Joined: 09 Jun 2013
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Hello all, I am new to this forum so if I'm missing any posting rules please let me know (didn't see any...).
I have a GMAT coming up in a month, so I am going through the review process right now. I took my first diagnostic GMAT yesterday, complete with a 30 minute standard AWA (randomly selected question), and would like to hear from everyone. I appreciate any candid feedback, I have a tough skin, so please let me know what you think!
Hopefully, over the next few weeks, I'll get a chance to write a few more of these.
The following appeared as part of a memorandum from a government agency:
“Given the limited funding available for the building and repair of roads and bridges, the government should not spend
any money this year on fixing the bridge that crosses the Styx River. This bridge is located near a city with a weakening
economy, so it is not as important as other bridges; moreover, the city population is small and thus unlikely to contribute
a significant enough tax revenue to justify the effort of fixing the bridge.”
Discuss how well...
The government agency memorandum on the repair of the Styx River bridge suffers from deficiencies in its line of reasoning due to superficial analysis on Styx River bridge’s effects, a narrow scope of consideration, and the logically unsound assumption that its adjacent city is not impacted by the bridge.
The first problem with the agency memorandum is a lack of depth in analysis on the bridge’s effects. The memorandum does not address how degraded the bridge is. A bridge that is only in minor disrepair may not be as large of an issue as a bridge that is severely damaged. A severely degraded bridge poses many other hazards outside the scope of simply impacting the local population; for example, a safety hazard to cross-country traffic. The memorandum does not address what type of road utilizes the bridge. A small road may not have much traffic that is impacted by the degraded bridge, while a major national highway has heavier traffic that would be impacted, thus making it a larger issue.
The second problem with the agency memorandum is its narrow scope. The memorandum only focuses on the city adjacent to the Styx River bridge. The government should also consider the impact of the degraded bridge on traffic along the road. Perhaps the bridge is located on a critical trade route that impacts several other cities in the region. The government should also consider the impact on the general public of the degraded bridge. Perhaps the adjacent city is small, however if the bridge is a safety concern and there is a bridge disaster, media coverage could expand the issue to state or national attention, far outside the scope of the small adjacent city. The government, as a servant for the people, must also consider its moral obligation to maintain public infrastructure, no matter how many people are affected, and weigh the consequences of this bridge with other priorities to ensure it allocates its money to do the most good.
Finally, the memorandum assumes that the city adjacent to the Styx River bridge is unaffected by the degraded bridge, which could be logically unsound. The argument provided assumes the city’s weak economy and small population are present despite the bridge, when the bridge may be a factor contributing to the city’s economy and population. Perhaps the degraded bridge has hampered population growth and suppressed the local economy as trade and residents avoid the hazards of the bridge. If the degraded bridge was a causal factor to the city’s poor performance, perhaps the economic improvement and population growth resulting from the bridge repair would outweigh the costs of the bridge repair and thus be a worthwhile investment for a budget-conscious government agency.
There are several key pieces of information that would help the government agency analyze its decision to repair the bridge. First, researching more deeply into the effects of the degraded bridge will help it grasp the severity of the problem. Second, researching more broadly into what the degraded bridge impacts will ensure the agency considers all important problems before making its decision. Finally, research directly focused on the impacts of the bridge to the adjacent city will make the argument in the memorandum more logically sound.