THE New Year in Japan is always a time for house cleaning. This year, however, the government is giving itself a special dusting down. Japan's civil service is enduring its most thorough reform since the Americans occupied the country. Beneath a cloud of paper in Kasumigaseki, Tokyo's bureaucratic district, whole ministries are vanishing, merging with each other, or at the very least getting new names. By January 6th, when the removal vans leave, nearly $400m will have been spent shifting 33,000 bureaucrats and their files about the place. The result, say officials, will be smaller government, stronger political leadership and a bureaucracy ready to serve, not rule. Yet opinion polls suggest just one in five Japanese believes them.
The government is undeniably about to get smaller. Mergers will cut the number of ministries and agencies from 22 to 12, and one in four civil service jobs will go over the next ten years. The politicians, meanwhile, get new jobs inside each ministry that are meant to give them more say in policymaking. Most important of all are new powers for the Prime Minister, who gets a strengthened Cabinet Office, lots more staff and, in theory at least, a much bigger say in government spending.
In practice, however, not all of these changes are likely to work exactly according to plan. The Cabinet Office was supposed to se cure a measure of independence by recruiting many of its staff from outside the civil service. But Japan's rigid hiring practices have made this difficult. So almost all the important posts have been filled by the usual career bureaucrats.
Reforms to the bureaucracy, meanwhile, look a mixed bag at best. Having already lost its authority to regulate banks, the once-mighty Finance Ministry has ceded more ground. A new body, under the Cabinet Office, will now draft the outline of the national budget. The Finance Ministry looks a softer target than the big spending ministries, with their well-organized networks of friendly politicians. No one has explained how merging the Ministry of Posts and Telecoms, the Management and Co-ordination Agency and the Ministry of Home Affairs will make any of them more efficient.
Other changes seem to run counter to the desired direction. Under the politicians' original plan, drawn up in 1997, the power of the public-works bureaucracy was to be weakened by splitting the Construction Ministry in two. Perversely, it has instead got bigger, merging with the Transport Ministry, the National Land Agency and the Hokkaido Development Agency to create a monster that will control nearly 800 (what?) of public works spending. Try reforming that.
31．The expression "giving itself a special dusting down" in this passage means
A a special innovation
B a complete government character-shifting
C thorough cleaning
D thorough reorganization
32. From the 2nd paragraph, we can see that
A in fact, most people don't believe the reforms can benefit them.
C politicians have no jobs in the ministry.
D the Prime Minister will benefit more than others.
33. The last three paragraphs have the same air of
34. It can be inferred from the text that the Cabinet Office will
A grab some power from the financial bureaucracy
B definitely spend more government money.
C recruit many of its staff from outside the civil service.
D reduce the powers given to the prime minister.
35. The Japanese take a(n) ____attitude to the government reform.
IN AN essay of this historical sweep, it is always good to have something to shoot at. "The Cash Nexus" provides Niall Ferguson, a prolific Oxford historian, with not one target but several. With practiced eye, he takes aim at the claim that economics decides the course of history; that democracy brings wealth and peace; that Britain and America were undone by imperial overstretch; and that today's world is governed by financial markets. Each of these large claims is shot down with elegance and skill, backed up by wide erudition.
The roots of Mr. Ferguson's latest work can be detected in his history of the house of Rothschild (1998), though its immediate genesis, as he tells us, was in a planned history of the world's bond markets. Having embarked on that, however, he was diverted into a general attack on economic determinism, which constitutes this new book's main thread.
He sets out, promisingly enough, to explain how the demands of war and the struggle for power led 18th-century Britain to foster such institutions as a tax-gathering bureaucracy, parliamentary government, a public debt market and a central bank. The obvious contrast is with Britain's bigger and richer rival, France, which lacked the right institutional and financial framework to win their innumerable wars.
As Mr. Ferguson points out, for most of the century France had a smaller national debt than Britain——but, crucially, it paid three times as much in debt service, thanks partly to its long history of defaults. Britain's eventual triumph was not, therefore, a matter of sheer economic muscle. Bishop Berkeley's famous observation, that credit was "the principal advantage that England hath over France", pointed rather to a sounder institutional framework. This episode is wisely offered as a lesson for other countries, even today.
After this strong beginning, however, the book wanders off into the rising demands of the welfare state; the myth that in modern democracies economic success assures electoral success; and the corrupting influence of money on contemporary politics. There is even a foray into the role of gold, Keynes's "barbarous relic", to which are added some rather hurried (and mostly negative) comments about the prospects for Europe's economic and monetary union. The book closes with a plea for more immigration to western countries (and more defenses spending by them). There is a valiant attempt at a conclusion which gives economics and finances their due, while allowing that sex, violence and the pursuit of power often overwhelm them. By this point, the thread is as good as broken.
None of this is to deny the pleasures and rewards that will be got from "The Cash Nexus" by professional historians and general readers alike. Mr. Ferguson's scholarship is lightly worn, and his range of reference wide: from Carlyle (who supplied the title), through Wagner and sundry philosophers to such 19th-century novelists as Tolstoy, Trollope and Zola. Almost every chapter has its own delights. But it is hard to escape the overall conclusion that, after producing so many fine books so quickly, Mr. Ferguson might have done better to have worked out a more coherent and convincing thesis.
36．From the passage, we can learn that Niall Ferguson believes
A financial markets are the owner of the world.
B Britain and America to some extent were influenced by the imperial overstretch
C the process of history is accompanied with the economics.(?)
D democracy brings wealth and peace.
37. France paid much more in debt service than Britain because of
A being not what it meant. (?)
B lacking the sheer economic muscle.
C its less perfect institutional and financial structure.
D France's having a higher debt service ratio.
38. Which topic is not mentioned in the passage?
A Welfare state
B World economic and monetary union
C Corrupting influence on politics
D Economic success being relative to the electoral success
39. Which of the following best defines the world "barbarous"(line 5,para 5)?
40. Ferguson's thesis is
D just passable