The following appeared in The Homebuilder magazine, a local publication with a focus on construction and sale of real-estate properties:
“According to the most recent survey of our readers, nearly 70% of the respondents indicated that they are planning to build or purchase a new home over the next 2 years. These results indicate that the growth in the construction industry is likely to accelerate in the near future. Therefore, this industry continues to offer lucrative opportunities for investment.”
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument's logic and analyze the argument's underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument's conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.
The publication says that because nearly 70% of respondents indicated their interest in planning to build an new home in the next two years, the statistics indicates a growth in the construction industry which is likely to accelerate within the near future. The industry, therefore continues to offer lucrative opportunities for investment. Stated this way, the conclusion uses unsupported evidence and relies on weak assumption to arrive at its position. We are not told by any means who the respondents are; furthermore, the report assumes that the same 70% today will definitely increase in the future. Also, we are not told about other factors that may encourage investors to actually invest in the so-called investment opportunities. To bolster its position, the argument needs to critically analyze the issues raised above for a more meaningful and persuasive proposition.
First, it is possible that that the 70% respondents interviewed are relatives of the real estate developers, who are interested in their personal financial gains. If that were to be so, the argument fails to present a true objective opinion. For an effective and more convincing opinion we need to know where the respondents are drawn from, their relationship with the publishers in the magazine, and whether or not they have any vested interest in the investment drives of the publishers.
Second, the argument assumes without justification that a 70% value today is bound to increase in future. Who knows whether the percentage was a mere snapshot of customers interest propelled by some juicy offer by developers, the government, or any other group to encourage the participation of customers in owning homes. Future opportunities relies not only on the present statistics, but also on a sustained qualitative investment strategy aimed at delibrately wooing potential investors and giving them value for their investment. Even at that, the 70% may fall if the condition that necessitates the initial increase are not more present. So, to argue more convincingly, we may suggest that there is likelyhood of sustaining the same or more customers so that people are not given promises on a fiat basis.
Finally, the argument could have been better stated if we know the prevailing factors as at the time of making this publication. Was the offer very cheap to the extent of attracting even the most conservative investor? What segment of investors was targeted during the period in question? Did the people surveyed actually make good their plan to build or purchase new homes over the next 2 years? The answers to the questions are very crucial in arriving at a better argument.
In conclusion, the argument as a whole is not very sound. To further reinforce the its position, the argument needs to go further in analyzing the issues raised above: Would the percentage increase in the near future, are the respondents true representatives; are the factors necessary to justify better future truely on ground? Unless that is done, the argument remains unpersuasive, and open to further questioning.
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