In the eighteenth century, Japan’s feudal overlords, from th : GMAT Reading Comprehension (RC)
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# In the eighteenth century, Japan’s feudal overlords, from th

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In the eighteenth century, Japan’s feudal overlords, from th [#permalink]

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07 May 2010, 23:26
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In the eighteenth century, Japan’s feudal overlords, from the shogun to the humblest samurai, found themselves under financial stress. In part, this stress can be attributed to the overlords’ failure to adjust to a rapidly expanding economy, but the stress was also due to factors beyond the overlords’ control. Concentration of the samurai in castle-towns had acted as a stimulus to trade. Commercial efficiency, in turn, had put temptations in the way of buyers. Since most samurai had been reduced to idleness by years of peace, encouraged to engage in scholarship and martial exercises or to perform administrative tasks that took little time, it is not surprising that their tastes and habits grew expensive. Overlords’ income, despite the increase in rice production among their tenant farmers, failed to keep pace with their expenses. Although shortfalls in overlords’ income resulted almost as much from laxity among their tax collectors (the nearly inevitable outcome of hereditary office-holding) as from their higher standards of living, a misfortune like a fire or flood, bringing an increase in expenses or a drop in revenue, could put a domain in debt to the city rice-brokers who handled its finances. Once in debt, neither the individual samurai nor the shogun himself found it easy to recover.

It was difficult for individual samurai overlords to increase their income because the amount of rice that farmers could be made to pay in taxes was not unlimited, and since the income of Japan’s central government consisted in part of taxes collected by the shogun from his huge domain, the government too was constrained. Therefore, the Tokugawa shoguns began to look to other sources for revenue. Cash profits from government-owned mines were already on the decline because the most easily worked deposits of silver and gold had been exhausted, although debasement of the coinage had compensated for the loss. Opening up new farmland was a possibility, but most of what was suitable had already been exploited and further reclamation was technically unfeasible. Direct taxation of the samurai themselves would be politically dangerous. This left the shoguns only commerce as a potential source of government income.

Most of the country’s wealth, or so it seemed, was finding its way into the hands of city merchants. It appeared reasonable that they should contribute part of that revenue to ease the shogun’s burden of financing the state. A means of obtaining such revenue was soon found by levying forced loans, known as goyo-kin; although these were not taxes in the strict sense, since they were irregular in timing and arbitrary in amount, they were high in yield. Unfortunately, they pushed up prices. Thus, regrettably, the Tokugawa shoguns’ search for solvency for the government made it increasingly difficult for individual Japanese who lived on fixed stipends to make ends meet.
1.The passage is most probably an excerpt from
(A) an economic history of Japan
(B) the memoirs of a samurai warrior
(C) a modern novel about eighteenth-century Japan
(D) an essay contrasting Japanese feudalism with its Western counterpart
(E) an introduction to a collection of Japanese folktales
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A

2.Which of the following financial situations is most analogous to the financial situation in which Japan’s Tokugawa shoguns found themselves in the eighteenth century?
(A) A small business borrows heavily to invest in new equipment, but is able to pay off its debt early when it is awarded a lucrative government contract.
(B) Fire destroys a small business, but insurance covers the cost of rebuilding.
(C) A small business is turned down for a loan at a local bank because the owners have no credit history.
(D) A small business has to struggle to meet operating expenses when its profits decrease.
(E) A small business is able to cut back sharply on spending through greater commercial efficiency and thereby compensate for a loss of revenue.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D

3.Which of the following best describes the attitude of the author toward the samurai discussed in lines 11-16?
(A) Warmly approving
(B) Mildly sympathetic
(C) Bitterly disappointed
(D) Harshly disdainful
(E) Profoundly shocked
[Reveal] Spoiler:
B

4.According to the passage, the major reason for the financial problems experienced by Japan’s feudal overlords in the eighteenth century was that
(C) profits from mining had declined
(D) the coinage had been sharply debased
(E) the samurai had concentrated in castle-towns
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A

5.The passage implies that individual samurai did not find it easy to recover from debt for which of the following reasons?
(B) Taxes were irregular in timing and arbitrary in amount.
(C) The Japanese government had failed to adjust to the needs of a changing economy.
(D) The domains of samurai overlords were becoming smaller and poorer as government revenues increased.
(E) There was a limit to the amount in taxes that farmers could be made to pay.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
E

6.The passage suggests that, in eighteenth-century Japan, the office of tax collector
(A) was a source of personal profit to the officeholder
(B) was regarded with derision by many Japanese
(C) remained within families
(D) existed only in castle-towns
(E) took up most of the officeholder’s time
[Reveal] Spoiler:
C

7.Which of the following could best be substituted for the word “This” in line 47 without changing the meaning of the passage?
(A) The search of Japan’s Tokugawa shoguns for solvency
(B) The importance of commerce in feudal Japan
(C) The unfairness of the tax structure in eighteenth century Japan
(D) The difficulty of increasing government income by other means
(E) The difficulty experienced by both individual samurai and the shogun himself in extricating themselves from debt
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D

Pls. explain..
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #1 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #2 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #3 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #4 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #5 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #6 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #7 OA
If you have any questions
New!
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10 May 2010, 01:34
1. A ( tried Elimination )
1.The passage is most probably an excerpt from
(A) an economic history of Japan
--> Passage talks of economic elements like tax, Trade, commerce, tax collectors etc. As well, it points to sscenario in past covering economic shape at that time.

(B) the memoirs of a samurai warrior
--> The passage is not only limited to samurai warriors but all the feudal overlords. refre Line 1.
(C) a modern novel about eighteenth-century Japan
--> The passage discuss the condition as it was in 18th century without any comparision with modern activities.
(D) an essay contrasting Japanese feudalism with its Western counterpart
->No mention of western counterpart
(E) an introduction to a collection of Japanese folktales
--> The passage accounts for actual economic condition in 18th century rather than folktales.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2. D -- > Levying forced loan was supposed to increase the revenue so that economic situation could be better. However, loan increased the prices while the income was fixed and hence purchasing power decreased and thus nullifying the positive impact of the remedial effort. Its a kind of deadloack situation.

(A) A small business borrows heavily to invest in new equipment, but is able to pay off its debt early when it is awarded a lucrative government contract.
--> If small business can pay its debts, they would find themself in better condition.

(B) Fire destroys a small business, but insurance covers the cost of rebuilding.
--> Insurance covers for the loss and hence small business can survive and getting insurnace has no adverse impact on the business rather it would boost it up.

(C) A small business is turned down for a loan at a local bank because the owners have no credit history.
-> It shows a circular or deadlock situation ie if you dont have a credit history then you dont get loan but if you dont have money how would have a credit history. But its more of a trap. The situation described in situation wants a remedial effort which nullyfied by one of the consequences of that effort.

(D) A small business has to struggle to meet operating expenses when its profits decrease.
--> This seems best. Small businees takes some action to grow its business but ultimately the profit is decreasing. Similar to sitution where efforts were taken to increase the revenue but in reality profit was descresing because of rising prices and fixed income.

(E) A small business is able to cut back sharply on spending through greater commercial efficiency and thereby compensate for a loss of revenue.
-->if the remedial effort can lead to the solution , then its not analogous to the situation mentioned in the passage.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.Which of the following best describes the attitude of the author toward the samurai discussed in lines 11-16?
(A) Warmly approving
(B) Mildly sympathetic
--> Just picked based on the tone of the passage.
(C) Bitterly disappointed
(D) Harshly disdainful
(E) Profoundly shocked
------------------------------------------------------
4.A
4.According to the passage, the major reason for the financial problems experienced by Japan’s feudal overlords in the eighteenth century was that
-->income, despite the increase in rice production among their tenant farmers, failed to keep pace with their expenses. Rest are the reasons/evidences why couldn't they keep up with growing economy.
(C) profits from mining had declined
(D) the coinage had been sharply debased
(E) the samurai had concentrated in castle-towns
-----------------------
5 .(E) There was a limit to the amount in taxes that farmers could be made to pay
based on --> "It was difficult for individual samurai overlords to increase their income because the amount of rice that farmers could be made to pay in taxes was not unlimited"
The taxes were not unlimited meaning there was a limit to it.
--------------------

6.The passage suggests that, in eighteenth-century Japan, the office of tax collector
-->based on "the nearly inevitable outcome of hereditary office-holding"

7. D. 'This' refers to a situation of economic condition where overlords were not able to raise the income levels

Which of the following could best be substituted for the word “This” in line 47 without changing the meaning of the passage?
(A) The search of Japan’s Tokugawa shoguns for s
lvency --> Just a specific situation and it has been mentioned in passage later.
(B) The importance of commerce in feudal Japan
--> Importance of commerce is higlighted beacuse of situaation pointed by 'This'.

(C) The unfairness of the tax structure in eighteenth century Japan
--> Tax structure never said to be unfair

(D) The difficulty of increasing government income by other means
--> Author discusses many options which failed to increas the income. And this led to looking for commerce as viable option. Best Answer
(E) The difficulty experienced by both individual samurai and the shogun himself in extricating themselves from debt
--> Just a specific case
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10 May 2010, 01:47
[Reveal] Spoiler:
1.A
2.D
3.B
4.A
5.E
6.C
7.D

OA Please, have already tried to provide my explantion in previous quote.
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10 May 2010, 12:02
OA
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A D B A E C D

Awesome.. you got all of them correct !! Thanks for the explanations..
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13 May 2010, 01:15
1.A
2.D
3.B
4.A
5.E
6.C
7.B
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03 Jun 2010, 08:53
my turn
A
D
B
A
E
C
D
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06 Jun 2010, 03:18
vitid wrote:
my turn
A
D
B
A
E
C
D
.....
1 A 03:44
2 D 01:24
3 B 01:31
4 B 00:04
5 E 00:46
6 C 00:40
7 D 01:04

Despite the OA , I reckon answers for 4 should have been B
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31 Oct 2010, 01:49
A
D
B
A
E
C
E---> Wrong; finding difficulty when choosing between D and E.
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Re: In the eighteenth century, Japan’s feudal overlords, from th [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2016, 10:35
A
D
C
A
E
C
D

Not sure for 3rd answer ,how tone is sympathetic
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26 Sep 2016, 00:43
A
D
C
A
E
C
A

well i missed two ..

Nice passage .. Thanks for that nsp007
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Re: In the eighteenth century, Japan’s feudal overlords, from th [#permalink]

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29 Nov 2016, 11:21
Can some one please tell me the source of the RC Passage??
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Re: In the eighteenth century, Japan’s feudal overlords, from th   [#permalink] 29 Nov 2016, 11:21
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