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《The Economist》《经济学人》中文版
Translated From 《The Economist》,By ecocn team http://www.ecocn.org
乙醇和水:新型燃料2008-03-04[2008.03.01] Don't mix别搞混了
Ethanol and water 乙醇和水


Don't mix别搞混了
Feb 28th 2008 | MIAMI
From The Economist print edition

New reasons to be suspicious of ethanol
对乙醇燃料的新怀疑
OFFICIALS in Tampa, Florida, got a surprise recently when a local firm building the state's first ethanol-production factory put in a request for 400,000 gallons (1.5m litres) a day of city water. The request by US Envirofuels would make the facility one of the city's top ten water consumers overnight, and the company plans to double its size. Florida is suffering from a prolonged drought. Rivers and lakes are at record lows and residents wonder where the extra water will come from.
佛罗里达州坦帕市的官员们最近不大不小吃了一惊:一家企业要求该市每天向他们供水四十万加仑(一百五十万升)。这家企业(US Envirofuels)正在兴建佛罗里达州第一家乙醇燃料工厂。这一狮子大开口的要求使得该公司一夜之间跻身坦帕市十大用水大户之一。该公司还在计划将工厂扩建一倍。而佛罗里达正在经历一场持续的干旱。境内的湖泊与河流都处在历史最低水位,居民们都在寻思,这四十万加仑的用水缺口从哪里去补。

They are not alone. A backlash against the federally financed biofuels boom is growing around the country, and “water could be the Achilles heel” of ethanol, said a report by the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
这并非特例。对目前全美生物燃料热潮的反对声音正在不断升高。位于明尼苏达州的农业与贸易政策研究中心发表了一份报告,其中声称:“水可能成为乙醇燃料工业的致命弱点(译注:原文为阿喀琉斯之踵)。”

The number of ethanol factories has almost tripled in the past eight years from 50 to about 140. A further 60 or so are under construction. In 2007 President George Bush signed legislation requiring a fivefold increase in biofuels production, to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
过去八年间,全美的乙醇工厂从五十家增加到了一百四十家,几乎增加到了三倍。还有六十家正在兴建之中。2007年布什总统签署了一项法令,要求生物燃料产量在2022年以前增加到目前规模的五倍,总产量达到360亿加仑。

This is controversial for several reasons. There are doubts about how green ethanol really is (some say the production process uses almost as much energy as it produces). Some argue that using farmland for ethanol pushes up food prices internationally (world wheat prices rose 25% this week alone, perhaps as a side-effect of America's ethanol programme). But one of the least-known but biggest worries is ethanol's extravagant use of water.
这一要求备受争议。原因有好几个:一些人怀疑生物燃料到底是不是所谓的绿色能源,有人说生产过程中耗费的能源就已经跟这些产品燃料能产生的能量差不多了。还有人认为把农地拿来生产生物燃料会推高全球农产品价格(仅仅在本周,小麦价格就上涨了25%,这很可能是美国人的生物燃料项目的副作用)。另一项不为人知,却可能是麻烦最大的隐忧,正是乙醇生产中的大量用水。

A typical ethanol factory producing 50m gallons of biofuels a year needs about 500 gallons of water a minute. Most of that goes into the boiling and cooling process, which is similar to making beer. Some water is lost through evaporation in the cooling tower and in waste discharge. All this is putting a heavy burden on aquifers in some corn-growing areas.
通常一间年产乙醇五千万加仑的工厂每分钟就需要用水500加仑。绝大部分水用在蒸馏和冷却环节上,这和造啤酒很相似。有些水在冷凝塔中蒸发掉了,有些则作为废水排放掉了。上述这些耗费使得玉米产地(译注:乙醇的原料是玉米)的水资源负担越来越重。

Residents went to court in Missouri to halt a $165m facility being built by Gulfstream Bioflex Energy LLC which was projected to draw 1.3m gallons of water every day from the Ozark aquifer. Projects are being challenged in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and in central Illinois, where eight ethanol facilities are situated over the Mahomet aquifer. Demand for corn is such that more land is also being ploughed up in drier regions of the Great Plains states to the west of the corn belt, where irrigation in required, increasing water demand further.
在密苏里州,居民们通过法律手段停止了一项Gulfstream Bioflex能源有限公司的价值一亿六千五百万美元的工程,该工程预计每天从Ozark水源地含水层取用一百三十万加仑的水。类似的工程计划在明尼苏达,艾奥瓦,内布拉斯加,堪萨斯以及伊利诺伊斯州都受到了挑战,在这些地方,有八间乙醇工厂就建在Mahomet水源的含水层上。

The good news is that ethanol plants are becoming more efficient. They now use about half as much water per gallon of ethanol as they did a decade ago. New technology might be able to halve the amount of water again, says Mike Fatigati, vice president of Delta-T Corp, a Virginia company which has designed a system that does not discharge any waste water. But others are sceptical. “There are things you can close loop [ie, recycle efficiently] and things you can't,” says Paul Greene, a senior director for biofuels with Siemens Water Technologies, designers of the water-purification technology used in ethanol factories. Perhaps ethanol just isn't as bio-friendly as it looks.
好消息是,乙醇工厂的效率正在不断提高。他们现在只需要十年前一半的水,就能生产一样多的乙醇。弗吉尼亚州的Delta-T公司生产了一种不需要排放废水的新系统,该公司的副总裁Mike Fatigati认为新技术将把水耗再降低一半。不过其他人对此表示怀疑。西门子水源科技公司是乙醇工厂所采用的水净化技术的设计者,该公司资深生物燃料专员Paul Greene就说:“有些东西你的确可以循环使用,有些则是不行的。”有可能乙醇并没有看上去那么环保。
发表于10:55 | 阅读全文 | 评论 0 | 编辑 | 分享 0互联网可能成为好莱坞的救星2008-02-29[2008.2.21][Briefing]Coming soon 即将来临
Hollywood and the internet
Coming soon即将来临
Feb 21st 2008
From The Economist print edition

The internet could be a boon for Hollywood—but only if it can conquer its fears
互联网可能成为好莱坞的救星—但除非好莱坞能战胜对互联网的恐惧


TO SEE what the future of film distribution might look like, go to a website called ZML.com. It offers 1,700 films for download to personal computers, iPods or other hand-held devices, or to burn to DVD. It is inviting and easy to use, with detailed descriptions of each movie, editors' picks, customer reviews and screen stills. And the prices are reasonable: “Atonement”, for instance, costs $2.99. There is one small catch: ZML.com is a pirate site. Hollywood's movie studios, which are used to dealing with scruffier crews like Pirate Bay, a Swedish outfit,are aghast at how professional the newcomer is. “It looks like a fabulous legal website,” says one studio executive.
如果你想要知道未来的电影发行将是怎样,可以去这个网站ZML.com。它提供1700部电影可以下载到个人电脑,iPods,手携式的播放装置上,或者可以刻录成DVD。它很诱人也很容易使用,网站上有每部电影的详细介绍,编辑的精选,顾客的评价以及电影剧照。而且价钱也公道,比如说《赎罪》,只要2.99美元。但是这里有个小圈套,ZML.com是个非法网站。好莱坞的电影工作室,以前一直在对付一伙来自瑞典的非法团队,如Pirate Bay,现在好莱坞对ZML.com如此专业的新来者感到惊恐。“它看起来就像是棒极了合法网站。”一位好莱坞的制作人说。

The existence of ZML.com illustrates why Hollywood is in two minds about the web. On the one hand, the internet has brought a potent threat: pirates are plundering films and carrying off booty that rightfully belongs to the studios. Online piracy costs Hollywood less than the physical variety, ripping off DVDs, but the gap is closing. “We are more concerned about internet piracy than physical piracy, because controlling it is harder,” says Ron Wheeler, head of anti-piracy efforts at Fox Entertainment Group. Some in Hollywood believe that internet theft could even be the death of America's film industry.
ZML.com的存在说明了为什么好莱坞对于网络会有两种看法。一方面,互联网带来潜在的威胁:盗版者窃取电影,本属于制作商的电影成了他们的战利品。互联网的盗版比实体DVD盗版少,但是现在这个差距正在缩小。“我们现在更加比实体盗版更注重互联网盗版,因为控制非常的困难。”福克斯娱乐集团反盗版的负责人 Ron Wheeler说。

On the other hand, the internet offers Hollywood a great opportunity—which it has so far been slow to exploit. There is every reason to think that people will want online access to films, just as they do for music, newspapers, television and radio. ZML.com is proving that people will pay to download films to see at home when it suits them. And once people can buy or rent films on demand, the chances are that they will watch more of them.
另一方面,互联网给好莱坞提供了一个很好的机会----这并没有被很快发现。有足够的理由可以说人们需要通过网络获得电影,就像他们需要音乐,报纸,电视和广播一样。ZML.com证明了人们愿意付费在家下载那些他们需要的电影。一旦人们会根据需要买和租电影,那他们越要越多的机会就越大。

The web is already making its presence felt in the heart of Tinseltown: this year's Oscars extravaganza, which is due to take place on February 24th, nearly fell victim to a strike by writers over pay for the distribution of their work on the internet. But for the time being Hollywood is mostly stuck in the physical world. Every year it sends thousands of heavy, expensive reels of film to cinemas by road. Only in the past year or so has it started an effort to send out some across the ether as ones and zeros. The DVD is a digital format, to be sure, but it comes in shrink-wrapped plastic.
网络已经让它成了好莱坞感到了它的存在:因为编剧抗议网络上电影发行的利润分配,原定在今年2月24日举行的奥斯卡颁奖礼差点成了受害者。但在这个时候,好莱坞是现实世界里最遭抗议的。每年它都要把成千上万又重又昂贵的电影膠片通过陆路交通送到电影院。直到去年左右,好莱坞才开始用0和1的数码来传送电影。DVD是以数码的格式,当然,也是压缩在塑胶碟片上。

Some studios are enthusiastic about the internet. “In 2008 we will move full speed ahead online,” says Thomas Lesinski, president of digital entertainment at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles. “It's the great hope for new revenue for the movie business.” But the industry has by and large been slow: studios have only tentatively backed legal online film-download services. Television, by contrast, has been much faster to embrace the internet.
一些制作公司对于网络感到乐观。“2008年我们将全速进军网络。”位于洛杉矶的帕拉蒙特数字娱乐公司的主席Thomas Lesinski说。但是这个产业目前总体上是发展迟缓的:制作公司只是试验性的支持那些网络合法的电影下载服务商。相反,电视比电影更快的接受了互联网。

On the buses在车上

The choice of what is legally available online today is patchy. For instance, London buses are carrying ads for FilmOn.com, a new download service. It promises “tons and tons of great movies”, but you will not find “Mulva 2—Kill Teen Ape!” near the top of many people's lists. The internet has lots of legal sites like this, which promise thousands of top-class titles but in truth resemble the worst shelves of a bad video-rental store. ZML.com has a far better collection than most legitimate services do.
网络上可合法下载的电影选择参差不齐。例如,伦敦的公车上打广告的FilmOn.com,
一个新的下载服务商。它承诺将有“非常多的好电影”,但是你会发现“Mulva 2—Kill Teen Ape!”位于许多人观看前几位。网上又很多这样的合法网站,他们承诺将提供成千上万一流的电影下载,但事实上它们提供的片子,相当于最糟糕的电影出租商的最差的片子。ZML.com所收集的电影,远远好过这些合法服务商。

Another legal site, MovieFlix, based in Los Angeles, makes its money from independent films, student movies, straight-to-video titles and other eclectic fare. Its founders, Opher Mizrahi and Robert Moskovits, stay away from Hollywood studios because of their high fees. MovieFlix, which had revenues of $1.2m last year, is rare among download sites: it turns a profit. “We are the cockroaches of this space,” says Mr Mizrahi, “and we are survivors.”
另外一个位于洛杉矶的合法网站MovieFlix,多是通过独立电影,学生电影,不在电影院上演电影和其它折衷性的收费来赚钱。它的创办人,Opher Mizrahi 和 Robert Moskovits,因为昂贵费用而远离好莱坞。去年获得120万美元收益的MovieFlix是仅有的下载网站中盈利的一个。“我们是这个领域的蟑螂” Mizrahi先生说,“我们是幸存者。”

Many better-funded services have fared far worse. Movielink, which the studios themselves set up in 2001, with about $150m of start-up capital, was sold last August to Blockbuster, a video-rental chain, reportedly for less than $20m. CinemaNow, which counts Microsoft and Cisco Systems among its investors, started offering movies online in 1999 and is not yet making a profit, to the surprise of its chief executive, Curt Marvis. Back then, he says, everyone thought that selling films online would be a huge business by now.
许多资金较充足的服务商运行情况更严重。Movielink,这个工作室成立于2001年投入1500万美元的资本,去年八月以少于200万美元出售给一个连锁影碟零售商Blockbuster。对于投资者而言有等同于微软和思科系统的CinemaNow,从1999年来是提供***,但至今没有盈利,这让它的行政总裁Curt Marvis都大吃一惊。他说,那个时候每个人都认为到现在这个时候网上销售电影一定会是一个巨大商机。

Nor are the studios making much money online. They have dozens of deals with internet services around the world. Warner Bros, for instance, supplies small selections of its films to 38 separate digital-distribution services, according to Screen Digest, a research firm in London. In 2006, estimates Screen Digest, online distribution of movies generated a total of $58m in America and western Europe. Screen Digest expects this to rise to $1.2 billion by 2011. But that is still below 5% of its forecast for total home-entertainment revenue.
电影制作公司也并没有从网上获利。他们和全世界很多网络服务商都有生意往来。例如,根据伦敦一家调研公司Screen Digest的调查,华纳兄弟向38个数码化发行服务商提供小部分产品。Screen Digest估计,2006年电影的网上销售在美国和西欧可以获得总数580万美元的收入,它预计,到2011年数额将增长到12亿美元。但这仍然低于对全部家庭娱乐收益预期的5%。

Consumer-electronics firms are longing to supply Hollywood films. According to Screen Digest, online viewing is most likely to take off on services based on their devices. So far, people have been most interested in buying films for gadgets such as Apple's iPod or Microsoft's Xbox 360. Apple's iTunes has captured almost 80% of the download-to-own market; the Xbox has won more than 70% of online rentals.
消费者电子用品公司都希望能够提供好莱坞电影。根据Screen Digest调查,人们观看在线观看电影多缘起于他们手中的设备。目前为止,人们最有兴趣的是因为苹果iPod和微软的Xbox 360这些小玩艺来购买电影。苹果的iTunes掌握了将近80%的个人下载使用的市场,Xbox则赢得了70%的网上出租的份额。

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, everyone was waiting for Apple to announce that iTunes would start selling new movies from all six leading studios. Hitherto, only Disney had granted Apple access to new releases (Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs, sits on Disney's board); a couple of other studios were giving it older titles. In the event, Apple's deal was disappointing: it got the go-ahead from all the studios only to rent their films, not to sell them. According to a person familiar with the negotiations, however, this was because of the Hollywood writers' strike over new media. Now the studios are waiting to see whether actors walk out over the same issue. When the labour troubles are past, Apple is likely to get a proper download-to-own deal with all six studios. For Hollywood, this would be a big step towards the internet.
一月份在拉斯韦加斯举行的国际消费者电子用品展览中,所有人都在等待苹果公布iTune将开始出售来自六个最顶级的制作商的新电影。迄今为止,仅有迪斯尼一家授予了苹果公司获得最新电影的放映权(苹果公司的行政总裁,Steve Jobs进入了迪斯尼的董事会);
其他的一些制作公司只提供了一些陈旧的电影。在这个事件上,苹果的这出生意让人失望:它仅在出租制作商提供的电影上获得了优先权,但是在出售电影上并没有。但是,根据一个了解这次谈判的人士介绍,这是因为好莱坞的编剧们抗议新媒体。现在制作公司在等待看好莱坞的演员们是否也会以同样的原因上街抗议。在这场劳资纠纷过去之后,苹果公司可能会与六家制作公司达成专属的个人下载生意。对于好莱坞来说,这将是对互联网的很大进步。

The colour of money金钱的颜色
There are two broad reasons for Hollywood's tardiness. The main one is the industry's aversion to making big changes to its business model. In part this is because it takes so much risk in its day-to-day operations. “Every weekend, we sit on pins and needles watching to see if our films will flop,” explains a studio executive, “and that doesn't encourage risk-taking in the business as a whole.” There is a less defensible explanation too: “Hollywood's value system is not necessarily about growth,” says Dan Jansen, who runs the Boston Consulting Group's media practice. “It's about recognition for films.”
好莱坞的迟缓有两个原因。主要的一个是好莱坞厌恶改变它的商业模式。一部分原因是好莱坞日常运作中已经存在太多的风险。“每个周末,我们都会如坐针毡的看我们的电影是否会失败”电影制作人解释说,“作为整体我们并不鼓励在生意上冒险。”还有不那么辩护性的解释:“好莱坞的价值体系并不是要求一定要成长”波士顿咨询公司负责媒体咨询的Dan Jansen说,“是关于对电影的认可。”

For the moment, most people are still happy with DVDs, so the studios have had little incentive to switch to an unproven new format. The DVD business is huge, bringing in $23.4 billion in America last year, against $9.6 billion from the box office. The studios are terrified of damaging that source of revenue. In 2006, when Disney made a deal with Apple to sell movies via iTunes, Wal-Mart, America's biggest retailer, reportedly threatened to retaliate: the internet, after all, bypasses it. Wal-Mart accounts for about 40% of DVD sales in the United States and if it sharply cut shelf-space for DVDs, the lost sales would far outweigh new digital sales in the near term. At the end of last year Wal-Mart shut its ten-month-old movie-download site. Now that it no longer has a foot in the internet camp, studios expect it to take a harder line against any further efforts they may make to favour online distribution.
目前,很多人满足于有DVD,所以制作公司几乎没有动机去转向另一种未经实践证明的新形式。DVD 的生意是巨大的,给美国去年带来了234亿美元的收入,而票房的收入是96亿美元。制作公司很害怕会破坏这个收入来源,在2006年,当迪斯尼和苹果公司谈生意想通过iTune出售电影时,美国最大的零售商沃尔玛,据报道说它威胁将要报复:毕竟互联网超过了它。沃尔玛在美国的DVD销售中占有40%的份额,如果它锐减DVD 在货架上的销售,在近期内,失去的那些销售额将远远超出新的数码产品的销售。在去年年末,沃尔玛关掉了它仅十个月电影下载网站。现在,再也不再涉足于网络领域,制作公司也希望它对任何支持网络销售的发行采取强硬的态度。

Not everyone agrees, however. Wal-Mart and other big retailers rely heavily on DVDs to bring higher-income people into their stores, says a studio executive. “So they don't have a leg to stand on threatening to pull shelf-space.” For this reason, he believes that Hollywood should be able to cultivate online revenues without greatly disrupting its existing businesses.
但是,并不是每个人都同意。沃尔玛和其他的零售商都很大程度上依赖于DVD,DVD把高收入的人带入商店,一位制片人说。“所以如果威胁到货架销售,它们并没有其他可以来支撑的点。”出于这个原因,他相信在不破坏现有的生意的情况下,好莱坞才有可能在网络上积累财富。

In any case, there are now signs that the DVD boom has come to an end—which should also encourage the studios to worry less about Wal-Mart and to move faster online. After its growth slowed in 2005 and 2006, spending on DVDs fell by 3% in 2007 (see chart 1). Some in the industry are pinning their hopes on fancier, “high-definition” discs—another physical format—rather than on the web. But so far, sales of such discs have been minuscule—largely because of a war between two formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray. Although the war ended this week, when Toshiba said it would abandon HD DVD, high-definition discs are unlikely to bring growth back to the home-entertainment business.
不论何种例子,种种迹象显示,DVD 的繁荣已经走向终结----这也促使制作商减少对沃尔玛的担忧并更快的转向网络。2005年和2006年,DVD的销售量开始增长放缓,2007年消费者在DVD上的花费下降了3%(如图一)。行业中的一些人把它们的希望放在更逼真精致和高清晰度影碟上----另外一种物理形式----而不是网络。但是,到目前为止,这类影碟的销售量是很微小的,主要是因为HD DVD和蓝光两种格式之间的竞争。尽管这场竞争在本月届苏,东芝宣布它将放弃HD DVD,高清晰影碟不太可能重新给家庭娱乐的生意带来增长。

Indeed, Hollywood's desire to preserve its existing business rather than embrace a new one echoes its misgivings a few years ago about the DVD itself. In 1997, when the new format was about to be born, three studios, Paramount, Disney and Twentieth Century Fox, came out against it, remembers Warren Lieberfarb, who is widely credited with having fathered the product as it is today. They were worried that selling DVDs for $18 apiece would cannibalise their sales of video cassettes to rental stores for $65 each. None of the three studios is proud of that episode now.
的确,好莱坞渴望维护它现存的生意而不是拥抱新的生意,回应了它几年前对于DVD本身的忧虑。1997年当这种新的形式将要诞生的时候,三个制作公司,帕拉蒙特,迪斯尼和20世纪福克斯都出来反对,如今被视为DVD之父Warren Lieberfarb回忆说。他们担心以18美元一张出售DVD将侵蚀掉它们在零售店录像带的销售,65美元一盒。现在,这三家制作公司没有任何一家为当初的那一幕感到自豪。

Moreover, as well as boosting sales overall, the internet will make it easier for the studios to make money from their libraries—bricks-and-mortar retailers, after all, have limited shelf-space, and mostly stock new releases. Digital sales yield a higher profit margin too. Virtual distribution does away with manufacturing, packaging, transport and inventory costs. At the moment, the studios get $18 per film from a Wal-Mart or a Best Buy and about $16 for a digital sale, but because of the lower costs they make about $3 more on each film when sold electronically.
并且,除了提升整体的销售量,互联网还能让制作公司从他们的图书馆来赚取更多的钱----毕竟,传统的零售商只有有限的货架空间,并且很多存放的都是新货。数码化的销售也能带来很高的利润回报。虚拟世界的发行可以不涉及制造,打包,运输和存储的开支。当前,制作公司从沃尔玛和百思买出售一部电影中获得18美元,从数码化的销售中获得16美元,但是因为较低的成本开支,每部电影在以电子方式出售时,可以多获得3美元的收入。

A bigger risk than angering Wal-Mart is that Hollywood will be undone by internet pirates. Imaginative, reasonably priced legal products are the best antidote to piracy: anti-piracy heads at the studios, indeed, clamour for well stocked, convenient movie-downloading services. Fox's Mr Wheeler says that content owners should offer people “ubiquitous access to our products online at reasonable prices”. Mr Wheeler also hopes that internet-service providers can be drafted into the fight. In November France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, backed a proposal to require ISPs to detect and cut off conspicuous pirates. Britain's government is said to be considering a similar law.
比惹火沃尔玛更大的一个风险是互联网的盗版将破坏好莱坞。可以想象,价钱公道的合法产品是对付盗版的最佳手段:从制作公司开始防盗版,的确,呼吁良好储存,方便的下载服务。福克斯的Wheeler先生说,内容拥有者应该让人们能“获得绝无仅有的,价格合理的网上电影服务。”Wheeler也希望互联网服务提供者能够加入这场抗争。11月份法国总统萨科齐表示支持一项法案,需要互联网服务提供上监测并阻断可疑的盗版行为。英国政府也表示会考虑出台类似的法律。

The second reason for Hollywood's sluggishness is that the studios and the consumer-electronics industry have not overcome three technological hurdles. Downloading a film still takes a long time—in America, about 30-40 minutes on average (see chart 2). Movies in high-definition format would take about four times that. But broadband speeds are increasing all the time. In Japan and South Korea it now takes between five and ten minutes to download a film in standard definition.
好莱坞动作迟缓的第二个原因是因为制作公司和数码消费者产业还没有突破三个技术障碍。下载电影还需要很长的时间---在美国平均大约需要30到40分钟 (见图2)。高清晰模式的电影可能需要4倍于此的时间。但是宽频的速度一直在加快。在日本和韩国,现在只要五到十分钟就可以下载一部标准清晰度的电影。


Another obstacle is that most people want to watch films on television, not on personal computers—especially if they have wide, “home-theatre” TV screens. Products connecting PCs and televisions have been available for years but have not caught on, because they are hard to install and operate. That is changing. Apple has just overhauled its linking gadget, Apple TV, to make it easier to use. At the CES in Las Vegas, says Alan Bell, Paramount's chief technology officer, new televisions and set-top boxes that connect directly to the internet were on show, “so the PC is not the bottleneck in getting digital content from internet services to the TV screen that people saw a year ago.”
另外一个障碍就是很多人希望在电视上看电影,而不是在个人电脑上,特别是如果人们拥有宽屏“家庭影院”的电视屏幕。连接电脑和电视的产品几年前就已经有了,但是并没有流行,因为这些仪器很难安装和操作。这一切都在变化,苹果刚刚彻底检修了它的小型连接物件,苹果电视,让它能够很容易使用。在拉斯维加斯的CES,帕拉蒙特的首席技术官Allan Bell说,可以直接和网络连接的新型电视和它的机顶盒已经有售了,“所以电脑不再是从几年前电视从网络获得数码内容的瓶颈了。”

The last hurdle, and perhaps the highest, is the lack of common standards among websites and devices. “Imagine if you went to Wal-Mart to buy a new DVD player and then found that your DVDs from Best Buy didn't work on it,” says Mitch Singer, chief technology officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Movies on the internet, he says, is “a format war on steroids”. Each download store sells different usage rights. Hollywood is trying to do something about this. Late last year a group of studios, retailers and consumer-electronics firms met to discuss an idea of Mr Singer's for a standardised electronic movie product called Open Market. But the talks are at an early stage, and it will be tricky to get companies such as Apple and Microsoft to agree to common standards.
最后一个猛烈冲击,可能也是最大的一个,就是网站和设备之间缺乏一个共同的标准。“想象一下,如果你去沃尔玛买新的DVD播放器,然后发现你从百思买那里买的DVD却没法播放”索尼娱乐的首席科技官员Mitch Singer说。他说,互联网上的电影处于一场“类固醇的格式战”。任何一个提供下载的商铺都出售不一样的使用版权。好莱坞想为此做一些努力。去年年底,一群制作公司,零售商和数码消费者公司开会讨论,Singer先生提出的“开放市场”这个把数码电影产品标准化想法。但是,商谈还在初步阶段,让苹果和微软这样的公司同意使用同样的标准,是有一定难度的。

Hollywood's dealings with the consumer-gadget companies also betray its habitual caution. The studios fear that Apple could become the Wal-Mart of the internet—a giant with power to push them around, continually pressing prices down. Maintaining pricing online is a particular worry. “People think that if it's online it should be free,” says one studio head. One answer to pricing pressure online, though not a complete one, would be to experiment with putting advertisements around films. Last year Paramount gave a selection of films to a service called Joost that streams them free, supported by advertising. Movies are doing very well on the service, says Mr Lesinski. Paramount plans to conduct more online experiments in 2008, he says. The lion's share of its library and all its new releases will be on the internet within a year or two.
好莱坞与消费者小商品公司的生意也违背了它惯有的谨慎。制片公司害怕苹果会成为互联网上的沃尔玛----这强有力的巨人能把它们推得团团转,并且不断的压低价钱。维持互联网上的价钱也是他们一个特别的忧虑。“人们认为如果是互联网上的,那它应该是免费的”,一位制作公司的头说。对于互联网上的价格压力有一个回答,也许不是一个全面的回答,那就是可以试验着在电影上投放广告。去年帕拉蒙特把它们选出的一些电影提供给一个叫做Joost的服务商用于免费的播放,由广告来进行支持。Lesinski先生说,基于这个服务的电影播放效果很好。他说,帕拉蒙特计划在2008年做更多的这方面的在线试验。它的图书馆中最大最好的一部分以及所有新发行的电影都会在一两年都会放到互联网上。

Short of selling films on it, Hollywood certainly knows how to use the internet to its advantage. Its use of viral online marketing is one of the most sophisticated of any industry. Jeff Berg, chairman and chief executive of ICM, a talent agency, says that about 8% of the total marketing spending on films goes to the internet; in five years' time, the web will take 20%. Paramount's “Cloverfield”, a low-budget monster movie shot as if by an amateur with a camcorder, earned $40m in its opening weekend in American cinemas last month, crushing the competition. It built its audience on the internet: a mysterious trailer for another, unidentified movie led to a website and started an online treasure-hunt for more clues. Popular movie websites such as aintitcool.com buzzed for months about the mystery film.
尽管不擅长于出售电影,好莱坞显然知道怎样利用互联网来发挥长处。它使用的病毒互联网营销就是所有行业中最复杂的一种。创作公司ICM的主席和首席执行官Jeff Berg说,花在电影上的所有营销中的8%都是在互联网上;在五年的时间里,网络将会占到20%。帕拉蒙特的“苜蓿地”,一部低成本巨片而且仿佛是一个摄像业余爱好者拍摄的片子,上个月在上映的那个周末就在美国赚了4000万美元,闯入了票房竞争。它通过互联网来建立起它的观众:一个接一个的神秘电影预告片,未知的电影指向了一个网站,并且开始了一场在线的寻宝行动以发掘更多的线索。热门的电影网站,例如aintitcool.com,关于这个电影热闹了好几个月。

How the web was won互联网如何取得胜利
Creatively, too, Hollywood is harnessing the internet. Studios are using it to find global pockets of interest. “If there's 1m people around the world who are interested in ice-fishing,” says Jeremy Zimmer, co-founder of United Talent Agency, “we can make a movie for them.” Studios are using their customers' opinions to shape their films. “Snakes on a Plane”, for instance, started off in development as a horror film. As the project got attention online its maker, New Line Cinema, listened, and changed the plot to be more comic in tone. Blowtorch, a young media company making video content for 18- to 24-year-olds, is pushing this further. It will allow audiences to influence its movies via the web. They will be invited to vote on elements of a film's soundtrack, an actor's wardrobe, or even character development.
同样具有创造性的是,好莱坞也控制着互联网。制作公司也利用它寻找全世界人的钱包。“如果全球有100万人对冰上钓鱼有兴趣”联合创作组织的创始人Jeremy Zimmer说,“我们就能为他们制作一部电影。”制作公司利用观众们的想法来塑造他们的电影。如果一个计划引起了网络上的关注,那么它的制造商,New Line Cinema,倾听并改变故事的情节让它在基调上更加具有戏剧性。Blowtorch,这个专门为18到24岁的观众制作节目的年轻的媒体公司还更前进了一步,它让观众们能通过网络去影响电影。观众们被邀请为电影的配乐,演员的服装,甚至人物个性的发展投票。

Don't lose it in your popcorn.ICM's boss believes that the internet will lower barriers to entry for new film-makers. “Sites will spring up specialising in independent films and short movies,” says Mr Berg, “and these will be showcases, similar to film festivals.” Jaman.com, a download service for independent films from around the world, is a good example. The makers of “Indoctrinate-U”, an independent film about a lack of free speech at American universities, have used the internet to build an audience. The movie's website invites people to sign up with zip codes; if enough do, local screenings are arranged. United Talent Agency has set up a special internet unit, UTA Online, to find and develop new talent. The new unit encourages people to get in touch—unheard of in the original “don't call us” business.
别把它丢失在你的爆米花里,ICM公司的老板认为,互联网能够降低新的电影拍摄者的进入门槛。“独立电影和电影短片的网站增长很快”Berg先生说,“网上会有一些电影展示,和电影节差不多。”Jaman.com, 一个全球性的独立电影下载服务网站,就是一个好的例子。独立电影Indoctrinate-U讲述的是美国的大学缺少言论自由,他的导演就是利用网络来建立观众群。这个电影网站要求人们用邮政区号来注册,如果注册数量足够大,就会安排在该地放映这部电影。联合创作组织成立了一个特别的互联网组织,UTA在线,来寻找和发展新的创作人才。新的组织鼓励人们来联系,这是在原本那些常说“不要找我们”的生意里没有听说过的。

In the long term, many people expect that the internet could undermine Hollywood's system of exclusive “windows”. Cinemas get a film to themselves for a period of weeks, then it goes to DVD, then to video-on-demand and online services, then pay-cable television, and so on. And many films are still released in different countries at different times, usually starting in America. The system is a gift to pirates. But the studios are wedded to it, especially the cinema window.
长期来看,很多人期盼互联网能够打破好莱坞体系作为唯一的“票房窗口”。电影院自己把电影播了几个星期,然后做成DVD,接着是视频点播和在线服务,再然后是付费电视等等。许多电影还在不同的国家不同的时间放映,一般是从美国开始。这个体系结果成了盗版者的礼物。但是制作公司已经和这个体系结合在一起,特别是电影院票房。

The internet creates immediate global awareness of movies, says Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, a DVD rental-by-mail company, so the studios are increasingly choosing to release films at the same time everywhere. They have already shortened their windows, he says, and that could be a step towards getting rid of them. As people buy home-theatre systems and the convenience of the internet makes it even harder to get people out of their homes, the cinema window will come under ever greater pressure.
DVD邮寄租赁公司Netflix的总执行官说,互联网让全球都迅速的关注到电影,因此制作公司越来越多开始选择全球同步上映新电影。他说,他们也缩短了电影档期,他们也正想这样一步步摆脱档期。因为人们开始购买家庭影院系统,而且互联网带来的舒适让观众越来越来难走出家门,电影院的放映档期承受着越来越大的压力。

It will doubtless take Hollywood a few more years to work out how to deliver films over the internet. Meanwhile, studios and retailers are poised to introduce movie-download kiosks, using flash memory. Several companies, such as MOD Systems, of Los Angeles, have cut download times to a few minutes; Ireland's Porto Media claims a time of 17 seconds. The idea is to put kiosks in such places as shops, airports and petrol stations. Using Porto Media's system, films are downloaded onto a tiny device (pictured) which plugs into dock attached to a television. Kiosks could hold more titles than physical video shops and would never be out of stock. Twentieth Century Fox is looking at several competing kiosks, says Mike Dunn, head of the studio's home-entertainment unit. It will test them this year.
毫无疑问,好莱坞还要花上好几年才能研发出怎样在网上传送电影。同时,制造公司和零售商都准备在推出使用闪存的电影下载亭。其他的公司,例如洛杉矶的MOD系统,已经把下载时间减少到几分钟;爱尔兰的Porto Media声称他们的时间只要17秒。他们的想法是把下载亭诸如商店,飞机场和加油站。使用MOD系统的话,电影可以下载到小型的播放仪器上,并且可以连接到电视上。下载亭可以存放比音像商店更多的电影,并且永远不会缺货。制作公司家庭娱乐组的负责人Mike Dunn说,二十世纪福克斯正在考察几个竞争的下载亭。今年会对他们进行测试。

“The flash-memory-enabled kiosk is an interim solution which overcomes many of the weaknesses of the present model and the current deficiencies of the internet,” says Mr Lieberfarb, who is on the board of MOD Systems. Customers will get used to downloading films and transferring them between devices, which will prepare them for proper online distribution. Kiosks will make money for retailers too, so that they could help the studios keep Wal-Mart and others sweet. That is the kind of careful step forward that even Hollywood can dare to take.
“适用于闪存的下载亭是一种过渡期的解决方式,这能克服现在许多下载模式的弱点,以及目前互联网的缺陷”MOD系统的董事Lieberfar先生说。顾客将会习惯于下载电影并且把电影在不同的存储器之间转存,这将为今后在网络上进行发行做准备。下载亭也同样会为零售商赚钱,所以它们也会让沃尔玛和其他零售商高兴。这会是好莱坞敢于接受的可以谨慎前进的一步。

[ 本帖最后由 Dimpler 于 2008-2-29 11:57 编辑 ]
发表于17:20 | 阅读全文 | 评论 0 | 编辑 | 分享 0吸烟:如何挽救10亿生命2008-02-29[2007.02.07] How to save a billion lives 如何挽救10亿生命
Smoking
吸烟

How to save a billion lives
如何挽救10亿生命

Feb 7th 2008 | NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition
A war against the weed spreads and escalates, though the odds are unequal
反烟斗争:扩散升级,胜算不一。



(图片来源:Panos)

EVEN more than tempting liquors like tequila, tobacco is a pleasure that the Old World wishes it had never taken from the New. In 1492, when Christopher Columbus was met by tribesmen with “fruit, wooden spears and certain dried leaves which gave off a distinct fragrance”, he threw the last gift away. But his shipmates brought home the custom of sucking in the smoke, and the taste spread so rapidly that in 1604 King James I of England was prompted to issue a denunciation of the “manifold abuses of this vile custome”.
烟草,比烈性龙舌兰酒更诱人,但是东半球多么希望它从来没有从美洲引入这一享受。1492年,克里斯托弗·哥伦布 (Christopher Columbus)登上新大陆,当地部落族人把散发独特香味的果子、木剑和干叶子”赠予他,他把那些干叶子统统扔掉了。但他的船员们把吸烟的习惯带回了家,这一风气流传得非常迅速促使1604年英王詹姆士一世(King James I )对“各种形式的放纵这种恶习”发表谴责。

Vile indeed, but habit-forming and therefore lethally dangerous: it cuts short the lives of between a third and half of its practitioners. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), perhaps 100m people died prematurely during the 20th century as a result of tobacco, making it the leading preventable cause of death and one of the top killers overall. Another 1 billion more may die from it in this century if current trends continue unchecked.
吸烟有百害而无一利,但却容易成瘾,因此危害是致命的:吸烟者中三分之一到一半的人寿命缩短。根据世界卫生组织 (WHO)的估计,20世纪可能有1亿人因吸烟而早亡,使吸烟成为一个主要的却是可以避免的死亡因素,成为人类健康一大杀手。

In recent years smoking has been sharply restricted in some unlikely places. In 2004 Ireland amazed the world by successfully imposing a tobacco ban on all workplaces; and at the start of this year, France's café culture suddenly went smoke-free. The draconian curbs introduced by California in 1998 have been followed, at least in part, by well over half America's states. But the number of smokers in China, India and other developing countries is continuing to grow, as addiction spreads faster than information.
近年来,在一些看似不太可能的地方,吸烟却遭受着严厉的限制。2004年,爱尔兰成功地在所有工作区域禁烟,让整个世界眼前一亮;2008年伊始,法国的咖啡馆突然成了无烟区。1998年美国加利福尼亚州大刀阔斧的控烟行动得到美国过半数的州纷纷响应,不是全部照搬也至少是部分效法。但是,中国、印度和其他发展中国家,烟草比信息传播得还快,烟民数量正持续增长。

Hence the determination of almost everybody involved in global public health to escalate the war on smoking. Over 150 countries have already ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which requires countries to take a range of anti-smoking measures. Last July negotiators agreed on international norms for banning smoking in public places. Next week they meet in Geneva to discuss a protocol on tobacco smuggling.

由此可见,几乎每一个致力于全球公共健康的人都决心加大禁烟力度。已有150多个国家通过了《烟草控制框架公约》(Framework Convention on Tobacco Control)。该公约要求缔约国采取一系列反吸烟措施。去年7月,各国谈判代表就在公共场所禁烟的国际准则达成一致。下周他们将在日内瓦讨论打击烟草走私的公约。

In addition to new international rules, the WHO is pushing for aggressive policies at the national and local levels. On February 7th Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, and Michael Bloomberg, New York's zealously anti-smoking mayor, were due to unveil the most comprehensive survey of tobacco use ever carried out. The venue was fitting. Tom Frieden, the city's health commissioner, notes that the mayor's efforts have reduced smoking among the adults in New York by 20% and among teenagers in public schools by 50%. Mr Bloomberg's private charity, which supports many anti-smoking efforts worldwide, also funded the global survey, known as MPOWER.
除了新的国际准则外,世界卫生组织正在推动更加严厉的政策在国家和地区层面执行。2月7日,总干事陈冯富珍(Margaret Chan)和热心反烟的纽约市长迈克尔·布隆伯格(Michael Bloomberg)将发布有史以来最全面的烟草消费调查报告。选择纽约发布反烟报告再合适不过了。纽约市卫生局长汤姆·弗里登(Tom Frieden)说,市长的努力使纽约成人吸烟率下降了20%,公共学校就读的未成年人吸烟率降低了50%。布隆伯格用个人慈善基金资助世界各地的反烟行动,也赞助了这次名为“MPOWER”的全球调查。

The study is “a call to action to avoid a public-health catastrophe”, says Douglas Bettcher, head of the Tobacco Free Initiative at the WHO. The report lists the anti-smoking efforts of countries worldwide, offering benchmarks for aspiring reformers. What the survey shows, says Dr Bettcher, is that most countries have yet to implement even those policies that are proven to work.
世界卫生组织无烟草行动负责人道格拉斯·贝彻(Douglas Bettcher)称这个调查“呼吁采取行动,以避免公共卫生灾难”。该报告列举了世界各国为禁烟所做的努力,为雄心勃勃的改革者提供了基准。贝彻说这个报告显示出,甚至那些已证明有效的政策在大多数国家也还没有得到执行。





The WHO says countries must do six related things. The first is to improve the quality of data on tobacco use. The second is to impose sweeping Irish-style smoking bans; only 5% of the global population is now covered by such curbs. The third is to intensify efforts to induce and assist smokers to drop the habit. Only nine countries offer the kind of well-funded, accessible programmes of which the WHO approves.
世界卫生组织称各国必须执行六项方针。第一,改进对烟草消费的数据统计。第二,实行爱尔兰式的全面禁烟;类似控烟措施仅保护了全球5%的人口。 第三, 加大努力说服并协助吸烟者戒烟。只有9个国家设有世界卫生组织认可的资金充足且操作性强的项目。

Those ideas concern the existing users of tobacco; another three are aimed at persuading people not to light up in the first place. It may be hard to believe, but the WHO insists that most smokers still do not understand the full extent of the health risks. It wants all countries to mandate large, grotesque pictorial warnings on cigarette packets. Another policy proven to work (in the handful of countries, representing 5% of the world's population, to have tried it) is a complete ban on marketing. The agency is adamant that “partial bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship do not work.”
这三项方针都涉及到现有烟民;另外三项方针旨在劝说人们从一开始就远离烟草。如果说大多数的吸烟者仍未完全了解吸烟对健康的危害,我们也许很难相信,但是世界卫生组织坚持这样认为。世卫组织希望所有国家在香烟包装上强制性地使用显著且丑化的警告图示。另外一项行之有效的政策(在人口总数占世界5%的一些国家中已经进行了尝试)是全面禁止香烟广告和促销。世卫组织坚定地认为“只片面地禁止香烟广告、促销和赞助的根本不管用”。

The final prescription offered by the WHO is also the most powerful one: higher taxes. Studies show that raising tobacco taxes by a tenth may cause a 4% drop in consumption in rich countries and an 8% drop in poor ones, with tax revenue rising despite lower sales. The agency wants a 70% increase in the retail price of tobacco, which it says could prevent up to a quarter of all tobacco-related deaths worldwide. The claim is that higher taxes not only bring in revenue to fund anti-smoking efforts; they actually benefit the poor.
世卫组织开出的最后一副药方也是最强有力的:提高烟草税。研究表明,在发达国家,烟草税提高10%可以使烟草消费降低4%,在经济过后国家则降低8%,销量虽然减少,但是总税收仍然增加。世卫组织建议将香烟零售价提高70%,称这样可使全球与吸烟有关的死亡降低四分之一。高税收不仅能为反烟行动提供资金;实际上越没钱越能从中受益。



How come? A forthcoming paper by two scholars (Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Botond Koszegi of the University of California) notes that smokers face a familiar choice between short-term pleasure and a long-term desire to quit. Tobacco taxes are an incentive to make the right choice, and because the poor are price-sensitive, they benefit the most. Indeed, the authors calculate that in the United States, “the monetary value of the health damage from a pack of cigarettes is over $35 for the average smoker, implying both that optimal taxes should be very large and that cigarette taxes are likely progressive.”
怎么会呢?两位学者(麻省理工大学的Jonathan Gruber 和加利福尼亚大学的Botond Koszegi)即将发表的研究论文指出,要在短暂的快感和戒烟的长期向往之间抉择,这对吸烟者来说已是老生常谈。烟草税是让他们做出正确选择的动力,而且由于穷人对价格变动更加敏感,他们是最大的受益者。 实际上,两位学者经过计算,在美国“平均起来,一包烟对每个吸烟者的健康危害相当于35美元多的花费,由此引申出最佳的税收应该定的很高才对,而且烟草税应采用累加税率。”

The practical argument for action is simpler: the tobacco industry is getting the world's poor hooked before governments can respond. In recent years, as rich countries have clamped down on smoking, tobacco firms have shifted their focus to poorer places. A study by Britain's Bath University found that by using aggressive tactics, such as targeting women, international tobacco firms had helped to double smoking rates in Russia since 1991.
有一个很简单的论断可以支持上述做法:烟草业已经在各国政府能做出回应之前牢牢地拴住了穷人的口袋。近年来,随着发达国家遏制吸烟,烟草厂商已经把焦点转向了贫穷地区。英国巴斯大学(Bath University)一项研究表明发现,跨国烟草公司攻击性的策略,例如瞄准女性消费者,已导致俄罗斯目前的吸烟率比1991年翻了一番。

The tobacco industry is regrouping in order to focus on “promising” markets and escape the pesky lawsuits it is likely to face in rich, litigious countries. For example, Altria, a global tobacco concern based in the United States, plans to spin off Philip Morris International as a stand-alone foreign entity in late March. China is now home to more than a quarter of the world's smokers; it will soon be manufacturing Marlboro cigarettes for Philip Morris, and the firm will be exporting Chinese tobacco to other countries.
烟草业正在重组以在“新兴”市场集中火力并且避免在经济发达、法制化程度高的国家惹来麻烦的官司。例如,全球关注的烟草巨头美国阿尔特里亚
(Altria)集团计划在3月底将子公司菲利普·莫里斯国际公司 (Philip Morris International)剥离出去使之获得独立地位在国外运营。目前中国的烟民数量占全世界的四分之一;不久中国将为菲利普莫里斯生产万宝路(Marlboro)香烟,而且该公司还会将中国产的香烟出口到其他国家。

At times, the strategy used by public-health campaigners may seem heavy-handed; they retort that nothing else can work against a rich adversary. Indeed, Dr Bettcher argues that just as mosquitoes convey malaria, Big Tobacco is the “vector spreading this epidemic”. And eradicating tobacco may prove every bit as hard as fighting insect-borne disease.
很多时候, 公共卫生活动家所采用的战略看似残酷;他们反驳说,要与一个富有的对手抗衡,没有任何其他办法。的确,贝彻博士解释道,就像蚊子传播疟疾一样,烟草业就是“吸烟流行病的传染源”。铲除烟草会像防治昆虫传染病一样,点点滴滴都很艰辛。
发表于17:20 | 阅读全文 | 评论 1 | 编辑 | 分享 0中国:消费时代来临2008-02-20[2008.02.14]Economics focus From Mao to the mall消费时代来临
Economics focus

From Mao to the mall

消费时代来临

Feb 14th 2008

From The Economist print edition





Amid all the global gloom, the good news is that China is turning into a nation of spenders, as well as sellers。虽然全球经济陷入低潮,但好兆头是中国正从出口大国步入消费大国。



THE past year has seen a lively debate among economists about China's rapid economic growth. Some, such as Brad Setser from the Council on Foreign Relations, believe that exports have been the main generator; others, like UBS's Jonathan Anderson and The Economist, think that domestic demand—spending on roads and railways, cars and clothes, and the like—has been the driving force. Just now, a lot turns on this argument: both how badly China's economy could be hurt by an American recession and also the extent to which Chinese spending could help to prop up the rest of the world economy. Some new figures suggest Chinese demand is rising strongly enough to help offset the increasing weakness in China's export markets. That could be good news for the world at large.
去年经济学家曾就中国经济的快速增长进行了一场激烈的讨论。以美国外交关系委员会国际事务研究员布拉德赛斯特为首的经济学家认为出口是拉动增长的主要因素;而瑞银亚洲区首席经济学家乔纳森安德森等一些经济学家及本刊认为为满足国内需求修建公路、铁路,生产汽车、服装等产品一直是促进发展的动力所在。现在争论的新焦点是:美国经济衰退对中国经济的打击会有多大?中国消费市场能支撑起世界经济走多远?一些新的数据显示中国内需增长强劲,足以抵消出口市场不断萎靡的影响。这对全球市场来说会是个好兆头。

It is certainly true that China's current-account surplus rose to a record 10% of its GDP last year, which means that it produced a lot more than it consumed and so relied on foreigners to buy the excess. But it is the change in a country's trade surplus, not its absolute size, which matters for GDP growth. The increase in net exports (exports minus imports) has never been the main source of China's growth. It contributed two to three percentage points to annual GDP growth between 2005 and 2007, whereas domestic demand (consumption and investment) added eight to nine percentage points. But the latest figures show that exports have become even less important as a driver of growth. The World Bank's latest China Quarterly Update suggests that net exports contributed only 0.4 percentage points to GDP growth in the year to the fourth quarter of 2007 (see left-hand chart). Overall GDP growth slowed only modestly (to 11.2%) because of faster growth in domestic demand, which contributed an impressive 10.8 percentage points.
中国的经常项目贸易盈余去年又创历史新高,占国内生产总值的10%,这就意味着中国的生产量大大超过消费量,需要将过剩的生产产品出口。影响一个国家GDP增长的不是看有多大的贸易盈余,而是要看该国的贸易盈余的变化。中国的净出口(即出口量减去进口量)增长长期以来并不没有成为带动经济增长的主要因素。2005至2007年GDP年增长中仅有2%-3%来自于净出口,而国内需求(消费与投资)占8%-9%。最近的数据更是表明出口拉动增长的作用微乎其微。世界银行最新公布的中国季度报告显示2007年第四季度中国净出口仅为全年GDP创造0.4%的增长。在快速上扬的国内需求带动下,2007年全年增长速度依然强劲,达到11.2%,其中10.8%的可观增长来自于国内需求拉动。

The significance of all this is that although China's headline GDP growth is widely tipped to slow to 9-10% in 2008, if a bigger chunk of this growth comes from domestic consumption and investment, then in absolute dollar terms China could well contribute more to global demand this year than in 2007.
这些都表明尽管各种迹象暗示中国广义国民生产总值GDP增长速度会在08年稍有回落,达到9-19%,但这一增长将更多依赖于国内消费与投资,以美元计算中国08年对国际市场的贡献将会比07年更大。

Dragonomics, a Beijing-based economics-research firm, forecasts that the contribution of net exports to GDP growth will actually fall to zero during 2008, but this will be partly offset by strong growth in investment and consumption. After growing by an average of $80 billion during each of the past three years, China's trade surplus is likely to remain more or less flat this year. Export growth fell from 28% in the year to the first quarter of 2007 to 22% by the fourth quarter because of weaker American demand and the impact of a stronger yuan.
北京一家经济研究公司龙洲经讯预测2008年净出口对GDP增长的贡献将会降至零,取而代之的是投资和消费带来的强劲增长。在即平均增长连续三年达到800亿美元之后,今年贸易顺差不会有太大增长。由于美国消费需求缩小及人民币升值影响,中国出口增长已由07年第一季度的28%下降到第四季度的22%。

Meanwhile import growth surged from 18% to 26% on the back of strong industrial and consumer demand. In other words, Chinese imports are now growing faster than exports. China's trade surplus widened by only 12% (in dollar terms) over the year to the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of almost 90% in the first half of last year. This was partly due to higher oil prices that increased the value of imports, but even in inflation-adjusted volume terms the surplus stopped growing in the latter part of last year.
同时以强劲的工业及消费需求为支撑,进口增长由18%上升到26%。换句话说,中国的进口市场比出口市场享有更快的发展速度。中国到07年第四季度总计全年贸易顺差在绝对美元币值条件下只增长了12%,而按07上半年计算,贸易顺差增长近九成之高。这一方面是由于油价上涨使得进口货币价格,即便除去通胀因素条件下,后半年盈余也没什么增长。

Time to open their wallets
是该让人们花钱的时候了

Not only did more of China's growth come from domestic demand late last year, but there were also signs of a “rebalancing” of the economy from investment towards consumption. Using figures from China's National Bureau of Statistics, Mark Williams, an economist at Capital Economics, a London-based research firm, calculates that in 2007 consumption accounted for a bigger slice of GDP growth than investment for the first time in seven years. Government restraints on bank lending caused investment growth to slow slightly, whereas consumer spending picked up. The often-quoted monthly figures on fixed-asset investment still show annual growth of over 20%, but these figures are misleading. Measured on the same national-accounts basis as GDP, to exclude property and land sales, real investment rose by a more modest 11% in the year to the fourth quarter, less than the growth in real consumption.
去年下半年国内需求带动GDP大部分的增长,不仅仅如此,有迹象表明中国政府正在努力促使经济增长由投资拉动转向消费拉动。伦敦研究机构Capital Economics 经济学家Mark Williams 根据中国国家统计局给出的数据预计2007年由消费带动的GDP增长份额将在7年来首次超过投资带动的份额。政府采取限制银行借贷的政策,使投资增长速度略微放慢,而消费支出却一路上扬。经常引用的固定资产投资每月数据显示投资年度增长仍超过20%,但这一统计会导致误解。若基于GDP核算帐户进行计量, 除去地产与土地买卖,实际投资截至至第四季度仅上涨11%,比实际消费增长要慢。

China's consumer-spending data are notoriously murky. The annual rate of growth in retail sales has surged from 13% in early 2006 to 20% in December of last year (see right-hand chart). Some sceptics argue that this increase is mainly due to a rise in inflation. However, the consumer-price index is not the appropriate deflator because it gives a much higher weight to food (the main source of the recent surge in inflation) than the share of food in total retail sales. Frank Gong, an economist at JPMorgan, argues that using a more appropriate deflator, real spending has clearly accelerated, especially on household goods. One important stimulus is that last year real urban disposable income per head rose faster than GDP for the first time in five years. This should help to keep consumption growing rapidly in 2008.
中国的居民消费支出数据统计有出入,这人所共知。零售行业年增长由2006年年初13%上涨到去年12月的20%(见右图)。有人怀疑这一增长主要是因为通货膨胀率的提高。但是,用消费物价指数作为平减指数并不合适,因为该指数中食品所占权重高于食品消费在商品零售总额中的比例,而食品是近期通胀猛增的主要因素。摩根大通银行(JPMorgan Chase)经济学家龚福朗(Frank Gong)认为用实际开销来衡量更为恰当,并且实际开销在明显加大,特别是日用品开销的加大。去年城市居民人均可支配收入增长速度五年来首次高于GDP的增长,这应是一个重要的刺激因素。这将有助于08年消费继续保持快速增长。

A growth rate in China driven more by consumption than by exports and investment is exactly what the American government has been demanding for several years. Indeed, it might be hoped that if China's trade surplus stops expanding and consumer demand plays a bigger role in growth, international trade tensions should subside. The snag is that even if net exports were no longer contributing to China's growth, its trade surpluses with America and Europe would continue to loom embarrassingly large. And, says Mr Williams, as Chinese exporters move into higher-value products, they will become more of a threat to Western producers.
中国增长速度多靠消费、少靠出口和投资,这正是多年来美国政府一直想要的局面。如果中国贸易顺差不再继续扩大,增长更多依靠国内需求支撑,那么国际贸易紧张局面则有望得以缓解。而现在的麻烦是即使中国不再靠净出口拉动增长,中国与美国及欧洲之间的贸易顺差依然大的令人发憷。威廉姆斯说随着中国开始出口高价值产品,西方生产者会面临更大的威胁。

In 2008 China will probably suffer its first slowdown in growth for seven years. But strong domestic demand should mean that an American recession would not bring the Chinese economy to a screeching halt. Indeed, to the extent that the economy was starting to overheat, a slowdown will be welcomed by Chinese policymakers. And if almost all of the slowdown comes from net exports, while domestic spending remains robust, then the whole world can cheer, too.
2008年中国增长速度有可能会遭受7年来第一次回落。但强劲国内需求的存在意味着中国经济不会因美国经济衰退而踩急刹车。事实上,考虑到经济正偏向过热化发展,中国政府可能会很乐意看到增长有所减速。如果增长减速完全是由净出口减少所致,同时国内需求继续保持增长,那么全世界都会为之欢欣雀跃。
发表于09:38 | 阅读全文 | 评论 2 | 编辑 | 分享 0电子时代的官僚主义2008-02-19[2008.02.14]The electronic bureaucrat 电子时代的官僚主义
TECHNOLOGY AND GOVERNMENT

The electronic bureaucrat 电子时代的官僚主义
Feb 14th 2008
From The Economist print edition

Putting their services online should allow governments to serve their citizens much more effectively. But despite heavy spending, progress has been patchy, says Edward Lucas (interviewed here)
将公共服务放在网上使得政府可以更高效的为公民服务。但是除去高额开支,进展也并不顺利,Edward Lucas这样说。

Illustration by Allan Sanders


AT 6.15AM on a December morning the streets of central London are cold, dark and offer little for the omnipresent CCTV cameras to record. But outside the Indian High Commission 109 people are sleepily waiting for the visa section to open. David Robb and his friend are first in line, huddled in sleeping bags behind a windbreak since 3am, to ensure visas for a planned holiday in Goa. Nearly all his fellow-sufferers in the queue have booked their air tickets and sometimes their entire holiday on the internet, paying with a credit card. Those electronic signals move information almost at the speed of light—billions of times faster than the shuffling, shivering humans in the visa queue. “In this day and age? Bleeding disgusting,” is Mr Robb's pithy comment on the Indian visa system.
12月一天的清早,6点15分,伦敦市中心的大街上清冷幽暗,并没有什么东西可供无处不在的摄像头录像的。但是在印度高级使节团门外,109个人忍着困意等待签证部门开始办公。大卫罗伯和他的朋友在队伍的最前面,在凌晨三点的时候便蜷缩在风墙后面的睡袋里,以保证自己能够获取赴果阿地区旅行的签证,行程早已计划好了。他后面队伍里的所有人几乎都在网上用信用卡支付预定好了机票和整个假期行程。那些电子信号用接近光速的速度传输信息——要比那些缓慢,冻得发抖的签证队列中的人们前行的速度快千万倍。 “是这个时代的东西吗?超级恶心。”罗伯先生这样概括印度的签证系统。

It is not just that the passport and its owner must be physically present. The £30 ($60) fee must be in cash; the visa form must be filled in by hand and authenticated with a signature and a photograph (a hard copy, not a digital file). The procedure has scarcely changed in 60 years. The 500 people waiting at 8.30am, when the visa office opens, should get their visas by noon, though on busy days stragglers may be told to collect it the next day. Applying by post is possible, but may take weeks.
并不仅仅是护照和本人必须出现在现场。30英镑的费用必须用现金缴纳,签证表格必须手写并签字,还要有一张照片,注意,是要纸质照片而不是数码文件。这套手续60年来几乎没有任何变化。这500个人都在等待上午八点半签证办公室开门,那样,他们可以在中午拿到签证,尽管在比较忙的日子里,有人需要被推迟到第二天。通过邮局也是可以的,但是,那要耗费好几周的时间。

Compare that with another queue forming in Grosvenor Square, a brisk 20-minute walk across London. Procedures at America's fortress-like embassy are even more stringent, requiring all visa applicants to present themselves in person, with no postal option. But here the procedure is backed up by intelligent use of electrons. Applications must be submitted online, accompanied by a non-refundable $131, paid electronically. In return, the applicant receives a confirmation e-mail, which includes a barcode with the information from the completed form. Printed out, it is also the entry ticket to the embassy, controlling outsiders' access to one of the main terrorist targets in London.
看看另一条在格罗夫纳广场的队伍吧。大约快步行进20分钟的路程。在堡垒一般的美国大使馆,这个流程更加的严格:要求所有的签证申请者亲临现场,而不允许通过邮寄的方式。但是这里的流程支持电子技术的使用。申请必须在网上提交,同时网上支付概不退回的131美金的费用。然后,申请者会获得一封包含条形码和来自完整表格的信息的确认信。将它打印出来,同时这也是大使馆的入场券,而这将那些不受欢迎者拒之门外,毕竟这里是伦敦最主要的恐怖袭击目标之一。

Inside, the barcode is scanned, putting the data onto the visa officer's computer. Fingerprints are digitally recorded. The visa itself, collected shortly afterwards, has banknote-style security features, plus a scanned picture of the applicant.
在里面,扫描完条形码之后,数据进入签证官的计算机。指纹采集也是电子方式,而随后的签证本身,拥有着钞票般的防伪特征,另外还有着申请人的扫描照片。

In some ways the differences are smaller than they seem. Under both systems, absurd questions are asked but the answers are never verified. India wants to know if you have relatives in Pakistan; America wants to know whether you were ever arrested for anything anywhere, and if so, why (your correspondent, detained several times by communist-era secret police, brazenly fibbed).
在某些方面,二者之间的区别并没有看上去那么大。这两个系统都会问一些荒谬的问题,但从没有人去核实答案。印度人想知道你是不是有亲戚在巴基斯坦,美国人想知道你有没有在什么地方曾经被拘留过,如果有,那为什么。

But in a few nutshells, visa services also illustrate some of the big issues about technology and government. First, processing power and good software can make government more user-friendly and sometimes also more efficient, but technology on its own cannot compensate for the mistakes of bureaucrats and politicians. Second, the state has to balance convenience against effectiveness, the outsider's time versus the taxpayer's money and the bureaucrat's effort. Technology may sharpen these problems or ease them, but it cannot eliminate them altogether.
但简单地说,签证服务同样反应了科技和政府方面的一些大问题。首先,处理能力和好的软件能够使得政府能够更加用户界面友好并在有些时候更加高效,但是技术本身并不能减少官僚主义和政客们的错误。其次,政府需要在方便舒适和快捷高效之间取得一个平衡,在外等待的时间与纳税人的钱财和官僚的努力。科技可以增强也能削弱这些问题,但是不能同时将这些问题解决。

Believers in technology's potential in public administration often speak of e-government, or of “transformation”. The practicalities are sometimes vague, but the big picture is clear: government not only puts its services online, but in doing so changes the way it works.
相信科技在公共管理中具有巨大潜能的人们常说电子政府,或者改革。实用性有时候显得模糊,但是远景目标却很明晰:政府把服务放到网上是不够的,同样要改变自己工作的方式。

Most countries have got at least somewhere on this, chiefly in what might be called i-government: the provision of information. India's downloadable visa application form represents that stage. Progress is also being made on using the internet's potential for interaction. America's visa system goes some of the way by getting the applicant to key in the data.
许多国家在这方面至少有了一些进展,主要在被称为信息政府(i-government)的信息提供方面。印度的可下载签证申请表便是处于这个阶段。在应用互联网潜在的交流能力方面也有进展。美国的签证系统通过申请者键入数据,显示其在这方面的进展。

The internet is also being used inside government to share data among departments. That is easier to do with non-citizens than with voters, who may be touchy about their privacy being invaded. The next stage will be to provide the whole service online. For visas, that would mean something printed out by the applicant, downloaded onto a smart card or even stored in a mobile phone (an example of “m-government”—same service, different delivery). At the same time, technology should also make it easier for politicians to connect with their voters (“e-democracy”).
政府内部也已经开始使用互联网以便在部门间分享数据。相对选民而言,这更易于在非公民中使用,因为选民对自己的隐私被侵犯十分敏感。下一步便将是在网上提供所有的服务。对于签证而言,那将意味着申请者打印出东西,并下载到智能卡或者保存在一部手机中(移动政府“m-government”的样板,相同的服务,不同的投递方式)。同时,科技已经使得政客们更加容易与其选民接触(e时代的民主)。

Illustration by Allan Sanders


George Markellos of PA Consulting, a British-based consultancy, says that government needs to start by making three big changes. First, it needs to personalise what it offers, rather like online shopping services which record customers' preferences, making their next visit easier. Second, it has to provide round-the-clock access. People want to deal with government not only in office hours, but also in the evenings and at weekends. And lastly, public services have to be as easy to use as anything the private sector offers. In the online world, government is competing for users' time and attention with beautifully designed sites that are fun to use. The government's offering, says Mr Markellos, “has to be massively attractive”.
PA资讯师George Markellos说,政府需要在三个方面开始大的变革。首先,他应该个性化其服务,就像在线商店那样记录顾客的信息参数,使得他们的下一次登录更加容易;第二,应该提供全天候的服务通道。人民不想仅仅在办公时间能跟政府打交道,他们同样需要在夜间或者周末的时候得到政府的服务。最终,公共服务必须像其他私人部门所能提供的那样易用。在网络世界,政府是在与那些有着设计精良易于使用的网站竞争用户的时间和注意力。Markellos说政府的服务应该“有大大的吸引力”

Yet comparisons with the private sector get you only so far. Government rarely faces competition and public services seldom come at market prices. More often they are “free” or subsidised, and their use needs to be policed or rationed. The state provides its “customers” with defence, justice and roads, and usually some public services such as health care, education, pensions and transport, plus some support for the poor. But it is also the steward of scarce public resources and the preserver of public goods such as law and order. In keeping track of wrongdoers, actual and potential, being user-friendly is not crucial. New technology makes it easier to collect taxes but it does not make them any more welcome.
与私人部门的比较就到这里。政府很少面对在竞争,公共服务也很少以市场价格供应。大多数都是免费或者有津贴补助,而他们的使用需要被监管或者定量配给。国家向他的“顾客”提供国防、公正、道路和一些通常的公共服务例如医保、教育、养老和交通,加上一些对穷人的支持。但是,通过法律和命令,他同时是稀缺公共资源的管家和公共资产的保护人。相对于明确实际和潜在的破坏者而言,态度良好并不是那么至关紧要。新技术使得收税更加方便,但是这并不能使其更受欢迎。

The state's role as a watchdog is something that the grumbling queues outside embassies have to bear in mind. Tough visa procedures undoubtedly deter businessmen and tourists from visiting, but the visa is the way that the state protects its citizens from undesirable outsiders. Similarly, issuing passports and driving licences is never going to be as easy as getting a loyalty card from a retailer.
看门狗般的国家规定必须记住,就像大使馆外抱怨的队伍。严苛的签证程序无疑会阻挡商人和游人的脚步,但是,签证是国家保护公民阻挡不受欢迎者的手段。相似的,发行护照和驾照也绝不会像得到商家贵宾卡那么简单。

This report will argue that technology can give politicians and officials a better idea of what the public wants and how to provide it, just as it has done in the private sector. But just as the private sector's adoption of new technology involved a number of pitfalls, some e-government ventures have been ill-starred. Citizens are right to be suspicious about technology that can make government all-encompassing, and they should demand a lot more of government as a monopoly provider of public services.
这篇报道将讨论技术可以使得政治家们和官员们有一个更好的关于公众需求和提供方式方面的观点和理念,就像那些私人部门们做到的那样。但是,就像那些私人部门对新技术的采用引发一系列问题,一些电子政府的先驱运气的确不好。

Technology on its own will not bring reform, but it can make changes easier, cheaper and more effective. The learning curve has not been nearly steep enough, but governments are getting better at buying and using computers and software. The benefits are mounting and the costs are coming down.
技术本身不会带来变革,但它可以使得改变更容易、廉价和高效。虽然没有明显进展,但是政府在软件和计算机的采购和使用方面做的更好了。好处不断增加而费用则在不断降低。

The benefits will be biggest in countries where officials and politicians are open to pressure and where the citizens are public-spirited to start with. E-government is no magic bullet, but it gives citizens and lobby groups more power to scrutinise government and highlight waste and dishonesty.
这些益处在那些有着不畏惧压力的官员政治家和有爱国心的公民的国家里才能开始最大化。E政府并不是一颗魔弹,但它使得公民和游说团有更大的能力来挑剔政府并且凸显浪费和欺诈。

It's everywhere
遍地都是
Although hopes have been high and the investment has been huge, so far the results have mostly been disappointing. That reflects a big difficulty in e-government (and in writing about it): it touches on so many other things. What exactly is it that public organisations are trying to maximise, and how can it be measured? Ask the economists. What motivates officials and politicians to make government honest and competent? Bring in the political philosophers. And who decides on the highly contested trade-offs between privacy and security, efficiency and equity?
尽管期望很高、投资也很大,到目前为止,结果还是很令人失望的。这反映了电子政府的一个巨大困难:与此相关的事情太多了。公共组织……问问经济学家。什么促使官员和政客使得政府诚实并且称职?带给政治哲人,在受到高度纷争的私密和安全,效率和公平问题上,谁来做决定?

This report will explain that gloom, fear and optimism are all justified. It will look at the return on investment so far, the hoped-for gains and the neglected drawbacks of e-government. It will show how good leadership, openness and competition can bring spectacular gains, and how bad planning and political interference can make technology in government an expensive disaster. It will look at the dangers of government-run databanks and how to lessen them, and the way in which poor countries such as India may be able to leapfrog rich ones in their use of technology. It concludes by asking if e-democracy makes politics more participatory, or merely noisier. But it starts with an incontestable success: i-government.
这篇报道将解释,沮丧、畏惧、乐观的情绪都是正常的。它将关注到目前为止,关于E政府的投资所得到的回报,那些所希望的收获和忽视了的缺陷。他将展示好的领导能力,公开公正和有效竞争如何带来巨额回报,坏的计划行政干涉如何使得科技在政府中的应用成为巨大的浪费。它将关注政府运营的数据库的危险性以及如何减缓这些危险性,以及像印度这样的穷国在使用科技方面走一条怎样的道路以可能跳过富国。它包括询问来了解电子民主使得政治更加具有参与性还是仅仅更加聒噪。但是它有一个无可置疑的成功开始:信息政府(i-government)。
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