ГОУ ВПО «Уральский государственный педагогический университет»
Институт иностранных языков
Кафедра английского языка
С.О. Макеева, Н.А. Постоловская
READ, ANSWER, DISCUSS
Методическое пособие по дисциплине
“Практический курс иностранного языка"
(ОЗО, 4 курс)
Методическое пособие по дисциплине "Практический курс иностранного языка" (ОЗО, 4 курс) для практических занятий по специальности «Иностранные языки» / Урал. гос. пед. ун-т.
Составители: Постоловская Н. А., Макеева С. О.
Разработка может быть использована на аудиторных занятиях и при самостоятельной подготовке студентов.
Методическое пособие обсуждено на заседании кафедры английского языка
Протокол № 5 от 14 декабря 2007 г.
Зав. кафедрой С. О. Макеева
канд. филол наук Ю. В. Вронская
канд. пед. наук О. П. Казакова
Макет: Ю. В. Муханова
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Уральского государственного педагогического университета.
620219, Екатеринбург, ГСП-135, просп. Космонавтов, 26
Настоящее пособие предназначено для студентов 3-4 курсов заочной формы обучения и, в первую очередь, для лиц, получающих второе высшее образование. Трёхгодичная модель обучения предполагает сохранение общего объёма программного материала, исключая цикличный способ прохождения ряда гуманитарных областей (Education, Painting).
Методическое пособие построено таким образом, чтобы:
Тематический план, включённый в пособие, поможет оптимизировать организацию лабораторных занятий IX семестра.
Пособие включает ряд видеоматериалов с упражнениями, обязательных для использования на уроке. При работе с упражнениями пособия преподавателям рекомендуется обращать внимание на задания, содержащие элементы профессионализации.
Economy: contemporary issues……………………………………………………………4
Education and PR……………………………………………………………………………..66
Test tasks and quizzes for self assessment……………………………………………81
When countries go bust.
Finance and economics The Economist December 8th 2001
What do Kenneth Lay, chairman of Enron, and Domingo Cavallo, Argentina’s economy minister, have in common? Both were once lionised on Wall Street. And both now see their respective charges collapse, because when creditors have lost confidence, countries can declare bankruptcy and seek protection from its creditors. If the International Monetary Fund has its way, that could change. Anne Krueger, number two at the Fund, recently suggested that a country whose debts were “truly unsustainable” should have a mechanism for restructuring them, in rather the same way that companies can file for bankruptcy.
The idea is that a troubled country would get temporary legal protection when it suspended payments on its debt, in return for promising to negotiate with its creditors in good faith and, meanwhile, to follow sound economic policies. During the “standstill” period, exchange controls could be introduced to reassure creditors that money was not fleeing the country. Lenders would get an incentive to provide new “working capital” by giving new debts seniority over old. And minority creditors would be bound to go along, once enough creditors had agreed.
The notion of such a sovereign bankruptcy procedure is not new. This is the first time, though, that it has been advocated so openly by the ^ top brass. Crucially, America, along with Canada and Britain, is also interested.
There is little argument that the present system for dealing with troubled debtors is inadequate. In the debt crisis of the 1980s, when the governments of developing countries owed debts mainly to banks, creditors were corralled around a table by the IMF and cajoled into accepting roll-overs and, eventually, debt reduction. But the growth of private capital flows during the 1990s has made such an informal approach unworkable. Creditors have grown in number, largely because of an increase in the use of bond finance. Debtors have grown, too, as private companies in emerging economies have joined governments in borrowing abroad. And debt instruments have become vastly more complex.
Recent crises have produced a welter of responses. In cases where bank debt is the chief concern (e. g., South Korea in 1997), creditors have been pushed into providing more cash, with the same sort of arm-twisting as in the 1980s. Where bonds are the problem, unilateral default has been one outcome: Russia, famously, shook financial markets when it defaulted on its domestic debt in 1998. Ecuador’s similar default in 1999 did not rock the world, but it did cause economic pain at home. Another outcome of bond-based crises has been a rise in the scale of IMF lending, as the Fund has tried to provide cash to shore up confidence in troubled economies and to stop default. Mexico’s rescue in 1995 worked; Argentina’s bail-out this year has not.
The appeal of sovereign bankruptcy is that it may eliminate the need for huge IMF bail-outs, with their attendant risk of inciting reckless lending, and at the same time avoid the legal morass of unilateral default. In theory, both creditors and debtors would benefit from clear rules about the procedure for debt restructuring - so long as the rules strike a balance between the rights of debtors and creditors. A bankruptcy regime that is too lenient is sure to dry up inflows to emerging markets.
Putting all this into practice is hard. Many proposals on sovereign bankruptcy have gone nowhere, partly because the details are devilishly tricky to work out. Simple parallels with domestic bankruptcy soon fall apart. Who, for instance, is the impartial adjudicator - the international equivalent of a domestic judge? The IMF is presumably best-equipped to decide whether a country’s economic policies make sense, so it should play a central role. Yet the fund is also a creditor, and an organization with political masters. It will not be seen as impartial.
Another problem is how to ensure that a debtor country is negotiating in food faith, and actually pursuing sensible economic policies. Unlike a domestic bankruptcy judge, an international arbiter can hardly threaten to strip a country of its assets or forcibly change its “management”. And, unlike a company, a country’s capacity to pay external creditors is often a matter of politics as much as economics.
Forgiving the debts that deeply impoverished countries owe to the Fund and the World Bank, were long dismissed as unfeasible; yet eventually they happened. Ms Krueger is surely right to suggest that there are better options than today’s stark choice between bail-outs and chaotic default.
III Give the gist of the text.
IV Pick out cases of metaphors. What additional information do metaphors provide?
V What is the present day situation with Russia’s debts to IMF?
VI List arguments pro- and against sovereign bankruptcy regime; which sound most feasible? Which side does the contributor tend to lean to?
VII Explain what is meant by “pursuing sensible economic policies…” Does it mean the same for the IFM and the debtor-country?
Shaping up for the club
^ omist November 24th 2001
Joining a health club can reflect a genuine interest in fitness - or just a desire to keep up with the neighbors. Much the same applies to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the body that sets the rules for international trade, as Russia steps up the pressure for a speedy admission.
The question is how far Russia still sees its application as a political issue, rather than as part of the real task: cleaning up its ragged statute book and murky bureaucracy to create a business-friendly environment. Talks have dragged on for years. Once the Kremlin started focusing on the issue, they speeded up a bit, but Russian negotiations stomped away from their last big negotiations, in July. They complained that the proposed outside scrutiny of draft laws was an intolerable imposition. There has been no movement since then.
Since China and Taiwan joined this month, however, Russia is one of only a handful of big countries outside the WTO, in the company of Saudi Arabia and Ukraine. Non-membership is increasingly galling. And since September 11th, the political climate has changed. America is now keen to help.
^ for Russia would mean agreeing generous translation periods for the protection of Russia’s many uncompetitive industries, as well as taking a softer approach to enforcement. Even where Russia has the right laws, for example on intellectual property, they often fail to work reliably in practice.
If America sees political reasons to help smooth Russia’s path, it will still be tricky. Joining the WTO requires the agreement of all 144 member countries. Many have years of experience trading with Russia, and clear ideas about the changes they want to see. They include former Soviet captive countries such as the Baltic states, which strongly prefer clarity to fudge when dealing with Russia. Added pressure from America might speed up negotiations, but it cannot guarantee the outcome.
The next meeting of the working group on Russian membership, in January, will show how far Russia is really prepared to adapt, and how many concessions other countries are ready to make. Even if all goes well, Russia’s aim of joining by the end of 2002 still looks very ambitious.
In any case, opinion is divided inside Russia about the merits of membership. The most important sectors of the economy are producers of raw materials, which are not covered by WTO. There are powerful domestic lobbies against. Only 7% of Russian exports will benefit, but outside competition will devastate much of the economy. Another big lobby against membership is the bureaucracy itself, addicted to arbitrary decision-making; the idea of a rules-based system adjudicated by outsiders appalls it.
The strongest supporters are economic performers, along with nascent producers of manufactured exports. Potentially competitive Russian products, such as steel have suffered badly from anti-dumping measures – notably in the United States, which argues that Russia’s low domestic energy prices give it an unfair advantage.
Oddly, western companies actually inside Russia are in two minds as well. Some, such as those involved with telecoms or business services, are strongly in favour. Abolishing artificial restrictions will be good for their expansion plans. But others - chiefly those producing fast-moving consumer goods - are strongly against. Having invested in schmoozing Russian decision-makers, the last thing they want is for their hard-won niches to be blasted by free competition.
II 1) What are the considerations for and against Russia’s joining WTO?
2) What is the present day situation?
3) Give an example of the law on intellectual property failing to work reliably.
4) What is your own, personal attitude to the problem in question? Be argumentative.
III Find an item/article on the Russia-WTO problem in any Russian periodical (2001-2004). Compare it/them with the item under discussion. What is similar/different about treating the problem?
^ ssary of 10-15 economic terms – key to understanding the matters in question.
The Slowdown in Nominal GDP Growth Is of More
The Economist November 3rd 2001
Real GDP is widely forecast to fall again in the fourth quarter, meeting the popular definition of a recession. Less noticed, but perhaps more worrying, is the slump over the past year in America’s nominal GDP growth, the dollar value of economic activity. As both output and inflation decline, nominal GDP growth will slide further; it could even go negative. On current trends, 2001 and 2002 are likely to experience the slowest growth in nominal GDP in any two consecutive years since the 1930s.
The reason why nominal GDP growth is so sluggish is that America entered this recession with inflation at a historically low level. The start of every previous downturn in the past four decades has been marked by rising inflation. This promoted central banks to lift interest rates, leading to a recession, even as inflation remained high for a while.
America’s current recession, however, has been caused largely by an investment boom that has turned to bust. Increased competition and ample global capacity - along with (arguably) sound monetary policy - have held down prices. Inflation is likely to fall further over the next few years as global excess capacity weighs on prices. According to the University of Michigan’s latest consumer survey, inflationary expectations have fallen to their lowest for more than 40 years.
Inflation is declining everywhere; and nominal GDP is also falling in several economies around the world. The most dismal case is Japan, where deflation has helped nominal GDP to fall continuously since 1997. The Bank of Japan forecast this week that it will continue to decline into 2003. Nominal GDP is also shrinking in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Argentina. For the world as a whole nominal GDP growth has fallen to around zero, its lowest since the 1930s.
“So what?” you might ask. Real GDP growth is surely the best measure of economic prosperity, and low inflation is a good thing. Yes, but profits and wages cannot together outgrow nominal GDP. The unusually slow growth in nominal GDP therefore has important implications in four main ways:
III Give the gist of the article.
IV Can the situation described be in any way referred to the present –day Russia? (Use the given-above vocabulary in your reasoning)
V Predict the influence of slower nominal GDP growth in:
Taxes and Taxis. Can tax cuts save the global economy?
Ask a cab driver.
The Economist June 28th 2003
It is a fair bet that, on any given day, some politician somewhere is proposing a change in income-tax rates. In America, administration lobbying plus economic nerves have pushed Congress onto voting for a tax-cut package: refund cheques will be in the post this summer. In Germany, where the economy has been shrinking, there is talk of brining forward to 2004 tax cuts planned for 2005. In Britain, a cabinet minister has been scolded for suggesting that high earners might be happy to pay more tax so that those lower down the scale could pay less.
As a vote-winning measure, tax cuts have obvious appeal: people usually prefer to spend their money themselves, rather than let the government do it. But to economists, the question is a bit more complicated. ^ governments must raise money through taxation, how can they do so at least cost to the economy? By and large, economists prefer taxes that change the relative prices of goods and services as little as possible, and so cause the minimum distortion to people’s spending and investment decisions.
The precise relationship between income-tax rates, economic growth and tax revenues depends on how changes in tax rates affect people’s behavior. On the one hand, lower marginal tax rates give people an incentive to work more, because they can keep a larger share of every dollar they earn. This “substitution“ effect means that people may work harder - so much harder, indeed, that they might end up paying more tax. On the other hand, a cut in the marginal income-tax rate usually means a lower average tax rate too. So people will not have to work so hard to reach the same level of income after a tax cut as they did before. If this “income” effect outweighs the substitution effect, people will work less hard and pay less tax. They may be happier, but the treasury will be emptier.
Some evidence is supportive of Mr Reagan’s instinct that people tend to work harder when tax rates fall. However, there is little evidence for the belief that lower tax rates would encourage people to work so much harder, or draw so many new people into the workforce, that the government ended up with their higher revenues. Economists also agree that the labour supply of families’ second earners-usually women - is more responsive to tax changes than that of the main breadwinners, especially if (as in some countries) income tax is applied to the whole family, not to its individual members.
That said, the evidence is not clear-cut. One reason is that most people have less flexible jobs than Mr Reagan did in his acting days. There is some evidence that America’s tax cuts in 1986 did not cause high-wage men to work any harder, perhaps because such people were already clocking up around 3,000 hours a year at the office. Most workers on more modest pay are in a set 35 or 40 hours a week, regardless of the marginal rate of income tax. Higher taxes may dissuade them from seeking a more demanding job at higher wages, but this effect is hard to measure.
^ of the macroeconomic evidence, some economists have looked at the behavior of individual groups of workers especially those able to choose how long they work. A few years ago, one study looked at how New-York taxi drivers responded to increased wages-which ought to have the same effect as a tax cut. Cabbies, reckoned the economists, have a “target income”. Once they earn, say, $200, they go home, even if it is a busy Saturday night and there is easy money to be made.
If target incomes were common, tax cuts would bring about less effort rather than more, especially because flexible work has become more important in most rich countries. However, a new paper by Henry Farber, of Princeton University, suggests that cabbies respond positively to the prospect of higher pay. Mr Farber - who not only analyzed taxi driver’s trip sheets but also, unusually for an economist, spoke to his subjects argues that cabbies put more hours when the pickings are rich, say, during a convention or a theatre season, and take more leisure when business is slow. Studies of bicycle messengers and stadium food-vendors have reached a similar conclusion. It seems that higher returns encourage more effort, not more leisure, when people have some control over their work hours.
given that, given the cloudiness;
lower marginal tax;
III Make a list of group of workers in this country able to choose how long they work. Do they have a target income? Find out by speaking to them which of them are likely to react to lower marginal tax-rate by increasing work hours. Choose alternative to lower taxation in filling the treasury:
Review consequences of introducing this policy (on 2 pages).
The Devil’s Excrement.
The Economist May 24th 2003
Is oil wealth a blessing or a curse?
Three decades ago, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) sent oil prices rocketing. By 1980, a barrel cost $30, ten times the price in 1970. Consumers suffered, whereas oil producers reaped an enormous windfall. Many assumed then that oil was a gift of God that would transform poor countries into flourishing economies within a generation. Yet even during those heady early days there were doubts. Juan Pablo Perez Alfonso, a founder of OPEC, complained in 1975: “I call petroleum the devil’s excrement. It brings trouble… Look at this waste, corruption, consumption, our public services falling apart. And debt, debt we shall have for years.”
Several new publications argue that history has proved him right. A new book form the Open Society Institute, a foundation financed by George Soros, points out that resource-poor countries grew two to three times faster than resource-rich countries between 1960 and 1990 - even after adjusting for differences in population, initial income per head and other variables). Revealingly, the resource-rich countries began to lag only after the 1970s – in other words, only after oil wealth started to pour in.
Two factors explain this. The main economic problem is known as Dutch Disease, after the effects of the discovery of natural gas in the Netherlands in the 1960s. An oil bonanza causes a sudden rush of foreign earnings; that, in turn, makes domestically produced goods less competitive at home and abroad. Over time, domestic manufacturing and agriculture fade and growth suffers.
Tricky as this problem is, oil economies such as Norway and Alaska have come up with a clever (through still imperfect) solution: they hive off much of the oil income into “stabilization” funds, disbursing “dividends” to citizens slowly - directly in Alaska, via social spending in Norway - so that the economy does not overheat. Chile, one of the world’s more successful developing countries, has a similar fund for its copper revenues.
Contrast this cautious approach with the recklessness of the OPEC countries of the Middle East, which expand domestic spending by about 50% a year between 1974 and 1979. This enriched the elite, but spawned white-elephant projects and fuelled inflation of more than 15% a year. Venezuela has earned over & 600 billion in oil money since the 1970s, but the real income per head of its citizens fell by 15% between 1973 and 1985. It is falling again today.
On top of these economic difficulties can come even worse political problems. Because oil infrastructure can be controlled easily by a few, it often leads to a concentration of political power. Michael Ross, of the University of California at Los Angeles, argues that oil worsens poverty by stunting democratic development, among other things. It also tends to cause, or at least aggravate, civil wars. A new report by Christian Aid, a charity, says that oil economies are more likely than non-oil economies to maintain large armies, and generally do worse on literacy, life expectancy and other measures of human development. In addition, sudden oil wealth affords ample opportunity for corrupting the politicians who award contracts to foreign oil firms.
These reports are troubling, but is there really any prospect of change? Surprisingly, the answer may be yes. For some time now, Publish What You Pay - a collection of activist groups - has been pestering Big Oil to reveal all the payment it makes to governments, which usually insist that such details be kept secret. Now some big investors are getting in on the act too.
A multilateral approach would certainly be more realistic than any national or unilateral steps. That is what BP discovered when it recently voluntary revealed the terms of its contracts in Angola. No other oil company followed suit, and the local powers let it be known that they were displeased. A multilateral approach could involve the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which could push countries to publish the details of contracts and to set up resource funds. Some countries howl that such initiatives violate their sovereignty, but that is a smokescreen: rulers with nothing to hide would surely welcome transparency. Others, including Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan, boast that they already have such funds-but these are weakened by a lack of proper oversight. In contrast, the American proposal for dealing with Iraqi oil revenues could result in the creation of a fund monitored by Kofi Annan.
Getting firms to “publish what you pay is an essential first step”, observed George Soros at the launch of the Open Society book, but the harder step is to get governments to “publish what you receive… and then be accountable for what you receive”.
II Reproduce the text.
III Express your attitude to the proposed solution.
IV Can any fact reflected in the article be in any way applicable/ referring to Russia?
The Economist January 31st 2004
Figures lie, as everyone knows, and liars figure. That should make economists especially suspect, since they are heavily on statistics to try and resolve a wide range of controversies. For example, does a rise in the minimum wage put people out of work? Are stockman returns predictable? Do taxes influence whether a company pays dividends? In recent years, helped by cheaper, more powerful computers, and egged on by policymakers anxious for their views, economists have analyzed ream of statistics to answer such questions. Unfortunately, their guidance may be deeply flawed.
Two economists, Deirdre McCloskey of the University of Illinois, and Stephen Ziliak of Roosevelt University, think their colleagues do a lousy job of making sense of figures, often falling prey to elementary errors. But their biggest gripe is that, blinded by statistical wizardly, many economists fail to think about the way in which the world really works.
To be fair, statistics can be deceptive, especially when explaining human behavior, which is necessarily complicated, and to which iron laws do not apply.
Moreover, even if a relationship exists, the wrong conclusions can be drawn. In medieval Holland, it was noted that there was a correlation between the number of storks living on the roof of a house and the number of children born within it. The relationship was so striking that, according to the rules of maths that govern such things, you could say with great confidence that the results were very unlikely to be merely random. Such a relationship is said to be “statistically significant”. But the Dutch folklore of the time – that storks somehow increased human fertility - was clearly wrong.
Examples of similar errors abound. W. S. Jevons, an English economist of the mid-19th century, thought that sunspots influenced crop yields. More recently and tragically, British mothers have felt the harsh effects of statistical abuse. An expert witness frequently called to give evidence in the trials of mothers accused of murdering their children argued that the odds of more the one cot death in a family were statistically so slim that three such deaths amounted to murder. On this erroneous evidence, hundreds of parents have been sent to prison.
A failure to separate statistical significance from plausible explanation is all too common in economics, often with harmful consequences. In a past paper Professors McCloskey and Ziliak attacked other economists over-reliance on statistical rather than economic reasoning, and focused on one case in particular.
In the 1980s, the American state of Illinois launched a programmed to keep people off the dole. Economists asked whether its costs outweighed its benefits. One study estimated that the programme produced benefits that were more than four times as large as the costs. Although this seemed a good deal for taxpayers - and others - tests seem to support this conclusion – the authors of the study rejected such a finding because they found that their estimate was not statistically significant. In other words, their results fell just short of 90% certainty – the usual, though ad hoc, rule of thumb for most economic work - of not being random.
to egg on gripe
ream cot death
flawed to keep people off the dole
II Answer the questions of the first paragraph
III Comment on the deceptive statistics. Give any other example of the same kind.
V Give the gist of the text
VI Suggest a statistical questionnaire to implement at school to study your school-kids’ social/ economic standing.