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绡悆绮惧僵姣旇禌 :石油巨頭的“新殖民”

篮球竞彩nba www.xvrnl.com   Well-Oiled Machine

  石油巨頭的“新殖民”

  In the great reach for colonies that Europe began hundreds of years ago, at center stage were several curious entities that wielded more power than many governments. The United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies (commonly known as the East India Company) and its counterpart, the Dutch East India Company, fielded their own warships and armies, coined money and ruled territory eventually taken over by Britain and the Netherlands. Later, the seizure of land by Cecil Rhodes’s British South Africa Company also preceded the spread of British pink across the map.

  在幾百年前歐洲人的大規模殖民擴張中,一些奇妙的企業成為中堅力量,其勢力甚至超過許多政府。英國商人往“東印度貿易聯合公司(”即通常所說的東印度公司)及其競爭對手“荷蘭東印度公司”配備了自己的戰艦和軍隊,鑄造錢幣,統治那些最終將被不列顛和尼德蘭接管的地區。再后來,塞西爾·羅德斯(Cecil Rhodes)的不列顛南非公司掠奪來的土地,也為不列顛在世界版圖上增添了幾塊粉色。

  Centuries from now, historians sweltering away on an overheated planet and looking back to our own times will surely see multinational oil companies as similar players. The way they’re reshaping today’s world, however, is not by carving out future colonies, but by searching for the oil and gas we’re so hungry for in ever more risky places: beneath oceans, in Canadian tar sands, in underground rock formations that require “fracking” and in the environmentally fragile Arctic waters newly accessible as the polar ice cap shrinks — thanks, of course, to our addiction to fossil fuels. That addiction is likely to change the very level of the seas the East India Company’s ships sailed in their hunt for cloth and spices, and the floods and droughts ahead may set in motion desperate migrations dwarfing those of colonial times.

  在幾個世紀后的未來,當不堪高溫逃離了這個星球的歷史學家回頭看我們這個時代的時候,他們一定會發現跨國石油企業正在發揮類似的作用。不過他們對今日之世界的塑造不是通過開拓殖民地,而是在一些空前危險的地帶搜尋我們渴盼的石油和天然氣:在海底,在加拿大瀝青砂里,在需要“水力壓裂”的地下巖層中,隨著極地冰蓋的收縮——這當然也是拜我們的礦物燃料依賴癥所賜——生態環境弱不禁風的北極水域也不再是遙不可及的了。這種依賴癥對海域的改變程度,不亞于東印度公司的船只東進尋找布匹與香料,而未來洪水與旱災可能帶來的人口遷徙,更會使得殖民時代的移民潮相形見絀。

  Steve Coll’s mammoth portrait of Exxon Mobil, “Private Empire,” abounds in empire-size figures. In the first half of last year alone, the company’s profits were $21.3 billion. When the chief executive Lee Raymond stepped down a few years ago, his retirement package was worth $398 million. If revenue were counted as gross domestic product, the corporation would rank among the top 30 countries. Unsurprisingly, Exxon Mobil runs one of Washington’s biggest lobbying operations, with not only a well-staffed office on K Street (where a Democratic director was smoothly brought in to replace a Republican after the 2008 elections) but some 20 additional former senators, representatives, legislative aides and others under contract.

  史蒂夫·科爾(Steve Coll) 在描繪??松梨詮?Exxon Mobil)的宏篇畫卷《私人帝國》(Private Empire)中,引用了大量數據。公司僅在去年上半年的盈利就達到213億美元。幾年前首席執行官李·雷蒙德(Lee Raymond)離職的時候,公司給他的退休方案價值3.98億美元。如果把年收入當作國民生產總值,這家公司可以排進世界前30位。這樣的公司自然在華盛頓進行著最大規模的游說活動,不但在K街設有規模不小的辦事處(那里的主管原為共和黨人,2008年大選后順利地換成民主黨人),還聘著20來個工作人員,當中包括前參議員、眾議員、法律助理等。

  Yet this book isn’t so much a story of Exxon Mobil’s influence over the American government. Rather, it’s a picture of a corporation so large and powerful — operating in some 200 nations and territories — that it really has its own foreign policy.

  不過在??松梨詼悅攔撓跋焐?,這本書并沒有涉及太多。它更多地是在試圖告訴讀者,這個企業是何其龐大而強勢——在200個左右的國家和地區從事經營活動——以至于對外交都有自己的一套政策。

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