Better than a wall?


                      Translated by 掘洞者

                      Proofread by 浓硫酸 ?三原

                      Edited by 陈思维

                      Understanding NAFTA, ?a disappointing but under-appreciated trade deal?


                      Feb 4th 2017 | Finance and economics

                      The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has long been a populist punchbag. In the American presidential campaign of 1992, Ross Perot—an oddball Texas billionaire and independent candidate—claimed to hear a “giant sucking sound” as Mexico prepared to hoover up American jobs. Since its enactment, right-wing conspiracy theorists have speculated that NAFTA is merely a first step towards “North American Union”, and the swapping of the almighty dollar for the “amero”. Donald Trump, who plans to renegotiate (or scrap) the deal, mined a rich vein of anti-NAFTA sentiment during his campaign, calling it “the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country”. Even NAFTA’s cheerleaders (a more reticent bunch) might concede that the deal has fallen short of their expectations. But it is in none of the signatories’ interests to rip it up or roll it back.?

                      北美自由贸易协定(NAFTA)一直以来,都被当作民粹主义者的攻击目标。在1992年美国总统大选时,罗斯佩罗——得克萨斯州一位性格古怪的亿万富翁,同时也是1992年美国总统大选的无党派候选人——声称在墨西哥宛如拿着巨大的强力吸尘器,掠夺美国的工作机会时,他仿佛听到了 “巨大的吮吸声”。自从北美自由贸易协定签订以来,右翼阴谋论者就在猜测NAFTA只是迈向“北美联盟”的第一步,并且还将用阿梅罗(北美联合货币)来代替无所不能的美元。川普在竞选活动中已然利用了民众反北美联盟的情绪,他宣称这是“这个国家通过的最为糟糕的贸易协定”,而他现在正准备重新商定(或者说废除)该贸易协定。即使是NAFTA的支持者(一个更为缄默的人群)也不得不承认这份贸易协定未能达到他们的预期,但没有一个签署国愿意去撕毁协定或者降低它的效力。


                      oddball |??db??l| colloquial

                      A. noun


                      B. adjective

                      古怪的 ?character, type?


                      A. noun British


                      B. hoover transitive verb, intransitive verb


                      在这里hoover up应该是一种掠夺的意思。

                      almighty |??l?ma?ti|

                      A. adjective

                      ①colloquial (huge)极大的 ?row, noise?

                      ②Almighty Religion 全能的

                      God Almighty


                      B. the Almighty noun

                      Religion 上帝

                      reticent |?ret?snt|



                      He was very reticent about his real intentions


                      rip up

                      transitive verb[rip up something, rip something up]

                      ① (tear up) ?person? 将…撕成碎片 ?paper, cloth?; 撕毁 ?evidence, document?

                      ② (take up) 挖开 ?pavement, street?; 掀起 ?floorboards, carpet?

                      roll back

                      A. intransitive verb

                      ?person, computer? 回退

                      B. transitive verb[roll something back, roll back something]

                      ① (roll up) 卷起 ?carpet, sleeve?

                      ② (reverse progress of) ?person, event, film? 使…倒流 ?years?

                      ③ (move farther away) 使…后退 ?frontier, desert?

                      ④ Military ?troops? 击退 ?enemy?

                      ⑤ (reduce power of) 削弱…的影响 ?state, ideology?

                      ⑥ Finance 使…回落 ?prices, inflation?

                      America and Canada opened talks on a free-trade area with Mexico in 1990, shortly after securing their own bilateral deal, and it was bringing in Mexico that proved so contentious in America. When NAFTA took effect in 1994, it eliminated tariffs on more than half of its members’ industrial products. Over the next 15 years the deal eliminated tariffs on all industrial and agricultural goods. (The three economies would have further liberalized trade within the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Mr Trump scotched in one of his first acts as president.)?


                      contentious |k?n?ten??s|


                      ①(controversial)有争议的 ?issue, matter?

                      to hold contentious views on [something]



                      scotch |sk?t?|

                      transitive verb

                      ?person, government, event? 阻止 ?person, plan?; 平息 ?rumour, revolt?; 挫败 ?plot?

                      devaluation scotched our hopes of buying a property in Italy


                      Americans hoped lower trade barriers would foster growth in cross-border supply chains—a “Factory North America”—to rival those in Europe and Asia. By moving parts of their supply chains to Mexico, where labor costs were low, American firms reckoned they could cut costs and improve their global competitiveness. American consumers might also benefit from cheaper goods. For its part, Mexico sought improved access to America’s massive market, and sturdier positions for its firms within those North American supply chains. Both countries hoped the deal would boost Mexico’s economy, raising living standards and stanching the flow of migrants northward.?



                      transitive verb

                      ①literal (stop, control the flow of)止住 ?blood, flow?; 给…止血 ?wound?

                      ②figurative (curb)制止

                      to staunch the loss of customers


                      NAFTA was no disaster. Two decades on, North America is more economically integrated. Trade between America and Mexico has risen from 1.3% of combined GDP in 1994 to 2.5% in 2015 (see chart). Mexico’s real income per person, on a purchasing-power- parity basis, has risen from about $10,000 in 1994 to $19,000. The number of Mexicans migrating to America has fallen from about half a million a year to almost none. And yet the deal has disappointed in many ways. Mexican incomes are no higher, as a share of those in America, than they were in 1994. (Chinese incomes rose from about 6% of those in America to 27% during that time.) Estimates suggest that the deal left Americans as a whole a bit better off. But the gains have proved too small, and too unevenly distributed, to spare it continued criticism.?


                      purchasing-power-parity: 即购买力平价。简单的来说,就是抛开汇率的因素,同样的商品在不同的国家以同样的价格出售。这主要是为了避免买办等角色的出现。但事实上由于运输价格、不完全替代等因素,购买力平价不可能完全实现。

                      The sniping is unfair. Unexpected shocks prevented the deal from reaching its full potential. Both the peso crisis of 1994-95 and the global financial crisis dealt blows to trade between the two countries. So did the American border controls introduced after the attacks of September 11th 2001, which raised the cost of moving goods and people. The rapid, disruptive growth of China also interfered with North American integration. The Chinese economy, accounting for more than 13% of global exports and around 25% of global manufacturing value-added, exerts an irresistible pull on global supply chains.?


                      sniping |?sna?p??|



                      Nor is NAFTA chiefly responsible for the woes of the American worker. In a recent essay Brad DeLong, an economic historian at the University of California, Berkeley, reckoned NAFTA might be blamed for net job losses of the order of 0.1% of the American labor force—fewer jobs than the American economy adds in a typical month. Even without NAFTA, manufacturing jobs would have dwindled. The strong dollar and better transport and communications technology made it more attractive to produce abroad. Automation hastened the persistent long-term decline in industrial employment that is familiar in all rich economies— even in export powerhouses such as Germany.?


                      woe |w??|


                      literary 痛苦

                      a tale of woehumorous


                      woe betide [somebody] if ...humorous


                      woe betide the person who ...humorous


                      B.woes noun plural

                      (troubles)麻烦 (problems)问题

                      to add to his woes



                      archaic or literary 哎哟 [表示悲伤、灾难等]

                      woe is me!


                      in the order of sth / of the order of sth also on the order of sth: little more or a little less than a particular amount, especially a high amount大约;approximately

                      ?a figure in the order of $7 million大约 700 万美元的一个数字

                      Beggar my neighbor?


                      Most important, the failure to agree a trade deal with Mexico would not have altered North American geography. Mexico shares a 3,200km-long border with the world’s largest economy. It is almost inevitable that America will be Mexico’s largest trading partner (America currently accounts for more than 70% of Mexican exports and more than 50% of its imports). Deep familial and cultural ties across the border shrink the distance between them even more. Mexico cannot help but be critically dependent on its neighbor’s economy. And America unquestionably benefits when Mexico, which has the world’s tenth-largest population and 15th-biggest economy, is more prosperous.


                      最为重要的是,与墨西哥达成贸易协定的失败并不会改变北美的地理情况。墨西哥与美国,世界上最大的经济体接壤,边境线达3200千米之远。几乎不可避免,美国将成为墨西哥最大的贸易伙伴 (现今墨西哥出口量超过70%销往美国,进口量超过50%源于美国。)美墨两国间深厚的家族和文化渊源进一步缩短了两国间的距离。墨西哥只能紧紧地依附于其邻国美国的经济,毫无疑问,当墨西哥这个拥有世界上第10大人口、第15大国土的国家更加繁荣昌盛时,美国也会受益更多。

                      A richer Mexico would buy more American goods and services and provide more ideas, talent and innovation. It would also be better placed to manage migration, and a stronger diplomatic partner. Eliminating tariffs on Mexico would not instantly transform it into Canada, but the notion that higher trade costs between the two economies would serve American interests better is, at best, short-sighted. No wall can insulate America against events to its south, and Americans’ own well-being is intimately linked to the welfare of their around 125m Mexican neighbors.?


                      insulate |??nsj?le?t, American -s?l-|

                      transitive verb

                      ①(against cold, heat, noise)使隔绝

                      the apartment block had been insulated against sound


                      ②Electricity 使…绝缘 ?wire?

                      the electrical cables had been insulated with rubber


                      ③figurative (protect)使免除 (segregate)使分离

                      to insulate [somebody]/[something] from or against [something]


                      It is hard to blame Americans for seeing globalization as a zero-sum affair. Stagnant pay, rising inequality and government complacency as industrial regions suffered long-term decline have obscured the benefits of trade and created fertile ground for populists. As a result Americans feel let down by NAFTA. Yet NAFTA has itself been let down by American leaders, who neither made the case that higher living standards are a positive-sum game, nor allowed the benefits of growth to be broadly shared. If the upshot is the disintegration of the North American economy, those on both sides of the Rio Grande will be worse off.?


                      zero-sum: zero-sum一般会与 Game连用,zero-sum game就是,零和博弈的意思。零和博弈又称“零和游戏”,与非零和博弈相对,是博弈论的一个概念,属非合作博弈,指参与博弈的各方,在严格竞争下,一方的收益必然意味着另一方的损失,博弈各方的收益和损失相加总和永远为“零”。双方不存在合作的可能。也可以说:自己的幸福是建立在他人的痛苦之上的,二者的大小完全相等,因而双方都“损人利己”。零和博弈的结果是一方吃掉另一方,一方的所得正是另一方的所失,整个社会的利益不会因此而增加一分

                      created fertile ground for?为…提供了充足的理由?


                      ground for doing [something]/to do [something]


                      on the ground that ...


                      let down

                      A. [let something down, let down something]transitive verb

                      ① (lengthen) 放长 ?item of clothing?

                      I've let the skirt down by 2 centimetres


                      ② (lower) 放下 ?bucket, basket?

                      as the other car drew alongside he let down the window


                      ③ (deflate) 给…放气 ?tyre?

                      B. [let somebody down, let down somebody]transitive verb


                      my watch never lets me down


                      to let [somebody] down gently


                      upshot |??p??t|



                      the upshot was that we got the money


                      positive-sum game: 合作博弈亦称为正和博弈,是指博弈双方的利益都有所增加, 或者至少是一方的利益增加,而另一方的利益不受损害, 因而整个社会的利益有所增加。