从开封到纽约——辉煌如过眼烟云

China, the World’s Capital
从开封到纽约———辉煌如过眼烟云

May 22, 2005 By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF From www.nytimes.com

As this millennium dawns, New York City is the most important city in the world, the unofficial capital of planet Earth. But before we New Yorkers become too full of ourselves, it might be worthwhile to glance at dilapidated Kaifeng in central China.
在这个千年的拂晓,纽约市是世界上最重要的城市,是地球这个行星的非正式首都。但在我们这些纽约人变得目空一切之前,有必要看看位于中国中部的破败的开封市。
Kaifeng, an ancient city along the mud-clogged Yellow River, was by far the most important place in the world in 1000. And if you’ve never heard of it, that’s a useful warning for Americans – as the Chinese headline above puts it, in a language of the future that many more Americans should start learning, “glory is as ephemeral as smoke and clouds.”
开封,一个位于浊浪滔滔的黄河边的古老城市,在公元1000年绝对是世界上最重要的地方。如果你不曾听过开封,开封的故事对美国人是一个有益的警示,就像本文的汉语标题,用一种属于将来的,许多美国人应该开始学习的语言所写,“辉煌如过眼烟云”。
As the world’s only superpower, America may look today as if global domination is an entitlement. But if you look back at the sweep of history, it’s striking how fleeting supremacy is, particularly for individual cities.
作为世界上唯一的超级大国,美国也许在今天认为其全球称霸是一种权利。但如果回首看看历史,霸权如此短暂易逝,令人震惊,尤其是单个城市的荣耀更是如此。
My vote for most important city in the world in the period leading up to 2000 B.C. would be Ur, Iraq. In 1500 B.C., perhaps Thebes, Egypt. There was no dominant player in 1000 B.C., though one could make a case for Sidon, Lebanon.
我对世界上最重要的城市的投票是这样的:公元前2000年,伊拉克的乌尔;公元前1500年,埃及的底比斯;公元前1000年,没有一个占统治地位的城市,不过人们可以投黎巴嫩的西顿一票。
In 500 B.C., it would be Persepolis, Persia; in the year 1, Rome; around A.D. 500, maybe Changan, China; in 1000, Kaifeng, China; in 1500, probably Florence, Italy; in 2000, New York City; and in 2500, probably none of the above.
在公元前500年,最重要的城市为波斯的波斯波利斯;公元1年,罗马;公元500年左右,可能要算中国的长安;公元1000年,中国开封;公元1500年,意大利的佛罗伦萨;公元2000年,纽约。到2500年时,最重要的城市可能不包括上述城市中的任何一个。
Today Kaifeng is grimy and poor, not even the provincial capital and so minor it lacks even an airport. Its sad state only underscores how fortunes change. In the 11th century, when it was the capital of Song Dynasty China, its population was more than one million. In contrast, London’s population then was about 15,000.
今天的开封又脏又穷,不再是省会城市,城市规模不大,甚至没有机场。开封令人沮丧的现状只是在强调命运的无常。在11世纪,开封是宋朝的首都,人口超过百万。与之相比,伦敦那时的人口不过15000人。
An ancient 17-foot painted scroll, now in the Palace Museum in Beijing, shows the bustle and prosperity of ancient Kaifeng. Hundreds of pedestrians jostle each other on the streets, camels carry merchandise in from the Silk Road, and teahouses and restaurants do a thriving business.
一幅17英尺长的古代卷轴,现存放在北京故宫博物馆,显示着古开封的繁荣和匆忙。大街上的成百上千的行人摩肩接踵,驼队从丝绸之路带来各种货物,茶馆旅店生意兴隆。
Kaifeng’s stature attracted people from all over the world, including hundreds of Jews. Even today, there are some people in Kaifeng who look like other Chinese but who consider themselves Jewish and do not eat pork.
古开封的优势吸引着来自世界各地的人们,包括成百上千的犹太人。即使是在今天,在开封还有一些人虽相貌与其他中国人别无二致,但却自认是犹太人的后代,不吃猪肉。
As I roamed the Kaifeng area, asking local people why such an international center had sunk so low, I encountered plenty of envy of New York. One man said he was arranging to be smuggled into the U.S. illegally, by paying a gang $25,000, but many local people insisted that China is on course to bounce back and recover its historic role as world leader.
当我在开封市内闲逛时,我问当地一些民众为何曾是国际中心的开封萎缩如此,我感受到许多人对纽约的羡慕,一位男子说他曾经被安排偷渡去美国,为此给一个蛇头25000美元。但许多当地民众坚持认为中国正在复兴,并将恢复世界领导者的历史地位。
“China is booming now,” said Wang Ruina, a young peasant woman on the outskirts of town. “Give us a few decades and we’ll catch up with the U.S., even pass it.” She’s right. The U.S. has had the biggest economy in the world for more than a century, but most projections show that China will surpass us in about 15 years, as measured by purchasing power parity.
“中国正在蓬勃发展,”开封市郊的一个年轻女农民王瑞娜说:“再给我们几十年的时间,我们将追上美国甚至超过美国。”她是对的。美国在一个多世纪里一直是全球经济最发达的国家,但大多数预测显示,就购买力平价而言,中国将在大约15年里超过美国。
So what can New York learn from a city like Kaifeng?
那么,纽约能从开封学些什么呢?
One lesson is the importance of sustaining a technological edge and sound economic policies. Ancient China flourished partly because of pro-growth, pro-trade policies and technological innovations like curved iron plows, printing and paper money. But then China came to scorn trade and commerce, and per capita income stagnated for 600 years.
一个教训就是保持科技领先和合理的经济政策极为重要。古代中国繁荣的原因之一,是采取促进经济和贸易的政策,在铁犁、印刷术、纸币等方面进行技术革新。但之后中国变得轻视贸易和商业,人均收入在长达600年的时间里停滞不前。
A second lesson is the danger of hubris, for China concluded it had nothing to learn from the rest of the world – and that was the beginning of the end. I worry about the U.S. in both regards. Our economic management is so lax that we can’t confront farm subsidies or long-term budget deficits. Our technology is strong, but American public schools are second-rate in math and science. And Americans’ lack of interest in the world contrasts with the restlessness, drive and determination that are again pushing China to the forefront.
第二个教训是傲慢自大带来的危险。因为中国曾认为无须向外国学习任何东西,这是衰败的开始。在上述这两个方面,我都为美国担心。美国目前经济管理松懈,无法解决农产品补贴或长期预算赤字等问题,美国科技现在虽处强势,但美国公立学校在数学和理科方面属二流水准,并且美国人对外国缺乏兴趣,而与之形成鲜明对照德是中国人的毫不松懈、积极向上、意志坚定的精神,它们将再次推动中国走到世界前列。
Beside the Yellow River I met a 70-year-old peasant named Hao Wang, who had never gone to a day of school. He couldn’t even write his name – and yet his progeny were different.
在黄河边上,我遇到了一位70岁名叫郝旺的老农,他从来没有上过一天学,甚至不会写自己的名字,然而他的后代却完全不同。
“Two of my grandsons are now in university,” he boasted, and then he started talking about the computer in his home.
“我的两个孙子都在上大学,”他骄傲地说,然后他开始说起他家中的电脑。
Thinking of Kaifeng should stimulate us to struggle to improve our high-tech edge, educational strengths and pro-growth policies. For if we rest on our laurels, even a city as great as New York may end up as Kaifeng-on-the-Hudson.
想到开封,应该激励我们努力去改进我们的高科技、教育实力、促进经济发展的政策,因为如果我们继续沉浸在已有的荣誉中,那么,即使是纽约这样伟大的城市有一天也会迅速沦落,成为哈得逊河上的“开封”。

“从开封到纽约——辉煌如过眼烟云”的13个回复

评论已关闭。