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Innovation, the elixir (灵丹妙药) of progress, has always cost people their jobs. In the Industrial Revolution hand weavers were ___36___ aside by the mechanical loom. Over the past 30 years the digital revolution has ___37___ many of the mid-skill jobs that underpinned 20th-century middle-class life. Typists, ticketagents, bank tellers and many production-line jobs have been dispensed with,just as the weavers were.
For those who believe that technological progress has made the world a better place, such disruption is a natural part of rising ___38___. Although innovation kills some jobs, it creates new and better ones, as a more ___39___ society becomes richer and its wealthier inhabitants demand more goods and services. A hundred years ago one in three American workers was ___40___ on a farm. Today less than 2% of them produce far more food. The millions freed from the land were not rendered ___41___, but found better-paid work as the economy grew more sophisticated. Today the pool of secretaries has___42___, but there are ever more computer programmers and web designers.
Optimism remains the right starting-point, but for workers the dislocating effects of technology may make themselves evident faster than its ___43___. Even if new jobs and wonderful products emerge, in the short term income gaps will widen, causing huge social dislocation and perhaps even changing politics. Technology's ___44___ will feel like a tornado (旋风), hitting the rich world first, but ___45___ sweeping through poorer countries too. No government is prepared for it.
36. N swept
37. B displaced
38. I prosperity
39. H productive
40. C employed
41. F jobless
42. M shrunk
43. A benefits
44. E impact
45. D eventually
Questions 61-65 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 soybeans(大豆). They find that on between 24% and 39% of all harvested areas, the improvement in yields that tood 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 soyabeans. 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 ploughted 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.