passage in this section is followed by a group of questions to be answered on the basis of what is stated or
in the passage. For some of the questions, more than one of the choices could conceivably answer the question.
However, you are to choose the best answer; that is, the response that most accurately and completely answers the question, and
blacken the corresponding space on your answer sheet.
Economists have long defined prosperity in terms of
monetary value, gauging a given nation's prosperity solely
on the basis of the total monetary value of the goods and
services produced annually.
However, critics point out that defining prosperity solely as
a function of monetary value is questionable since it fails to
recognize other kinds of values, such as quality of life or
environmental health, that contribute directly to prosperity
in a broader sense.
For example, as the earth's ozone layer weakens and loses
its ability to protect people from ultraviolet radiation, sales
of hats, sunglasses, and sunscreens are likely to skyrocket,
all adding to the nation's total expenditures. In this way,
troubling reductions in
environmental health and quality of life may in fact
initiate economic activity that, by the economists'
measure, bolsters prosperity.
It can also happen that communities seeking to
increase their prosperity as measured strictly in
monetary terms may damage their quality of life and their
environment. The situation of one rural community
illustrates this point: residents of the community value the
local timber industry as a primary source of income, and
they vocally protested
proposed limitations on timber harvests as a threat to their
prosperity. Implicitly adopting the economists' point of
view, the residents argued that the harvest limitations would
lower their wages or even cause the loss of jobs.
But critics of the economists' view argue that this
view of the situation overlooks a crucial consideration.
Without the harvest limitations, they say, the land on
which the community depends would be seriously
damaged. Moreover, they point out that the residents
themselves cite the abundance of natural beauty as one of
the features that make their community a highly desirable
place to live. But it is also extremely poor, and the critics
point out that the residents could double their incomes by
moving only 150 kilometers
away. From their decision not to do so, the critics
conclude that their location has substantial monetary value
to them. The community will thus lose much more-even
understood in monetary terms-if the proposed harvest
limits are not implemented.