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阅读理解 A 节 Unit 1
Passage 1
A history of long and effortless success can be a dreadful handicap, but, if properly handled, it may become a driving force. When the United States entered just such a glowing period after the end of the Second World War, it had a market eight times larger than any competitor, giving its industries unparalleled economies of scale. Its scientists were the world's best, its workers the most skilled. America and Americans were prosperous beyond the dreams of the Europeans and Asians whose economies the war had destroyed. It was inevitable that this primacy should have narrowed as other countries grew richer. Just as inevitably, the retreat from predominance proved painful. By the mid1980s Americans had found themselves at a loss over their fading industrial competitiveness. Some huge American industries, such as consumer electronics, had shrunk or vanished in the face of foreign competition. By 1987 there was only one American television maker left, Zenith. (Now there is none: Zenith was bought by South Korea's LG Electronics in July.) Foreign made cars and textiles were sweeping into the domestic market. America's machine-tool industry was on the ropes. For a while it looked as though the making of semiconductors, which America had invented and which sat at the heart of the new computer age, was going to be the next casualty. All of this caused a crisis of confidence. Americans stopped taking prosperity for granted. They began to believe that their way of doing business was failing, and that their incomes would therefore shortly begin to fall as well. The mid-1980s brought one inquiry after another into the causes of America's industrial decline. Their sometimes sensational findings were filled with warnings about the growing competition from overseas. How things have changed! In 1995 the United States can look back on five years of solid growth while Japan has been struggling. Few Americans attribute this solely to such obvious causes as a devalued dollar or the turning of the business cycle. Self doubt has yielded to blind pride. "American industry has changed its structure, has gone on a diet, has learnt to be more quick witted," according to Richard Cavanagh, executive dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. "It makes me proud to be an American just to see how
0
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our businesses are improving their productivity," says Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC. And William Sahlman of the Harvard Business School believes that people will look back on this period as "a golden age of business management in the United States."
  1. The U.S. achieved its predominance after World War II because . [A] it had made painstaking efforts towards this goal [B] its domestic market was eight times larger than before [C] the war had destroyed the economies of most potential competitors [D] the unparalleled size of its workforce had given an impetus to its economy
  2. The loss of U.S. predominance in the world economy in the 1980s is manifested in the fact that the American . [A] TV industry had withdrawn to its domestic market [B] semiconductor industry had been taken over by foreign enterprises [C] machine-tool industry had collapsed after suicidal actions [D] auto industry had lost part of its domestic market
  3. What can be inferred from the passage? [A] It is human nature to shift between self-doubt and blind pride. [B] Intense competition may contribute to economic progress. [C] The revival of the economy depends on international cooperation. [D] A long history of success may pave the way for further development.
  4. The author seems to believe the revival of the U.S. economy in the 1990s can be attributed to the . [A] turning of the business cycle [B] restructuring of industry [C] improved business management [D] success in education Passage 2 Being a man has always been dangerous. There are about 105 males born for every 100 females, but this ratio drops to near balance at the age of maturity, and among 70-year-olds there are twice as many women as men. But the great universal of male mortality is being changed. Now, boy babies survive almost as well as girls do. This means that, for the first time, there will be an excess of boys in those crucial years when they are searching for a mate. More important, another chance for natural selection has been removed. Fifty years ago, the chance of a baby (particularly a boy baby) surviving depended on its weight. A kilogram too light or too heavy meant almost certain death. Today it makes almost no difference. Since much of the variation is
1
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due to genes, one more agent of evolution has gone. There is another way to commit evolutionary suicide: stay alive, but have fewer children. Few people are as fertile as in the past. Except in some religious communities, very few women have 15 children. Nowadays the number of births, like the age of death, has become average. Most of us have roughly the same number of offspring. Again, differences between people and the opportunity for natural selection to take advantage of it have diminished. India shows what is happening. The country offers wealth for a few in the great cities and poverty for the remaining tribal peoples. The grand mediocrity of today ? everyone being the same in survival and number of offspring ? means that natural selection has lost 81% of its power in uper-middle-class India compared to the tribes. For us, this means that evolution is over; the biological Utopia has arrived. Strangely, it has involved little physical change. No other species fills so many places in nature. But in the past 100,000 year ? even the past 100 years ? our lives have been transformed but our bodies have not. We did not evolve, because machines and society did it for us. Darwin had a phrase to describe those ignorant of evolution: they "look at an organic being as a savage looks at a ship, as at something wholly beyond his comprehension." No doubt we will remember a 20th century way of life beyond comprehension for its ugliness. But however amazed our descendants may be at how far from Utopia we were, they will look just like us.
  5. What used to be the danger in being a man according to the first paragraph? [A] A lack of mates. [B] A fierce competition. [C] A lower survival rate. [D] A defective gene.
  6. What does the example of India illustrate? [A] Wealthy people tend to have fewer children than poor people. [B] Natural selection hardly works among the rich and the poor. [C] The middle class population is 80% smaller than that of the tribes. [D] India is one of the countries with a very high birth rate.
  7. The author argues that our bodies have stopped evolving because . [A] life has been improved by technological advance [B] the number of female babies has been declining [C] our species has reached the highest stage of evolution [D] the difference between wealth and poverty is disappearing
  8. Which of the following would be the best title for the passage? [A] Sex Ratio Changes in Human Evolution
2
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[B] Ways of Continuing Man's Evolution [C] the Evolutionary Future of Nature [D] Human Evolution Going Nowhere
Passage 3
When a new movement in art attains a certain fashion, it is advisable to find out what its advocates are aiming at, for, however farfetched and unreasonable their principles may seem today, it is possible that in years to come they may be regarded as normal. With regard to Futurist poetry, however, the case is rather difficult, for whatever futurist poetry may be ? even admitting that the theory on which it is based may be right ? it can hardly be classed as Literature. This, in brief, is what the Futurist says: for a century, past conditions of life have been conditionally speeding up, till now we live in a world of noise and violence and speed. Consequently, our feelings, thoughts and emotions have undergone a corresponding change. This speeding up of life, says the Futurist, requires a new form of expression. We must speed up our literature too, if we want to interpret modern stress. We must pour out a large stream of essential words, unhampered by stops, or qualifying adjectives, or finite verbs. Instead of describing sounds we must make up words that imitate them; we must use many sizes of type and different colored inks on the same page, and shorten or lengthen words at will. Certainly their descriptions of battles are confused. But it is a little upsetting to read in the explanatory notes that a certain line describes a fight between a Turkish and a Bulgarian officer on a bridge off which they both fall into the river ? and then to find that the line consists of the noise of their falling and the weights of the officers: 'Pluff! Pluff! A hundred and eighty-five kilograms.' This, though it fulfills the laws and requirements of Futurist poetry, can hardly be classed as Literature. All the same, no thinking man can refuse to accept their first proposition: that a great change in our emotional life calls for a change of expression. The whole question is really this: have we essentially changed?
  9. This passage is mainly . [A] a survey of new approaches to art [B] a review of Futurist poetry [C] about merits of the Futurist movement [D] about laws and requirements of literature
  10. When a novel literary idea appears, people should try to . [A] determine its purposes [B] ignore its flaws
3
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[C] follow the new fashions [D] accept the principles
  11. Futurists claim that we must . [A] increase the production of literature [B] use poetry to relieve modern stress [C] develop new modes of expression [D] avoid using adjectives and verbs
  12. The author believes that Futurist poetry is . [A] based on reasonable principles [B] new and acceptable to ordinary people [C] indicative of a basic change in human nature [D] more of a transient phenomenon than literature Passage 4 Aimlessness has hardly been typical of the postwar Japan whose productivity and social harmony are the envy of the United States and Europe. But increasingly the Japanese are seeing a decline of the traditional work-moral values. Ten years ago young people were hardworking and saw their jobs as their primary reason for being, but now Japan has largely fulfilled its economic needs, and young people don't know where they should go next. The coming of age of the postwar baby boom and an entry of women into the maledominated job market have limited the opportunities of teenagers who are already questioning the heavy personal sacrifices involved in climbing Japan's rigid social ladder to good schools and jobs. In a recent survey, it was found that only
  24.5 percent of Japanese students were fully satisfied with school life, compared with
  67.2 percent of students in the United States. In addition, far more Japanese workers expressed dissatisfaction with their jobs than did their counterparts in the 10 other countries surveyed. While often praised by foreigners for its emphasis on the basics, Japanese education tends to stress test taking and mechanical learning over creativity and self-expression. "Those things that do not show up in the test scores ? personality, ability, courage or humanity ? are completely ignored," says Toshiki Kaifu, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's education committee. "Frustration against this kind of thing leads kids to drop out and run wild." Last year Japan experienced 2,125 incidents of school violence, including 929 assaults on teachers. Amid the outcry, many conservative leaders are seeking a return to the prewar emphasis on moral education. Last year Mitsuo Setoyama, who was then education minister, raised eyebrows when he argued that liberal reforms introduced by the American occupation authorities after World War II had weakened the "Japanese morality of respect for parents."
4
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But that may have more to do with Japanese life-styles. "In Japan," says educator Yoko Muro, "it's never a question of whether you enjoy your job and your life, but only how much you can endure." With economic growth has come centralization; fully 76 percent of Japan's 119 million citizens live in cities where community and the extended family have been abandoned in favor of isolated, two-generation households. Urban Japanese have long endured lengthy commutes (travels to and from work) and crowded living conditions, but as the old group and family values weaken, the discomfort is beginning to tell. In the past decade, the Japanese divorce rate, while still well below that of the United States, has increased by more than 50 percent, and suicides have increased by nearly one-quarter.

  13. In the Westerners' eyes, the postwar Japan was . [A] under aimless development [B] a positive example [C] a rival to the West [D] on the d
 

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