Robert F. Kennedy once said that a country's GDP measures “everything except that which makes life worthwhile.” With Britain voting to leave the European Union, and GDP already predicted to slow as a result, it is now a timely moment to assess what he was referring to.
The question of GDP and its usefulness has annoyed policymakers for over half a century. Many argue that it is a flawed concept. It measures things that do not matter and misses things that do. By most recent measures, the UK’s GDP has been the envy of the Western world, with record low unemployment and high growth figures. If everything was going so well, then why did over 17 million people vote for Brexit, despite the warnings about what it could do to their country’s economic prospects?
A recent annual study of countries and their ability to convert growth into well-being sheds some light on that question. Across the 163 countries measured, the UK is one of the poorest performers in ensuring that economic growth is translated into meaningful improvements for its citizens. Rather than just focusing on GDP, over 40 different sets of criteria from health, education and civil society engagement have been measured to get a more rounded assessment of how countries are performing.
While all of these countries face their own challenges, there are a number of consistent themes. Yes, there has been a budding economic recovery since the 2008 global crash, but in key indicators in areas such as health and education, major economies have continued to decline. Yet this isn’t the case with all countries. Some relatively poor European countries have seen huge improvements across measures including civil society, income equality and environment.
This is a lesson that rich countries can learn: When GDP is no longer regarded as the sole measure of a country’s success, the world looks very different.
So what Kennedy was referring to was that while GDP has been the most common method for measuring the economic activity of nations, as a measure, it is no longer enough. It does not include important factors such as environmental quality or education outcomes – all things that contribute to a person's sense of well-being.
The sharp hit to growth predicted around the world and in the UK could lead to a decline in the everyday services we depend on for our well-being and for growth. But policymakers who refocus efforts on improving well-being rather than simply worrying about GDP figures could avoid the forecasted doom and may even see progress.
31. Robert F. Kennedy is cited because he
[A]praised the UK for its GDP.
[B]identified GDP with happiness.
[C]misinterpreted the role of GDP.
[D]had a low opinion of GDP.
32. It can be inferred from Paragraph 2 that
[A]the UK is reluctant to remold its economic pattern.
[B]the UK will contribute less to the world economy.
[C]GDP as the measure of success is widely defied in the UK.
[D]policymakers in the UK are paying less attention to GDP.
33. Which of the following is true about the recent annual study?
[A]It excludes GDP as an indicator.
[B]It is sponsored by 163 countries.
[C]Its criteria are questionable.
[D]Its results are enlightening.
34. In the last two paragraphs, the author suggests that
[A]the UK is preparing for an economic boom.
[B]high GDP foreshadows an economic decline.
[C]it is essential to consider factors beyond GDP.
[D]it requires caution to handle economic issues.
35. Which of the following is the best for the text?
[A]High GDP But Inadequate Well-being, a UK lesson
[B]GDP figures, a Window on Global Economic Health
[C] Robert F. Kennedy, a Terminator of GDP
[D]Brexit, the UK’s Gateway to Well-being
31. 答案【D】had a low opinion of GDP.
解析：题目问的是Robert被引用是因为什么。根据题目中的人名定位到第一段第一句话Robert F. Kennedy once said that a country's GDP measures “everything except that which makes life worthwhile.”这句话是说这个人认为一个国家的GDP可以衡量所有东西，除了让生活有意义的事。这个观点摆明了Robert对GDP持不欣赏的态度。D选项 a low opinion不高的评价，显然是对原文的概括性描述，因此选D。
32. 答案【C】GDP as the measure of success is widely defied in the UK.
解析：题目明确说了从第二段中找答案。A选项中的economic pattern在原文中没有直接的表达，但在二段末句···people vote for Brexit, despite the warnings about what it could do to their country’s economic prospects?中，原文有提到人们投票脱欧，尽管有很多人警告他们这样做可能会对国家经济前景有影响。这说明英国人不怕改变现有经济状况，因此与A中的reluctant不情愿不相符。B选项中英国对世 界经济的贡献问题，在第二段中完全没提，只有the UK’s GDP has been the envy of the Western world英国GDP让西方世 界嫉妒的表述。C选项说GDP用来衡量幸福的作用以及被英国人普遍否定了。原文中第二段第二句说it is a flawed concept，认为GDP是有问题的，第三句紧接着说It measures things that do not matter and misses things that do表面GDP其实忽视了很多关键的东西，并不能衡量幸福。第四句、第五句拿UK来举例，说英国GDP很好，但是人们却要脱欧来改变现状，暗示人们的生活并不好。整段说明了英国人并不认为他们的高GDP给她们带来了好的生活，与C选项正好形成正话反说，为正确选项。D选项policymakers在第二段第一句出现，并不存在所谓英国的policymakers，更没有谈过其是否关注GDP。
33. 答案【D】Its results are enlightening.
解析：这题根据题干中的recent annual study定位到第三段第一句A recent annual study ...and ...sheds some light on that question。这句话中的shed light on 短语就是照亮，阐释的意思，跟D选项中的enlighten启发是同义转换，因此为正确答案。
34.答案【C】it is essential to consider factors beyond GDP.
解析 ：从题目可知答案来自于最后两段。第六段第一句···, as a measure, it is no longer enough说明GDP不靠谱，第二句It does not include important factors···that contribute to a person's sense of well-being说明GDP没有包含所有个人幸福的要素。最后一段最后一句But policymakers who refocus efforts on improving well-being rather than simply worrying about GDP figures could avoid the forecasted doom and may even see progress.也明确说了制定政策的人要关注提高福利，而不是简单关注GDP数字。这些句子都与C选项factors beyond GDP相符。
35. 答案【A】High GDP But Inadequate Well-being, a UK lesson
解析：第一段第一句就引用名人名言，说GDP是不靠谱的，第二句就拿英国脱欧举例，说it is now a timely moment to assess what he was referring to，表明英国脱欧证明他说得有道理，咱们要好好听听。第二段继续说英国GDP高，但是人们要搞事——脱欧，说明人们日子不好过。第三段，第四段开始分析为啥英国人不乖乖听话过日子，原来是福利在后退but in key indicators in areas such as health and education, major economies have continued to decline。第五段直接说富裕国家要引以为戒：This is a lesson that rich countries can learn。所以整篇文章的主题就是GDP不靠谱，福利不给力不行，英国脱欧是例证。A选项正好包括了这三个要素，High GDP, Inadequate Well-being和a UK lesson因此选A。