Comprehension and Discussion Questions. 1. If a government eases taxes, does it raise them?
1. If a government eases taxes, does it raise them?
2. If something is redundant, is it necessary?
3. If something is embedded in your consciousness, do you actively think about it?
4. Jobs were “nothing less than” the only available part to security? Does this mean that they were the only path to security, or that there were other paths to security?
5. What word is used in this paragraph to talk about jobs disappearing?
6. If something is idiosyncratic, is it normal?
7. Do people clock on and off at Microsoft?
8. Should workers be prepared to change projects?
9. If something is disruptive, is it easy to keep going as you were before?
10. If X shapes Y, does X have a lot of influence over the way Y develops?
11. Is devastation
a) slight damage, or
b) serious damage?
Read through the text and find in each paragraph a topical sentence that renders the main information.
Text I. A New Economy for a New Century
Today, at the start of the next century, faith in technology and human progress is almost as prevalent in the writings of the leading economic commentators [as at the end of the 19th century]. Their easy optimism is bolstered by the extraordinary achievements of the 20th century, including developments such as jet aircraft, personal computers, and genetic engineering that go well beyond anything predicted by the most imaginative futurist of the 1890s. But like their predecessors, today’s futurists look ahead from a narrow perspective – one that ignores some of the most important trends now shaping our world. And in their fascination with the Information Age that is increasingly prominent in the global economy, many observers seem to have forgotten that our modern civilization, like its forerunners, is totally dependent on its ecological foundations.
Since our emergence as a species, human populations have continually run up against local environmental limits: the inability to find sufficient game, grow enough food, or harvest enough wood has led to sudden collapses in human numbers and in some cases to the disappearance of entire civilizations. Although it may seem that advancing technology and the emergence of an integrated world economy have ended this age-old pattern, they may have simply transferred the problem to the global level.
The challenge facing us at the start of a new century begins with scale. Human numbers are four times the level of century ago, and the world economy is 17 times as large. This growth has allowed advances in living standards that our ancestors could not have imagined, but it has also undermined natural systems in ways they could not have feared. Oceanic fisheries, for example, are being pushed to their limits and beyond, water tables are falling on every continent, range lands are deteriorating from overgrazing, many remaining tropical forests are on the verge of being wiped out, and carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have reached the highest level in 160,000 years. If these trends continue, they could make the turning of the millennium seem trivial as a historic moment, for they may be triggering the largest extinction of life since a meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago.
As we are living in the 21st century, now it is clear that satisfying the projected needs of an ever larger world population with the economy we now have is simply not possible. The Western economic model – the fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy – that so dramatically raised living standards for part of humanity during this century is in trouble. Indeed, the global economy cannot expand indefinitely if the ecosystems on which it depends continue to deteriorate. We are entering a new century, then, with an economy that cannot take us where we want to go. The challenge is to design and build a new one that can sustain human progress without destroying its support systems – and that offers a better life to all.
The shift to an environmentally sustainable economy may be as profound a transition as the Industrial Revolution that led to the current dilemma was. How successful we will be remains to be seen. Yet we have always stood out from other species in our ability to adapt to new environmental conditions and challenges. The next test is now under way.
jet aircraft –реактивный самолёт
imaginative –одарённый воображением
genetic engineering – генная инженерия
to predict – предсказывать
forerunners – предшественники
environmental [in¸vaiərən'mental] –относящийся к окружающей среде
to undermine –подрывать
to deteriorate ['ditiəriə¸rei] –ухудшаться
to overgraze –выбивать пастбище, истощать
carbon dioxide [daiəksaid] –углекислый газ
to trigger –давать начало
extinction – исчезновение (с лица земли)
to wipe out –уничтожать
throwaway economy – экономика, основана на выбросе отходов
fossil-fuel-based economy –экономика, основана на ископаемом топливе
challenge –вызов, проблема, задачи
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