2014年12月13日托福阅读真题+题目+答案：Grain in Colonial North America
Although the colonists of seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century British North America consumed most of the grain produced in the colonial economy, few households were self-sufficient. Instead, they traded with their neighbors for what they did not produce themselves. In any given year, farmers who produced more grain than they needed would exchange their surpluses locally with other farmers who had different surpluses, with local laborers who supported themselves by selling their labor, or with the local storekeeper, who might also be the miller (trade person who ground grain into flour). Satisfying the domestic demand for breadstuff, then, depended on trade between neighbors. The colonists recorded these myriad transactions as credits and debts in their individual account books. Debts and credits could remain outstanding for years before being settled. Trading based on book credit gave more value to maintaining equilibrium between local supply and demand and to preserving a cooperative spirit among neighbors than to expanding production beyond the immediate needs of the locality.
Colonists also traded grain surpluses long-distance, responding to impersonal demand beyond the community. Some of the long-distance trade catered to regional and urban domestic demand. As the urban areas matured, they increasingly relied on producers in distant areas for grain and other agricultural supplies. In the early 1750s, the most densely populated towns of eastern and southern New England had begun importing substantial quantities of flour and rice from the middle and southern colonies to compensate for grain deficits that developed in their region. Other urban areas followed their example, though their greater proximity to grain regions enabled them to tap supplies closer to home. Assuming that in the early 1770s at least half of the demand for grain from farmers with surpluses was satisfied through long-distance channels, the proportion of grain produced for consumption beyond the local market probably accounted for about a quarter of total grain production consumed by humans.
The colonists organized the long-distance grain economy differently from their local economy. New mechanisms enabled the long-distance economy to respond sensitively to variations in demand, and these in turn gave it greater dynamism than the community-centered, local economy possessed. The contrast between the local and long-distance grain trade is best illustrated by looking at the flour-milling industry.
Nearly every area of colonial settlement had a local gristmill to which farmers brought grain to be custom ground. The limited capital value of most custom mills, the need to process rye and corn as well as wheat, together with seasonal factors affecting the water supply, restricted the volume of wheat flour that could be produced. The production of flour for long-distance exchange and particularly for export usually took place in merchant mills that were larger, had more capital, and were increasingly specialized.
The difference between a merchant mill and a custom mill was one of degree as much as kind. Most merchant mills had started as custom mills, and the colonial and state governments often compelled merchant mills to set aside certain days for custom work. Mills that acquired the designation “merchant” did so because they catered to the demand of merchants in the principal ports. These merchants enabled certain millers to specialize in wheat flour by placing orders for large parcels of it and paying in cash. That in turn allowed the millers to offer cash to the primary producers and grain brokers who delivered wheat to their mills. Cash was the economic motivator of this export-oriented economy for the simple reason that farmers would prepare and haul their grain to landings and mills and even increase their wheat acreage to obtain this commodity.
Cash gave farmers choices they did not enjoy when they traded with neighbors alone. Beyond opening up access to a range of products that could not be produced locally, it freed them from the web of mutual indebtedness and allowed more choices in the selection of trading partners. In other words, the cash economy allowed producers to seek the best bargains in that wider, impersonal market of which the export of agricultural surpluses formed the principal part. Of course, few in this age would have welcomed total release from the support and obligations that local trade conferred.
1. According to paragraph 1, why did North American colonists trade with their neighbors?
A. They preferred not to accept cash for goods they had to trade.
B. They were not able to produce everything that they needed.
C. They had difficulty establishing book credit with the local storekeepers.
D. They wanted to balance the credits and debts in their account books.
2. The word “preserving” in the passage is closest in meaning to
3. According to paragraph 2, what happened as urban areas matured?
A. Urban areas became increasingly dependent on grain produced in distant areas.
B. Urban areas began to rely on their own stored surpluses of wheat flour.
C. Urban consumers were forced to reduce their consumption of grain by one fourth.
D. Urban areas relied more on rice and less on wheat.
4. The word “substantial” in the passage is closest in meaning to
5. What is the purpose of the discussion of the “flour-milling industry”?
A. To contrast the organization of the grain trade with the organization of the flour-milling industry.
B. To explain how the economic organization of the long-distance trade in grain differed from that of the local economy.
C. To illustrate how the local flour-milling industry differed from the long-distance flour-milling industry.
D. To argue that the flour-milling industry made the long-distance grain trade more dynamic than the local grain trade.
6. According to paragraph 4, all of the following limited the milling capacity of local gristmills to produce wheat flour EXCEPT
A. limitations on their capital value
B. seasonal shortages of water
C. the lack of trained mill workers
D. the need to process several types of grain
7. The word “compelled” in the passage is closest in meaning to
8. According to paragraph 5, a custom mill became a merchant mill by
A. agreeing to sell grain to the state government at a reduced price
B. providing goods to fulfill the demand of traders in the main port cities
C. limiting the amount of work a mill would do for individual farmers to only a few days a week
D. hiring specialized millers to produce each type of flour
9. According to paragraph 5, why could merchant mills specialize in producing wheat flour?
A. Grain farmers would accept cash from merchant mills for wheat, but not for other grains.
B. Merchant mills were not required by colonial and state government to mill grains other than wheat.
C. Millers who specialized in producing wheat flour for merchants were paid in advance.
D. Merchants ordered large amounts of wheat flour from the mills they dealt with
10. Paragraph 5 implies which of the following about the export trade in grain?
A. The growth of the export trade caused most custom mills to go out of business.
B. The export trade did not have a significant economic impact beyond the large port cities.
C. The export trade’s use of cash for payments led farmers to produce surpluses for this market.
D. In the export trade, most of the profits were made by the primary products and grain brokers
11. The word “obligations” in the passage is closest in meaning to
12. Which of the following can be inferred from paragraph 6 about the result of the expanding export economy?
A. Some commercial relationships became less local and more impersonal.
B. Farmers had a greater choice in the variety of crops to grow.
C. The demand for agricultural surpluses was greater than the supply.
D. The prices of local products decreased.
Cash gave farmers choices they did not enjoy when they traded with neighbors alone. 【】Beyond opening up access to a range of products that could not be produced locally, it freed them from the web of mutual indebtedness and allowed more choices in the selection of trading partners. 【】In other words, the cash economy allowed producers to seek the best bargains in that wider, impersonal market of which the export of agricultural surpluses formed the principal part.【】Of course, few in this age would have welcomed total release from the support and obligations that local trade conferred.【】
13. Look at the four squares  that indicates where the following sentence could be added to the passage.
Consequently, most farmers who participated in the long distance cash economy continued to deal with local merchants through the system of trade credit.
Where would the sentence best fit?
14. Direction: 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 important ideas in the passage. Some sentences 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.
Grain played an important role in the economy of colonial North America.
A. Trade between neighbors was necessary to satisfy the local demand for grain and other products.
B. Large amounts of grain from the countryside were brought to cities and ports, both for the residents’ use and for the export trade.
C. Merchant mills required large economic investments that were not available locally.
D. Long-distance trade eventually replaced the need for local trade.
E. Wheat farmers were attracted to the export trade because it allowed them to find the best price and because the cash it provided could be used for goods not available locally.
F. After some time, cash replaced the trade system and individual account books disappeared.