In addition to what kennethk has said, there's another upside to these pragmas, especially explicit version requirements: they make your code fail gracefully on older versions.
Suppose that you do indeed use Perl 5.18 (or a later version), and you want to make use of all the features and goodies it has to offer, so you declare your intent with an explicit use 5.18.0;, and if someone then takes your script and attempts to run it on an older Perl version, they will get a message along the lines of "Perl v5.18.0 required--this is only v5.14.2".
Same for features. If you ask for a feature that doesn't (yet) exist, e.g. use feature qw/ponies/;, Perl will inform you that "Feature "ponies" is not supported by Perl 5.14.2". No code that fails with unrelated error messages, or (worse) silently, or that (even worse) silently does the wrong thing; no guessing, no headscratching, just a very clear declaration of the programmer's intent, the program's requirement, and the installed Perl's inability to meet the latter.
Even if it weren't for backwards compatibility, this is a feature. Forward compatibility (running newer scripts on older Perls) matters, too.
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