《经济学人》:麦田怪圈意外的收获
日期:2011-07-20 10:51

(单词翻译:单击)

Crop circles
麦田怪圈

Strange fruit
意外的收获

The costs and benefits of rural mysticism
乡村神秘主义的收入与支出

Jul 7th 2011 | HONEYSTREET, WILTSHIRE | from the print edition

Farm life, but not as we know it
不为人所知的农村生活

WHETHER extraterrestrials or pranksters are to blame, in the Wiltshire countryside crop circles are costly: around £1,000 each, says Tim Carson, a farmer in the village of Alton Barnes, whose land has been dotted by 125 circles since 1991. Lost crops have become part of his annual routine, because his corner of the county is the global centre for crop circles. Fifty or more formations appear in Britain’s fields each year, usually between May and August; around three-quarters are in Wiltshire.

不论外星人还是某人恶作剧,Tim Carson这个生活在Alton Barnes的农民正因Wiltshire郊外的麦田怪圈每年承受着1000英镑的损失。自1991年起,他的田地里至今已有125个怪圈错落其中。因为他所在的乡村一角正是全球怪圈的集中地,损失农田对他来说已是家常便饭。每年英国都会出现至少50个怪圈 ,通常这类事发生在5到8月,而其中约有三分之二在Wiltshire。

They are likely to make farmers especially cross in what has already been a tricky year. Fuel and fertiliser prices have risen; a dry spring means yields are expected to be down 25-30% on last year in the south-west. Now Wiltshire is being trampled by summer tourists, many of them mystically inclined. Some circular formations are visited by thousands of these enthusiasts, causing further damage to crops and sometimes property.

看来,今年他们的出现使得本已艰难度日的农民日子更加不好过。原油、肥料价格上涨,加上一个干燥的春季——这意味着西南部农田的收获预计会比去年少25-30%。而如今Wiltshire还正遭受着游人的蹂躏,他们中的许多有神秘主义思想倾向。有时数千狂热分子涌向某个怪圈,造成了更多作物甚至财物损失。

Occasionally, there is an upside for farmers. In 1998 commercial circle-makers acting for Mitsubishi, a Japanese carmaker, paid Mr Carson for the right to cut an outline of a new model named the Space Star in his fields. The commission “more than compensated for the loss of crop”, he says. Shredded Wheat, a breakfast cereal, once had its logo carved in a wheat field. Some landowners charge for entry or solicit donations, though the tale of the farmer who made £30,000 from tourists is exceptional.

偶尔地,也有对农民来说积极的一面。1998年,三菱(日本汽车制造商)为了打造商务麦田怪圈,付给Carson先生一笔费用以求取他的田地里一个叫星空的新怪圈中的一块。Carson称补偿的酬金“比单单损失田地要来的丰厚”。小麦片,一种早餐谷物,曾把他的商标刻在麦田。一些土地所有人收取准入费或征求捐赠,尽管农民以旅游创收3万英镑的故事非常罕见。

But while farmers tend to suffer, others gain. The circles augment a mystical aura that emanates from Stonehenge, and that contributes hugely to Wiltshire’s £850m tourism industry. Visitor shops are stuffed with crop-circle memorabilia; coach tours frequent them. At the Barge Inn, a community-owned pub in Honeystreet, drinkers enjoy tipples named Croppie, Alien Abduction and Away With The Fairies. The pub has customers from all over the world, even out of season, and the nearby formations have “no doubt benefited the business”, says Terry Kemp, who works there.

但就在农民遭殃的时候,另一些人确从中获利。这些怪圈提高了源自史前巨石柱的神秘氛围,为Wiltshire8.5亿磅的旅游业作出了巨大贡献。商铺里满满当当地都是麦田怪圈的纪念品,一车车的游客已司空见惯。在Barge Inn,Honeystreet上的一家社区酒馆里,人们乐衷于品尝名为“谷物”,“外星人的祝福”及“远离小精灵”的烈酒。即使在不当季的时候,酒馆里也有来自全世界各地的顾客,在那里工作的Terry Kemp认为附近的那些怪圈“毫无疑问帮了大忙”。

The exact value of crop circles to the broader economy is unclear. Visit Wiltshire, the county’s tourism agency, is understandably reluctant to comment, given that acts of trespass and criminal damage are involved. But perhaps if the upside were better understood, the benefits might be more fairly shared.

对整体经济来说这些麦田怪圈的具体价值还不明朗。鉴于涉及未经许可擅入私人土地及刑事损害类行为,可以理解Wiltshire这个乡村旅游部不愿就此多谈。不过假如人们能更理解好的一面,那也许就能被更公平地享有其中的利润。

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  • commentn. 注释,评论; 闲话 v. 注释,评论
  • routinen. 例行公事,常规,无聊 adj. 常规的,例行的,乏
  • augmentvt. 增加,补充 vi. 扩大 n. 增加,补充物
  • blamen. 过失,责备 vt. 把 ... 归咎于,责备
  • occasionallyadv. 偶尔地
  • bargen. 驳船 vi. 猛撞,冲,闯
  • tendv. 趋向,易于,照料,护理
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  • propertyn. 财产,所有物,性质,地产,道具
  • frequentadj. 经常的,频繁的 vt. 常到,常去