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2019年10月19日 20:47:55 | 作者:365生活 | 来源:新华社
We’ve just had a nonsense midterm election. Never has more money been spent to think so little about a future so in flux. What would we have discussed if we’d had a serious election? How about the biggest challenge we’re facing today: The resilience of our workers, environment and institutions.我们刚刚结束了一场无意义的中期选举。关于如此莫测的未来,我们如此缺乏思考,可是花在上面的钱却从来没有这么多过。如果我们有一个认真的选举,那会讨论些什么呢?不如讨论一下我们如今面临的最大挑战:我们的工人、环境及制度的恢复力。Why is that the biggest challenge? Because: The world is fast. The three biggest forces on the planet — the market, Mother Nature and Moore’s Law — are all surging, really fast, at the same time. The market, i.e., globalization, is tying economies more tightly together than ever before, making our workers, investors and markets much more interdependent and exposed to global trends, without walls to protect them.为什么这是最大的挑战?因为:世界变化很快。这个星球上最大的三种力量——市场、大自然和尔定律——都在同一时间风起云涌,速度非常之快。市场即全球化,它正将各个经济前所未有地紧密捆绑在一起,让我们的员工、投资者和市场变得更加相互依存,暴露在全球趋势的风险之中,没有什么围墙可以保护他们。Moore’s Law, the theory that the speed and power of microchips will double every two years, is, as Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson posit in their book, “The Second Machine Age,” so relentlessly increasing the power of software, computers and robots that they’re now replacing many more traditional white- and blue-collar jobs, while spinning off new ones — all of which require more skills.尔定律指出,芯片的速度和能力每两年就会翻一番。正如埃里克·布林约尔松(Erik Brynjolfsson)和安德鲁·麦卡菲(Andrew McAfee)在著作《第二次机器时代》(The Second Machine Age)中所说,软件、计算机和机器人的能力增长如此迅猛,它们正在取代大量传统的白领和蓝领工作,同时又派生出新的工作,而所有新工作都需要工人掌握更多技能。And the rapid growth of carbon in our atmosphere and environmental degradation and deforestation because of population growth on earth — the only home we have — are destabilizing Mother Nature’s ecosystems faster.在我们唯一的家园地球,人口增长导致大气含碳量快速增长,环境退化,森林遭到滥伐,使得大自然的生态系统更快地失去稳定性。In sum, we’re in the middle of three “climate changes” at once: one digital, one ecological, one geo-economical. That’s why strong states are being stressed, weak ones are blowing up and Americans are feeling anxious that no one has a quick fix to ease their anxiety. And they’re right. The only fix involves big, hard things that can only be built together over time: resilient infrastructure, affordable health care, more start-ups and lifelong learning opportunities for new jobs, immigration policies that attract talent, sustainable environments, manageable debt and governing institutions adapted to the new speed.总之,我们同时处在三个“气候变化”之中:一个是数字,一个是生态,还有一个是地缘经济。这就是为什么一些强国正在遭受压力,弱国纷纷崩溃。这也让美国人感到焦虑,因为没有人能提供快速解决方案来缓解这种焦虑。他们是对的。唯一的解决办法涉及一些庞大、艰巨的东西,随着时间的推移,它们才可以被构建起来:有恢复力的基础设施、负担得起的医疗务、更多的初创企业、以及终身都存在的学习新岗位技能的机会、吸引人才的移民政策、可持续的环境、可控的债务、可以适应新速度的治理机构。That’s just theory, you say? Really? Look at one aspect in one country: Mother Nature in Brazil. On Oct. 24, Reuters reported this from S#227;o Paulo: “South America’s biggest and wealthiest city may run out of water by mid-November if it doesn’t rain soon. S#227;o Paulo, a Brazilian megacity of 20 million people, is suffering its worst drought in at least 80 years, with key reservoirs that supply the city dried up after an unusually dry year.”你觉得这只是理论?真的吗?来看看一个国家的其中一方面:巴西的大自然。10月24日,路透社自圣保罗报道,“如果最近再不降雨,南美最大最富有的城市可能会在11月中旬耗尽水源。圣保罗,这个2000万人口的巴西大都市,正在遭受至少80年一遇的严重干旱,在经过异常干燥的一年之后,为这座城市供应水源的主要水库干涸了。”Say what? S#227;o Paulo is running out of water? Yes.什么意思?圣保罗快没水了?是的。José Maria Cardoso da Silva, a Brazilian and senior adviser at Conservation International, explains: The drought hit a landscape that had been stripped of 80 percent of the natural forest along the Serra da Cantareira watersheds that feed six artificial reservoirs sustaining S#227;o Paulo. The Cantareira supplies nearly half of S#227;o Paulo’s water. The forests and wetlands have been replaced by farmfields, pastures and eucalyptus plantations. So today the pipes and reservoirs that gather the water are still in place, but the natural infrastructure of forests and watersheds has been badly degraded. The drought exposed it all.巴西人何塞·玛丽亚·卡多索·席尔瓦(José Maria Cardoso da Silva)是保护国际(Conservation International,简称CI)的高级顾问,他解释说:旱灾影响了塞拉达康达雷拉(Serra da Cantareira)流域的一片地区,那里80%的天然森林已遭破坏,在为圣保罗供水的人工水库中,有六座的水就来自这片地区。康达雷拉为圣保罗提供了的近一半的水。森林和湿地已被改建为农场、牧场和人工桉树林。所以,如今收集这些水的管道和水库虽然还在,但森林和流域的自然基础设施已经严重退化。干旱把所有这些问题都暴露出来。“Natural forests act like giant sponges soaking up rain and gradually releasing it into streams,” he said. “They also protect watercourses and maintain water quality by reducing sediment and filtering pollutants. The forest loss in Cantareira increased erosion, caused the decline in water quality, and changed seasonal water flows, reducing the resilience of the entire system against climatic extreme events.” The Cantareira system has fallen below 12 percent of capacity.“天然林像巨大的海绵,吸收了雨水,逐渐释放到河流里,”他说。“他们还可以保护河道,并通过减少沉积物和过滤污染物保持水质。在康达雷拉,森林的损失增加了侵蚀,造成水质下降,并改变了季节水流量,减少了在气候极端事件下,整个系统的恢复能力。”康达雷拉水系已经跌至其容量的12%以下。Sadly, deforestation increased under Brazil’s newly re-elected president, Dilma Rousseff, but this was also barely an issue in Brazil’s election. Yet Reuters ed Antonio Nobre, a leading climate scientist at Brazil’s National Space Research Institute, arguing that “global warming and the deforestation of the Amazon are altering the climate in the region by drastically reducing the release of billions of liters of water by rainforest trees. ‘Humidity that comes from the Amazon in the form of vapor clouds — what we call ‘flying rivers’ — has dropped dramatically, contributing to this devastating situation we are living today,’ ” Nobre said.可悲的是,在最近获得连任的巴西总统迪尔玛·罗塞夫(Dilma Rousseff)执政期间,森林滥伐现象增加了,但在巴西的选举中,这几乎不算是问题。不过,路透社援引巴西国家空间研究所(National Space Research Institute)知名气候科学家安东尼奥·诺布雷(Antonio Nobre)的话,称“热带雨林树木本来会释放的数十亿升水,全球变暖和亚马逊森林滥伐大幅减少了这些水量,改变了该地区的气候。‘亚马逊雨林释放出的水雾被称之为‘飞河’,它已经大幅减少,再加上别的因素,就造成了我们今天的这种惨状,’”诺布雷说。Paul Gilding, the Australian environmentalist and author of “The Great Disruption,” emailed from Brazil to say that the lack of a serious Brazilian response “reinforces to me that we’re not going to respond to the big global issues until they hit the economy. It’s hard to imagine a stronger example than a city of 20 million people running out of water. Yet despite the clear threat, the main response is ‘we hope it rains.’ Why such denial? Because the implications of acceptance are so significant, and we know in our hearts there’s no going back once you end denial. It would demand that the country face up to the urgency of reversing rather than slowing deforestation” and “the need to prepare the country for the risks that a changing climate presents.”保罗·戈尔丁(Paul Gilding)是澳大利亚环保专家,《大破坏》(The Great Disruption)一书的作者,他从巴西发来电邮,说该国并没有认真应对这个问题,“让我更加觉得,我们不会对大规模的全球问题作出回应,直到它们严重影响了经济。很难想象,还会有什么例子,比一个2000万人口的城市水源快要耗尽更加有说力。然而,尽管威胁清楚易见,人们的反应主要却是:‘我们希望会下雨。’为什么要否认问题的存在?由于承认它意味着很多事情,我们心里明白,一旦最终停止否认,就没有回头路了。这将需要巴西勇敢地去面对,扭转森林砍伐的现象,而不是减缓砍伐速度,”并“需要让全国做好准备,应对气候变化带来的风险”。When changes in the market, Mother Nature and Moore’s Law all get this fast, opportunities and stresses abound. One day, we’ll have an election about how we cushion, exploit and adapt to them — an election to make America and Americans more resilient. One day.当市场、大自然和尔定律中的变化发生得如此迅速的时候,机会和压力也比比皆是。有一天,我们将会就如何缓解、利用和适应它们进行选举,那将是一个让美国和美国人变得更强韧的选举。会有那么一天。 /201411/341385Coke bottle made from plants可口可乐推纯植物瓶子Coca-Cola showed off its new bottle at the Expo Milano.可口可乐近日在米兰世会上展出了它的新包装瓶。The bottle is plastic, but instead of using petroleum, the bottle#39;s plastic is derived from sugar cane.这款瓶子是塑料的,但这种塑料的原材料不是石油,而是甘蔗。Coca-Cola debuted ;PlantBottle; packaging in 2009, which is 30% comprised of plant materials.2009年可口可乐公司;植物环保瓶;首次亮相,其材质30%源于植物。The new PlantBottle that Coke debuted this week is its first to be made 100% from sugar cane plastic.本周亮相的新;植物环保瓶;首次做到材质100%由甘蔗做成。The soda company didn#39;t say when it would start shipping Coke in the new bottles.该公司没有明确表示新瓶包装何时投入使用。 /201506/380419Earlier this month, China#39;s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group filed to go public in the U.S. in what could be one of the biggest IPOs in American history. In the prospectus, one of the company#39;s claimed strengths is a ;management team with owner mentality,; but that#39;s far too simplistic. The question is: With which owners does management share its mentality -- the public owners or the owners with holdings in the Chinese entities buried deep inside the company#39;s financial statements?本月初,中国电子商务巨擘阿里巴巴集团(Alibaba Group)申请在美国上市,有望成为美国历史上规模最大的IPO之一。这家公司在招股说明书中称,它的优势之一在于“管理团队有主人翁精神”,但这样的描述过于简单。问题在于:谁和管理层一样具有这样的精神——是公众股东?还是深藏在阿里巴巴财务报表中的国内实体所有者?The question is important because CEO Jack Ma works for Alibaba subsidiaries inside China, as well as the firm#39;s new public shareholders. This is the hidden hook inside all consolidated financial statements. These documents paint a picture of a unified whole, but the many subsidiaries under a holding company umbrella are where the real operations take place. They are also subject to different levels of ownership. Outsiders sometimes own a chunk of equity in subsidiaries, and their assets can be subject to claims of lenders. These details aren#39;t always apparent to investors looking only at the consolidated picture.这个问题很重要,原因是阿里巴巴首席执行官马云既要为阿里巴巴的中国子公司工作,也要也为新的公众股东务。所有合并后财务报表里都隐藏着这样一个陷阱。这些报表描述的是个统一的整体,但控股公司之下的诸多子公司才是真正开展经营活动的实体,而它们的所有权情况各不相同。有时,外部人士持有子公司的多数股份,他们的资产会成为贷款人追索的对象。如果投资者只看合并后的报表,这些细节问题并不总是一目了然。Like many of mainland China#39;s past offerings in the U.S., Alibaba makes use of ;variable interest entities; out of necessity. China permits privately controlled firms in some industries to tap foreign markets by establishing offshore companies permitted to wholly own Chinese companies. Yet it prohibits foreign investments in certain restricted industries, including the Internet. These controlled industries must be owned by Chinese nationals; no foreign investment are allowed.和许多以往赴美国上市的中国大陆公司一样,阿里巴巴不得已采用了可变利益实体(variable interest entities)模式。中国允许某些行业的私营公司通过设立境外公司进入海外市场,这些境外公司可以全资拥有中国境内公司。但一些受限制的领域禁止外资进入,包括互联网行业。在这些受限制行业,公司所有人必须是中国公民,不允许出现外国投资。That#39;s where the mutant accounting comes in, as well as the conflicts between manager-owners, including Ma and public shareholders. The essential work-around for a firm in a restricted industry has been to establish ownership in it by Chinese nationals, while establishing an offshore company that can be publicly listed. Mimic an owner relationship by setting up contracts between the two parties so that the offshore public firm reaps the successes of the Chinese firm -- without actually owning shares in it. Thus, for U.S.accounting purposes, the Chinese firm must be included in the consolidated financial statements of the public firm. In consolidation, the two parties are viewed as one harmonious entity -- even though the management goals for the Chinese firm may be far different than the management goals of the public firm.这就是赴美上市的中国公司采用特殊会计方法的原因,但它也导致了管理层和所有者的矛盾,比如马云和公众股东。对受限制行业的公司来说,主要的解决方法一直是让中国公民掌握所有权,同时设立一家可以上市的境外公司,双方通过订立合同构成所有和被所有关系。这样,境外上市公司就能获得中国公司的经营成果,同时不会真正持有后者的股份。那么,要符合美国会计准则,境外上市公司就必须把中国公司纳入自己的合并后财报。并表后,外界会把双方视为一个统一的整体,即使中国公司管理层的目标可能和境外上市公司管理层的目标大相径庭。This was the corporate template helping power the wave of Chinese IPOs and reverse mergers in the U.S. during the mid-2000s, and it#39;s employed by Alibaba for the China-domiciled operations such as Taobao Marketplace, Alibaba.com. and AliExpress, among others. Ma is among the owners of those China-domiciled companies and also, among the owners of the soon-to-be-public firm.2005年前后,这种模式帮助了大批中国公司在美国上市,或者进行反向收购。阿里巴巴也将这种方法用到了自己在中国境内的业务,比如淘宝网、阿里巴巴网站和阿里巴巴全球速卖通等。马云是这些中国境内公司的所有者之一,同时也是即将出现的境外上市公司所有者中的一员。Yet the ;owner mentality; of one firm -- the one doing business in a regulated industry -- might differ from the owner mentality of the public firm#39;s shareholders. China#39;s laws require a fiduciary duty to a company by its directors or executive officer. Alibaba#39;s directors and executive officers of the variable interest entities, including Ma, must therefore act in good faith and in the best interests of the variable interest entities. At the same time, under Cayman Islands law, Ma has a duty of care and loyalty to public shareholders. That#39;s like asking one man to serve two masters.不过,对于在受限制行业开展经营活动的公司来说,它的“主人翁精神”可能和上市公司股东的主人翁精神存在差异。中国法律要求公司董事或高管承担受托责任。因此,阿里巴巴的董事和该可变利益实体的高管,包括马云在内,必须出于善意按照对可变利益实体最有利的方法行事。同时,按照开曼群岛(Cayman Islands)法律,马云有责任照顾并忠实于上市公司股东。这就形成了一仆二主的局面。Adding to the complexities, as a foreign private issuer, Alibaba can waive some New York Stock Exchange governance requirements. The board composition will not include a majority of independent directors; the board#39;s compensation committee or corporate governance committee will not be composed of only independent directors.同时,作为外国私营发行人,阿里巴巴可以不受纽约券交易所(New York Stock Exchange)某些管理要求的制约,这一点进一步增加了事情的复杂性。独立董事不必在该公司董事会占据多数,薪酬委员会和公司治理委员会成员也不需要都是独立董事。To be sure, Alibaba#39;s variable interest entities account for much less of its consolidated picture than many past Chinese firm IPOs: As of Dec. 31, 2013, they were 17% of the total assets and 11% of the nine months#39; revenues. Investors are attracted to Alibaba for its in-China growth, however -- and that#39;s precisely where the variable interest entities reside. What looks modest today might be an area ripe for conflicts of interest, if investors#39; dreams of growth are to come true.当然,和以往许多赴美上市的中国公司相比,阿里巴巴的可变利益实体在合并后财报中所占的比重要小得多:截至2013年12月31日,该实体占阿里巴巴总资产的17%,占此前9个月收入的11%。阿里巴巴中国业务的成长势头吸引了投资者,但这也正是该可变利益实体所属之地。投资者希望自己的增长憧憬能变为现实,而阿里巴巴出现利益冲突的条件也已经成熟,只是现在这个问题还够不明显。(财富中文网)Jack T. Ciesielski is president of R.G. Associates, Inc., an asset management and research firm in Baltimore that publishes The Analyst#39;s Accounting Observer, a research service for institutional investors.本文作者是巴尔的资产管理及研究公司R.G. Associates总裁,该公司出版的专业期刊《分析师会计观察》旨在为机构投资者提供研究务。 /201405/300119

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