English – Reading Comprehension – It’s as if someone were out there making

XAT 2020 Exam Paper – English – Reading Comprehension – It’s as if someone were out there making

It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is precisely what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as it had to. (This is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat.) But, of course, this is the very sort of problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don’t really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens. While corporations may engage in ruthless downsizing, the layoffs and speed-ups invariably fall on that class of people who are actually making, moving, fixing, and maintaining things. Through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper pushers ultimately seems to expand, and more and more employees find themselves—not unlike Soviet workers, actually—working forty- or even fifty-hour weeks on paper but effectively working fifteen hours just as Keynes predicted, since the rest of their time is spent organizing or attending motivational seminars, updating their Facebook profiles, or downloading TV box sets. The answer clearly isn’t economic: it’s moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger. (Think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the sixties.) And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.
Question 1
Which of the following options, if true, BEST makes the author’s assertion on pointless jobs erroneous?

  1. Workers who carry out pointless jobs are more loyal to the organization than others
  2. Pointless jobs add less value to the organization than the jobs of those who are making or fixing things.
  3. Pointless jobs decrease the efficiency of the organization since they replace those who are making, fixing and moving things.
  4. Organizations with a higher number of pointless jobs are more profitable than those with less.
  5. Even though the rate of increase in pointless jobs is higher, their absolute number on an average is lower than that of meaningful jobs.

Answer: D

Question 2
Which of the following can be BEST inferred from the passage?

  1. The ruling class abhors leisure so much that they encourage organizations to create unwanted jobs.
  2. Keeping people employed for longer hours serves the plans of the ruling class.
  3. Work as a moral right is the design of the ruling class to cut down on leisure
  4. For political reasons, profit-making firms sometimes indulge in non-profitable decisions.
  5. Pointless jobs are here to stay, regardless of whether they are necessary or not.

Answer: B

Question 3
Which of the following statements will BEST explain the principle underlying the theme of the passage?

  1. Organizations that create more jobs are rewarded by the government for protecting political values.
  2. Work is a moral value in itself.
  3. People unwilling to submit to an intense work discipline deserve nothing.
  4. Keynes predicted that a happy and productive workforce is a force for the good.
  5. Peace and order in society require humans to be engaged in some activity most of the time, regardless of its meaninglessness.

Answer: E

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