Among the annoying challenges facing the middle class is one that will
probably go unmentioned in the next presidential campaign: What happens when the
robots come for their jobs?
Don’t dismiss that possibility entirely. About half of U.S. jobs are at
high risk of being automated, according to a University of Oxford study, with
the middle class disproportionately squeezed. Lower-income jobs like gardening
or day care don’t appeal to robots. But many middle-class occupations-trucking,
financial advice, software engineering — have aroused their interest, or soon
will. The rich own the robots, so they will be fine.
This isn’t to be alarmist. Optimists point out that technological upheaval
has benefited workers in the past. The Industrial Revolution didn’t go so well
for Luddites whose jobs were displaced by mechanized looms, but it eventually
raised living standards and created more jobs than it destroyed. Likewise,
automation should eventually boost productivity, stimulate demand by driving
down prices, and free workers from hard, boring work. But in the medium term,
middle-class workers may need a lot of help adjusting.
The first step, as Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue in The Second
Machine Age, should be rethinking education and job training. Curriculums —from
grammar school to college- should evolve to focus less on memorizing facts and
more on creativity and complex communication. Vocational schools should do a
better job of fostering problem-solving skills and helping students work
alongside robots. Online education can supplement the traditional kind. It could
make extra training and instruction affordable. Professionals trying to acquire
new skills will be able to do so without going into debt.
The challenge of coping with automation underlines the need for the U.S. to
revive its fading business dynamism: Starting new companies must be made easier.
In previous eras of drastic technological change, entrepreneurs smoothed the
transition by dreaming up ways to combine labor and machines. The best uses of
3D printers and virtual reality haven’t been invented yet. The U.S. needs the
new companies that will invent them.
Finally, because automation threatens to widen the gap between capital
income and labor income, taxes and the safety net will have to be rethought.
Taxes on low-wage labor need to be cut, and wage subsidies such as the earned
income tax credit should be expanded: This would boost incomes, encourage work,
reward companies for job creation, and reduce inequality.
Technology will improve society in ways big and small over the next few
years, yet this will be little comfort to those who find their lives and careers
upended by automation. Destroying the machines that are coming for our jobs
would be nuts. But policies to help workers adapt will be indispensable.
21.Who will be most threatened by automation?
[A] Leading politicians.
22 .Which of the following best represent the author’s view?
[A] Worries about automation are in fact groundless.
[B]Optimists’ opinions on new tech find little support.
[C]Issues arising from automation need to be tackled
[D]Negative consequences of new tech can be avoided
23.Education in the age of automation should put more emphasis on
[A] creative potential.
24.The author suggests that tax policies be aimed at
[A] encouraging the development of automation.
[B]increasing the return on capital investment.
[C]easing the hostility between rich and poor.
[D]preventing the income gap from widening.
25.In this text, the author presents a problem with
[A] opposing views on it.
[B]possible solutions to it.
[C]its alarming impacts.
[D]its major variations.
The decision of the New York Philharmonic to hire Alan Gilbert as its next
music director has been the talk of the classical-music world ever since the
sudden announcement of his appointment in 2009. For the most part， the response
has been favorable， to say the least. “Hooray! At last!” wrote Anthony
Tommasini， a sober-sided classical-music critic.
One of the reasons why the appointment came as such a surprise， however， is
that Gilbert is comparatively little known. Even Tommasini， who had advocated
Gilbert‘s appointment in the Times， calls him “an unpretentious musician with no
air of the formidable conductor about him.” As a description of the next music
director of an orchestra that has hitherto been led by musicians like Gustav
Mahler and Pierre Boulez， that seems likely to have struck at least some Times
readers as faint praise.
For my part， I have no idea whether Gilbert is a great conductor or even a
good one. To be sure， he performs an impressive variety of interesting
compositions， but it is not necessary for me to visit Avery Fisher Hall， or
anywhere else， to hear interesting orchestral music. All I have to do is to go
to my CD shelf， or boot up my computer and download still more recorded music
Devoted concertgoers who reply that recordings are no substitute for live
performance are missing the point. For the time， attention， and money of the
art-loving public， classical instrumentalists must compete not only with opera
houses， dance troupes， theater companies， and museums， but also with the
recorded performances of the great classical musicians of the 20th century.
There recordings are cheap， available everywhere， and very often much higher in
artistic quality than today‘s live performances; moreover， they can be
“consumed” at a time and place of the listener’s choosing. The widespread
availability of such recordings has thus brought about a crisis in the
institution of the traditional classical concert.
One possible response is for classical performers to program attractive new
music that is not yet available on record. Gilbert‘s own interest in new music
has been widely noted： Alex Ross， a classical-music critic， has described him as
a man who is capable of turning the Philharmonic into “a markedly different，
more vibrant organization.” But what will be the nature of that difference?
Merely expanding the orchestra’s repertoire will not be enough. If Gilbert and
the Philharmonic are to succeed， they must first change the relationship between
America‘s oldest orchestra and the new audience it hops to attract.
21. We learn from Para.1 that Gilbert‘s appointment has
22. Tommasini regards Gilbert as an artist who is
23. The author believes that the devoted concertgoers
[A]ignore the expenses of live performances.
[B]reject most kinds of recorded performances.
[C]exaggerate the variety of live performances.
[D]overestimate the value of live performances.
24. According to the text， which of the following is true of
[A]They are often inferior to live concerts in quality.
[B]They are easily accessible to the general public.
[C]They help improve the quality of music.
[D]They have only covered masterpieces.
25. Regarding Gilbert‘s role in revitalizing the Philharmonic， the author
In the 2006 film version of The Devil Wears Prada ,Miranda Priestly, played
by Meryl Streep, scolds her unattractive assistant for imagining that high
fashion doesn’t affect her, Priestly explains how the deep blue color of the
assistant’s sweater descended over the years from fashion shows to departments
stores and to the bargain bin in which the poor girl doubtless found her
This top-down conception of the fashion business couldn’t be more out of
date or at odds with the feverish would described in Overdressed, Eliazabeth
Cline’s three-year indictment of “fast fashion”. In the last decade or so
,advances in technology have allowed mass-market labels such as Zara ,H&M,
and Uniqlo to react to trends more quickly and anticipate demand more precisely.
Quicker turnarounds mean less wasted inventory, more frequent release, and more
profit. These labels encourage style-conscious consumers to see clothes as
disposable-meant to last only a wash or two, although they don’t advertise that
–and to renew their wardrobe every few weeks. By offering on-trend items at
dirt-cheap prices, Cline argues, these brands have hijacked fashion cycles,
shaking an industry long accustomed to a seasonal pace.
The victims of this revolution , of course ,are not limited to designers.
For H&M to offer a $5.95 knit miniskirt in all its 2,300-pius stores around
the world, it must rely on low-wage overseas labor, order in volumes that strain
natural resources, and use massive amounts of harmful chemicals.
Overdressed is the fashion world’s answer to consumer-activist bestsellers
like Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. “Mass-produced clothing ,like fast
food, fills a hunger and need, yet is non-durable and wasteful,” Cline argues.
Americans, she finds, buy roughly 20 billion garments a year – about 64 items
per person – and no matter how much they give away, this excess leads to
Towards the end of Overdressed, Cline introduced her ideal, a Brooklyn
woman named Sarah Kate Beaumont, who since 2008 has made all of her own clothes
– and beautifully. But as Cline is the first to note, it took Beaumont decades
to perfect her craft; her example can’t be knocked off.
Though several fast-fashion companies have made efforts to curb their
impact on labor and the environment – including H&M, with its green
Conscious Collection line –Cline believes lasting change can only be effected by
the customer. She exhibits the idealism common to many advocates of
sustainability, be it in food or in energy. Vanity is a constant; people will
only start shopping more sustainably when they can’t afford not to.
21. Priestly criticizes her assistant for her
[A] poor bargaining skill.
[B] insensitivity to fashion.
[C] obsession with high fashion.
[D] lack of imagination.
22. According to Cline, mass-maket labels urge consumers to
[A] combat unnecessary waste.
[B] shut out the feverish fashion world.
[C] resist the influence of advertisements.
[D] shop for their garments more frequently.
23. The word “indictment” (Line 3, Para.2) is closest in meaning to
24. Which of the following can be inferred from the lase paragraph?
[A] Vanity has more often been found in idealists.
[B] The fast-fashion industry ignores sustainability.
[C] People are more interested in unaffordable garments.
[D] Pricing is vital to environment-friendly purchasing.
25. What is the subject of the text?
[A] Satire on an extravagant lifestyle.
[B] Challenge to a high-fashion myth.
[C] Criticism of the fast-fashion industry.
[D] Exposure of a mass-market secret.
In order to “change lives for the better” and reduce “dependency,” George
Orbome, Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduced the “upfront work search”
scheme. Only if the jobless arrive at the jobcentre with a CV register for
online job search, and start looking for work will they be eligible for
benefit-and then they should report weekly rather than fortnightly. What could
be more reasonable?
More apparent reasonableness followed. There will now be a seven-day wait
for the jobseeker’s allowance. “Those first few days should be spent looking for
work, not looking to sign on.” he claimed. “We’re doing these things because we
know they help people say off benefits and help those on benefits get into work
faster” Help? Really? On first hearing, this was the socially concerned
chancellor, trying to change lives for the better, complete with “reforms” to an
obviously indulgent system that demands too little effort from the newly
unemployed to find work, and subsides laziness. What motivated him, we were to
understand, was his zeal for “fundamental fairness”-protecting the taxpayer,
controlling spending and ensuring that only the most deserving claimants
received their benefits.
Losing a job is hurting: you don’t skip down to the jobcentre with a song
in your heart, delighted at the prospect of doubling your income from the
generous state. It is financially terrifying, psychologically embarrassing and
you know that support is minimal and extraordinarily hard to get. You are now
not wanted; you support is minimal and extraordinarily hard to get. You are now
not wanted; you are now excluded from the work environment that offers purpose
and structure in your life. Worse, the crucial income to feed yourself and your
family and pay the bills has disappeared. Ask anyone newly unemployed what they
want and the answer is always: a job.
But in Osborneland, your first instinct is to fall into dependency
—permanent dependency if you can get it — supported by a state only too ready to
indulge your falsehood. It is as though 20 years of ever-tougher reforms of the
job search and benefit administration system never happened. The principle of
British welfare is no longer that you can insure yourself against the risk of
unemployment and receive unconditional payments if the disaster happens. Even
the very phrase “jobseeker’s allowance” — invented in 1996 — is about redefining
the unemployed as a “jobseeker” who had no mandatory right to a benefit he or
she has earned through making national insurance contributions.Instead, the
claimant receives a time-limited “allowance,” conditional on actively seeking a
job; no entitlement and no insurance, at ?71.70 a week, one of the least
generous in the EU.
21.George Osborne’s scheme was intended to
[A]provide the unemployed with easier access to benefits.
[B]encourage jobseekers’ active engagement in job seeking.
[C]motivate the unemployed to report voluntarily.
[D]guarantee jobseekers’ legitimate right to benefits.
22.The phrase “to sign on”(Line 3,Para.2) most probably means
[A]to check on the availability of jobs at the jobcentre.
[B]to accept the government’s restrictions on the allowance.
[C]to register for an allowance from the government.
[D]to attend a governmental job-training program.
23.What promoted the chancellor to develop his scheme?
[A]A desire to secure a better life for all.
[B]An eagerness to protect the unemployed.
[C]An urge to be generous to the claimants.
[D]A passion to ensure fairness for taxpayers.
24.According to Paragraph 3, being unemployed makes one one feel
25.To which of the following would the author most probably agree?
[A]The British welfare system indulges jobseekers’ laziness.
[B]Osborne’s reforms will reduce the risk of unemployment.
[C]The jobseekers’ allowance has met their actual needs.
[D]Unemployment benefits should not be made conditional.