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经济学人:大不列颠的陨落

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Books and Arts;

文艺;

Britain's third-world economy

英国的第三世界经济

Relegation for Albion

大不列颠的陨落

Going South: Why Britain Will Have A Third World Economy By 2014. By Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson.

《滑向全球之南:为什么2014年的英国会有一个第三世界经济》;作者Larry Elliott,Dan Atkinson。Palgrave Macmillan;

The journalistic team of Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson proved to be more perceptive than most of their peers in skewering Britain's debt-fuelled boom. Their two previous books, “Fantasy Island” (2007) and “The Gods That Failed” (2008), analysed why it happened and who was to blame. So they will have a ready audience for their latest tale of woe, which forecasts the imminent loss of Britain's developed-economy status.

事实证明,Larry Elliott和Dan Atkinson的记者团队在描绘被债务吹高的英国繁荣方面比他们的大多数同僚更具慧眼。他们之前的两部作品《幻想岛》和《失灵的上帝》分析了其中的原因和罪魁祸首。所以他们最新的这本看空英国的作品——预测英国将会即刻失去自己的发达国家地位,早已有了一个既定的读者群。

Or is that what they claim? The authors do not really suggest that Britain's GDP per head will plummet to the levels of sub- Saharan Africa, or that the country will lose the title of “advanced” economy bestowed on it by the International Monetary Fund. Instead, Britain's third-world status is signified by a bunch of qualitative factors: “public and commercial services work badly, the average person is becoming poorer rather than richer, the economy has been pulled horribly out of shape and government in the widest sense is hopelessly dysfunctional, with different branches of the state frequently at loggerheads with one another.”

他们真的认为是这样吗?其实,作者并不认为英国的人均GDP将会跳水至撒哈拉以南的非洲的水平或者说这个国家将会失去IMF授予的发达国家头衔,而是一些定性因素象征着英国的第三世界状态:公共和商业服务乏善可陈,一般人逐渐变得更贫穷而不是更富有,经济已经严重失衡,广义上说来政府运转一塌糊涂——因为国家的不同部门经常相互扯皮。

This broad definition allows the pair to be grumpy old men and indulge in some fierce complaining about various aspects of modern British society. At times, it seems as if almost everything is a sign of Britain's decline, including the decision to revoke the Syrian ambassador's invitation to last year's royal wedding. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is the subject of a rant, as are the growing powers of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Inward investment by China is not a sign of confidence in Britain, but instead dismissed as a token of national humiliation: “What was good enough for the Congo was good for the United Kingdom.”

这个广泛的定义使得两位作者像脾气暴躁的老人一样对当代英国社会的很多方面进行了凌厉的批评。有时,给人感觉好像每一件事情都是英国衰落的写照,包括在去年皇室婚礼上取消对叙利亚大使的邀请。人类受精和胚胎局管理局以及税务海关总署日益膨胀的权力都是被严厉攻击的目标。此外,来自中国的投资在英国被贬低为是国家耻辱而非信心的标志:“对刚果那种国家足够好的东西竟然对英国好。”

Despite the authors' occasional exaggerations, this is a much more entertaining book than many about economics. And it is hard to disagree with their underlying analysis: “For almost a century, the UK has deluded herself, first into believing that the days of global dominance will return, then into thinking that the symptoms of decline can be relatively easily tackled.” The country has pinned its hopes on a series of fixes—trade preference for other countries in the empire, joining the European Economic Community, North Sea oil, financial deregulation and housing bubbles—that have offered temporary boosts. The current government's growth plan, involving tax incentives for business and cuts in red tape, sounds all too much like some of the failed programmes of the past.

除了作者偶尔的夸大之外,这一本书比很多经济方面的书籍都更有趣。并且,作者对其实质的分析几乎不容置疑。“在近一个世纪内,英国都在蒙蔽自己,首先她使自己相信英国称霸全球的日子将会失而复得,之后她使又自己认为英国衰退的症状可以相对轻松地治愈。”英国将自己的希望寄托在一系列小修小补上:给予大英帝国范围内的其他国家贸易优惠,加入欧共体,七八十年代北海石油开采,金融自由化和房地产泡沫,这些都为英国经济提供了短暂的支持。当今政府的发展方案包括向企业提供税收激励、遏制官僚作风,这些听起来和过去那些失败的项目十分类似。

The recent crisis has shown the dangers of relying on the financial sector, which has gobbled up the cream of Britain's university graduates and led to huge inequalities of income and wealth. And despite the City's overseas earnings, Britain has suffered a persistent balance of payments deficit, a sign that the country is not paying its way.

最近的这轮经济危机已经彰显了英国经济过度依赖金融行业的风险:金融行业尽数吸纳了英国大学精英毕业生,并且导致了收入和财富上的严重不均。在伦敦金融城丰厚海外收入的背后,英国却持续遭遇国际收支赤字——这一点意味着这个国家入不敷出。

For the moment, Britain is a relatively safe haven, with rich Europeans buying up boltholes in London. But the authors are right that serious problems remain—even if the title of this book somewhat overstates the case.

在当下,英国仍然是一个相对安全的避风港——很多富有的欧洲人在伦敦买房作避风之用。即使这本书的标题在一定程度上夸大了现实,两位作者指出英国依旧存在的严重问题这点是正确的。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
decline [di'klain]

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n. 衰微,跌落; 晚年
v. 降低,婉谢

 
current ['kʌrənt]

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n. (水、气、电)流,趋势
adj. 流通的

联想记忆
blame [bleim]

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n. 过失,责备
vt. 把 ... 归咎于,

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community [kə'mju:niti]

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n. 社区,社会,团体,共同体,公众,[生]群落

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temporary ['tempərəri]

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adj. 暂时的,临时的
n. 临时工

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global ['gləubəl]

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adj. 全球性的,全世界的,球状的,全局的

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status ['steitəs]

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n. 地位,身份,情形,状况

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imminent ['iminənt]

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adj. 逼近的,即将发生的

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previous ['pri:vjəs]

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adj. 在 ... 之前,先,前,以前的

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definition [.defi'niʃən]

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n. 定义,阐释,清晰度

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