石油黑金将回归常态 世界更加安全
日期:2015-02-03 11:56

(单词翻译:单击)

In 2007 I made a bet with a fellow Russian businessman. The price of oil, he told me, would never drop below $80 again. This was the consensus among oilmen at the time. And that, I thought, was the surest sign that the oil price would soon start falling.
2007年,我和一位俄罗斯商人朋友打了个赌。他跟我说,油价永远不会再跌回80美元以下。这种说法是当时石油商圈子里的普遍观点。但我当时认为,这就是预示油价很快将开始下跌的最肯定信号。
I told my acquaintance that the oil price could easily go down to $40. What determines it, I said, is not supply, demand or the cost of production. Rather, what matters is the mere perception of a potential shortage.
我告诉那位朋友,油价可能轻易跌至40美元。我说,决定油价的不是供需关系或生产成本,关键因素反而是对潜在短缺的纯粹感知。
The price of oil stayed high only because people believed there was not enough of it to go around. But once people believe that, consumers start looking for an alternative while producers try to pump more of the stuff — and then prices fall.
油价维持高位,只是因为人们相信石油不够分配。但是,一旦人们相信了这一点,消费者就会开始寻找石油的替代品,石油生产商则会努力开采更多石油,然后,价格就会下跌。
I am not a professional oilman and my assumptions were based not on knowledge of geology or the rate of economic growth in China, but on the simple fact that humanity usually finds a way around any obstacle in its path.
我并非专业的石油商人,我的设想并非基于地质知识或中国的经济增长率,而是基于一个简单的事实,即人类在前进道路上遇到任何障碍,通常都会找到方法绕过去。
While many of my colleagues in Russia and elsewhere are arguing about when the oil price may bounce back, I am convinced that we have entered a new period of low oil prices. It is like alchemy, but in reverse: black gold, a precious substance whose price was determined by its scarcity, has turned into a black, smelly liquid that makes wheels turn. It is not the first time this has happened. The price of oil was relatively stable until the 1970s brought the psychological shock of an embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia on the export of oil to America.
我在俄罗斯和其他地区的很多同行都在讨论油价可能会在什么时候反弹,我却深信,我们已经进入一个低油价的全新时代。就像是把普通金属转化为黄金的炼金术一样,但过程正好反过来:石油黑金--这种由稀缺程度决定价格的珍贵物质--已经变回了那种能让车轮转动的又黑又臭的液体。这并非石油第一次被打回原形。油价一直相对稳定,直到上世纪70年代沙特颁布禁运令,禁止石油出口美国,带来了心理冲击。
In 1975, the US started its petroleum strategic reserve, contributing to the perception that oil was scarce. Oil producers saw their main objective was to guard their oligopoly.

1975年,美国启动石油战略储备,强化了石油是一种稀缺品的印象。石油生产商认为自己的主要目标就是保卫其寡头垄断地位。没人关心生产效率这类微不足道的小事——许可证的分配比这重要得多。
No one cared about such trifling matters as efficiency — the distribution of licences was far more important. A good lobbyist was worth more to an oil company than a good engineer. To deal with this challenge, developed countries started to invest in energy saving and new technologies, and by the early 1980s this started to yield results.The ensuing fall in oil prices eventually sapped the Soviet Union of its economic lifeblood.
对一家石油公司来说,一名优秀的说客比出色的工程师更有用。为了应对这个挑战,发达国家开始投资于能源节约和新技术,到上世纪80年代初,这种投资开始产生成效。随后油价下滑,最终破坏了苏联的经济命脉。
Rapid economic growth in China and India in the early 2000s changed the perception about the balance between demand for oil and its scarcity. And once again developed countries with high levels of entrepreneurial freedom set themselves to work on solving the bottleneck.
2000年代初,中国和印度经济快速增长,改变了人们对石油需求及其稀缺性之间平衡的认知。与此同时,拥有较高创业自由度的发达国家再一次开始为突破这一瓶颈而努力。
There was no single solution, but everyone thought of something: biofuel, wind energy, oil sands, shale.
虽然没有单一的解决方法,但每个人都想到了一些对策:生物能源、风能、油砂、页岩。
It was no accident that the countries that led the innovation were liberal market economies with strong property rights, while the countries that wished to thwart these efforts were resentful of competition and riddled with monopolists. They treated private property as a concession that could easily be taken away.
不出意外,引领这场革新的国家都是充分保障产权的自由市场经济,而希望挫败这些努力的国家都是憎恶竞争、垄断者遍布的国家。后一种国家把私有财产视为一种很容易被拿走的特权。
Political systems based on the distribution of rent demoralise people. Political regimes based on free competition motivate people. It is because of free initiative and competition that humanity can overcome bottlenecks.
建立在租金分配基础上的政治制度使人民消沉,而建立在自由竞争基础上的政治体制让人民充满动力。正是因为自由创新和自由竞争,人类才得以突破一个个瓶颈。
The reason America has led the way in the production of shale oil and gas is not that it has a lot of shale — many other countries have a similar geology. It is that America has a lot of economic freedom.
美国之所以能够引领页岩油和页岩气的生产,其原因不在于美国的页岩资源特别丰富——其他很多国家都有类似的地质条件。真正的原因在于,美国拥有极大的经济自由度。
This is a precious resource that many other countries lack. Its government does not sell licences for onshore drilling. It lets people buy land, and promises that nobody can take away from you what is yours.
经济自由度是一种宝贵的资源,也是其他很多国家所欠缺的。美国政府不出售陆上钻井许可证,它允许人们购买土地,并承诺任何人都不能剥夺属于你的东西。
The dizzying oil prices of recent years were profoundly abnormal. The fall will turn oil production into a proper business where costs and efficiency matter more than lobbying power. This stands to make the world freer and safer, by reducing the power of illiberal regimes that thrive on oil rents.
最近几年油价高得让人头晕目眩,这是极度反常的。油价下滑将使石油生产行业转变为一个正常行业,一个生产成本和效率比游说能力更重要的行业。这能够削减那些靠石油租金而繁荣的不自由政体的实力,让世界变得更加自由和安全。
Two years ago, I found myself in Manaus, a unique city in Brazil’s Amazonas, in the middle of the rainforest. In the late 19th century Manaus became one of the richest and most extravagant cities thanks to the rubber it had.
两年前,我去了玛瑙斯市(Manaus),一个位于巴西亚马逊州热带雨林之中的独特城市。19世纪末,玛瑙斯因为拥有橡胶而步入全世界最富有、最繁盛的城市之列。
It built a splendid Belle époque-style opera house out of Italian marble with vast domes and gilded balconies. But a few years later the seeds of the rubber tree were smuggled out of the Amazon and Brazil lost its monopoly.
该市用意大利大理石建造了一座“美好时代”(Belle époque,指欧洲19世纪末至一战爆发前那段和平、繁荣的时期——译者注)风格的富丽堂皇的歌剧院,拥有巨大圆顶和镀金包厢。但是,几年后橡
Then the invention of artificial rubber finally buried the entire prosperity of this tropical Paris. Manaus fell into poverty, electricity generation became too expensive and the opera house went dark. It is a powerful lesson to the futility of suppressing competition.
胶树的种子被私运出亚马逊雨林,巴西失去了其垄断地位。之后,人造橡胶的发明最终葬送了这座有“热带巴黎”之称的城市的繁荣。玛瑙斯陷入贫困,电力也变得过于昂贵,这座歌剧院陷入黑暗之中。玛瑙斯的教训充分证明,抑制竞争是徒劳无益的。
The writer is an international businessman and chairman of LetterOne Group and Alfa Group Consortium
本文作者为一名跨国商人,担任LetterOne集团及阿尔法集团(Alfa Group)董事长

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重点单词
  • innovationn. 创新,革新
  • artificialadj. 人造的,虚伪的,武断的
  • entrepreneurialadj. 企业家的,创业者的;中间商的
  • concessionn. 让步,妥协,特许权,租界
  • strategicadj. 战略的,重要的,基本的
  • eventuallyadv. 终于,最后
  • determinedadj. 坚毅的,下定决心的
  • monopolyn. 垄断,专利,独占,控制
  • dizzyingadj. 极快的,极高的
  • convincedadj. 信服的