Affirmative action is good business. So asserted the National Association of Manufacturers while urging retention of an executive order requiring some federal contractors to set numerical goals for hiring minorities and women. “Diversity in work force participation has produced new ideas in management, product development, and marketing,” the association claimed.
The association’s argument as it is presented in the passage above would be most strengthened if which of the following were true?
A. The percentage of minority and women workers in business has increased more slowly than many minority and women’s groups would prefer.
B. Those businesses with the highest percentages of minority and women workers are those that have been the most innovative and profitable.
C. Disposable income has been rising as fast among minorities and women as among the population as a whole.
D. The biggest growth in sales in the manufacturing sector has come in industries that market the most innovative products.
E. Recent improvements in management practices have allowed many manufacturers to experience enormous gains in worker productivity.
If, as B says, businesses with the highest percentages of minorities and women have been the most profitable,
there is reason to believe that, because it increases the level of participation of women and minorities in the work
force, affirmative action is good business. Thus, B is the best answer. A suggests that minority and women’s
groups have reason to support affirmative action, but it does not indicate that affirmative action is good business. Because there is no indication that the improvement in disposable income noted in C is due to affirmative action,
C does not strengthen the argument given for affirmative action. D and E address growth in sales and
improvements in management; neither, however, asserts that these benefits are due to affirmative action.
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