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A conventional view of nineteenth-century

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A conventional view of nineteenth-century [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2017, 06:30
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A conventional view of nineteenth-century Britain holds that iron manufacturers and textile manufacturers from the north of England became the wealthiest and most powerful people in society after about 1832. According to Marxist historians, these industrialists were the target of the working class in its struggle for power. A new study by Rubinstein, however, suggests that the real wealth lay with the bankers and merchants of London. Rubinstein does not deny that a northern industrial elite existed but argues that it was consistently outnumbered and outdone by a London-based commercial elite. His claims are provocative and deserve consideration.

Rubinstein’s claim about the location of wealth comes from his investigation of probate records. These indicate the value of personal property, excluding real property (buildings and land), left by individuals at death. It does seem as if large fortunes were more frequently made in commerce than in industry and, within industry, more frequently from alcohol or tobacco than from textiles or metal. However, such records do not unequivocally make Rubinstein’s case. Uncertainties abound about how the probate rules for valuing assets were actually applied. Mills and factories, being real property, were clearly excluded: machinery may also have been, for the same reason. What the valuation conventions were for stock-in-trade (goods for sale) is also uncertain. It is possible that their probate values were much lower than their actual market value: cash or near-cash, such as bank balances or stocks, were, on the other hand, invariably considered at full face value. A further complication is that probate valuations probably took no notice of a business’s goodwill (favor with the public) which, since it represents expectations about future profit-making, would today very often be a large fraction of market value. Whether factors like these introduced systematic biases into the probate valuations of individuals with different types of businesses would be worth investigating.

The orthodox view that the wealthiest individuals were the most powerful is also questioned by Rubinstein’s study. The problem for this orthodox view is that Rubinstein finds many millionaires who are totally unknown to nineteenth-century historians: the reason for their obscurity could be that they were not powerful. Indeed, Rubinstein dismisses any notion that great wealth had anything to do with entry into the governing elite, as represented by bishops, higher civil servants, and chairmen of manufacturing companies. The only requirements were university attendance and a father with a middle-class income.

Rubinstein, in another study, has begun to buttress his findings about the location of wealth by analyzing income tax returns, which reveal a geographical distribution of middle-class incomes similar to that of wealthy incomes revealed by probate records. But until further confirmatory investigation is done, his claims can only be considered partially convincing.

1. The main idea of the passage is that

(A) the Marxist interpretation of the relationship between class and power in nineteenth-century Britain is no longer viable
(B) a simple equation between wealth and power is unlikely to be supported by new data from nineteenth-century British archives
(C) a recent historical investigation has challenged but not disproved the orthodox view of the distribution of wealth and the relationship of wealth to power in nineteenth-century Britain
(D) probate records provide the historian with a revealing but incomplete glimpse of the extent and location of wealth in nineteenth-century Britain
(E) an attempt has been made to confirm the findings of a new historical study of nineteenth-century Britain, but complete confirmation is likely to remain elusive


2. The author of the passage implies that probate records as a source of information about wealth in nineteenth-century Britain are
(A) self-contradictory and misleading
(B) ambiguous and outdated
(C) controversial but readily available
(D) revealing but difficult to interpret
(E) widely used by historians but fully understandable only by specialists


3. The author suggests that the total probate valuations of the personal property of individuals holding goods for sale in nineteenth-century Britain may have been
(A) affected by the valuation conventions for such goods
(B) less accurate than the valuations for such goods provided by income tax returns
(C) less, on average, if such goods were tobacco-related than if they were alcohol-related
(D) greater, on average, than the total probate valuations of those individuals who held bank balances
(E) dependent on whether such goods were held by industrialists or by merchants or bankers


4. According to the passage, Rubinstein has provided evidence that challenges which one of the following claims about nineteenth-century Britain?
(A) The distribution of great wealth between commerce and industry was not equal.
(B) Large incomes were typically made in alcohol and tobacco rather than in textiles and metal.
(C) A London-based commercial elite can be identified.
(D) An official governing elite can be identified.
(E) There was a necessary relationship between great wealth and power.


5. The author mentions that goodwill was probably excluded from the probate valuation of a business in nineteenth-century Britain most likely in order to

(A) give an example of a business asset about which little was known in the nineteenth century
(B) suggest that the probate valuations of certain businesses may have been significant underestimations of their true market value
(C) make the point that this exclusion probably had an equal impact on the probate valuations of all nineteenth-century British businesses
(D) indicate that expectations about future profit-making is the single most important factor in determining the market value of certain businesses
(E) argue that the twentieth-century method of determining probate valuations of a business may be consistently superior to the nineteenth-century method


6. Which one of the following studies would provide support for Rubinstein’s claims?

(A) a study that indicated that many members of the commercial elite in nineteenth-century London had insignificant holdings of real property

(B) a study that indicated that in the nineteenth century, industrialists from the north of England were in fact a target for working-class people

(C) a study that indicated that, in nineteenth-century Britain, probate values of goods for sale were not as high as probate values of cash assets

(D) a study that indicated that the wealth of nineteenth-century British industrialists did not appear to be significantly greater when the full value of their real property holdings was actually considered

(E) a study that indicated that at least some members of the official governing elite in nineteenth-century Britain owned more real property than had previously been thought to be the case


7. Which one of the following, if true, would cast the most doubt on Rubinstein’s argument concerning wealth and the official governing elite in nineteenth-century Britain?

(A) Entry into this elite was more dependent on university attendance than on religious background.
(B) Attendance at a prestigious university was probably more crucial than a certain minimum family income in gaining entry into this elite.
(C) Bishops as a group were somewhat wealthier, at the point of entry into this elite, than were higher civil servants or chairmen of manufacturing companies.
(D) The families of many members of this elite owned few, if any, shares in iron industries and textile industries in the north of England.
(E) The composition of this elite included vice-chancellors, many of whom held office because of their wealth.

[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

Last edited by broall on 23 Aug 2017, 08:27, edited 1 time in total.
Reformatted question

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Re: A conventional view of nineteenth-century [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2017, 06:34
could you please help me with the first question.. Isn't option c the main idea of the third paragraph?

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Re: A conventional view of nineteenth-century   [#permalink] 23 Aug 2017, 06:34
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A conventional view of nineteenth-century

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