的安全,又存在行情转好时从股票二级市场获取较高回报的可能。其次,收益稳健,分红有保障,且分红比例高。该基金契约规定,在符合法定分红条件下每季度至少分红一次,每年收益分配次数最多可为12次,全年分配比例不低于年度可供分配收益的50%。

我自己也炒股票,深知这个股民的痛苦,从07的兴奋,到08的崩溃,到09年的无奈。。。股市有风险,入市须谨慎。这是咱们股民每天都在说的话,可谁都想不低风险高收益。股市波动太大,除了几个大头,咱们这些散户就只能被人宰了。债券很稳定,可那点收益。。。怕是赶不上CPI的速度。正如前面的文章所说,基金的话,有股票配置,有债券配置,有专门的投资经理在打理,更重要的是将散户的钱变成了庄家,当然收益会比散户自行投资要好多了。

从网络上搜索了一下,华安收益基金貌似在去年表现不错:


相信新推出的加强型基金也肯定是基民不错的选择。



发表于11:07 | 阅读全文 | 评论 3 | 编辑 | 分享 0创业精神2009-03-17A special report on entrepreneurship
关于创业精神的特别报道

Lands of opportunity
机遇之地

Mar 12th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Israel, Denmark and Singapore show how entrepreneurialism can thrive in different climates
以色列、丹麦和新加坡显示了创业精神如何在不同的土壤中开花结果

DOV MORAN’S desk is littered with the carcasses of dismembered phones. Mr Moran has already had one big breakthrough: inventing the now ubiquitous memory stick. But he dreams of another one: he wants to separate the “brains” of the various gizmos that dominate our lives from the “bodies” to enable people to carry around tiny devices that they will be able to plug into anything from phones to cameras to computers. Mr Moran sold his memory-stick business to SanDisk for $1.6 billion, creating a thriving technology cluster near his office. This time he wants to build an Israeli business that will last, challenging the giants of the camera and phone businesses.

Dov Moran的桌上杂乱堆放着支离破碎的电话残骸。他已然完成了一项创举,即发明了现在使用广泛的记忆卡,而现在则梦想着一个新目标:将那些人们日常离不开的各种各样小电器的核心部件分离出来,就像将大脑从躯体中取出,这样大家就可以随身携带这些小设备并随时接驳到从电话、相机到计算机任意一种电子产品中。Moran将自己的记忆卡业务以16亿美元的价格卖给了SanDisk公司,建立了一个生机勃勃的技术产业集群,现在他希翼建立一家可持续发展的以色列本土公司,来挑战那些照相机和手机业务的巨无霸们。

Israel is full of would-be Dov Morans. It is home to 4,000 high-tech companies, more than 100 venture-capital funds and a growing health-care industry. Innovations developed in the country include the Pentium chip (Intel), voicemail (Comverse), instant messaging (Mirabilis, Ubique), firewalls (Checkpoint) and the “video pill”, which allows doctors to study your insides without the need for invasive surgery.

以色列充满了将会成为Dov Moran这样的创业者,该国拥有4000家本土高科技公司、100多只创业资本基金和日渐成长的卫生保健产业。在以色列发展起来的革新包括:奔腾芯片(Intel公司)、语音邮件(Comverse公司)、即时信息(Mirabilis和Ubique公司)、防火墙软件(Checkpoint公司)和“药丸式摄像机”(该技术使得医生不通过开刀手术也可对身体内部进行检查)。

Even more than other countries, Israel has America to thank for its entrepreneurial take-off. A brigade of American high-tech companies, including Intel and Microsoft, have established research arms there. And a host of Israelis who once emigrated to America in search of education and opportunity have returned home, bringing American assumptions with them. Many Israeli entrepreneurs yo-yo between Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv; almost 70 Israeli companies are traded on NASDAQ.

相比其他国家,以色列的创业腾飞更让美国感到欣慰。大量的美国高科技企业,包括英特尔和微软,均在以色列建立了研究团队,许多曾移民美国寻求更好教育水平和商业机会的以色列人带着美国信念返回祖国。众多以色列人在选择硅谷还是特拉维夫进行创业时犹豫不决;将近70家以色列公司在美国纳斯达克上市交易。

The Israeli government helped by providing a ready supply of both human and physical capital. Israel has the world’s highest ratio of PhDs per person, the highest ratio of engineers and scientists and some of the world’s best research universities, notably Technion. The country’s native talent was supplemented by the arrival of 400,000 well-educated Jewish refugees from the former Soviet empire.

以色列政府为这些创业者提供了现成的人力与物力资本,该国的人均博士学位比例世界第一,工程师和科学家的高比例比例无人能比,此外还拥有多所世界顶尖的研究型大学,特别是Technion工业大学。来自前苏联受过良好教育的40万名犹太难民更是增加了以色列的本国人才实力。

However, Israel’s main qualification for entrepreneurialism is its status as an embattled Jewish state in a sea of Arab hostility. The Israeli army not only works hard to keep the country at the cutting edge of technology, it also trains young Israelis (who are conscripted at 18) in the virtues of teamwork and improvisation. It is strikingly common for young Israelis to start businesses with friends that they met in the army. Add to that a high tolerance of risk, born of a long history and an ever-present danger of attack, and you have the makings of an entrepreneurial firecracker.

然而,以色列创业精神的主要禀赋还是其作为犹太国家在四面楚歌的状态下产生的。以色列军队不仅努力使国家保持技术领先,而且训练年轻国民(在以色列,18岁就会被应征入伍)具有团队精神与应变能力的品质。年轻的以色列士兵在部队里就开始和朋友做生意的现象非常普遍。以上这些,加上高风险承受能力、悠久的历史和经常存在的受袭危险,成为点燃以色列创业精神的星星之火。

Danish dynamism
丹麦活力

Compared with a lion like Dov Moran, Frederik Gundelach is a mere cub, but he has some of the same sense of purpose about him. Sitting in one of Denmark’s “growth houses” (incubators for entrepreneurs), he places a flask on the table and launches into an elaborate explanation.

如果说Dov Moran像一只雄狮,相比而言,Frederik Gundelach则仅是头幼狮,但他对自己的未来也有和Moran类似的打算。在丹麦“成长之屋”里(创业者孵化器机构),他把一个烧瓶放在桌上,开始了详尽的解说。



Mr Gundelach claims that he and his father have discovered a novel way of boiling water that does not require the application of heat. He hopes to sell the flask to outdoor types and soldiers, but that is not the limit of his ambition. The chemical reaction that heats the water can also be used to heat or cool houses, he claims, radically reducing the cost of domestic heating and the threat of global warming.

Gundelach宣称自己和父亲发现了不需使用加热设备将水烧开的新颖办法。他希望将这种烧瓶卖给户外爱好者和士兵,然而这并不能满足他的雄心壮志。通过化学反应的方法为水加热同样可以用来房屋取暖,他说,这样可以从根本上降低国内取暖的成本,减轻全球变暖的威胁。

It is too early to say whether Mr Gundelach’s flask will turn out to be a miracle in a bottle or a pipedream, but the Danish government is doing everything it can to give him the support he needs. Denmark is engaged in a social experiment to test whether it can embrace capitalist globalisation yet continue to preserve its generous welfare state. The Danish economy has traditionally been divided between big multinational companies (such as Carlsberg, a brewing behemoth) and a welter of small family firms. The government now wants to add a third economic force: start-ups with the potential for rapid growth.

现在就断定Gundelach的烧瓶创意是瓶中美梦或妄想还为时过早,但是丹麦政府正在尽其所能为他提供所需的一切。丹麦正在进行一项社会性的实验,来检验是否能在融入资本全球化的进程的同时继续保持慷慨的高福利政策。传统上丹麦经济两极分化,既有大型跨国企业(例如嘉士伯,酿造业巨头),也有苦苦挣扎的家庭作坊。现在政府希望引入第三种经济力量:具有高增长潜力的创业型企业。

The government has done everything a tidy-minded Scandinavian country can to cultivate these start-ups. The World Bank ranks Denmark fifth in the world for ease of doing business. There is a network of growth houses—ready-made offices that provide start-ups with many of the advantages of large companies such as consulting advice, legal services and conference rooms. The government has created a public venture-capital fund, the Vaekstfonden, and is now trying to change attitudes to entrepreneurs and promoting “education for entrepreneurship”.

丹麦这个头脑精明的斯堪迪纳维亚国家正在倾尽全力培养这些创业型企业。在经商环境优越度的评比中,世界银行将丹麦排到了第五位。“成长之屋”也已形成网络,这些现成的机构为创业者提供了很多大型公司的才具有的优势,诸如咨询建议、法律服务和会议场所。政府建立了公共创业资本基金:Vaekstfonden,并正努力转变人们对创业者的看法,以及推动创业教育等。

When Muslim countries boycotted Danish goods in 2005 after a Danish newspaper published some disrespectful cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, wags joked that this hardly mattered because the only things that Denmark produced were beer and bacon. But the government’s embrace of entrepreneurialism is clearly changing the economy. Denmark is already home to about 20% of Europe’s biotech companies. It also has thriving clean-technology, fashion and design industries. As a proportion of GDP, Danish companies attract more venture capital than any other European country.

当2005年丹麦一家报纸刊登了亵渎先知穆罕默德的漫画,这一事件后穆斯林国家抵制丹麦商品。那些丹麦的支持者开玩笑说抵制就抵制,反正丹麦人只会生产穆斯林不能沾的两样东西:啤酒和熏肉。但丹麦政府所信奉的创业精神无疑的改变了该国经济。丹麦已经拥有欧洲20%左右的生物技术公司,而且正在蓬勃发展清洁技术、时装与设计等产业。丹麦公司引入的创业资本与GDP的比例已经超过任何一个欧洲国家。

Sizzling Singapore
令人振奋的新加坡

At first sight Denmark and Singapore do not have much in common, yet they share not only the same official enthusiasm for entrepreneurialism but also many of the same policies. Singapore’s government has invested heavily in digital media, bio-engineering, clean technology and water purification, creating huge incubators and enticing foreign scientists with fat pay packets, as well as setting up a public venture-capital fund that has in turn brought in lots of private venture capital. More than 5% of Singapore-based companies are backed by venture capital.

乍一看丹麦和新加坡没有太多共通之处,但不仅两国政府都热衷于创业精神,而且制定了相同的激励政策。新加坡政府大量投资于数字媒体、生物工程、清洁技术和净水技术,建立大型企业孵化器机构,以高薪吸引外国科学家,同时也设立了一支公共创业资本基金,该基金随后引入了许多私人创业资本。5%以上的新加坡企业得到了创业资本的支持。

The government has done everything in its power to make life easy for entrepreneurs, which has earned it first place in the World Bank league table for ease of doing business. It is also trying hard to encourage a traditionally passive population to become more innovative. Schools teach the virtues of entrepreneurialism. The universities put ever more emphasis on business education and links with industry. The Nanyang Technological University (whose chairman, like that of the National University of Singapore, is an alumnus of Hewlett-Packard) offers a graduate degree in technopreneurship and innovation.

政府在权力范围内尽其所能让创业者们更加轻松,世界银行商业环境优越度排名表中新加坡排在第一位。该国也努力鼓励那些消极人口更加具有创造力。中小学教授学生创业精神美德,大学更加强调商业教育,并注重于产业相结合。南洋理工大学(该校主席和新加坡国立大学主席一样,都出自惠普公司)提供科技创业与创新学科的硕士学位教育。

Singapore sees entrepreneurialism as a prerequisite to future growth. It has spent the past few decades climbing up the “value chain” from manufacturing to services and from trade to finance. Its biggest test yet may be to create knowledge industries and produce companies that can commercialise intellectual breakthroughs.

新加坡视创业精神为未来发展的先决条件。过去几十年,通过从生产业到服务业,从贸易业到金融业的转型,该国努力爬上了“价值链”的顶端,她目前面临的最大考验可能是构建知识产业并创建那些能把智力发明商业化的公司。

All three countries have both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to embracing entrepreneurship. Israel depends too heavily on America and is being hit hard by the downturn there. Denmark is too egalitarian. A top personal-income-tax rate of 63% drives the most successful entrepreneurs out of the country.

在热衷创业精神的时候,这三个国家都有优缺点:以色列太过于依赖美国,正在经受美国经济低迷的影响。丹麦太讲求平均主义,最高可达63%的个人所得税正在逐出那些成功的创业者。

Singaporeans have even deeper cultural problems with entrepreneurship. The best and brightest have little appetite for risk-taking entrepreneurship, and most people suffer from an excessive fear of bankruptcy, according to Monitor. The country’s consumers are anything but venturesome: for all the island’s cultural diversity, they remain obsessed by Western brand names. The country is paying a heavy price for this. A Singapore-based company, Creative Technology, invented a digital music player, the NOMAD, two years before Apple launched the iPod, but Creative’s NOMAD looked like a clunky CD player rather than a miniature fashion accessory. It received $100m from Apple for patent infringement, but that did not make up for the loss of a mass market.

对于创业精神,新加坡则具有更深层次的文化问题。Monitor杂志发现,最优秀、最聪明的人才不热衷富于冒险的创业,大部分人过于恐惧破产。该国的消费者也绝不冒险:尽管这个岛国具有文化差异性,但国民只着迷于那些西方品牌,国家为此付出了巨大的代价。在苹果公司发布iPod两年前,新加坡的创新科技公司就发明了数字音乐播放器“NOMAD”,但创新的NOMAD被看作是一个蠢笨的激光唱机,而不是迷你时尚小配件。虽然苹果公司向创新科技支付了1亿美元的侵权费用,但这无补于那失去的巨大市场。

Still, the governments of all three countries remain enthusiastic supporters of the entrepreneurial idea. The Danes and the Singaporeans regard it as their ticket to success in a global economy and the Israelis as a matter of survival. All three are also helping to spread the creed in their regions. Arab countries are beginning to realise that the best way to deal with Israel is to copy its vibrant economy. Denmark serves as a model to European leaders such as France’s Nicolas Sarkozy who want to combine dynamism with social protection. The Chinese regard Singapore as a useful laboratory for reform. In the 1980s China asked Goh Keng Swee, Singapore’s former finance minister, to advise on the development of its special economic zones; today it is keeping a watchful eye on the city-state’s model of state-sponsored entrepreneurship.

尽管存在问题,上述三国政府仍然对创业思想给予热情支持。丹麦和新加坡视其为全球经济的成功钥匙,以色列则定位为生存之道。三国都在所在地区推行这种信条。阿拉伯国家开始意识到对付以色列最好的办法是复制其充满活力的经济模式。丹麦为如法国总统尼古拉?萨科齐那种希望将经济活力社会保障有效结合的欧洲国家领导人树立了一个标杆。中国视新加坡为其改革的成功研究室,上世纪80年代曾邀请新加坡前任财长吴庆瑞为其经济特区的发展献言建策;如今中国正密切关注新加坡这个城市国家政府资助创业的模式。

发表于19:49 | 阅读全文 | 评论 1 | 编辑 | 分享 0地下劳工:天下无“黑户”2009-03-17Britain

Illegal immigrants
非法移民

All sins forgiven? 天下无“黑户”

Mar 12th 2009
From The Economist print edition

A report on the scale of undocumented working sparks calls for an amnesty
一个关于地下劳工大赦的报告

PROTECTED by a 20-mile-wide moat, Britain need not worry as much as most countries about illegal border-hoppers. There are those who take the wet route: a new French film, “Welcome”, tells the story of a Kurdish boy’s plan to swim La Manche to be reunited with his girlfriend in Britain. More common are those who stow aboard lorries to get across by ferry or tunnel. But such plans are fairly easy to foil: border guards have turned away 88,500 Channel-crossers in the past five years.
有20英里宽的天堑为壕沟,使得英国不必像世界上大多数国家那样担心非法入境者。有人妄图采用水路入境:一部新拍的法国电影《欢迎光临》,讲述了一个库德男孩计划从拉?曼恰游泳至英国,与女朋友团聚。但通常人们会藏匿在过境的卡车上,由轮渡或隧道进入英国。可是这样的计划也很容易被识破:边境警察在过去5年里已经遣返了88,500名非法的海峡隧道入境者。

Nonetheless, it appears that the number of “irregular” migrants in Britain has been growing fast. The government’s previous best estimate was that in 2001 there were 430,000 undocumented residents, made up of illegal entrants, visa overstayers, failed asylum-seekers and the British-born children of all the above. But on March 9th a report commissioned by Boris Johnson, the Conservative mayor of London, suggested that the figure is now nearer 725,000. The authors, from the London School of Economics (LSE), reckon people whose asylum claims have been rejected but who have not returned home account for most of the growth.
然而,资料显示英国“非正规”移民的数额正呈快速上升趋势。政府早前乐观估计2001年英国有430,000名不在册的居民,主要由非法入境者、签证过期滞留者、申请难民未遂者和这些人在英国出生的孩子组成。但是由伦敦市长、保守党人鲍里斯?约翰逊,委托调查的并于3月9日公布的报告显示这个数字已经接近725,000。据这份报告的作者,伦敦政治经济学院估计,这一增长主要是由于申请避难者被驳回之后并没有返回自己的国家。

The number is still small by international standards: America, for instance, is thought to harbour some 12m undocumented workers, more than three times as many as Britain has per head. But the LSE team points out that Britain’s irregular residents are unusually highly concentrated in London. Around two-thirds are based in the capital, they estimate, which means that roughly one in 15 Londoners is living there illegally.
不过按照国际标准,这个数字并不是很大:比如,美国据称容纳了1200万未在册的劳工,按人头计算是英国的三倍。可是伦敦政经学院指出,英国的非正规居民的集中度出奇得高,按照他们的估计,几乎三分之二都聚集在伦敦,这意味着大概每15个伦敦居民中有1个属于非法逗留。

That is a tax base worth taking seriously. Against his own party’s line, Mr Johnson backs a managed amnesty for those workers, which would bring about 320,000 Londoners in from the cold if it were offered to those who had been in the country for at least five years, as is mooted. The power to grant such an amnesty lies with the central government, whose view is that it would merely encourage more people to try their luck in future. But the Liberal Democrats are in favour and so are many Labour MPs, including Harriet Harman, who, many reckon, is already running to be the Labour Party’s next leader.
从税收角度考虑,这个问题就值得认真对待。与保守党党派的观点不同,约翰逊先生赞成对这些非法劳工进行有计划的特赦,如果正如现在所争论的,以在英国居住时间五年至五年以上为标准,那么大赦就将使320,000名伦敦居民从冷落和边缘化的黑暗角落得到新生。这种特赦的权利只在政府,而政府认为这么做只会鼓励更多人今后到英国来碰运气。不过自由民主党议员和许多工党议员都赞成这一方案,包括大家都认为将成为下一任工党领袖的哈里特.哈曼。

For some, the moral arguments weigh most heavily. Jeff, a failed asylum-seeker from Zimbabwe, describes nine years in Britain being bounced from one agency to another, unable to work and afraid to return home. His children did well at school but cannot go to university; they too now live lives of enforced idleness. “It mirrors what is happening to so many families,” he says. Fear of deportation keeps sick children away from hospital and battered prostitutes away from the police, and promotes other woes.
对于另一些人来说,更重要的意义在于道德层面。杰夫,来自津巴布韦的一个难民申请失败者,他描述这九年来在英国的生活,就是在一家家中介吃闭门羹,找不到工作,害怕被遣送。他的孩子读书很好,但是不能上大学,他们现在也只能被迫失业。“我的经历折射出很多家庭的遭遇,”他说。由于害怕被遣送,孩子生病了不能送医院、妓女被欺负了不能找警察,还有其他的不幸。

The LSE will deliver a second report in May, weighing the costs and benefits to the taxpayer of an amnesty. Given the difficulty of comparing the pros and cons of even legal migration, assessing the undocumented will be impressionistic at best. But the “vast majority” of irregulars are “young, single men who use services very lightly”, the researchers say, suggesting that any additional burden on public services would be slight. And some are laid on already: health care, for instance, is provided at the discretion of doctors, few of whom are sticklers for the correct papers.
五月,伦敦政治经济学院将提供第二份报告,分析大赦给纳税人带来的成本和福利。考虑到即使比较合法移民所带来的利弊都有一定难度,因此评估不在册移民顶多也只是凭感觉。但是“决大多数”非正规移民“是年轻的单身,很少使用社会福利”,因此,研究者说,对公众福利不会是很大的包袱。而且有些人其实已经缴税了,比如,医疗费用,看医生时就付款了,没有多少人会坚持到检查报告出来再交钱的。

Perhaps more controversial would be the impact on the job market of hundreds of thousands of newly legal workers. But that, too, is hard to predict. Undocumented workers are the most competitive of all, because employers don’t need to worry about sick pay, holidays or the minimum wage. Giving them the same legal rights as everyone else might actually raise wages in sectors such as construction, agriculture and hospitality.
也许更有争议的问题在于其对劳动力市场的影响,因为那里已经有成千上万新加入的合法劳工。但这也很难盖棺论定。一直以来,没有登记的劳动者是劳动力市场里最有竞争力的,因为雇主不用担心病假工资、带薪休假或是最低工资这些条条框框。但如果他们被赋予了其他人一样的合法权益,这将实实在在地增加某些行业的工资成本,比如建筑业、农业和酒店业。

Amnesties for those who have broken the rules are never popular. But they are not unusual. France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain have regularised more than 3m illegal residents in the past 20 years. And Britain has done it too, albeit modestly. Between 1998 and 1999, domestic workers who had broken their visa restrictions were offered the chance to come clean without penalty. And in 2003 the Home Office announced an amnesty for 15,000 asylum-seeking families who had been the victim of an unusually long backlog in processing applications. That scheme was portrayed as a measure to “clear the decks” before introducing new, tougher immigration controls. As the government prepares to roll out its new ID-card scheme, could this be the moment for an amnesty?
对那些已经违反规定的人进行大赦,永远都不会受到本国公民的欢迎。但大赦还是很普遍。法国、希腊、意大利、葡萄牙和西班牙已经在过去20年里承认了超过300万的非法居住者的合法地位。英国也做过同样的事情,尽管幅度较小。1998至1999年,超过签证期限仍逗留在英国的工作者得到了一个机会重新申请签证,也不必付罚金。2003年,英国内务部又宣布对15,000户受冗长的申请过程拖累的申请避难的外国家庭给予大赦。这项计划被描述成是在引进新的、更严厉的移民管控措施之前先“理清桌面”的一个手段。当下政府又准备推出新的身份鉴别卡计划,而这会不会又是一个大赦的良机?

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