CAT 2020 Reading Comprehension Solution 10

[PASSAGE]

Direction for Reading Comprehension: The pass ages given here are followed by some questions that have four answer choices; read the passage carefully and pick the option whose answer best aligns with the passage

I’ve been following the economic crisis for more than two years now. I began working on the subject as part of the background to a novel, and soon realized that I had stumbled across the most interesting story I’ve ever found. While I was beginning to work on it, the British bank Northern Rock blew up, and it became clear that, as I wrote at the time, “If our laws are not extended to control the new kinds of super-powerful, super-complex, and potentially superrisky investment vehicles, they will one day cause a financial disaster of global-systemic proportions.” . . . I was both right and too late, because all the groundwork for the crisis had already been done—though the sluggishness of the world’s governments, in not preparing for the great unraveling of autumn 2008, was then and still is stupefying. But this is the first reason why I wrote this book: because what’s happened is extraordinarily interesting. It is an absolutely amazing story, full of human interest and drama, one whose byways of mathematics, economics, and psychology are both central to the story of the last decades and mysteriously unknown to the general public. We have heard a lot about “the two cultures” of science and the arts—we heard a particularly large amount about it in 2009, because it was the fiftieth anniversary of the speech during which C. P. Snow first used the phrase. But I’m not sure the idea of a huge gap between science and the arts is as true as it was half a century ago—it’s certainly true, for instance, that a general reader who wants to pick up an education in the fundamentals of science will find it easier than ever before. It seems to me that there is a much bigger gap between the world of finance and that of the general public and that there is a need to narrow that gap, if the financial industry is not to be a kind of priesthood, administering to its own mysteries and feared and resented by the rest of us. Many bright, literate people have no idea about all sorts of economic basics, of a type that financial insiders take as elementary facts of how the world works. I am an outsider to finance and economics, and my hope is that I can talk across that gulf.

My need to understand is the same as yours, whoever you are. That’s one of the strangest ironies of this story: after decades in which the ideology of the Western world was personally and economically individualistic, we’ve suddenly been hit by a crisis which shows in the starkest terms that whether we like it or not—and there are large parts of it that you would have to be crazy to like—we’re all in this together. The aftermath of the crisis is going to dominate the economics and politics of our societies for at least a decade to come and perhaps longer.


Question: 1

Which one of the following best captures the main argument of the last paragraph of the passage?

  1. The aftermath of the crisis will strengthen the central ideology of individualism in the Western world.
  2. Whoever you are, you would be crazy to think that there is no crisis.
  3. In the decades to come, other ideologies will emerge in the aftermath of the crisis.
  4. The ideology of individualism must be set aside in order to deal with the crisis.
Option: 4
Solution:

This question asks us to choose an option that best captures the main argument of the last paragraph of the passage. There are two strong contenders for the right choice, option 2 and option 4. The point is to decide whether the last para focuses on “the presence or the absence of the financial crisis” or “setting aside the ideology of individualism”.

The best choice is 4. The author clearly states that “after decades in which the ideology of the western world was personally and economically individualistic, we have been hit by a crisis...in which we are all together”. This is the reason why option 4 clearly matches what is given in the last paragraph. The point is how to disprove choice 2. If you carefully read choice 2, you will realise that it is the opposite of what is given in the paragraph. Choice 2 says “you will be crazy to think that there is no crisis”, whereas the paragraph in the passage says “...there are large parts of it that you would be crazy to like”. So if you like you would be crazy, and the option says you would be crazy to think that there is no crisis. This option is a distortion of what is given in the passage.

Option 1 is the opposite of what the author wants to say. The author says that economic individualism has taken a hit, whereas the option says “the ideology of individualism will strengthen”. Option 3 says “in decades to come other ideologies will emerge”. Nothing of this sort has been mentioned in the passage.


Question: 2

Which one of the following, if true, would be an accurate inference from the first sentence of the passage?

  1. The author has witnessed many economic crises by travelling a lot for two years.
  2. The author’s preoccupation with the economic crisis is not less than two years old.
  3. The author is preoccupied with the economic crisis because he is being followed.
  4. The economic crisis outlasted the author’s preoccupation with it.
Option: 2
Solution:

This question asks to draw an inference from the first sentence of the passage. This is definitely a far less-time-consuming question. The first sentence says “I have been following the economic crisis for more than two years now”.

Option 1 says “the author has witnessed many economic crisis”. Well, we have the phrase “this economic crisis”. From this we can’t infer that he has witnessed many economic crises. Option 1 goes out.

Option 2 says “the author’s preoccupation with the crisis is not less than two years old.” This seems to be correct. If he says that I have been following for two years, it means that his preoccupation is certainly not less than two years. Too simple to be true, right! But this is how inferences are. You derive something on the basis of a given fact.

Option 3 absurdly suggests that the author is being followed, but here the author is following the crisis.

Option 4 says that the crisis outlasted the author’s preoccupation with it. We know that the author is following the crisis, but the crisis and the author’s preoccupation with it are happening in two different time periods. The crisis has already happened and passed, whereas the author is learning about it and following it as a historian. The aftermath of the crisis will definitely be seen for years to come, but about the crisis itself there is no such evidence.

Option 1 is the best choice.


Question: 3

Which one of the following, if false, could be seen as supporting the author’s claims?

  1. The economic crisis was not a failure of collective action to rectify economic problems.
  2. Most people are yet to gain any real understanding of the workings of the financial world.
  3. The huge gap between science and the arts has steadily narrowed over time.
  4. The global economic crisis lasted for more than two years.
Option: 1
Solution:

 This looks like a difficult question because of the way it is worded, but is not a difficult question at all. The choices have to be inversed and then have to be checked whether they support the author. If yes, then that choice is the right choice.

Choice 1 can be the right choice because the choice, when falsified, says “the crisis was failure of collective action to rectify economic problems”. It was indeed a failure of collective action because the author in the passage says “the sluggishness of the world’s governments in not preparing for the crisis was stupefying. The author here suggests that the crisis could have been prevented by world’s governments.

Choice 2 is correct the way it is. If it is falsified, it would be exactly opposite of what the author wants to say.

Choice3, too, is correct the way it is, but when falsified, it becomes opposite of what the author wants to say.

Choice 4 does not relate to the author’s claims. He says that he has followed the crisis for two years, but there is no evidence for how long the crisis lasted.


Question: 4

All of the following, if true, could be seen as supporting the arguments in the passage, EXCEPT:

  1. The failure of economic systems does not necessarily mean the failure of their ideologies.
  2. The story of the economic crisis is also one about international relations, global financial security, and mass psychology.
  3. The difficulty with understanding financial matters is that they have become so arcane.
  4. Economic crises could be averted by changing prevailing ideologies and beliefs.
Option: 1
Solution:

For this question, we have to pick the choice that does not support the author’s argument. Option 1 is exactly opposite of what the author argues. In the last paragraph he writes “the ideology of the western world was personally and economically individualistic. But the crisis shows that we are all in it together”. Thus the author implies that the failure of economic system is the failure of their ideologies. Option 1 is the exact opposite of this and is thus not supporting the author in any way. Option 1 is the right answer.

All the other choices find support in the passage. For instance, the author towards the end of the first paragraph says that the finance industry is a kind of priesthood administering its own mysteries, something that supports choice 3.


Question: 5

According to the passage, the author is likely to be supportive of which one of the following programmes?

  1. An educational curriculum that promotes developing financial literacy in the masses.
  2. The complete nationalisation of all financial institutions.
  3. An educational curriculum that promotes economic research.
  4. Economic policies that are more sensitively calibrated to the fluctuations of the market.
Option: 1
Solution:

This is one of the easiest questions of the paper, the author right across the passage argues that we all need financial literacy. So if an education curriculum promotes financial literacy in the masses, the author would be very delighted at the prospect. As far as choice 3 is concerned, the author is not so much in favour of economic research as he is in favour of basic economic education for the layman


CAT 2020 RC passage with solution