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经济学人:莱克星顿 怀旧陷阱

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Lexington

莱克星顿
The nostalgia trap
怀旧陷阱
Politicians need to stop pretending to angry voters that globalisation can be wished away
全球化通过许愿就能消失?政客们,别再蒙蔽愤怒的选民了
THE public is losing faith in the American Dream, Mitch McConnell declared on the night that he won a sixth Senate term, amid an electoral wave that handed his Republican Party control of Congress. Now begins a more important contest, Mr McConnell told Kentucky Republicans: the race to save the centuries-old “compact” that every American generation leaves the next one better off. Mr McConnell declared that promise imperilled by “distant planners in federal agencies”, whether they are killing jobs in coal mines or—in their zeal to impose Obamacare—cancelling families' health insurance plans. The senator thanked his parents, survivors of the second world war, for passing their American optimism to him. Now, in unhappy contrast, Mr McConnell says he sees “hurt” in the eyes of ordinary folk.
在共和党取得国会控制权、同样也是米奇·麦康诺赢得第六次参议院连任的当晚,他说,公众正在对美国梦失去信心。他还对肯塔基州的共和党人说,如今,一场更为重要的竞争接踵而至,那就是挽救每一代美国人都应当比前一代更好的这个古老不成文规律。他说,“联邦机构中那些远在天边的出谋划策者”不论是减少煤矿业的就业机会,还是热忱地推行奥巴马医改、取消家庭健康保险计划,都对这一规律造成了伤害。这位参议员还感谢了他曾逃过二战的父母将乐观遗传给了自己。然而,麦康诺称,很不幸地,他现在在普通人眼中只能看到“受伤”。
He is right about the national mood. Voters are almost united in their belief that America is heading in the wrong direction. Alas for Mr McConnell, who is set to become Senate majority leader, that is about where their unity ends.
在国民情绪的问题上,他是对的。几乎所有选民都不约而同地认为,美国正在走向错误的方向。但对于即将成为参议院多数党领袖的麦康诺来说,可叹的是选民的共识将止于何处。

Too many leaders in the rich West have picked up on gloom about the future as a driver of public distrust of politics, but offer only narrow, partisan solutions, often focused on scrapping opponents' policies that they always disliked. Republicans such as Mr McConnell are right to criticise government when it overreaches. But it is a stretch to suggest that reining in environmental rules on coal, or even repealing Obamacare, can revive the American Dream.

在富庶的西部,许多领导人都把美国人对未来的悲观情绪,看做公众对政治普遍不信任的罪魁祸首,但他们只能提出狭隘、且受党派限制的解决方案,往往只关注于废除敌对党派不受选民欢迎的政策。而当政府过线时,麦康诺等共和党的确应该出言声讨。但暗示控制环保规定中涉及煤炭业的部分,甚至废除奥巴马医改,就能复兴美国梦,也是言过其实。
That dream looms large in American politics. So much voter disquiet is linked to nostalgia for hazily-remembered golden decades when factories offered jobs for life, baby booms filled maternity wards and millions of families enjoyed the fruits of post-war prosperity (though women and non-whites may recall those years a bit differently). But coal mines, steel mills and factories have closed throughout the rich world, in countries with very different governments, labour laws and environmental rules. What all faced was an explosion in global competition, followed by a second wave of automation.
美国梦在美国政治中有举足轻重的作用。许多选民的不淡定源于他们记忆中模糊的黄金时代的怀念,当时工厂是终身雇佣制,产房中挤满了呱呱落地的“婴儿潮”婴儿,无数家庭享受着战后繁荣(尽管女性和非白人家庭对那段时光也许有不一样的记忆)。但在整个发达世界,在那些有着不同政府组成形式、不同劳动法和环保法的国家里,煤矿、炼钢厂和工厂也都在倒闭。所有国家都面临着全球竞争的加剧和第二波自动化。
That helps to explain why voter unhappiness sounds so similar across the rich world. Your columnist has covered elections on four continents, and the same themes keep cropping up. Mr McConnell's speech in Kentucky reminded him of one given in 2011 by Ed Miliband, the leader of Britain's Labour Party, a leftwinger with whom Mr McConnell ought to have little in common. Mr Miliband accused Britain's Conservative-led government of betraying the “British Promise” of upward mobility, tempered with egalitarianism. He noted that fewer than one in ten Britons believed that life would be easier for their children. He talked of his parents, refugees from Nazism, and the post-war opportunities they enjoyed. His British Promise is built on government: his speech saluted the National Health Service and state schools for helping new generations get ahead, and denounced Conservative cuts as “kicking away the ladders”.
这或许也是为什么,选民们的不悦情绪笼罩着所有发达国家。本专栏涵盖着四个大陆上的选举,而相同的话题总是屡见不鲜。麦康诺在肯塔基的演讲让人联想起英国工党领袖艾德·米利班德在2011年的一次演讲,这位左翼人士本该与麦康诺没有什么共同点,但他也同样指责本国政府背叛了要提高国民阶级地位的“英国承诺”,而是以平等主义敷衍糊弄。艾德·米利班德指出,每十个英国人中,只有不到一个人相信,下一代的生活会少一些艰难。他谈起了自己的父母,他们曾是纳粹时期的难民,还谈起了他们享受过的战后机会。他口中的英国承诺是建立在政府的基础上的,在他的演讲中,他向英国的国民医疗保健制度和国立学校致敬,称他们帮助下一代进步,而他把保守派削减计划的行为称作“踢走了人们向上爬的梯子”。
In Brussels, your columnist used to watch politicians defend what some called the European Dream, involving lots of “solidarity”—ie, farm subsidies, industrial policies to prop up favoured firms, welfare, transfers from rich countries to poor ones and a dose of protectionism. Voters needed a more protective Europe, thundered Nicolas Sarkozy, France's president from 2007-12, or they would reject it as a “Trojan horse” for globalisation.
本专栏也曾报道,布鲁塞尔的政客也在捍卫有些人口中的欧洲梦,团结是欧洲梦的一个主要内容,即农场补贴、促进受优待企业发展的工业政策、福利政策、富国接济贫国和保护主义等。法国2007年至2012年的总统萨科齐怒斥道,选民需要欧洲更大力度地实行贸易保护,否则就会把全球化看做“特洛伊木马”。
All this is revealing. In rich country after rich country, under governments both of the left and of the right, the biggest worry for voters is that middle-class incomes are stagnating and the job-for-life is dead. Politicians instinctively blame their domestic opponents' wicked or foolish policies. They cannot all be right.
这些都相当说明问题。不管在哪个发达国家,也不论政府是左派控制还是右派掌权,选民最大的担忧都是中产阶级收入的停滞不前和终身雇佣制的消失。政客们总会下意识地把责任推给国内竞争党派或意图不轨或愚不可及的政策。但这并不全都正确。
American conservatives growl that if the country feels all wrong it is because Democrats buy elections with “free stuff” for the feckless poor, destroying the national work ethic. Democrats say no, it is because Republicans are too heartless to care about the middle classes, and because unpatriotic billionaires send jobs overseas. Similarly, in Britain, Mr Miliband implies that the middle class are getting stiffed because the Conservatives care only about the rich. French presidents blame technocrats in Brussels for the same problem. Few of these leaders will admit that their countries' travails owe more to global forces than to their opponents' folly.
美国的保守党咆哮着,如果美国人感觉不对,那是因为民主党用“免费的东西”讨好了无用的穷人,收买了选举,破坏了美国的职业道德。民主党否认说,其实这是因为民主党麻木不仁,对中产阶级毫不关心,以及因为毫无同情心的亿万富翁把大把工作拱手送给外国。同样地,在英国,米利班德也暗示,中产阶级陷入困境的原因是保守党只关心富人。法国总统则也以同样的罪名谴责布鲁塞尔的技术官僚。很少有领导人会承认,自己国家的困境更多地是由于全球大势,而不是竞争对手的愚蠢。
More and more voters now express a generalised contempt for established parties. Though his condemnations of Mr Obama resonate, Mr McConnell is not loved in Kentucky. Britons may dislike Conservatives, but painfully few trust Mr Miliband to deliver state-sponsored prosperity. Mr Sarkozy was hooted from office; his Socialist successor is now even more despised.
如今,越来越多的选民都会已有的党派表现出一种普遍的轻视。尽管麦康诺和选民在谴责奥巴马这件事上是同一阵营,但麦康诺在肯塔基州并不受欢迎。英国人也许不喜欢保守党,但也很少有人相信米利班德,把通过国家力量实现普遍繁荣的重任交给他。萨科齐已经在一片谩骂声中离任,他社会党的继承者日子也越来越不好过。
Unhappy voters are all alike
不快乐的选民都一样
That general collapse of trust can trump national quirks. Take British campaign spending, which is ferociously regulated—even paid political ads on TV and radio are banned. Total spending by parties and outside groups on Britain's 2010 general election was 34.3m (54.3m). That is less than the seventh-costliest Senate race in 2014, in Alaska (59.2m). Yet Britons voice the same furious suspicions that politicians are bought by big money as Americans do. Given the vast differences in absolute spending, that suggests voters are mostly saying something else: that they feel the fix is in (and that campaign-finance rules don't buy much public trust).
信任的普遍坍塌盖过了每个国家的独特性。拿英国的竞选花销为例,这在英国是明令禁止的,就连电视和广播付费政治广告也不被允许。在2010年大选中,所有党派和外围团体的花费一共为3430万英镑(约合5430万美元)。相较于美国2014年的参议院选举,这比花费排名第七位的阿拉斯加州还要少(约为5920美元)。但英国人仍然愤怒地怀疑英国政客们像美国政客一样受到了收买。而相对于在绝对支出上的差别,大多数选民更关心的,是问题是不是真的正在解决(而竞选筹得的款项规定并不能买来很多公众信任)。
This is not a call for political apathy. In every country some policies are better than others, and bad ones should be changed. Populists peddling false remedies (Close the borders! Quit the EU! Secede!) must be debated and beaten. But let political leaders everywhere tell their publics the truth: the years of easy post-war growth are gone, replaced by competition that cannot be wished away, and so must be met head-on—and ideally harnessed. That will take hard work and new ideas. Time to wake up.
本文并非鼓吹政治冷漠。在每一个国家中,总有一些政策要优于其他政策,而不好的政策也需要被修改。必须要同叫卖错误解决方案(关闭国界!退出欧盟!独立!)的民粹主义者辩论,并制止他们。要各处的领导人们对公众说实话吧,战后容易的发展已经一去不复反了,取而代之的是即使希望也不可能消失的竞争,因此必须要直面竞争,最好还能利用竞争。这需要努力和创意。是时候该醒醒了。翻译:杨雪 校对:萧毛毛
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重点单词   查看全部解释    
partisan [.pɑ:ti'zæn]

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adj. 效忠的,献身的,盲目推崇的,党派性的 n. 党

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feckless ['feklis]

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adj. 没精神的,软弱的,无用的,不负责任的

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solidarity [.sɔli'dæriti]

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n. 团结

 
folly ['fɔli]

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n. 愚蠢,荒唐事 (复)follies: 轻松歌舞剧

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goodwill ['gud'wil]

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n. 善意,亲切,友好; 商誉,信誉。

 
stretch [stretʃ]

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n. 伸展,张开
adj. 可伸缩的

 
defend [di'fend]

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v. 防护,辩护,防守

 
dose [dəus]

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n. 剂量,一剂,一服
vt. 给 ... 服

 
rubbish ['rʌbiʃ]

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n. 垃圾,废物,废话
v. 贬损

 
nostalgia [nɔs'tældʒiə]

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n. 乡愁,向往过去,怀旧之情

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