[单选题]Text l Americans, we are told, believe in competition. But a shockingly large number of workers - 30 million - are shackled by what are called "noncompetes," which are agreements forbidding employees to leave their job to work for a competitor or to start their own competing business. And the number is growing fast. Once reserved for a corporation's most treasured rainmakers, noncompetes are now routinely applied to low-wage workers like warehouse employees, fast-food workers and even dog sitters. Like other anti-competitive practices, they poison our economy in larger, less perceptible ways. A report from the Treasury Department suggests that noncompetes should be banned for all employees, regardless of skill, industry or wage; they simply do more harm than good. Because laws governing noncompetes vary from state to state, we can analyze the effects of these kinds of contracts on wages, competition and labor mobility. The evidence shows wages in states that enforce noncompetes are 10 percent lower than in states that restrict their use. The Treasury Department concluded in its recent report that "by reducing workers' job options, noncompete agreements force workers to accept lower wages in their current jobs, and may sometimes induce workers to leave their occupations entirely, forgoing accumulated human capital. " Workers shackled by noncompetes cannot rely on outside offers and free-market competition to fairly value their talents. Without incentives to increase wages in- house, companies can allow salaries to plateau. California and Massachusetts offer a case study within the high-tech industry. California strictly voids all noncompete agreements. Massachusetts, like most other states, enforces noncompetes. Both states enjoyed an early boom within the high-tech market, but California's Silicon Valley has continued growing, while Massachusetts has sputtered. In Massachusetts the enforcement of those agreements kept out new businesses by preventing people most likely to start new businesses - experienced former employees - from staying in the region. Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley, entrepreneurial activity flourished; thanks to California's refusal to enforce all noncompetes (including those from other jurisdictions),it remains the tech center of the world. The best companies already realize the damaging effect of post-employment restrictions. Companies with little turnover risk becoming stagnant and short-sighted. In fact, relying on noncompetes rather than active recruitment and retention creates a market for lemons - a business will end up with employees who stay despite their unhappiness. Smart leaders treat departing employees as alumni, rather than sour exes in a divorce. But too many other employers have become increasingly inclined to bring disagreements with their former employees to court, relying on noncompetes rather than positive incentives to retain the best talent and reduce the competition. The liberty to move in the job market not only supports workers' choice, equality and wage growth but also creates the competition that catalyzes entrepreneurship, innovation and overall economic growth. If we want a healthy and free market, we should not shackle workers to the first business that offers them a job. Let them compete. 24. Concerning departing employees, it Js wise for leaders to.
[单选题]Any sufficiently advanced technology, noLed Arthur C. Clarke, a British science-fiction writer,is indistinguishable from magic. The fast-emerging technology of voice computing proves his 1 . Using it is just like casting a spell: say a few words inLo the air, and a nearby device can 2 your wish. The Amazon Echo, a voice-driven cylindrical computer that sits on a table top and answers to the name Alexa, can 3 music tracks and radio stations, tell jokes, answer trivia questions and control smart 4 ; even before Christmas it was already resident in about 4qo of American house holds. Voice assistants are 5 in smartphones, too: Apple's Siri 6 0ver2 billion commands a week, and 20% of Google 7 0n Android powered handsets in America are input by voice. Dictating e-mails and text messages now works 8 enough to be useful. Why type when you can talk? This is a huge shift. Simple 9 it may seem, voice has the power to transform computing, by providing a natural means of interaction. Windows, icons and menus, and then touchscreens, were welcomed as more 10 ways to deal with computers than entering complex keyboard 11 . But being able to talk to computers . 12 the need for the abstraction of a "user interface" at aLI. 13 mobile phones were more than exisLing phones without wires, and cars were more than carriages without horses, so computers without screens and keyboards have the 14 to be more useful and powerful than people can imagine today. Voice will not wholly 15 other forms of input and output. SomeLimes it will remain more 16 to converse with a machine by Lyping rather than talking. But voice is destined to 17 a growing share of people's interactions with the technology around them, from washing machines that tell you how much of the cycle they have left to virtual assisLants in corporate call-centres. 18 , to reach its full potential, the technology requires 19 . breakthroughs-and a resolution of the 20 questions it raises around the trade-off between convenience and privacy.
[单选题]It’s true that high-school coding classes aren’t essential for learning computer science in college. Students without experiencecancatchupafterafewintroductorycourses,saidTomCortina,theassistantdeanatCarnegieMellon’sSchoolof ComputerScience. However, Cortina said, early exposure is beneficial. When younger kids learn computer science, they learn that it’s not just a confusing, endless string of letters and numbers — but a tool to build apps, or create artwork, or test hypotheses. It’s not as hard for them to transform their thought processes as it is for older students. Breaking down problems into bite-sized chunks and using code to solve them becomes normal. Giving more children this training could increase the number of peopleinterestedinthefieldandhelpfillthejobsgap,Cortinasaid. Students also benefit from learning something about coding before they get to college, where introductory computer-scienceclassesarepackedtothebrim,whichcandrivetheless-experiencedor-determinedstudentsaway. The Flatiron School, where people pay to learn programming, started as one of the many coding bootcamps that’s become popular for adults looking for a career change. The high-schoolers get the same curriculum, but “we try to gear lessons toward things they’re interested in,” said Victoria Friedman, an instructor. For instance, one of the apps the students aredevelopingsuggestsmoviesbasedonyourmood. The students in the Flatiron class probably won’t drop out of high school and build the next Facebook. Programming languages have a quick turnover, so the “Ruby on Rails” language they learned may not even be relevant by the time they enter the job market. But the skills they learn — how to think logically through a problem and organize the results — apply toanycodinglanguage,saidDeborahSeehorn,aneducationconsultantforthestateofNorthCarolina. Indeed, the Flatiron students might not go into IT at all. But creating a future army of coders is not the sole purpose of theclasses.Thesekidsaregoingtobesurroundedbycomputers—intheirpockets,intheiroffices,intheirhomes—forthe rest of their lives. The younger they learn how computers think, how to coax the machine into producing what they want — theearliertheylearnthattheyhavethepowertodothat—thebetter. 23.DeborahSeehornbelievesthattheskillslearnedatFlatironwill____.
[单选题]Text 1 Denmark is once again distinguishing itself in the race against food waste-this time, with a supermarket hawking items once destined for the trash bin. Those items might include treats for a holiday that happened last week, a ripped box of comflakes, plain white rice mislabeled as basmati, or anything nearing its expiration date. In other words, perfectly edible items that are nonetheless considered unfit for salc by the retailers and manufacturers who donate them. WeFood is not the first grocer in Europe to sell surplus food. But unlike so-called "social supermarkets"-stores which serve almosL exclusively low-income people-WeFood's offerings are very intentionally aimed at the general public. High-income families will also choose WeFood for its environmental-friendly conception. The store's goods are priced 30 t0 50 percent lower than those in regular supermarkets, according to WeFood. The store has already been a huge success, attracting large numbers of customers. People have lined up before the store's opening every moming since its launch on Monday. But is this food safe to eat? Safety is always the first concern coming up to your mind. Well, the "sell by" date you see on many products actually refers to its freshness-not whether or not it's going to do you any harm. In many cases, food that's beyond this date won't be as fresh as it once was but is still perfectly edible. The food might have not yet gone bad when the "sell by" date expires. Of course you should still be careful to avoid eating food that's gone off, but you might find you don't have to throw away as much as you think you do. Denmark throws away about 700,000 tons of food every year, according to several estimates. In fact, food waste is a major problem for the whole world. Some 795 million people are undemourished globally, according to the World Food Program. Yet about a third of all food produced in the world-some l.3 billion tons-is wasted each year, according to the United Nations. The cost of global food wastage is about $1 trillion a year. All of the store's proceeds will go to DanChurchAid's work in developing nations like South Sudan and Bangladesh. 25. Which of the following would be the most appropriate title of the text?
[单选题]Text 2 Far from joining the labour force, women have been falling away at an alarming pace. The female employment rate in India, counting both the formal and informal economy, has tumbled from an already-low 35% in 2005 to just 26% now. Yet nearly 1Om fewer women are in jobs. A rise in female employment rates to the male level would provide India with an extra 235m workers, more than the EU has of either gender, and more than enough to fill all the factories in the rest ofAsia. Imagine the repercussions. Were India to rebalance its workforce in this way, the IMF estimates, the world's biggest democracy would be 27% richer. Its people would be well on their way to middle-income status. Beyond the obvious economic benelits are the incalculable human ones. Women who work are likelier to invest more in their children's upbringing, and to have more say over how they lead their lives. Social mores are startlingly conservative. A girl's first task is to persuade her own family that she should have a job. The in-laws she will typically move in with after marriage are even more likely to yank her out of the workforce and into social isolation. In a survey in 2012, 84% of Indians agreed that men have more right to work than women when jobs are scarce. Men have taken 90% of the 36m additional jobs in industry India has created since 2005. And those who say that women themselves prefer not to work must contend with plenty of counter-evidence. Census data suggest that a third of stay-at-home women would WOfk ifjobs were available; govemment make-work schemes attract more women than men. What can be done? Many of the standard answers fall short. Promoting education, a time-tested development strategy, may not succeed. Figures show that the more schooling an Indian woman receives, the less likely she is to work, at least if she has anything less than a university degree. Likewise urbanization, another familiar way to alleviate poverty: city-dwelling women are half as likely as rural ones to have a job. An optimist might argue that more women are not working because India is still paying for the sins of the past, when so many of them were illiterate and high fertility rates bound them to the home. Most measures of female welfare are improving. India has many more girls in classrooms and fewer child brides than it once did. In fact, many fear that all that extra schooling was a parental ploy to improve a daughter's prospects not in the labour market but in the arranged-marriage market, part of the all-important quest to snag a suitable boy. A further push is needed to get Indian women what they really need: a suitable job. 29. An optimist may hold that lead to the phenomenon that more women are not working.
[单选题]Text 2 Whatever happened to the death of newspaper? A year ago the end seemed near.The recession threatened to remove the advertising and readers that had not already fled to the Internet.Newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle were chronicling their own doom.America's Federal Trade Commission launched a round of talks about how to save newspapers.Should they become charitable corporations? Should the state subsidize them? It will hold another meeting soon.But the discussions now seem out of date. In much of the world there is little sign of crisis.German and Brazilian papers have shrugged off the recession.Even American newspapers, which inhabit the most troubled corner of the global industry, have not only survived but often returned to profit.Not the 20% profit margins that were routine a few years ago, but profit all the same. It has not been much fun.Many papers stayed afloat by pushing journalists overboard.The American Society of News Editors reckons that 13, 500 newsroom jobs have gone since 2007.Readers are paying more for slimmer products.Some papers even had the nerve to refuse delivery to distant suburbs.Yet these desperate measures have proved the right ones and, sadly for many journalists, they can be pushed further. Newspapers are becoming more balanced businesses, with a healthier mix of revenues from readers and advertisers.American papers have long been highly unusual in their reliance on ads.Fully 87% of their revenues came from advertising in 2008, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) .In Japan the proportion is 35%.Not surprisingly, Japanese newspapers are much more stable. The whirlwind that swept through newsrooms harmed everybody, but much of the damage has been concentrated in areas where newspapers are least distinctive.Car and film reviewers have gone.So have science and general business reporters.Foreign bureaus have been savagely cut off.Newspapers are less complete as a result.But completeness is no longer a virtue in the newspaper business. 26.By saying “Newspapers like…their own doom” (Lines 23, Para.1), the author indicates that newspapers .
[单选题]Given the advantages of electronic money, you might think that we would move quickly to the cashless society in which all payments are made electronically. 1 a true cashless society is probably not around the corner. Indeed, predictions have been 2 for two decades but have not yet come to fruition. For example, Business Week predicted in 1975 that electronic means of payment would soon "revolutionize the very 3 of money itself," only to 4itself several years later. Why has the movement to a cashless society been so 5 in coming? Although electronic means of payment may be more efficient than a payments system based on paper, several factors work 6 the disappearance of the paper system. First, it is very 7 to set up the computer, card reader, and telecornmunications networks necessary to make electronic money the 8 form of payment Second, paper checks have the advantage that they 9 receipts, something that many consumers are unwilling to 10 . Third, the use of paper checks gives consumers several days of "float" - it takes several days 11 a check is cashed and funds are 12 from the issuer's account, which means that the writer of the check can cam interest on the funds in the meantime. 13 electronic payments arc immediate, they eliminate the float for the consumer. Fourth, electronic means of payment may 14 security and privacy concerns. We often hear media reports that an unauthorized hacker has been able to access a computer database and to alter information 15 there. The fact that this is not an 16 occurrence means that dishonest persons might be able to access bank accounts in electronic payments systems and 17 from someone else's accounts. The 18 of this type of fraud is no easy task, and a new field of computer science is developing to 19 security issues. A further concern is that the use of electronic means of payment leaves an electronic 20 that contains a large amount of personal data. There are concerns that government, employers, and marketers might be able to access these data, thereby violating our privacy. 15选?
[单选题]Happy people work differently. They’re more productive, more creative, and willing to take greater risks. And new researchsuggeststhathappinessmightinfluence__1__firm’swork,too. Companies located in places with happier people invest more, according to a recent research paper.__2__, firms in happyplacesspend more on R&D (researchand development).That’s becausehappiness is linked to the kind of longer-term thinking__3__formakinginvestmentsforthefuture. The researchers wanted to know if the__4__and inclination for risk-taking that come with happiness would__5__the way companies invested. So they compared U.S. cities’ average happiness__6__by Gallup polling with the investment activityofpubliclytradedfirmsinthoseareas. __7__enough, firms’ investment and R&D intensity were correlated with the happiness of the area in which they were__8__.Butisitreallyhappinessthat’slinkedtoinvestment,orcouldsomethingelseabouthappiercities__9__whyfirms there spend more on R&D? To find out, the researchers controlled for various__10__that might make firms more likely to invest–likesize,industry,andsales–andforindicatorsthataplacewas__11__tolivein,likegrowthinwagesorpopulation. Thelinkbetweenhappinessandinvestmentgenerally__12__evenafteraccountingforthesethings. The correlation between happiness and investment was particularly strong for younger firms, which the authors__13__to “less codified decision making process” and the possible presence of “younger and less__14__managers who are more likely to be influenced by sentiment.” The relationship was__15__stronger in places where happiness was spread more__16__.Firms seem to invest more in places where most people are relatively happy, rather than in places with happinessinequality. __17__thisdoesn’tprovethathappinesscausesfirmstoinvestmoreortotakealonger-termview,theauthorsbelieveit at least__18__at that possibility. It’s not hard to imagine that local culture and sentiment would help__19__how executives think about the future. “It surely seems plausible that happy people would be more forward-thinking and creative and__20__R&Dmorethantheaverage,”saidoneresearcher. 1选?
[单选题]Text 4 Alphabet Inc.'s most successful product - the Google search engine - may now be its most problematic. On Tuesday, the European Commission's top antitrust regulator levied a $ 2. 7-billion fine against Alphabet and Google for the way the search engine handles requests for information about products. Specifically, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that Google twisted its results to bury links to rival companies' comparison shopping sites while prominently featuring its own service, Google Shopping. Google responded that it's simply trying to give users what they want and denied "favoring ourselves, or any particular site or seller. " It has a lot at stake: Google has integrated many different offerings into its search engine, including its mapping and travel services. The principle advanced by Vestager, however, is a good one: Giant online companies shoulcl not be able to take advantage of their dominance in one field to hurt competitors in another. Google's argument is: It integrated Google Shopping, which offers links to products at sites that advertise on Google. into its search engine because that gave users quicker access to the information they were seeking. And in the United States, the key question in antitrust !aw is whether a company's behavior hurts users, not whether it hurts the company's competitors. European regulators focus more on competitors, but they really are two sides of the same coin. If competitors are unfairly closed out, the public can miss out on the very real benefits that vigorous competition provides. At the same time, it's undeniable that the public has welcomed virtual monopolies in search, social media and other services in the Internet era. A large part of the appeal of sites like Facebook and Twitter is that so many people use them. There's a network effect for social media apps in particular - the more people who use the service, the more valuable it becomes to them. Meanwhile, start-ups come out of nowhere to create whole new categories of must-have apps and proclucts online. That means dominant companies have to innovate too, or else they can easily change from today's thing to yesterday's. And often, that innovation involves finding a better way to do something that a competitor is doing. The challenge for regulators is to provide the big companies space to try new things without grossly disrupting the market, closing out other companies and reducing consumer choice, which will ultimately lead to less innovation. A good place to start is by focusing on cases where there is evidence of intentional undermining of competitors - where a dominant company alters the platform it provides not just to feature its own services, but to make it harder to find or use its rivals'. 39. Which of the following statements about virtual monopolies is true?
[单选题]Text 3 It is a good time to be a fisherman. The global fish-price index of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization ( FAO) hit a record high in May. Changing consumer diets, particularly in China, explain much of the sustained upward movement. High oil prices, which increase the cost of fishing and transportation, also add to the price of putting fish on Lhe table. Not all fish are creaLed equal, however. There are two types of fish production: "capture" ( or wild) and "aquaculture" (or farmed). And they seem to be on different tracks. Fish such as tuna,the majority of which is cau~;ht wild, saw much bigger price increases than salmon, which is easier to farm. Overall, the FAO's price index for wild fish nearly doubled between 1990 and 2012, whereas the one for farmed fish rose by only a fifth. What explains this big difference? The amount of wild fish captured globally has barely changed in the past two decades. The ceiling, of about 90m tonnes a year, seems to have been reached at the end of the 1980s. Overfishing is one reason, as is the limited room for produclivity growth, particularly if consumers want high quality. Patrice Guillotreau of the University of Nantes tells the story of a fleet in France that decided to trawl, rather than line-catch, its tuna. It braughi more back to shore, but the fish were damaged. It could not be sold as high-value fillets and was only good for canning. The old ways of catching fish are still best if you want the highest profits, says Mr CuiUotreau. In contrast, the farmed-fish industry continues to make productivity improvements. Fish farms have found crafty ways to use lower quantities of fish meal as feed. In the early days of aquaculture, it could take up to ten pounds of wild fish to produce one pound of salmon. Now the number is down to five. That may still be an inefficient use of protein, but the ratio is set to improve further. Fish farms have also become more energy-efficient, meaning that they are less affected by higher energy pnces. And they have learned how to handle diseases beUer, reducing the quanlity of fish that ends up being unsellable. As a resuli of all these improvements, the global production of farmed fish, measured in tonnes, now exceeds the producUon of beef. Output is likely to continue growing: the FAO estimates thal by 2020 it will reach six times its I990 level. 34.The production of farmed fish is growing due to the following reasons except
[单选题]Text 2 MPs are to investigate the environmental impact of throwaway "fast fashion" in the UK amid growing concerns that the multi-billion pound industry is wasting valuable resources and contributing to climate change. The inquiry, launched on Friday by the House of Commons environmental audit committee, will explore the carbon impact, resource use and water footprint of clothing throughout its lifecycle and supply chain. Inviting evidence on how the influential sector should remodel itself to be both "thriving and sustainable", it will look at how improved recycling rates of clothing could slash waste and pollution. "Fashion shouldn't cost the Earth," said Mary Creagh MP, chair of the committee. "But the way we design, make and discard clothes has a huge environmental impact. Producing clothes requires climate-changing emissions. Every time we put on a wash, thousands of plastic fibres wash down the drain into the oceans. We don't know where or how to recycle end-of-life clothing." Despite recent troubles on the UK high street, the fashion sector has continued to grow. According to the British Fashion Council, the UK fashion industry contributed ~28.lbn to national GDP in 2015, up from £21bn in 2009. But the globalised market for fashion manufacturing has facilitated a "fast fashion" phenomenon: a proliferation of cheap and cheerful clothing, with quick turnover that encourages consumers to keep buying, the committee warns. The raw materials used to manufacture clothes require land and water, or extraction of fossil fuels, while carbon dioxide is emitted throughout the clothing supply chain and some chemical dyes, finishes and coatings may be toxic. Research has found that plastic microfibres in clothing are released when they are washed, and enter rivers, the ocean and even the food chain. Last year the fashion designer Stella McCartney condemned her own industry as "incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment." A report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation put the annual cost to the UK economy of landfilling clothing and household textiles at about ~82m. It wamed that if the global fashion industry continues on its current growth path, it could use more than a quarter of the world's annual carbon budget by 2050. Key to the inquiry is how consumers could be encouraged to buy fewer clothes, reuse clothes and think about how best to dispose of clothes when they are no longer wanted. An estimated 300,000 tonnes of fashion waste goes straight into lan曲ll each year, despite growing efforis to encourage consumers to recycle their worn and unwanted clothing. 28. Which of the following features is odd about the "fast fashion" phenomenon?
[单选题]Weighing yourself regularly is a wonderful way to stay aware of any significant?weight?fluctuations.?1?,?when?done?too?often,?this?habit?can sometimes?hurt?more?than?it?2?. As?for?me,?weighing?myself?every?day?caused?me?to?shift?my?focus from?being?generally?healthy?and?physically?active?to?focusing?3?on?the scale.?That?was?had?to?my?overall?fitness?goats.?I?had?gained?weight?in?the form?of?muscle?mass,?but?thinking?only?of?4?the?number?on?the?scale,?I altered?my?training?program.?That?conflicted?with?how?I?needed?to?train to?5?my?goals. I?also?found?that?weighing?myself?daily?did?not?provide?an?accurate?6 of?the?hard?work?and?progress?I?was?making?in?the?gym.?It?takes?about three?weeks?to?a?month?to?notice?any?significant?changes?in?your?weight 7?altering?your?training?program.?The?most?8?changes?will?be?observed?in skill?level,?strength?and?inches?lost. For?these?9?,?I?stopped?weighing?myself?every?day?and?switched?to?a bimonthly?weighing?schedule?10?.?Since?weight?loss?is?not?my?goal,?it?is less?important?for?me?to?11?my?weight?each?week.?Weighing?every?other week?allows?me?to?observe?and?12?any?significant?weight?changes.?That tells?me?whether?I?need?to?13?my?training?program. I?use?my?bimonthly?weigh-in?14?to?get?information?about?my nutrition?as?well.?If?my?training?intensity?remains?the?same,?but?I’m constantly?15?and?dropping?weight,?this?is?a?16?that?I?need?to?increase?my daily?caloric?intake. The?17?to?stop?weighing?myself?every?day?has?done?wonders?for?my overall?health,?fitness?and?well-being.?I’m?experiencing?increased?zeal?for working?out?since?I?no?longer?carry?the?burden?of?a?18?morning?weigh-in. I’ve?also?experienced?greater?success?in?achieving?my?specific?fitness goals,?19?I’m?training?according?to?those?goals,?not?the?numbers?on?a scale. Rather?than?20?over?the?scale,?turn?your?focus?to?how?you?look,?feel how?your?clothes?fit?and?your?overall?energy?level.
[单选题]Text 2 As lawmakers fight over what conditions insurance companies should be required to cover, other areas of health-care reform remain painfully neglected. One major example: How much should insurance companies pay for what they cover? Consumers rarely care about health-care prices beyond what they personally pay for deductibles, co-payments and prescription drugs. But insurance payments are crucial to understanding why health-care prices have gotten so out of control in the United States. A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine makes this abundantly clear: Hospital emergency departments across the country are prone to excessively overcharge patients with private insurance, the study found, demanding that patients pay - on average - more than four times what Medicare pays for typical emergency procedures. This is not the heritage of sound medicine. This is the outcome of an extremely complicated and disjointed health-care system - and it's not necessarily the result of greedy hospitals trying to milk large profits out of vulnerable populations. Instead, it's the result of messy provider networks - rife with discounts and confusing contracts, designed by insurance companies and providers to attract customers. There are policy solutions to correct this system. Maryland, for example, has long operated under an "all-payer system" in which everyone pays the same rate for the same treatment - set by an independent state agency. Under this system, Medicare pays higher rates for care than in other states, but in the long run, it saves money - to the tune of $ 319 million - because the payment system incentivizes hospitals to reduce the number of people they admit. In other words, it encourages payment for quality of care, not quantity. Health-care providers have an incentive to work more closely with nursing facilities to deliver preventive care. Physicians also work more closely with patients to reduce preventable complications and hospital readmissions, which have dropped in Maryland faster than the national average in recent years. This innovative approach to solving price disparities in health-care costs is refreshing, although what works in Maryland might not work everywhere else. But other states have also passed laws to reduce price variation in health care, particularly for uninsured and low-income patients who would be most harmed by surprise medical bills. Unfortunately, reform efforts led by Republicans in Congress will likely worry the health-care industry enough to threaten state-led initiatives. Uncertainty - especially in terms of what our insurance markets will look like a year from now - makes it difficult, if not impossible, for states to experiment with different policies. That's a shame, because that's where the exciting and innovative reforms are happening. 29. The author's attitude toward reform efforts led by Republicans in Congress is one of
[单选题]Text 4 Economic theory suggests that regional inequalities should diminish as poorer places attract investment and grow faster than richer ones. The 20th century bore that theory out: income gaps narrowed across American states. No longer. Affluent places are now pulling away from poorer ones. This geographlcal divergence has dramatic consequences. Opportunities are limited for those stuck in the wrong place, and the wider economy suffers. If all its citizens had lived in places of high productivity over the past 50 years, America's economy could have grown twice as fast as it did. Divergence is the result of big forces. In the modern economy scale is increasingly important. The social network that everyone else is on is most attractive to new users; the stock cxchange with the deepest pool of investors is best for raising capital. These returns to scale create fewer, superstar firms clustered in fewer, superstar places. Everywhere else is left behind. Even as rcgional disparities widen, people are becoming less mobile. Demographic shifts help explain this. But the bigger culprit is poor policies. Soaring housing costs in prosperous cities kcep newcomers out. In America the spread of state-specific occupational licensrng and governmeni benefits punishes those who move. The pension of a teacher who stays in the same state could be twice as big as that of a teacher who moves mid-career. Perversely, policies to help the poor unintentionally exacerbate the plight of left-behind places. Unemployment and health benefits enable the least employable people ro survive in struggling places when once they would have had no choice but to move. Welfare makes capitalism Iess brutal for individuals, but it perpetuates the problems where they live. What to do? One answer is to help people move. Thriving places could do more to build the housing and infrastructure to accommodate newcomers. Accelerating the mutual recognition of credentials across state borders would help people move to where they can be most productive. But greater mobility also has a perverse side-effect. By draining poor places of talented workers, it exacerbates their troubles. The local tax-base erodes as productive workers leave, even as welfare and pension obligations mount. To avoid these outcomes, politicians have long tried to bolster left-behind places with subsidies. But such "regional policies" have a patchy record, at best. Better for politicians to focus on speeding up the diffusion of technology and business practices from high-performing places. A beefed-up competition policy could reduce industrial concentration, which saps the economy of dynamism while focusing the gains from growth in fewer firms and places. Fostering clusters by encouraging the creation of private investment funds targeted on particular regions might help. Perhaps most of all, politicians need a different mindset. For progressives, alleviating poverty has demanded welfare; for libertarians, freeing up the economy. Both have focused on people. But the complex interaction of demography, welfare and globalisation means that is insufficient. Easing the anger of the left-behincl means realising that places matter, too. 40. Which of the following i.s the right way to help left-behind places?
[单选题]Retrofitting houses to use less energy should be a no-brainer for homeowners. I time,money spent on ways to reduce heat loss from drauShty houses should produce a 2 return in lower fuel bills. In practice, many are cauLious. Some improvements, such as solid-wall insulation and solar panels, can take over 25 years to 3 their initial cost. Few owners are willing to wait that long: by then many are likely to have . 4 and moved on. Several governments have started finance schemes designed t0 5 this problem. Since 2008 PACE programmes have offered American homeowners loans to 6 . improvements, repaid through higher local taxes on the property, 7 it belongs to. In Brit.ain, Lhe Green Deal offers loans over a 25-year period, with repayments added to energy bills. Countnes including France and Canada have similar 8 . In theory, these schemes should boost investment in common energy-saving measures, such as extra insulation and new boilers, 9 the first owner does not have to pay all the costs in advance. But enrolment rates have 10 , according to Sean Kidney at the Climate Bonds Initiative, a thinktank. In Britain, just 1% of those assessed for the Creen Deal have signed up. In Berkeley, California, home of the first PACE scheme, the 11 rate is similarly low. Homeowners are 12 chiefly because the interest raLes on the loans look high. The Green Deal charges 7%; some PACE schemes a hefty 8%. As these rates are fixed for decades, they will 13 look unattractive when (as now) short-term interest rates are low. Many people als0 14 they will save enough on their energy biUs to cover the repayments. For instance, 15 in Britain that installing loft insulation can cut energy bills by 20% have been dented by a government study that found it 16 gas consumption by only l.7% on average. Others fear that green loans may reduce the value of their home. In America, firms that undewrite mortgages are 17 PACE loans. Green loans have not been a failure everywhere. Around 250,000 households in Germany 18 for them each year. They do s0 19 they need pay only 1% interest on them each yeu, thanks to an annual public subsidy of l.5 billion. Whether that is a(an) 20 use of taxpayers'money is another question.