来源：上外培训网 发布时间：2015-04-08 作者：
WHAT makes an artist great? Brilliant composition, no doubt. Superb draughtsmanship, certainly. Originality of subject or of concept, sometimes. But surely true greatness means that the creator of a painting has brought a certain je ne sais quoi to the work as well.
There is, however, a type of person who seems to sait perfectly well what that quoi is, and can turn it out on demand. In 1945, for example, a Dutchman named Han van Meegeren faced execution for selling a national art treasure, in the form of a painting by Vermeer, to Hermann Göring, Hitler’s deputy. His defence was that it was a forgery he had painted himself. When asked to prove it by copying a Vermeer he scorned the offer. Instead he turned out a completely new painting, “Jesus Among the Doctors”, in the style of the master, before the eyes of his incredulous inquisitors.
Göring, who was facing a little local difficulty at the time, did not sue van Meegeren. But that has not been the experience of Glafira Rosales, an art dealer in New York who admitted this week that she has, over the past 15 years, fooled two local commercial art galleries into buying 63 forged works of art for more than $30m. She is being forced to give the money back, and is still awaiting sentence.
Ms Rosales is guilty of passing goods off as something they are not, and should take the rap for the fraud. But although art forgers do a certain amount of economic damage, they also provide public entertainment by exposing the real values that lie at the heart of the art market.
此处词汇理解题：解释take the rap。
That art market pretends that great artists are inimitable, and that this inimitability justifies the often absurd prices their work commands. Most famous artists are good: that is not in question. But as forgers like van Meegeren and Pei-Shen Qian, the painter who turned out Ms Rosales’s Rothkos and Pollocks, show, they are very imitable indeed. If they were not, the distinction between original and knock-off would always be obvious. As Ms Rosales’s customers have found, no doubt to their chagrin, it isn’t.
If the purchasers of great art were buying paintings only for their beauty, they would be content to display fine fakes on their walls. The fury and embarrassment caused by the exposure of a forger suggests this is not so.
Expensive pictures are primarily what economists call positional goods—things that are valuable largely because other people can’t have them. The painting on the wall, or the sculpture in the garden, is intended to say as much about its owner’s bank balance as about his taste. With most kit a higher price reduces demand. But art, sports cars and fine wine invert the laws of economics. When the good that is really being purchased is evidence that the buyer has forked out a bundle, price spikes cause demand to boom.
All this makes the scarcity and authenticity that underpin lofty valuations vital. Artists forget this at their peril: Damien Hirst’s spot pictures, for instance, plummeted in value when it became clear that they had been produced in quantities so vast nobody knew quite how many were out there, and when the market lost faith in a mass-production process whose connection with the original artist was, to say the least, tenuous.
Ms Rosales’s career is thus a searing social commentary on a business which purports to celebrate humanity’s highest culture but in which names are more important than aesthetics and experts cannot tell the difference between an original and a fake. Unusual, authentic, full of meaning—her life itself is surely art, even if the paintings were not.
In 1965, America’s big companies had a hell of a year. The stock market was booming. Sales were rising briskly, profit margins were fat, and corporate profits as a percentage of G.D.P. were at an all-time high. Almost half a century later, some things look much the same: big American companies have had a hell of a year, with the stock market soaring, margins strong, and profits hitting a new all-time high. But there’s one very noticeable difference. In 1965, C.E.O.s at big companies earned, on average, about twenty times as much as their typical employee. These days, C.E.O.s earn about two hundred and seventy times as much.
从第二段开头的the huge gap可以看出第一段讲的是两种经济状况之间的差距。这里也正好是第一题的定位：The author makes a comparison between today’s America with that of 1965______.既然第二段追究的是这种gap的原因，那么答案就在第一段结尾处：今天的CEO-雇员的收入差距比大大增加了。
That huge gap between the top and the middle is the result of a boom in executive compensation, which rose eight hundred and seventy-six per cent between 1978 and 2011, according to a study by the liberal Economic Policy Institute. In response, we’ve had a host of regulatory reforms designed to curb executive pay. The latest of these is a rule, unveiled by the S.E.C. last month, requiring companies to disclose the ratio of the C.E.O.’s pay to that of the median worker. The idea is that, once the disparity is made public, companies will be less likely to award outsized pay packages.
Faith in disclosure has been crucial to the regulation of executive pay since the nineteen-thirties, when companies were first required to reveal those figures. More recently, rules have made companies detail the size and the structure of compensation packages and have enforced transparency about the kinds of comparisons they rely on to determine salaries. The business press, meanwhile, now rigorously tracks executive pay. The result is that shareholders today know far more about C.E.O. compensation than ever before. There’s only one problem: even as companies are disclosing more and more, executive pay keeps going up and up.
This isn’t a coincidence: the drive for transparency has actually helped fuel the spiralling salaries. For one thing, it gives executives a good idea of how much they can get away with asking for. A more crucial reason, though, has to do with the way boards of directors set salaries. As the corporate-governance experts Charles Elson and Craig Ferrere write in a recent paper, boards at most companies use what’s called “peer benchmarking.” They look at the C.E.O. salaries at peer-group firms, and then peg their C.E.O.’s pay to the fiftieth, seventy-fifth, or ninetieth percentile of the peer group—never lower. This leads to the so-called Lake Wobegon effect: every C.E.O. gets treated as above average. With all the other companies following the same process, salaries ratchet inexorably higher. “Relying on peer-group comparisons, the way boards do, mathematically guarantees that pay is going to go up,” Elson told me.
On top of this, peer-group comparisons aren’t always honest: boards can be too cozy with C.E.O.s and may tweak the comparisons to justify overpaying. A recent study by the labor economist Ron Laschever shows that boards tend to include as peers companies that are bigger than they are and that pay their C.E.O.s more. The system is also skewed by so-called “leapfroggers,” the few C.E.O.s in a given year who, whether by innate brilliance or by dumb luck, end up earning astronomical salaries. Those big paydays reset the baseline expectations for everyone else.
This isn’t just an American problem. Elson notes that, when Canada toughened its disclosure requirements, executive salaries there rose sharply, and German studies have found something similar. Nor is it primarily a case of boards being helplessly in thrall to a company’s executives. Boards are far more independent of management than they used to be, and it’s notable that a C.E.O. hired from outside a company—who therefore has no influence over the board—typically gets twenty to twenty-five per cent more than an inside candidate. The real issues are subtler, though no less insidious. Some boards, in the face of much evidence to the contrary, remain convinced of what Elson calls “superstar theory”: they think that C.E.O.s can work their magic anywhere, and must be overpaid to stay. In addition, Elson said, “if you pay below average, it makes it look as if you’d hired a below-average C.E.O., and what board wants that?”
Transparent pricing has perverse effects in other fields. In a host of recent cases, public disclosure of the prices that hospitals charge for various procedures has ended up driving prices up rather than down. And the psychological causes in both situations seem similar. We tend to be uneasy about bargaining in situations where the stakes are very high: do you want the guy doing your neurosurgery, or running your company, to be offering discounts? Better, in the event that something goes wrong, to be able to tell yourself that you spent all you could. And overspending is always easier when you’re spending someone else’s money. Corporate board members are disbursing shareholder funds; most patients have insurance to foot the bill.
Sunlight is supposed to be the best disinfectant. But there’s something naïve about the new S.E.C. rule, which presumes that full disclosure will embarrass companies enough to restrain executive pay. As Elson told me, “People who can ask to be paid a hundred million dollars are beyond embarrassment.” More important, as long as the system for setting pay is broken, more disclosure makes things worse instead of better. We don’t need more information. We need boards of directors to step up and set pay themselves, instead of outsourcing the job to their peers. The rest of us don’t get to live in Lake Wobegon. C.E.O.s shouldn’t, either.
本文讲述全球人口增长问题。文章第一段提出了Sir David Attenborough 的悲观看法：100年后的世界会出现各种问题，所以我们今天的人类一定要做好准备，尽力逆转。第二段用数字列举了人口增长的趋势。第三、四两段讨论了解决人口增长问题的conventioanal wisdom. 第五段提出非洲的新生儿死亡率大幅增加。第六段中，作者根据以上内容提出，世界人口停止增长的日期应该早于2070年。而且无论如何，读者无需为人口增长过快担忧。第七段分析了耕地和动物分布状况，同样得出了无需杞人忧天的结论。最后一段赞扬了非洲的进步会为人类生存环境的改善加分。
第一题问作者为什么要提出Sir David Attenborough 的悲观看法。
第二题围绕birth control 的种种细节。
第三题要求考生解释词汇：as night follows day的意思。
第四题是新问法：四个说法中哪一个与另外三个不同?相当于NOT TRUE 体型。
本文开头便指出Help to buy 政策等同于help to vote，由此可知，该篇文章属于政治类。本文主人公George Osborne 提出一项help to buy 政策，而本段接下来便说IMF和其他经济观察组织指出这项政策十分疯狂。第二、三段中，作者为Osborne进行辩护，这项政策开始时的确发挥了积极的作用。而且他们的团队的确积极推行。第四段说英国财政部也积极配合，使得这个项目与房地美和房利美有本质不同。第五段话锋一转，说这个项目很好的证明了英国金融房地产政策的鲁莽政策。并从几个角度进行了具体分析。第六段说英国二三十岁的年轻人就开始希望拥有房产，而其他几个国家则普遍到四十岁以后考虑买房子，并用数据支持。第七段引用经济学家的观点说，国家补贴购房的政策不仅为通货膨胀的虚高的房价推波助澜，而且还会影响到真正需要住房的人。第八段说，新增住房的增加只会对目前awesome 的房地产存量雪上加霜。
第一题请考生解释help to vote 的意思。