Directions: There are 2 passages in this section. Each passage is followed by some questions or unfinished statements. For each of them there are four choices marked A), B), C) and D). You should decide on the best choice and mark the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 2 with a single line through the centre.
Questions 56 to 60 are based on the following passage.
Across the rich world, well-educated people increasingly work longer than the less-skilled. Some 65% of American men aged 62-74 with a professional degree are in the workforce, compared with 32% of men with only a high-school certificate. This gap is part of a deepening divide between the well-educated well-off and the unskilled poor. Rapid technological advance has raised the incomes of the highly skilled while squeezing those of the unskilled. The consequences, for individuals and society, are profound.
The world is facing an astonishing rise in the number of old people. And they will live longer than ever before. Over the next 20 years the global population of those aged 65 or more will almost double, from 600 million to 1.1 billion. The experience of the 20th century, when greater longevity (长寿) translated into more years in retirement rather than more years at work, has persuaded many observers that this shift will lead to slower economic growth, while the swelling ranks of pensioners will create government budget problems.
But the notion of a sharp division between the working young and the idle old misses a new trend, the growing gap between the skilled and the unskilled. Employment rates are falling among younger unskilled people, whereas older skilled folk are working longer. The divide is most extreme in America, where well-educated baby-boomers (二战后生育高峰期出生的美国人) are putting off retirement while many less-skilled younger people have dropped out of the workforce.
Policy is partly responsible. Many European governments have abandoned policies that used to encourage people to retire early. Rising life expectancy(预期寿命), combined with the replacement of generous defined-benefit pension plans with less generous defined-contribution ones, means that even the better-off must work longer to have a comfortable retirement. But the changing nature of work also plays a big role. Pay has risen sharply for the highly educated, and those people continue to reap rich rewards into old age because these days the educated elderly are more productive than the preceding generation. Technological change may well reinforce that shift: the skills that complement computers, from management knowhow to creativity, do not necessarily decline with age.
56. What is happening in the workforce in rich countries?
A) Younger people are replacing the elderly.
B) Well-educated people tend to work longer.
C) Unemployment rates are rising year after year.
D) People with no college degree do not easily find work.
57. What has helped deepen the divide between the well-off and the poor？
A) Longer life expectancies.
B) A rapid technological advance.
C) Profound changes in the workforce.
D) A growing number of the well-educated.
58. What do many observers predict in view of the experience of the 20th century?
A) Economic growth will slow down.
B) Government budgets will increase.
C) More people will try to pursue higher education.
D) There will be more competition in the job market.
59. What is the result of policy changes in European countries?
A) Unskilled workers may choose to retire early.
B) More people have to receive in-service training.
C) Even wealthy people must work longer to live comfortably in retirement.
D) People may be able to enjoy generous defined-benefits from pension plans.
60. What is characteristic of work in the 21st century?
A) Computers will do more complicated work.
B) More will be taken by the educated young.
C) Most jobs to be done will be creative ones.
D) Skills are highly valued regardless of age.
Questions 61 to 65 are based on the following passage.
Some of the world’s most significant problems never hit headlines. One example comes from agriculture. Food riots and hunger make news. But the trend lying behind these matters is rarely talked about. This is the decline in the growth in yields of some of the world’s major crops. A new study by the University of Minnesota and McGill University in Montreal looks at where, and how far, this decline is occurring.
The authors take a vast number of data points for the four most important crops: rice, wheat, corn and soyabeans(大豆). They find that on between 24% and 39% of all harvested areas, the improvement in yields that took place before the 1980s slowed down in the 1990s and 2000s.
There are two worrying features of the slowdown. One is that it has been particularly sharp in the world’s most populous(人口多的)countries, India and China. Their ability to feed themselves has been an important source of relative stability both within the countries and on world food markets. That self-sufficiency cannot be taken for granted if yields continue to slow down or reverse.
Second, yield growth has been lower in wheat and rice than in corn and soybeans. This is problematic because wheat and rice are more important as foods, accounting for around half of all calories consumed. Corn and soyabeans are more important as feed grains. The authors note that “we have preferentially focused our crop improvement efforts on feeding animals and cars rather than on crops that feed people and are the basis of food security in much of the world.”
The report qualifies the more optimistic findings of another new paper which suggests that the world will not have to dig up a lot more land for farming in order to feed 9 billion people in 2050, as the Food and Agriculture Organisation has argued.
Instead, it says, thanks to slowing population growth, land currently ploughed up for crops might be able to revert(回返)to forest or wilderness.This could happen. The trouble is that the forecast assumes continued improvements in yields, which may not actually happen.
61. What does the author try to draw attention to?
A) Food riots and hunger in the world.
B) News headlines in the leading media.
C) The decline of the grain yield growth.
D) The food supply in populous countries.
62. Why does the author mention India and China in particular?
A) Their self-sufficiency is vital to the stability of world food markets.
B) Their food yields have begun to decrease sharply in recent years.
C) Their big populations are causing worldwide concerns.
D) Their food self-sufficiency has been taken for granted.
63. What does the new study by the two universities say about recent crop improvement efforts?
A) They fail to produce the same remarkable results as before the 1980s.
B) They contribute a lot to the improvement of human food production.
C) They play a major role in guaranteeing the food security of the world.
D) They focus more on the increase of animal feed than human food grains.
64. What does the Food and Agriculture Organisation say about world food production in the coming decades?
A) The growing population will greatly increase the pressure on world food supplies.
B) The optimistic prediction about food production should be viewed with caution.
C) The slowdown of the growth in yields of major food crops will be reversed.
D) The world will be able to feed its population without increasing farmland.
65. How does the author view the argument of the Food and Agriculture Organisation?
A) It is built on the findings of a new study.
B) It is based on a doubtful assumption.
C) It is backed by strong evidence.
D) It is open to further discussion.
56 B) Well-educated people tend to work longer.
57 B) A rapid technological advance.
58 A) Economic growth will slow down.
59 C) Even wealthy people must work longer to live comfortably in retirement.
60 D) Skills are highly valued regardless of age.
61 C) The decline of the grain yield growth.
62 A) Their self-sufficiency is vital to the stability of world food markets.
63 D) They focus more on the increase of animal feed than human food feed grains.
64 D) The world will be able to feed its population without increasing farmland.
65 B) It is based on a doubtful assumption.