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Analysis of an argument: What if an argument has no flaws [#permalink]
01 Jun 2010, 16:57
Hi Guys I have often seen that responses to an argument is to criticize it.
However, i have noticed some arguments that have no flaws.
How do we respond to such arguments?
Please see below argument to see what i mean.
== "Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occuring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence, it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money "
Re: Analysis of an argument: What if an argument has no flaws [#permalink]
03 Jun 2010, 08:55
All of the samples are clearly flawed.
The following appeared in the editorial section of a monthly business newsmagazine: “Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”
The editorial is poorly argued and presents several logical leaps that are not supported by any data. The editorial states that companies should in all cases make work places safer. It reaches the conclusion that safer workplaces will automatically reduce payroll expenses and thus save the company money. This agreement is weak. It presents no data or examples to support its conclusions.
In the first place the editorial shows an utter lack of understanding in the nuances of business management. While work place safety should be a primary concern for all business managers it is not the only concern. There is a balance that must be struck between business costs and benefits. In some industries workplace injuries are an accepted risk because it is understood that the costs to mitigate those risks is simply too high. For example foundries are inherently dangerous environments. Handling metals that have been heated to hundreds of degrees requires caution, and metal working companies should strive for safe workplaces, however the costs of making a foundry 100% safe would far exceed any return achieved by lower wages.
In the second place the editorial assumes that safety improvements lead to reduced wages. It does this while presenting no data to back this claim. While it might be argued that in some instances wage reductions could be expected as jobs become less dangerous, job safety is only one aspect of employee wages. Worker expertise, scarcity, and longevity typically have a much greater impact on the wages that an employee can expect from a particular job. Making the assumption that safety is the primary factor in employees pay is a stretch.
What is of primary importance for companies is to deal with workplace safety in an ethical manner. Employees should fully understand the risks of the work they are asked to perform. Once they understand the risks and the benefits they can accurately determine if the work should be engaged in. If the risks are too high and injury is assured, then the company needs to address those risks. If a company can reduce risks at minimal costs then they have the moral obligation to do so. However when costs are high and risks are low then all parties need to understand why safety improvements are not feasible.
In light of the recent workplace tragedies that can be seen on the nightly news it is understandable why one might feel that safety should be of high importance to company managers. However it is not the only concern. Companies exist to make profits; they need to weigh the benefits of safety and profitability in an open and ethical manner. The notion that all safety improvements will always be profitable regardless of cost is not supported by any data. The author’s conclusion is weak and the editorial ignores many real world examples.