2017年10月23日 12:02:41|来源:国际在线|编辑:赶集共享
Leaders社论Minimum wages最低工资标准The logical floor多少才合理Moderate minimum wages do more good than harm. They should be set by technocrats not politicians实施适度的最低工资标准利大于弊,但是它们应该由技术专家而不是领导层来设定。ON BOTH sides of the Atlantic politicians are warming to the idea that the lowest-paid can be helped by mandating higher wages.欧美各国领导人逐渐开始赞同提高工资水平可以帮助贫困人群这一观点。Barack Obama wants to raise Americas federal minimum wage by 40% from 7.25 to 10.10 an hour, and more than three-quarters of Americans support the idea.奥巴马总统打算将联邦最低工资标准提高40%,时薪从7.25美元升为10.10美元,对此四分之三以上的美国人表示持。In Germany, one of the few big rich-world countries still without a national wage floor, the incoming coalition government has just agreed on an across-the-board hourly minimum of 8.50 from 2015.尚且没有设定最低工资标准的发达国家寥寥可数,德国是其中之一,但新成立的联合政府已经协商达成一致,计划于2015年起全面实行时薪8.50欧元的最低工资标准。In Britain, which has had a minimum wage since 1999, the opposition Labour Party is keen to cajole firms into voluntarily paying higher living wages.而英国在1999年起就已经实施最低工资标准,其反对党工党比较擅长于游说企业主们自愿付更高的最低生活工资。For free-market types, including The Economist, fiddling with wages by fiat sets off alarm bells.对于包括本刊《经济学人》在内的劳动力自由市场而言,通过法律规定来调整工资水准的做法会带来一定弊端。In a competitive market anything that artificially raises the price of labour will curb demand for it, and the first to lose their jobs will be the least skilled—the people intervention is supposed to help.对于竞争激烈的市场而言,任何人为提高劳动力成本的举措都会抑制劳动力的需求,而且首当其冲的失业者会是那些缺乏专业技术的工人们—这样一来人为干预是有一定作用的。That is why Milton Friedman called minimum wages a form of discrimination against the low-skilled; and it is why he saw topping up the incomes of the working poor with public subsidies as a far more sensible means of alleviating poverty.这就是为什么米尔顿·弗里德曼称最低工资标准是对那些没有专业技术的劳动者的歧视;此外,他认为通过分发国家补贴的方式来提高贫困人群的收入从而缓解他们贫困状况这种做法更为明智。Scepticism about the merits of minimum wages remains this newspapers starting-point.本刊对于实行最低工资标准的好处一直持怀疑态度。But as income inequality widens and workers share of national income shrinks, the case for action to help the low-paid grows.但是,随着收入差距扩大以及工人们所获收入占社会总工资比例下降,帮助贫困工人一事显得日益紧迫。Addressing the problem through subsidies for the working poor is harder in an era of austerity, when there are many other pressing claims on national coffers.在今天这个法制社会里,通过给贫困工人们分发国家补贴的方式来解决此问题甚是艰难,因为还有诸多其他方面需要政府开。Other policy options, such as confiscatory taxes, are unattractive.诸如征收没收性赋税等措施也并不可取。Nor is a moderate minimum wage as undesirable as neoclassical purists suggest.正如新古典主义纯粹主义者所言,设定适度的最低工资标准同样不会取得理想效果。Unlike those in textbooks, real labour markets are not perfectly competitive.不同于书本上的描述,现实中的劳动力市场其实并不属于绝对竞争市场。Since workers who want to change jobs face costs and risks, employers may be able to set pay below its market-clearing rate.由于那些想跳槽的工人们面临着一定成本和风险,雇主们便可能以低于其公开规定工薪的水平来付他们的工资。A minimum wage, providing it is not set too high, could thus boost pay with no ill effects on jobs.只要最低工资标准设定的不算太高,那么它就能够在不影响就业的情况下提高工资水平。French lessons法国的前车之鉴Empirical evidence supports that argument.历史的经验验了以上观点。In flexible economies a low minimum wage seems to have little, if any, depressing effect on employment.在较灵活的经济体中,实施最低工资标准似乎对就业的影响即使有也是很小的。Americas federal minimum wage, at 38% of median income, is one of the rich worlds lowest.美国联邦最低工资标准是其中值工资的38%,这一标准是发达国家里最低的。Some studies find no harm to employment from federal or state minimum wages, others see a small one, but none finds any serious damage.一些研究表明联邦或者州设的最低工资标准并不会对就业产生消极影响,另一些研究也表明这种影响很小,但是目前还没有数据显示设定最低工资标准会严重影响就业,Britains minimum wage, at around 47% of median income, with a lower rate for young people, also does not seem to have pushed many people out of work.英国的最低工资标准是其人均工资水平的47%,并且对于年幼者而言更是有所下降,但是这似乎也并未使很多人失业。High minimum wages, however, particularly in rigid labour markets, do appear to hit employment.然而,如果最低工资标准较高,尤其是在那些管制较严的劳动力市场,就业似乎也会受到影响。France has the rich worlds highest wage floor, at more than 60% of the median for adults and a far bigger fraction of the typical wage for the young.法国的最低工资标准是发达国家中最高的,其中成年人的占中值工资的60%以上,年幼者的最低工资标准占中值工资的比例则更大。This helps explain why France also has shockingly high rates of youth unemployment: 26% for 15- to 24-year-olds.这也是为什么法国的失业率较高的原因——法国15到24岁年轻人的平均失业率为26%。Theory and practice suggest two lessons for governments contemplating setting or changing minimum wages.理论与实践两方面的经验给了各国领导人关于是否设定或者更改最低工资标准两点启示。The first is to ensure that the level is pretty low—say, less than 50% of the median, with lower levels for less productive people such as the young and long-term unemployed. Germany risks breaking this rule.其一是要确保最低工资标准相对较低,务必要低于中值工资的50%,并且对于那些生产效率较低人群,比如年幼者和长期失业者这一标准要更低。Its proposed level is, by one calculation, 62% of the median wage.德国的做法很可能与此相背,他们的最低工资标准为中值工资的62%。One in six German workers is paid less than that, suggesting that jobs will be lost, especially in the less productive east of the country.而六分之一德国人的工资低于这一水平,这意味着很多人将面临失业,尤其是在劳动力效率较低的东德。Similarly the living wage which campaigners are calling for in Britain is 20% higher than the minimum wage.与此类似,在英国一些人倡导的最低生活工资比最低工资标准还要高出20%,That could hit employment.这会严重影响到就业。Though Americas proposed increase is huge, the minimum wage would still be only about 50% of the median.尽管美国对最低工资标准的提升幅度较大,但是其最低工资标准仍然将只占中值工资的50%。A second lesson is that politicians should give the power to set minimum wages to technocrats.其二是领导层应该将设定最低工资标准一事留给技术专家们解决。In Britain, the floor is adjusted annually on the advice of economists and statisticians in the Low Pay Commission; it has generally advanced gradually.在英国,这一标准每年都会根据低工资委员会的经济学家和统计学家的建议予以适当调整;并且总体来看呈逐年上升趋势。In America, the federal floor is set by politicians and adjusted irregularly in huge increments.而美国联邦最低工资标准是由领导层设定的,而且每次调整增幅较大,也没什么规律可言,That does no favours to American workers or their employers.这对美国的劳动者和企业雇主而言都没有益处。Finally, governments should remember that minimum wages are a palliative.最后,各政府应该谨记实施最低工资标准只能起到有限的作用。They should not distract attention from more fundamental causes of low wages—such as a lack of education and skills—and the efforts to address them.他们不能忽略导致部分劳动者工资水平过低的根源—例如受教育程度不高和缺乏相关技术培训,当然各国在此问题上所做的努力也是不够的。 201401/272134Science and technology科学技术Stopping asteroid strikes阻止小行星撞击地球Defenders of the Earth地球的守护者The cosmic near-miss in February has boosted research on space rocks二月一颗小行星掠过地球,促进了对太空岩石的研究ON JUNE 24th NASA, Americas space agency, announced it had discovered the 10,000th Near Earth Object,6月24日,美国宇航局NASA宣布已发现第10000颗近地天体。the rather dry name given to asteroids and comets that orbit the sun in the vicinity of Earth and which might, therefore, one day smash into it.这个颇为平淡的名称指的是在地球邻近区域围绕太阳运动的小行星和彗星,它们可能说不定哪天就撞向地球。Ten thousand potentially dangerous objects sounds a lot, but NASA reckons there could be ten times as many still waiting to be found.一万颗潜在危险物体听起来很多,但NASA认为尚待发现的NEO数量,可能是这个数字的10倍。A week earlier, on June 18th, the agency therefore launched a Grand Challenge intended to recruit and co-ordinate help from industry, academia and anyone else who is interested for a project to detect any asteroid that could threaten Earth.一星期前的6月18日,NASA因此发布了一项大挑战,为一个探测可能威胁地球的小行星的工程,向企业界和学术界求助,意图从中招募人才和协调力量,任何对此有兴趣的个人也可以参与进来。All ideas are welcome.NASA对各方建议一概欢迎。NASAs bosses are also thinking of allocating extra time on the ground-based telescopes they control to the search for such threats.NASA的领导们也在考虑将旗下的地面望远镜更多地用于搜索此类威胁。They have plans, too, to revive a mothballed space telescope called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer to aid in the hunt.同时,他们还打算唤醒一台休眠中的太空望远镜—广域红外巡天探测者—来协助搜寻工作。And Lori Garver, the agencys deputy administrator, has asked for the budget of a programme to find 90% of NEOs with a diameter above 140 metres to be doubled.NASA还有一个项目,旨在找出90%的直径在140米以上的NEO,NASA副署长洛瑞-伽尔瓦已申请将该项目的预算加倍。So far, NASA reckons it has a quarter of these in the bag, but finishing the job at the present rate of discovery will take decades.目前,NASA估算自己已确认了这些NEO中的四分之一,但按照目前的探测进度计算,完成这项工作还需要几十年时间。Nor is this renewed effort all NASAs.在这股NEO探测复兴中努力的不只有NASA一家。The European Space Agency is chipping in, too.欧洲航天局也参与其中,In May it opened a NEO Co-ordination Centre, to help scientists organise their work and share data.5月开放了一个NEO协调中心,该中心能帮助众科学家组织工作和分享数据。And the B612 Foundation, a charity which hopes to build and launch an asteroid-hunting space telescope called Sentinel, has also reported a substantial rise in donations.此外还有一个叫做B612基金会的慈善组织,希望建造和发射一台名为哨兵的太空望远镜,用于小行星搜寻。该基金会报告称其获得捐款数显著上升。The reason for all this activity is the events of February 15th, when an asteroid a mere 15-20 metres across exploded with the force of a medium-sized atom bomb over Chelyabinsk, in Russia, and another, much larger one buzzed Earth a few hours later.上述所有行动,都是因为2月15日发生了一些事情,一颗半径只有15-20米的小行星在俄罗斯车里亚宾斯克州上空爆炸,威力相当于中等大小的原子弹;就在数小时之后,又有一颗比这大得多的小行星掠过地球。What had been regarded as the stuff of science-fiction novels suddenly became a clear and present danger—but one that, unlike earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and hurricanes, might actually be prevented by timely human action.原先认为是科幻小说里的情节,突然变成了实实在在的危险—但与地震、火山喷发、海啸和飓风等灾难不同的是,人类可以采取及时的行动阻止小行星撞击地球。NEOShield, a research project involving several European Union countries, as well as Russia and the ed States, is looking at three main ways of diverting incoming asteroids.近地轨道防护盾是几个欧盟国家与俄罗斯美国合作开展的研究项目,研究让来袭的小行星改变方向的三个主要办法。One is to use a kinetic impactor—in effect employing a heavy, fast-moving spacecraft as the cue ball in a game of interplanetary billiards.一种办法是使用动能冲击飞船—就好像把一种重型快速移动的飞船当做白球,在太空打台球一样。The second is a gravity tractor.第二种是重力牵引飞船,This is a spacecraft parked near an asteroid, so that its minute gravitational pull will slowly tug the rock into a safer orbit.这种航天器会靠在小行星旁边,利用微小的引力效应,慢慢把岩石牵引到安全的轨道。And if an incoming object is particularly large, or is detected particularly late, the third course of action would be to blast it into a new orbit with nuclear weapons.如果来袭的物体特别大,或者侦测得特别晚,就轮到第三种应对措施了—使用核武器把它炸到新的轨道上。If all else fails, or if a threat is spotted too late to deflect, there is also the option of evacuation.如果所有手段失败的话,或者威胁发现得太晚以至于无法让它转向,我们还有疏散的选择。In 2008, for example, a small asteroid was detected 20 hours before it hit Earth. The worlds astronomers scrambled, and its likely point of impact was calculated with what turned out to be reasonable accuracy.举例来说,2008年,一颗小行星在撞击地球前的20小时才侦测到。全世界的天文学家急忙开始行动,结果明,计算撞击点的精确度还是不错的。It blew up over the Nubian Desert, in Sudan, and no one was injured.这颗小行星在苏丹的努比亚沙漠上空爆炸,无人受伤。But this incident showed that a properly organised early-warning system might pay dividends if ground zero turned out to be a populated area.但这个事件说明,如果地面零点是居住区域的话,组织恰当的预警系统就能显示出它的价值了。John Tonry, of the University of Hawaii, hopes to provide one.夏威夷大学的约翰-通瑞希望自己能提供一个预警系统。He is working on an eight-telescope system called ATLAS.他正在开发一个8台望远镜组成的系统,名为ATLAS。It is designed to scan the whole sky twice a night, looking for fast-moving objects.根据设计,该系统每晚会对天空全面扫描两次,搜寻快速移动的物体。Unlike most astronomers, Dr Tonry presumably hopes he will not find what he is looking for.与大多数天文学家不同的是,通瑞士可能不太希望找到他要找的东西。But if he does, many people who would not otherwise have lived to tell the tale may thank him.但如果他找到了,会有许多人感谢他的—否则他们都无法幸存下来,向他人诉说这次惨遇。 /201311/263425

Business this week本周经济新闻Amazon showed off its first smartphone, which will go on sale next month. Priced at the high end of the market, the device runs on a version of Googles Android system, the main difference being that it is designed around Amazons shopping ecosystem. It also has 3D features. But although it dominates e-commerce in America and Europe, Amazons tiny profits and big spending projects are starting to worry investors; its share price is down by almost a fifth since the start of the year.亚马逊展示了将在下月发售的第一款智能手机。该款机型定位高端市场,在谷歌开发的安卓系统下运行,与众不同之处是其围绕亚马逊购物系统进行设计。该款机型还装有三维显示屏。然而,即使其在欧美电子商务中占主导地位,亚马逊的微薄利润和巨大的项目开仍让投资者开始担心;其股价自年初以来下跌了大约五分之一。Googles YouTube threatened to pull s from its site by independent recording artists who have refused to sign up to the terms for its forthcoming subscription-based music service. Universal, Sony and Warner have agreed to the terms, but the smaller labels accuse YouTube of a “lack of respect and understanding” for the independent sector.谷歌公司的YouTube威胁将从其网站上移除那些由拒绝签署即将到来的付费音乐务条款的独立唱片公司创作的音频。环球唱片、索尼和华纳已经同意该条款,但小型唱片公司指责YouTube对独立机构“缺乏尊重和理解”。Sunk僵局In a surprise move Chinas commerce ministry blocked a proposed alliance of three European shipping companies, including Maersk. The P3 alliance sought to pool 250 ships to reduce overcapacity, but it would have controlled 40% of transatlantic and Asia-Europe seaborne trade. Regulators in America and Europe had given the nod to the alliance. Chinas commerce ministry disagreed, saying smaller shippers would suffer and consumers would pay.中国商务部否决了包括马士基在内的三家欧洲船舶公司联盟的提议引发了不小的震动。P3联盟试图联合运营旗下250艘货轮以减少产能过剩,但这将使得该联盟控制横跨大西洋和亚欧海上贸易40%的份额。美国和欧盟的竞争监管机构批准了该联盟,但中国商务部不同意,认为此举将损害其他运输公司的利益并使得消费者最终买单。The takeover battle for various bits of Alstom intensified ahead of a deadline. Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, flew to Paris for talks with the government on securing jobs if it buys some of Alstoms assets. Complicating his plans is a rival joint bid from Siemens of Germany and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan.对阿尔斯通各种业项业务的收购战在截止日前愈演愈烈。通用电气的首席执行官杰夫瑞·伊梅尔特已飞赴巴黎与政府协商在购买部分阿尔斯通资产后的担保工作。但对手德国西门子和日本三菱重工的联合竞标使得其计划变得复杂起来。Mary Barra, the boss of General Motors, appeared before a congressional committee to answer questions about faulty ignition switches in GMs cars that it acknowledges led to 13 deaths. An internal report at GM blamed the carmakers unquestioning corporate culture for the ten-year delay in recognising the problem.通用汽车公司的老板玛丽·拉面对国会委员会,就其公司生产的汽车点火开关故障导致13人死亡的事实进行回答。一份通用公司内部的报告指责该制造商顽固的企业文化:对于一个延续十年的问题都缺乏认知。Capital holding资本持有Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, set markets abuzz when he said that interest rates could rise sooner than expected. The betting had been that the base rate, set at 0.5%, would start to rise in the first quarter of 2015, but markets are now anticipating an increase towards the end of the year. The bank is adapting to the strengthening British economy. The housing market in particular has been supported by ultra-low rates and house prices are surging; they were up by an average of 9.9% in April compared with the same month last year.英格兰的行长马克·卡尼声称利率将超预期而快速增长,这给市场强烈反响。有人笃定原为0.5%基准利率将在2015年一季度开始上调,但现在市场预计到今年年底就会增长,习惯于提振英国经济。特别是房产市场由于超低利率的撑导致房价飙升;在四月份相较去年同期平均增长9.9%。Officials at the Federal Reserves latest meeting slightly raised the forecast of its benchmark interest rate for the end of 2015, to 1.2%. Americas overall consumer-price index rose by 2.1% in the year to May.最近的议息会议中,美联储将2015年年底预期基准利率微升到1.2%。美国总体消费者价格指数五月同比增长2.1%。Japans government proposed gradually lowering the countrys corporate-tax rate, one of the highest in the world, from 35% to below 30%. This will form part of the “third arrow” of reforms that Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, hopes will boost growth.日本政府提出逐渐将该国企业所得税税率(日本的税率世界前列)由35%降低至30%。这是期望提振经济的安倍改革的“第三箭”的组成部分。Medtronic agreed to buy Covidien in a billion deal that shakes up the medical-device industry. It is another example of a “tax inversion” acquisition that takes advantage of lower corporate-tax rates outside America. Medtronic is based in Minneapolis; Covidiens base is near Boston, but it is domiciled in Ireland, which has a corporate-tax rate of only 12.5%.在一场震惊世界医疗器械行业的430亿美元的交易中,美敦力同意收购柯惠医疗。这是利用美国以外地区较低的企业所得税率而进行的“税收倒置”收购的又一案例。美敦力设在明尼阿波利斯,柯惠医疗设在波士顿附近,但交税在爱尔兰,那里的企业所得税税率只有12.5%。The World Gold Council called a meeting of the gold industry for July 7th to discuss alternatives to the London “gold fix”, a 95-year-old mechanism for setting the price at which gold products and derivatives are traded. The price is “fixed” by four banks, but, as with other financial benchmarks in the wake of the LIBOR scandal, it has been criticised for a lack of transparency.世界黄金协会将在7月7日的召开黄金行业会议,探讨是否取代具有95年历史的设定黄金产品及其衍生产品价格的伦敦“黄金定盘价”机制。该价格由四家“操控”,但是正如在伦敦同业拆借利率制定方面的丑闻之后的其他金融基准一样,由于缺乏透明度而饱受批评。American Apparel suspended its founder and chief executive, Dov Charney, with an intention to sack him because of alleged misconduct. Mr Charney is a colourful character in the clothing business and a strong supporter of immigration reform. He kept his companys manufacturing base in Los Angeles rather than moving its operations abroad. But he has faced accusations of inappropriate sexual behaviour in the past, and once said he felt comfortable working at his factory in his underwear.美国饰将其创始人和首席执行官多夫·查尼停职,并由于其行为不当意图解雇他。查尼在装行业是一位响当当的人物,也是移民改革的坚定持者。他坚持将公司的工厂建在洛杉矶而不是移往海外。但是此前他已经受到多项关于不当性行为的指控,有一次他曾说在自己的工厂穿内衣上班真爽。War cry呼喊Americas office of trademarks cancelled the Washington Redskins trademark, because it reckons the teams name is “disparaging to native Americans”. The team successfully challenged a similar ruling in 1999. This weeks decision does not mean it will have to change its name or stop selling merchandise, but it does weaken its ownership of the trademark under law.美国商标局取缔了华盛顿红皮队的商标,这是由于其认定球队的名字有“蔑视美洲土著”之嫌。该队曾在1999年相类似的案子中获胜。本周的决定并不意味着该队必须更名或者停止销售球队纪念品,但确实是削弱了其在法律范围内的品牌所有权。 201406/308172

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