Brazil has become one of the developing world’s great successes at reducing population growth－but more by accident than design. While countries such as India have made joint efforts to reduce birth rates, Brazil has had better result without really trying, says George Martine at Harvard.
Brazil’s population growth rate has dropped from 2.99% a year between 1951 and 1960 to 1.93% a year between 1981 and 1990, and Brazilian women now have only 2.7 children on average. Martine says this figure may have fallen still further since 1990, an achievement that makes it the envy of many other Third World countries.
Martine puts it down to, among other things, soap operas (通俗电视连续剧) and installment (分期付款) plans introduced in the 1970s. both played an important, although indirect, role in lowering, the birth rate. Brazil is one of the world’s biggest producers of soap operas. Globo, Brazil’s most popular television network, shows three hours of soaps six nights a week, while three others show at least one hour a night. Most soaps are based on wealthy characters living the high life in big cities.
“Although they have never really tried to work in a message towards the problems of reproduction, they describe middle and upper class values － not many children, different attitudes towards sex, women working,” says Martine. “They sent this image to all parts of Brazil and made people conscious of other patterns of behavior and other values, which were put into a very attractive package.”
Meanwhile, the installment plans tried to encourage the poor to become consumers (消费者). “This led to an enormous change in consumption (消耗、消费) patterns and consumption was incompatible (不相容的) with unlimited reproduction.” Says Martine.
1. According to the passage, Brazil has cut back its population growth ____.
A. by educating its citizens B. by careful family planning
C. by developing TV programmes D. by chance
2. According to the passage, many Third World countries ______.
A. haven’t attacked much importance to birth control
B. would soon join Brazil in controlling their birth rate
C. haven’t yet found an effective measure to control their population
D. neglected the role of TV plays in family planning
3. Soap operas have helped in lowering Brazil’s birth rate because ____.
A. they keep people sitting long hours watching TV
B. they have gradually changed people’s way of life
C. people are drawn to their attractive package
D. they popularize birth control measures
4. What is Martine’s conclusion about Brazil’s population growth?
A. The increase in birth rate will increase consumption.
B. The desire for consumption helps to reduce birth rate.
C. Consumption patterns and reproduction patterns are contradictory (互相矛盾的)
D. A country’s production is limited by its population growth.
KEY: 1-4 D C B B