GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: NO5

Feelings of hopelessness among medieval workers trapped in the poverty cycle gradually lessened as it became possible for women's labor to supplement a family's money income by more than pennies. By 1300, women spinners could be found working on their own for wealthy sponsors, even after the introduction in Italy and France of a prohibition against advancing money for supplies to women spinners. Historians have usually interpreted this prohibition simply as evidence of women's economic subjection, since it obliged them to turn to usurers; however, it was also almost certainly a response to a trend toward differential reward for women's higher skill. Yarn can be spun irregularly and lumpily, but perfectly smooth yarn is worth more. Working for merchant entrepreneurs on time rates.women had been paid hardly more than children; working as entrepreneurs themselves and producing good work by the piece, they could break into the rational system of differential rewards.

Question List: 1 2 3

The primary purpose of the passage is to

  • A propose and defend a theory about the consequences of a certain historical event
  • B present historical facts and offer a broader interpretation of those facts than has been offered in the past
  • C describe the socioeconomic effects of a widely held attitude during a particular historical period
  • D demonstrate the superiority of using an economic approach to historical analysis
  • E call attention to the influence of the textile industry on society during a particular historical period

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