Official 48 Set 6

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How Business Leaders Get Political Power in Nineteenth-century United States

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What is the lecture mainly about?
  • A. Ways that new managerial techniques hastened the industrialization of American society in the nineteenth century.

  • B. Ways that the United States government tried to regulate business practices in the nineteenth century.

  • C. Reasons that business leaders gained political power in the late nineteenth-century United States.

  • D. A comparison of the management styles of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.

显示答案 正确答案: C

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    NARRATOR:Listen to part of a lecture in an American History class.

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:We have been talking about the transformation...the industrialization of United States economy in 19th century.As the country shifted from an agricultural to an industrial base, political power shifted, too.Businesses became... a lot of power went...went...went...went from the government into the hands of business leaders.

    So, why did this happen?How did an elite group, a few business giants, how did they end up dominating, controlling a number of important national industries in the last quarter of the 19th century?How did they get to be so dominant?How did they figure out?How did they take advantage of the new industrialization of American society?

    Well, [slight pause] consider the example of Andrew Carnegie and the steel industry.

    We have already discussed the development of a national network...a national system of railroads.Well, this growth created a tremendous demand for steel; a national railroad system needs a lot of railroad tracks, right?And Carnegie seized the opportunity. He built the world's most modern steel mill.And he came up with a system of business organization called vertical integration.

    Vertical integration just means that...all...every single activity of a particular industry's processing is performed by a single company.In the case of the steel industry, this means [listing] the mining of iron ore, the transportation used to get ore from the mine to the mill, turning the ore into the steel, the manufacturing process, and sales.Carnegie controlled all of these, he practiced Vertical Integration on such a large scale that he practically owned the whole steel industry.This of course gave him a lot of political clout.Just a quick sketch, but you get the idea, right?

    Here is another example—John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller owned an oil refinery, but he wanted to expand his business.Since there was lots of competition in the industry, he thought the smart way to go about it would be to buy his competitors' businesses.But, at the time, it was illegal for one corporation to control another.So, what he did was, he created an organizational structure called a trust.A trust is... well I don't have to go into that now, what matters is that a trust created a single, central management team, and that team directed the activities of what otherwise still appeared to be independent companies.

    This new...uh...legal entity worked so well that at one point Rockefeller controlled 90% of the country's oil refineries, which again gave him lots of political power.

    So you've got two different approaches to expanding a business, and both were quite effective.Of course, these weren't the only two examples; a number of big businesses run by powerful individuals developed across a wide range of industries, like railroads, food processing, electricity, but what they all had in common was: the government let them operate pretty much how they wanted to.

    So why did they do that?Why did the government keep such a low profile and allow individuals to gain so much control of the industries?Well, obviously, they had the wealth and the power to influence political leaders.

    But also, the truth is that these industry leaders made a significant contribution.Their investments in technologies led to the development of many new production techniques, which strengthened the economy.And many of them gave lots of money to charity, andrew Carnegie was particularly admired for his generosity.

    But there was one thing in particular that gave them power, and that's... they were beneficiaries, probably the biggest beneficiaries of a theory, a dominant political theory in the 19th century, something called laissez-faire doctrine.

    Laissez-faire roughly means "let it alone" and that pretty much summarized the theory's philosophy.The idea was that government should leave business alone, allow it to operate unregulated.Legislators weren't supposed to pass a lot of laws, or worry about regulating business practices.When people did challenge a company's business conduct, I mean, I mean, in court cases, well, the few laws that did exist were usually interpreted in favor of business interests.

    But over time, it started becoming increasingly obvious and troubling to the public that some of these big companies simply had too much control.There were criticisms that owners had too much opportunity to exploit workers, workers and consumers, because they could control prices and wages.And small business owners and small farmers couldn't compete.

    So there was bad press, bad publicity, enough that the government eventually felt it had to do something.So it passed two key pieces of legislation.One law was designed to regulate the prices set by the railroads.Another made it illegal for trusts to be used to limit competition.Both were aimed squarely at reducing the exclusive control that existed in some industries.

  • 旁白:听一段美国历史课上的讲座。

    教授:我们一直在讲转型——19世纪美国经济的工业化。随着这个国家从一个农业国转变成一个工业国,其政治权利也发生了改变。企业成为......很多权利从政府转移到了商业领袖的手里。

    为什么会发生这种情况呢?一群精英人士,几个商业大亨是如何在19世纪最后二十几年获得支配控制一大批重要的国家产业的权利的呢?他们如何变得如此有优势的?他们怎么做到的?他们是如何利用美国社会的新工业化的呢?

    我们来看看Andrew Carnegie和钢铁产业的例子吧。

    我们已经讨论过了一个全国网络......全国铁路系统的发展。这种发展产生了对钢铁的巨大需求,全国性的铁路系统需要很多铁轨,对吧?而Carnegie抓住了这次机会。他建造了当时世界上最现代的钢铁厂。并提出了一个叫做纵向一体化的商业组织体制。

    纵向一体化的意思是......每个特定行业的每一项活动都是由同一家公司进行的。就钢铁行业而言,这意味着铁矿的开采、将矿石从矿场运到工厂使用的交通,把矿石炼成铁,制造加工和出售。Carnegie控制了所有这些活动,他实行纵向一体化的规模非常大,以至于整个钢铁行业几乎都是他的。这当然给他带来了很多政治势力。我们就简单介绍一下,但是你们听懂了我的意思,对吧?

    还有另外一个例子,John D.Rockefeller,Rockefeller曾拥有一座石油精炼厂,但是他想扩大生意。由于当时该行业的竞争十分激烈,他认为明智的做法是收购竞争对手的业务。但是在当时一家公司控制另一家公司是违法的。所以他的做法是,他创建了一个叫做信托的组织结构。信托是......现在不用讲这个,重要的是,信托创造出了一个单独的集中管理团队,那个团队指导了原本仍应是独立的公司进行的活动。

    这个新的合法组织工作得特别出色,以至于Rockefeller曾一度控制了美国90%的石油精炼厂,这同样也给他带来了很多政治权力。

    所以我们讲了两种不同的扩张生意的方法,这两种都非常有效。当然了,这些不是仅有的两个例子;很多有权势的人经营的大企业都跨了很多行业发展,比如铁路、食品加工、电力,但他们的共同点是:政府基本上都让他们按照自己的想法运营。

    他们为什么这么做呢?政府为什么如此低调,允许个人得到对各行业这么大的控制权呢?显然,他们有足以影响政治领袖的财富和权势。

    还有,事实是这些行业领袖做出了重要贡献。他们在技术方面的投资带来了很多新的生产技术的发展,增强了经济。而且他们中很多人都花了很多钱做慈善,Andrew Carnegie就因他的慷慨备受钦佩。

    但有一件事尤其给他们带来了权力,那就是他们是受益者......可能是一个理论的最大受益者,这个政治理论在19世纪特别盛行,叫做放任政策(laissez-faire doctrine)。

    laissez-faire大约就是放任的意思,而那基本上就总结了这个理论的原则。这个理论的思想是政府应该对商业持放任不管的态度,让它不受调控地运行。立法者不应该制定很多法律,或者操心调控商业操作。当人们质疑一家公司的商业行为时,我是说在法庭上,存在的几部法律通常都按照有利于企业利益的角度被解读。

    但是随着时间流逝,一些大公司的控制权过大对公众来说开始变得越来越明显和令人不安。有些人批评道,大公司老板有过多的机会压榨工人,工人和消费者,因为他们能控制价格和薪酬。而小公司老板和小农场主无法与他们竞争。

    所以负面报道,负面宣传足够多到终于让政府感觉必须采取措施了。所以它通过了两个关键的法律。一条法律是设计来调控铁路设定的价格。另一条将使用信托限制竞争的行为定为了非法的。这两条法律都旨在直接减少存在于一些行业的专属控制。

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    题型分类: 主旨题
    原文定位:
    选项分析:全文首先介绍19世纪美国,伴随着工业化,权力从政府转向商人,然后举例说明垂直整合和垄断控制让两位商人大获成功,接着介绍当时的政治环境相对宽松让企业自由发展,说明全文都在介绍为什么十九世纪的商人可以获得更多的政治权力,对应选项C。

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