2015年1月10日托福阅读真题+题目+答案：Artisans in Sixteenth-Century Europe
For centuries European artisans had operated in small, autonomous handcraft businesses, but by the sixteenth century an evolving economic system—moving toward modern capitalism, with its free-market pricing, new organization of production, investments, and so on—had started to erode their stable and relatively prosperous position. What forces contributed to the decline of the artisan?
In a few industries there appeared technological innovations that cost more to install and operate than artisans—even associations of artisans—could afford. For example, in iron production, such specialized equipment as blast furnaces, tilt hammers, wire-drawing machines, and stamping, rolling, and slitting mills became more familiar components of the industry. Thus the need for fixed capital (equipment and buildings used in production) soared. Besides these items, expensive in their own right, facilities for water, storage, and deliveries were needed. In addition, pig (raw) iron turned out by blast furnaces could not be forged until refined further in a new intermediate stage. In late sixteenth-century Antwerp, where a skilled worker earned 125 to 250 guilders a year, a large blast furnace alone cost 3,000 guilders, and other industrial equipment was equally or more expensive.
Raw materials, not equipment, constituted artisans’ major expense in most traders, however. Whereas in 1583 an Antwerp silk weaver paid 12 guilders for a loom (and made small payments over many years to pay off the debt for purchasing the loom), every six weeks he or she had to lay out 24 guilders for the 2 pounds of raw silk required to make a piece of cloth. Thus access to cheap and plentiful primary materials was a constant preoccupation for independent producers. Using local materials might allow even the poorest among them to avoid reliance on merchant suppliers. The loss of nearby sources could therefore be devastating. As silk cultivation waned around the Spanish cities of Cordoba and Toledo, weavers in these cities were forced to become employees of merchants who put out raw silk from Valencia and Murcia provinces. In the Dutch Republic, merchants who imported unprocessed salt from France, Portugal, and Spain gained control of the salt-refining industry once exploitation of local salt marshes was halted for fear that dikes (which held back the sea from the low-lying Dutch land) would be undermined.
Credit was necessary for production but created additional vulnerabilities for artisans. Prices for industrial products lagged behind those of raw materials and foodstuffs, and this, coupled with rising taxes, made it difficult for many producers to repay their creditors. Periodic downturns, when food prices shot up and demand for manufactures fell off, drove them further into debt or even into bankruptcy, from which they might emerge only by agreeing to sell their products exclusively to merchants or fellow artisans who extended them loans. Frequent enough during periods of growth, such credit crises became deeper and lasted longer after about 1570, as did war-related disruptions of raw-material supplies and markets.
Artisans’ autonomy was imperiled, too, by restrictions on their access to markets. During the sixteenth century, a situation like this often resulted from the concentration of export trade in a few great storage and distribution centers. The disappearance of regional markets where weavers in Flanders (what is now northern Belgium) had previously bought flax and sold linen left them at the mercy of big-city middlemen, who quickly turned them into domestic workers. In a similar fashion, formerly independent producers in southern Wiltshire in England, who had bought yarn from spinners or local brokers and sold their cloth to merchants in nearby Salisbury, became subject to London merchants who monopolized both wool supplies and woolens exports.
With good reason, finally, urban artisans feared the growth of industries in the countryside. For one thing, they worried that the spread of village crafts would reduce their supply of raw materials, driving up prices. City producers also knew that rural locations enjoyed lower living costs, wages, and taxes, and often employed fewer or simplified processes. These advantages became a major preoccupation as competition intensified in the 1570s and 1580s
1. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information. C (句子主干)
A. In the sixteenth century, the European economy moved toward a system of free-market pricing, new ways of production, and investments.
B. Before the sixteenth century, European makers of handcrafts enjoyed stability, autonomy, and relative prosperity.
C. By the sixteenth century, the rise of capitalism began to weaken the autonomy and relative prosperity of European artisans.
D. European artisans operated small, autonomous businesses before modern capitalism emerged in the sixteenth century.
2. The word “Besides” in the passage is closet in meaning to A
A.In addition to
B. More important than
C. Different from
D. Together with
3. According to paragraph 2, how did technological advances contribute to the economic decline of artisans? A.Artisans had no place to store or use the new machines.
B.Goods produced by the new technology were cheaper than those produced by artisans.
C.The fixed costs of remaining in business became very high.
D.Artisans did not know how to use the new machines.
4. The word “preoccupation” in the passage is closet in meaning to
5. In paragraph 3, why does the author provide the information about an Antwerp silk weaver’s costs in 1583?
A.To describe some typical costs in the silk-weaving industry
B. To support the statement that artisans’ main expense was materials, not equipment
C. To argue against the view that artisans did not have to borrow money to buy equipment
D. To show that materials were cheap and plentiful for most artisans
6. What can be inferred from paragraph 3 about local materials?
A.They were of higher quality than imported materials.
B. They were usually more plentiful than imported materials.
C. They remained available even after merchants began to control the industries.
D. They tended to be more affordable than materials supplied by merchants.
7. According to paragraph 3, which of the following was sometimes an effect on artisans of the loss of local sources of their primary materials?
A.They had to sell their products to merchants.
B. They needed to take loans in order to buy the materials from merchants.
C. They could no longer afford to be independent producers.
D. They imported the materials from distant sources.
8. The phrase “coupled with” in the passage is closet in meaning to
B. compared with
C. affected by
9. According to paragraph 4, all of the following caused economic difficulties for artisans EXCEPT
A.decreasing availability of credit
B. decreased demand for manufactured goods
C. increased taxes
D. problems caused by wars
10. The word “autonomy” in the passage is closet in meaning to
C. ability to make a living
D. ability to adapt
11. Paragraph 5 supports which of the following statements about artisans during the sixteenth century?
A.They had difficulty transporting their goods to the best markets.
B. They were at a disadvantage because the concentration of supplies and exports was in the hands of big-city merchants.
C. They received higher wages as employees of big-city merchants.
D. They were able to obtain raw materials from local merchants.
12. All of the following are identified in paragraph 6 as concerns that urban artisans had about the growth of industry in the countryside EXCEPT
A.a decrease in the supply of raw materials
B. a cheaper cost of living in the countryside
C. a more manageable level of competition
D. less complex production processes in the countryside
Paragraph 3 Raw materials, not equipment, constituted artisans’ major expense in most traders, however. ■Whereas in 1583 an Antwerp silk weaver paid 12 guilders for a loom (and made small payments over many years to pay off the debt for purchasing the loom), every six weeks he or she had to lay out 24 guilders for the 2 pounds of raw silk required to make a piece of cloth. ■Thus access to cheap and plentiful primary materials was a constant preoccupation for independent producers. ■Using local materials might allow even the poorest among them to avoid reliance on merchant suppliers. ■The loss of nearby sources could therefore be devastating. As silk cultivation waned around the Spanish cities of Cordoba and Toledo, weavers in these cities were forced to become employees of merchants who put out raw silk from Valencia and Murcia provinces. In the Dutch Republic, merchants who imported unprocessed salt from France, Portugal, and Spain gained control of the salt-refining industry once exploitation of local salt marshes was halted for fear that dikes (which held back the sea from the low-lying Dutch land) would be undermined.
13. Look at the four squares [■] that indicate where the following sentence can be added to the passage.
This was possible because when transportation costs were low, the price of raw materials was generally also low.
Where would the sentence best fit? Click on a square [■] to add the sentence to the passage.
14. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some answer choices do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points. Drag your choices to the spaces where they belong. To review the passage, click on View Text.
European artisans experienced a decline during the sixteenth century as result of a number of developments. ● ● ●
1.Artisans’ ability to earn profits was restricted by their dependence on creditors, to whom they were forced to sell their goods, and by competition from rural areas.
2.As industries came under the control of merchants, artisans lost access to cheap raw materials, and they had to borrow money to buy the materials they needed from merchant suppliers.
3.In the new industrial system from which skilled artisans were progressively excluded, the quality of manufactured items gradually declined.
4.Advances in technology in some industries increased the cost of the equipment, buildings, and facilities that artisans needed for producing and selling their goods.
5.Iron production in the sixteenth century depended on new inventions such as blast furnaces, tilt hammers, wire-drawing machines, and stamping, rolling, and silting mills.
6.The rising prices of food and other necessities often left artisans without enough money to pay their taxes and other business expenses.