《经济学人》:鹅毛大雪,倾盆大雨
日期:2011-08-24 11:30

(单词翻译:单击)

The Post Office
邮政局

Neither snow nor rain

Nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers. But the internet will

鹅毛大雪 倾盆大雨 炎炎烈日,昏暗夜色都无法使邮差停止送信。但因特网能。

Aug 20th 2011 | LOS ANGELES | from the print edition

THE US Postal Service has an unofficial creed (above) that harks back to Herodotus, who was admiring the Persian empire’s stalwart messengers. Its own history is impressive too, dating to a royal licence by William and Mary in 1692, and including Benjamin Franklin as a notable postmaster, both for the crown (which dismissed him in 1774 for his revolutionary leanings) and then for the newly independent country. Ever since, the post has existed “to bind the Nation together”.

美国邮政服务有条非正式的信条。这一信条的出处要回溯到希罗多德,他对波斯国王忠实可靠的信使大为赞赏。美国邮政,历史悠久,于1692年得到威廉国王和玛利皇后的皇家许可,开始邮政服务。本杰明.弗兰克林出任邮政总长更是值得一提:他曾先后为英国皇家(因他的革命倾向,于1774年被解雇)和刚刚独立的美国服务,出任此职。从此以后,邮政的存在象征着“整个国家连在一起”。

But as ever more Americans go online instead of sending paper, the volume of mail has been plummeting (see chart right). The decline is steeper than even pessimists expected a decade ago, says Patrick Donahoe, the current postmaster-general. Worse, because the post must deliver to every address in the country—about 150m, with some 1.4m additions every year—costs are simultaneously going up. As a result, the post has lost $20 billion in the last four years and expects to lose another $8 billion this fiscal year.

自从越来越多的美国人选用网络而不是用邮政收寄信件,邮政的递送量便直线开始下降。现任邮政总长,帕特里克.多纳霍谈到,十年前对邮政事业持悲观态度的人都没预料到衰退会如此之快。更要命的是,邮政服务必须送抵全国每一个邮政地址——美国现有邮政地址约一亿五千万个,每年都会多增加一百四十多万个——这使得邮政支出同时增加。结果一目了然,邮政局在近四年损失合计二百亿美元,本财政年度预计损失为八亿美元。

And although the recession made everything worse, the internet is the main culprit. As Christmas cards have gone online (and “green”), so have bills. In 2000, 5% of Americans paid utilities online. Last year 55% did, and eventually everybody will, says Mr Donahoe. Photos now go on Facebook, magazines come on iPads. Already, at least for Americans under a certain age, the post delivers only bad news or nuisances, from jury summonses to junk mail. Pleasant deliveries probably arrive by a parcel service such as UPS or FedEx.

尽管经济衰退迫使百业凋零,但要指出,网络才是罪魁祸首。人们上网寄送圣诞贺卡(“低碳环保”),连账单也电子化了。在2000年,5%的美国人上网交水电煤气费,而去年这一比例是55%。多纳霍先生表示,到头来,人人都将上网交水电煤气费。照片分享用facebook,杂志订阅有ipad。至少对于某一年龄段的美国人来说,邮差送来的净是法院传票或垃圾邮件什么的,只会带来坏消息或麻烦事。而让人高兴的邮件大概会用UPS或FedEx这样的快递公司送来。

Quasi-independent since 1970, the post gets no public money. And yet it is obliged (as FedEx and UPS are not) to visit every mailbox, no matter how remote, six days a week. This has driven the average cost of each piece of mail up from 34 cents in 2006 to 41 cents. Yet the post is not allowed to raise prices (of stamps and such) willy-nilly; a 2006 law set formulas for that. So in effect, the post cannot control either its costs or its revenues.

1970年,邮政服务确定其半独立的财务形式,从此,邮政局不再领取公共拨款。然而,无论距离有多远,一周六天,邮差都要去所管辖的每一个邮箱中查收信件(FedEx和UPS可没这项业务)。这使得每封邮件的平均花费从2006年的34美分增加到了41美分。但不管邮政局愿意不愿意,都不能提高费用(包括邮票面值和其它种种价格);2006年通过的一条法案对此做出了规定。所以实际上,邮政局既不能控制自己的支出,也无法保证自身的收入。

Nor can it buy companies as freely as postal services in Europe, Canada or Asia have been doing for the past decade. Many European countries, as well as New Zealand and Japan, have already privatised or liberalised their postal services. Combined, foreign posts now get most of their revenue from new businesses such as retailing or banking for consumers, or warehousing and logistics for companies.

在过去十年间,欧洲、加拿大和亚洲各国允许其邮政部门进行商业并购,但在美国,可没有那么自由。在许多欧洲国家,以及新西兰和日本,已经实现邮政服务私有化,或让邮政部门享有自主权。通过兼并整合,当前外国邮政部门的主要收入来自于新设项目,如:零售,提供客户银行服务,和为公司提供货存和物流服务。

So America’s post is looking for other solutions. It is planning to close post offices; up to 3,653, out of about 32,000. This month it announced plans to lay off another 120,000 workers by 2015, having already bidden adieu to some 110,000 over the past four years (for a total of about 560,000 now). It also wants to fiddle with its workers’ pensions and health care.

美国邮政局也正在寻找出路。计划关闭部分邮政所,其数量从约三万两千所消减掉3653所。本月宣布计划在过去四年间解雇十一万人的基础上,到2015年再下岗分流十二万职工(到现在已解雇职工约五十六万人)。还琢磨在员工的退休金和医疗保险上做文章,好进一步削减开支。

Ultimately, says Mr Donahoe, the post will have to stop delivering mail on Saturdays. Then perhaps on other days too. The post has survived new technologies before, he points out. “In 1910, we owned the most horses, by 1920 we owned the most vehicles.” But the internet just might send it the way of the pony express.

多纳霍先生讲到,最终,邮局不得不停止在周六递送邮件。之后可能在某一工作日也会停止邮件递送。面对新技术的冲击,邮政局也曾得以保全。他提到:“1910年,我们递送邮件的运输工具主要是马匹。十年后,马匹大部分都换成了汽车。”但对于单枪匹马递送信件的邮差来说,网络简直就是三千里加急用的驿站快报,使之望尘莫及。

维基百科对美国邮政服务信条的解释:

The United States Postal Service has no official creed or motto.Often falsely cited as such, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is an inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City, derived from a quote from Herodotus' Histories (8.98), referring to the courier service of the ancient Persian Empire.

美国邮政局没有正式的信条或格言。通常人们错误地引用刻在位于纽约市,詹姆斯.法利邮政中心这条铭文为美国邮政服务的信条。这条铭文为:“鹅毛大雪,倾盆大雨,炎炎烈日,昏暗夜色都无法阻止邮差用飞快地速度完成他们所指定的任务。”出自希罗多德编写的《历史》,引指古代波斯帝国的信使服务。

分享到
重点单词
  • juryn. 陪审团,评委会 adj. 临时用的 vt. 挑选
  • parceln. 包裹,一块(土地),部分 vt. 打包,分配
  • declinen. 衰微,跌落; 晚年 v. 降低,婉谢
  • junkn. 垃圾,废旧杂物,中国平底帆船 vt. 丢弃
  • fiscaladj. 财政的,国库的
  • decaden. 十年
  • independentadj. 独立的,自主的,有主见的 n. 独立派人士,无
  • ultimatelyadv. 最后,最终
  • motton. 座右铭,箴言
  • admiringadj. 赞赏的,羡慕的