GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: XDF

Historians have only recently begun to note the increase in demand for luxury goods and services that took place in eighteenth-century England. To answer the question of why consumers became so eager to buy, some historians have pointed to the ability of manufacturers to advertise in a relatively uncensored press. This, however, hardly seems a sufficient answer. McKendrick favors a Veblen model of conspicuous consumption stimulated by competition for status. The "middling sort" bought goods and services because they wanted to follow fashions set by the rich. Again, we may wonder whether this explanation is sufficient. Do not people enjoy buying things as a form of self-gratification? If so, consumerism could be seen as a product of the rise of new concepts of individualism and materialism, but not necessarily of the frenzy for conspicuous competition.

Question List: 1 2

In the paragraph, the author is primarily concerned with

  • A contrasting two theses and offering a compromise
  • B questioning two explanations and proposing a possible alternative to them.
  • C paraphrasing the work of two historians and questioning their assumptions
  • D examining two theories and endorsing one over the other
  • E raising several questions but implying that they cannot be answered.

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