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For all their significant differences, these philosophers

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For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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For all their significant differences, these philosophers had one thing in common: they believed that modern political thinking must be based on reason, on a rational analysis of human nature and of the conditions necessary for freedom and justice, in states maintained by the consent of the governed. Hence, they would almost all share a certain despair and wonder at the extent to which modern politics has in some places been dominated by irrationality, by, for example, the success of charismatic tyrants who justify their activities by the cult of personality or by racial-ethnic-nationalistic metaphors or by a return to theocracy, the rule of the clerisy in the name of a traditional religion.

Dealing with such states creates real problems for Liberals and Communists alike, because they rest on principles foreign to the entire modern Western tradition and hence are often frustratingly incomprehensible to Westerners. Its very hard for us to accept that some people may not want democracy, do not place a particularly high value on personal liberty to do as they wish, and are not concerned about the consent of the governed or citizens' rights in the way that our models of the state require.

In the West, the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order is very much alive and in the ascendant, as the hard-won adjustments to that brought about by a socialism inspired by Marx are, bit by bit, being shredded by the need to keep capitalism dynamic and by the growing power of giant corporations. At the same time, however, the threats posed by terrorism are leading many Western governments to introduce significant limitations on personal liberty in the name of national security.

It's also clear that the political and economic success of Western liberalism is helping to increase the already alarming gap between rich and poor throughout the world, in precisely the way Marx predicted. There is no shortage of dire warnings about the urgent need to address this issue with something more than World Trade Organization meetings and World Bank loans. But any intelligent and effective steps for more global justice may well require a significant re-evaluation of the very principles on which the success of that liberalism depends.
Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?

A The pressures excerpted on capitalist countries by the Marxist movement resulted in beneficial changes.
B Western response to the threat of terrorism runs counter to the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order.
C The World Trade Organization is not fulfilling its duties in the battle against terrorist threats.
D Liberals and Communists hold vastly different opinions concerning the legitimacy of charismatic tyrants.
E The Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order can explain the ineffectiveness of World Bank loans in developing nations.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
B


The main point of the fourth paragraph is:

A In order to fairly distribute the world's resources, the successful political philosophies of Western liberalism may require changes.
B Western liberalism is responsible for making the world's poor poorer and the world's rich richer.
C The World Trade Organization is not doing enough to combat the spread of liberalism.
D World Bank loans are ineffective in addressing the needs of developing countries.
E An intelligent and effective approach to justly distributing the world's resources may require changes to both the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


Which of the following most accurately describes the meaning of the first sentence of paragraph three?

A Modern corporations are threatening the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order.
B Marxist socialism is successfully adjusting to the threat of capitalism.
C The threats posed by terrorism have resulted in limitations on personal liberty in many Western governments.
D Capitalism made concessions to Marxist socialism that are now being undone.
E The West won its battle to stem the spread of socialism in the East.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D


The author would most likely not agree with which of the following?

A The disparity amongst the wealth of nations is growing.
B Some of the steps taken by Western governments to combat terrorism are anti-liberal.
C Democratic societies will not elect their leaders irrationally.
D Personal liberty is a virtue of liberal governments that should be highly valued.
E Modern political thinking should be based on reason.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
C


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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2014, 11:56
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Dear aashu4uiit,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

This is a very complex and difficult passage. It is good practice for the real GMAT.

You asked about question #3:
3) Which of the following most accurately describes the meaning of the first sentence of paragraph three?

Here's that sentence:
In the West, the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order is very much alive and in the ascendant, as the hard-won adjustments to that brought about by a socialism inspired by Marx are, bit by bit, being shredded by the need to keep capitalism dynamic and by the growing power of giant corporations.

From this sentence alone, we see that two elements
a) the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order
b) modern capitalism
are aligned. If they are not identical, at least they seem inextricably woven together, and they are both described as victorious and virtually unstoppable in the modern world.
Meanwhile, the "adjustments" --- ways that capitalism had been changed to make it more fair, more equitable --- those are being "shredded," ripped into small bits. From this sentence, we have:
THE BIG WINNERS = the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order, modern capitalism, the corporations
THE BIG LOSERS = Marx, socialism, rights of workers, radical equality across socioeconomic clases

The meaning of the sentence has to juxtapose the winners and the losers.

A Modern corporations are threatening the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order.
No, those two are aligned. This is incorrect.

B Marxist socialism is successfully adjusting to the threat of capitalism.
No, it's being ripped into little pieces by capitalism. It "adjusts" the way a rabbit adjusts to being eaten by a wolf: that's not success!! This is incorrect.

C The threats posed by terrorism have resulted in limitations on personal liberty in many Western governments.
The next sentence discusses this, but this is not present in the sentence under consideration. This is incorrect.

D Capitalism made concessions to Marxist socialism that are now being undone.
Exactly! Those "concessions" were the "hard-won adjustments" inspired by socialism ----- folks worked hard to put these reforms, these limits on capitalism, into place, and these hard-won reforms are now be "undone", ripped to pieces.

E The West won its battle to stem the spread of socialism in the East.
The question focuses only on the West, and doesn't consider Eastern civilization at all.

The answer is (D). Does all this make sense?

You may find this blog article helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-rc-el ... g-answers/

Mike :-)
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2014, 05:51
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mikemcgarry wrote:
Dear aashu4uiit,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

This is a very complex and difficult passage. It is good practice for the real GMAT.

You asked about question #3:
3) Which of the following most accurately describes the meaning of the first sentence of paragraph three?

Here's that sentence:
In the West, the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order is very much alive and in the ascendant, as the hard-won adjustments to that brought about by a socialism inspired by Marx are, bit by bit, being shredded by the need to keep capitalism dynamic and by the growing power of giant corporations.

From this sentence alone, we see that two elements
a) the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order
b) modern capitalism
are aligned. If they are not identical, at least they seem inextricably woven together, and they are both described as victorious and virtually unstoppable in the modern world.
Meanwhile, the "adjustments" --- ways that capitalism had been changed to make it more fair, more equitable --- those are being "shredded," ripped into small bits. From this sentence, we have:
THE BIG WINNERS = the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order, modern capitalism, the corporations
THE BIG LOSERS = Marx, socialism, rights of workers, radical equality across socioeconomic clases

The meaning of the sentence has to juxtapose the winners and the losers.

A Modern corporations are threatening the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order.
No, those two are aligned. This is incorrect.

B Marxist socialism is successfully adjusting to the threat of capitalism.
No, it's being ripped into little pieces by capitalism. It "adjusts" the way a rabbit adjusts to being eaten by a wolf: that's not success!! This is incorrect.

C The threats posed by terrorism have resulted in limitations on personal liberty in many Western governments.
The next sentence discusses this, but this is not present in the sentence under consideration. This is incorrect.

D Capitalism made concessions to Marxist socialism that are now being undone.
Exactly! Those "concessions" were the "hard-won adjustments" inspired by socialism ----- folks worked hard to put these reforms, these limits on capitalism, into place, and these hard-won reforms are now be "undone", ripped to pieces.

E The West won its battle to stem the spread of socialism in the East.
The question focuses only on the West, and doesn't consider Eastern civilization at all.

The answer is (D). Does all this make sense?

You may find this blog article helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-rc-el ... g-answers/

Mike :-)


Mike, can you please help me out with the 1st question
and in second question i am confused between Option A & E, hoe did you eliminate E?

Thanks
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2014, 13:19
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adymehta29 wrote:
Mike, can you please help me out with the 1st question
and in second question i am confused between Option A & E, how did you eliminate E?

Thanks

Dear adymehta29
I'm happy to respond. :-)

Here's the first question:

(1) Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
Inferences on the GMAT are tricky. See this post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/inference- ... rehension/
A good inference is something that is not explicitly said, but which absolutely MUST be true, based on the passage. Anything in the "could be true" category is not sufficient for a good inference.
A The pressures exerted on capitalist countries by the Marxist movement resulted in beneficial changes.
Hmmm. In the 3rd paragraph, the passage discusses the "hard won adjustments" inspired by socialism that are not being undone. The Marxist movement definitely has influenced capitalist countries, but have the changes been "beneficial"? That's a value-judgement the passage does not make. This statement would involve the readers making a value-judgement not contained in the text. That's not a good inference. This is incorrect.

B Western response to the threat of terrorism runs counter to the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order.
It seems that Hobbes and Locke are included in the statements of the opening paragraph, the philosophies "based on a rational analysis ... of the conditions necessary for freedom and justice." From this, it seems clear that freedom and justice are "good" things in the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order. Then we are told: "the threats posed by terrorism are leading many Western governments to introduce significant limitations on personal liberty in the name of national security." In other words, the Western response to the threat of terrorism involves limiting freedom, which Hobbes & Locke thought was a good thing. Thus, it runs counter to at least some of the principles of the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order. This is correct.

C The World Trade Organization is not fulfilling its duties in the battle against terrorist threats.
Does the World Trade Organization even have any duties in the battle against terrorism?? The answer to this question is unclear, and it most certainly is not answered by this passage, so this statement is incorrect.

D Liberals and Communists hold vastly different opinions concerning the legitimacy of charismatic tyrants.
The first sentence of the second paragraph makes very clear that both Liberals and Communists have trouble understanding the appeal of charismatic tyrants. The passage highlights what they have in common on this topic. If they do have any differences of opinion on the subject, the passage doesn't allude to that at all. This statement is incorrect.

E The Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order can explain the ineffectiveness of World Bank loans in developing nations.
From the fourth paragraph, it's clear that the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order is leading to a growing gap of rich-poor in the world. It's clear this is a big problem, and the World Bank singlehandedly is not able to solve this problem. Does this mean that the World Bank's loans have been "ineffective"? Hmmm. Maybe. Maybe the loans have been wildly effective when they have been given, but maybe not enough have been given, or maybe several developing countries, for a variety of reasons, choose not to take advantage of ways that the World Bank could help them. We don't know. It's not even clear that the World Bank loans were ineffective, and if they were, it's not clear whether the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order can explain this ineffectiveness. Not enough is clear here. This is not a good inference. This is incorrect.

The only possible answer (B).

Now, the second question. I will just consider (A) & (E), since you asked about these.
(2) The main point of the fourth paragraph is:
The main point of a paragraph should summarize EVERYTHING in the paragraph, the entire flow of the paragraph. This paragraph states a problem, world economic inequity, and says that the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberalism may not be enough to solve it.
A In order to fairly distribute the world's resources, the successful political philosophies of Western liberalism may require changes.
This one includes both the problem, fairly distributing the world's resources, and suggests that the Hobbes-Locke as it is might not be enough. This does a very good job of summarizing the entire paragraph.
E An intelligent and effective approach to justly distributing the world's resources may require changes to both the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.
The World Bank and the World Trade Organization are details mentioned only in one sentence. Details mentioned in one sentence cannot be the main point of a paragraph. Furthermore, the passage doesn't necessarily say that either of these need to be changed. It speaks of "the urgent need to address this issue with something more than World Trade Organization meetings and World Bank loans." In other worlds, "World Trade Organization meetings and World Bank loans" are not necessarily bad, in need of change, but they are not enough --- more needs to be done. Changes to the World Bank the World Trade Organization is not every proposed, and it most certainly is not the point of the paragraph.

Thus, (A) is a much better answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2014, 03:03
mikemcgarry wrote:
adymehta29 wrote:
Mike, can you please help me out with the 1st question
and in second question i am confused between Option A & E, how did you eliminate E?

Thanks

Dear adymehta29
I'm happy to respond. :-)

Here's the first question:

(1) Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
Inferences on the GMAT are tricky. See this post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/inference- ... rehension/
A good inference is something that is not explicitly said, but which absolutely MUST be true, based on the passage. Anything in the "could be true" category is not sufficient for a good inference.
A The pressures exerted on capitalist countries by the Marxist movement resulted in beneficial changes.
Hmmm. In the 3rd paragraph, the passage discusses the "hard won adjustments" inspired by socialism that are not being undone. The Marxist movement definitely has influenced capitalist countries, but have the changes been "beneficial"? That's a value-judgement the passage does not make. This statement would involve the readers making a value-judgement not contained in the text. That's not a good inference. This is incorrect.

B Western response to the threat of terrorism runs counter to the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order.
It seems that Hobbes and Locke are included in the statements of the opening paragraph, the philosophies "based on a rational analysis ... of the conditions necessary for freedom and justice." From this, it seems clear that freedom and justice are "good" things in the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order. Then we are told: "the threats posed by terrorism are leading many Western governments to introduce significant limitations on personal liberty in the name of national security." In other words, the Western response to the threat of terrorism involves limiting freedom, which Hobbes & Locke thought was a good thing. Thus, it runs counter to at least some of the principles of the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order. This is correct.

C The World Trade Organization is not fulfilling its duties in the battle against terrorist threats.
Does the World Trade Organization even have any duties in the battle against terrorism?? The answer to this question is unclear, and it most certainly is not answered by this passage, so this statement is incorrect.

D Liberals and Communists hold vastly different opinions concerning the legitimacy of charismatic tyrants.
The first sentence of the second paragraph makes very clear that both Liberals and Communists have trouble understanding the appeal of charismatic tyrants. The passage highlights what they have in common on this topic. If they do have any differences of opinion on the subject, the passage doesn't allude to that at all. This statement is incorrect.

E The Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order can explain the ineffectiveness of World Bank loans in developing nations.
From the fourth paragraph, it's clear that the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order is leading to a growing gap of rich-poor in the world. It's clear this is a big problem, and the World Bank singlehandedly is not able to solve this problem. Does this mean that the World Bank's loans have been "ineffective"? Hmmm. Maybe. Maybe the loans have been wildly effective when they have been given, but maybe not enough have been given, or maybe several developing countries, for a variety of reasons, choose not to take advantage of ways that the World Bank could help them. We don't know. It's not even clear that the World Bank loans were ineffective, and if they were, it's not clear whether the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order can explain this ineffectiveness. Not enough is clear here. This is not a good inference. This is incorrect.

The only possible answer (B).

Now, the second question. I will just consider (A) & (E), since you asked about these.
(2) The main point of the fourth paragraph is:
The main point of a paragraph should summarize EVERYTHING in the paragraph, the entire flow of the paragraph. This paragraph states a problem, world economic inequity, and says that the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberalism may not be enough to solve it.
A In order to fairly distribute the world's resources, the successful political philosophies of Western liberalism may require changes.
This one includes both the problem, fairly distributing the world's resources, and suggests that the Hobbes-Locke as it is might not be enough. This does a very good job of summarizing the entire paragraph.
E An intelligent and effective approach to justly distributing the world's resources may require changes to both the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.
The World Bank and the World Trade Organization are details mentioned only in one sentence. Details mentioned in one sentence cannot be the main point of a paragraph. Furthermore, the passage doesn't necessarily say that either of these need to be changed. It speaks of "the urgent need to address this issue with something more than World Trade Organization meetings and World Bank loans." In other worlds, "World Trade Organization meetings and World Bank loans" are not necessarily bad, in need of change, but they are not enough --- more needs to be done. Changes to the World Bank the World Trade Organization is not every proposed, and it most certainly is not the point of the paragraph.

Thus, (A) is a much better answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)

thank you mike , it all makes sense!
amazing explanation, kudos to you :P
thank you, once again !:)
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2014, 20:31
mikemcgarry wrote:
Dear aashu4uiit,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

This is a very complex and difficult passage. It is good practice for the real GMAT.

You asked about question #3:
3) Which of the following most accurately describes the meaning of the first sentence of paragraph three?

Here's that sentence:
In the West, the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order is very much alive and in the ascendant, as the hard-won adjustments to that brought about by a socialism inspired by Marx are, bit by bit, being shredded by the need to keep capitalism dynamic and by the growing power of giant corporations.

From this sentence alone, we see that two elements
a) the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order
b) modern capitalism
are aligned. If they are not identical, at least they seem inextricably woven together, and they are both described as victorious and virtually unstoppable in the modern world.
Meanwhile, the "adjustments" --- ways that capitalism had been changed to make it more fair, more equitable --- those are being "shredded," ripped into small bits. From this sentence, we have:
THE BIG WINNERS = the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order, modern capitalism, the corporations
THE BIG LOSERS = Marx, socialism, rights of workers, radical equality across socioeconomic clases

The meaning of the sentence has to juxtapose the winners and the losers.

A Modern corporations are threatening the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order.
No, those two are aligned. This is incorrect.

B Marxist socialism is successfully adjusting to the threat of capitalism.
No, it's being ripped into little pieces by capitalism. It "adjusts" the way a rabbit adjusts to being eaten by a wolf: that's not success!! This is incorrect.

C The threats posed by terrorism have resulted in limitations on personal liberty in many Western governments.
The next sentence discusses this, but this is not present in the sentence under consideration. This is incorrect.

D Capitalism made concessions to Marxist socialism that are now being undone.
Exactly! Those "concessions" were the "hard-won adjustments" inspired by socialism ----- folks worked hard to put these reforms, these limits on capitalism, into place, and these hard-won reforms are now be "undone", ripped to pieces.

E The West won its battle to stem the spread of socialism in the East.
The question focuses only on the West, and doesn't consider Eastern civilization at all.

The answer is (D). Does all this make sense?


Mike :-)


Brilliant...absolutely brilliant explanation Mike!
Thanks a lot ! :)
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For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 27 Aug 2014, 22:53
Would this passage be considered to be around 700 level on the actual GMAT? Or can I expect to see it at the 600 level? The text was pretty daunting and indigestible, at least to me. Surprisingly, I managed to correctly guess the answers to all of the questions but I was only taking things in question by question. 9:38 :( I don't want to have to do that on the actual test and risk putting myself behind on time.
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2015, 12:25
mikemcgarry:
For answer to Question 3, isn't the option D extreme.In the passage it's not mentioned whether the Marx's Socialism is undone or not.It's just telling it is shredded bit by bit.

And For answer to Last question, the question asks the author's opinion.
The last option is the thing said by the philosophers and not the author and question asks us about what the author doesn't agree with.
Soo shouldnt this be the right Answer.???
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2015, 11:49
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Shree9975 wrote:
mikemcgarry:
For answer to Question 3, isn't the option D extreme.In the passage it's not mentioned whether the Marx's Socialism is undone or not.It's just telling it is shredded bit by bit.

And For answer to Last question, the question asks the author's opinion.
The last option is the thing said by the philosophers and not the author and question asks us about what the author doesn't agree with.
Soo shouldnt this be the right Answer.???

Dear Shree9975,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

First of all, here's the first sentence of the third paragraph:
In the West, the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order is very much alive and in the ascendant, as the hard-won adjustments to that brought about by a socialism inspired by Marx are, bit by bit, being shredded by the need to keep capitalism dynamic and by the growing power of giant corporations.
Here's the third question:
Which of the following most accurately describes the meaning of the first sentence of paragraph three?
And here's the OA
(D) Capitalism made concessions to Marxist socialism that are now being undone.
What you are asking is a subtle issue of connotation. As it turns out, the word "shredded" is a very intense word. Think of this way. Imagine you were being shredded. Even if a tiny part of you, say a finger or a toe, were shredded, that would be debilitatingly painful. It would be so painful that it would prevent you from functioning. For a human, being shredded bit by bit would be a gruesome and torturous death. Economic systems are in motion as living things are, so think of the harm it does to a living thing to be shredded, even bit by bit. Think even of something mechanical --- say the plumbing system of a building, or the electric system, or etc. If someone starts shredding that system, even bit by bit, it will have negative ramifications throughout the system. One key pipe, or one key wire, and the whole building shuts down. Broad functionality can shut down when even a small part is taken out. Well, economic systems are something like that that: cut out this vital piece here or there, and suddenly, the entire balance shifts, and whole states of the economy that might have taken decades to achieve are suddenly thrown off. Shredding is a very intense word, arguably almost too intense for a GMAT RC passage. Answer (D) is certainly not more extreme than it.

Here is the fourth question:
The author would most likely not agree with which of the following?
Now, this is a tricky issue. Obviously, any statement with which the author agrees is wrong. Also, any statement on which the author's view is hard to determine is wrong. A right answer would be a statement that contradicts something the author says or implies.
Now, the philosophers definitely say
(E) Modern political thinking should be based on reason
The author points out some limitations in the trust in reason. In the real world, folks act for all kinds of irrational reasons, so the author definitely says that assuming everyone is rational is a problem. Notice though, this statement is a little different. This is the question: should everyone thing about politics rationally? In other words, in a ideal world, would everyone be a rational thinker? That's really what (E) is suggesting. It's hard to say whether the author believes this or not. I suspect the author would believe this, but I don't think there's any text to support my intuition. It's certain that we don't have clear evidence that the author disagrees, so we can't choose this.
Meanwhile, at the end of the first paragraph, he says:
Hence, they would almost all share a certain despair and wonder at the extent to which modern politics has in some places been dominated by irrationality, by, for example, the success of charismatic tyrants who justify their activities by the cult of personality or by racial-ethnic-nationalistic metaphors or by a return to theocracy, the rule of the clerisy in the name of a traditional religion.
Well, we don't have tyrants in a democracy, but "racial-ethnic-nationalistic metaphors" certainly have been used in the history of US democracy, and folks clamoring for a "return to theocracy" are one sizable party in the US today. The big idea is that we see a great deal of irrationality in modern politics, and much of modern politics is democratic, so we can strongly infer that some of this irrationality occurs in democracies. Choice (C) directly contradicts this inference, and is the best answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2015, 00:53
mikemcgarry wrote:
Shree9975 wrote:
mikemcgarry:
For answer to Question 3, isn't the option D extreme.In the passage it's not mentioned whether the Marx's Socialism is undone or not.It's just telling it is shredded bit by bit.

And For answer to Last question, the question asks the author's opinion.
The last option is the thing said by the philosophers and not the author and question asks us about what the author doesn't agree with.
Soo shouldnt this be the right Answer.???

Dear Shree9975,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

First of all, here's the first sentence of the third paragraph:
In the West, the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order is very much alive and in the ascendant, as the hard-won adjustments to that brought about by a socialism inspired by Marx are, bit by bit, being shredded by the need to keep capitalism dynamic and by the growing power of giant corporations.
Here's the third question:
Which of the following most accurately describes the meaning of the first sentence of paragraph three?
And here's the OA
(D) Capitalism made concessions to Marxist socialism that are now being undone.
What you are asking is a subtle issue of connotation. As it turns out, the word "shredded" is a very intense word. Think of this way. Imagine you were being shredded. Even if a tiny part of you, say a finger or a toe, were shredded, that would be debilitatingly painful. It would be so painful that it would prevent you from functioning. For a human, being shredded bit by bit would be a gruesome and torturous death. Economic systems are in motion as living things are, so think of the harm it does to a living thing to be shredded, even bit by bit. Think even of something mechanical --- say the plumbing system of a building, or the electric system, or etc. If someone starts shredding that system, even bit by bit, it will have negative ramifications throughout the system. One key pipe, or one key wire, and the whole building shuts down. Broad functionality can shut down when even a small part is taken out. Well, economic systems are something like that that: cut out this vital piece here or there, and suddenly, the entire balance shifts, and whole states of the economy that might have taken decades to achieve are suddenly thrown off. Shredding is a very intense word, arguably almost too intense for a GMAT RC passage. Answer (D) is certainly not more extreme than it.

Here is the fourth question:
The author would most likely not agree with which of the following?
Now, this is a tricky issue. Obviously, any statement with which the author agrees is wrong. Also, any statement on which the author's view is hard to determine is wrong. A right answer would be a statement that contradicts something the author says or implies.
Now, the philosophers definitely say
(E) Modern political thinking should be based on reason
The author points out some limitations in the trust in reason. In the real world, folks act for all kinds of irrational reasons, so the author definitely says that assuming everyone is rational is a problem. Notice though, this statement is a little different. This is the question: should everyone thing about politics rationally? In other words, in a ideal world, would everyone be a rational thinker? That's really what (E) is suggesting. It's hard to say whether the author believes this or not. I suspect the author would believe this, but I don't think there's any text to support my intuition. It's certain that we don't have clear evidence that the author disagrees, so we can't choose this.
Meanwhile, at the end of the first paragraph, he says:
Hence, they would almost all share a certain despair and wonder at the extent to which modern politics has in some places been dominated by irrationality, by, for example, the success of charismatic tyrants who justify their activities by the cult of personality or by racial-ethnic-nationalistic metaphors or by a return to theocracy, the rule of the clerisy in the name of a traditional religion.
Well, we don't have tyrants in a democracy, but "racial-ethnic-nationalistic metaphors" certainly have been used in the history of US democracy, and folks clamoring for a "return to theocracy" are one sizable party in the US today. The big idea is that we see a great deal of irrationality in modern politics, and much of modern politics is democratic, so we can strongly infer that some of this irrationality occurs in democracies. Choice (C) directly contradicts this inference, and is the best answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


This passage is so difficult to comprehend. Is there any technique which I can use to understand such RCs. They go over my head. :roll:
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Apourv wrote:
This passage is so difficult to comprehend. Is there any technique which I can use to understand such RCs. They go over my head. :roll:

Dear Apourv,
My friend, I'm happy to respond. :-) Veritas wrote a very good passage here, but it is particularly difficult. It helps considerably if you have a little sense of the history of Western Philosophy. One thing I would say is that, if you plan to go to business school, you should have at least a rough idea of the major thinkers in the history of Economics: Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, John Kenneth Galbraith, Thorstein Veblen, Paul Samuelson, Paul Krugman, etc. etc. Read the Wikipedia articles on these people and get a sense of their ideas. That will put what you will be learning in business school into a larger context.

You see, my friend, there is a paradox concerning outside material. On the one hand, GMAT RC and CR questions do not depend on outside material: they only ask about information presented in the prompt passage. On the other hand, having familiarity with the general topic will help you make sense of the information in the passage, and this will help you answer the questions more quickly and more effectively. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/gmat-criti ... knowledge/

Finally---and this is the most important point to appreciate---there are no "techniques" for improving reading comprehension. The only way to make serious improvements in your reading comprehension is to practice reading sophisticated material in English every day. Practice, practice, practice: that's what improves reading, not any magical shortcut techniques. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/how-to-imp ... bal-score/

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 10 Dec 2015, 03:20
Awesome discussion here, I agree its a tough one and the expalination provided is very clear so kudos to everyone who's posted a reply!!

But wt I'm not able to understand is the answer to Q4. As per my understanding the answer should be option D.

Could you please help me with it?? mikemcgarry
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 11 Dec 2015, 19:08
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.rr1990 wrote:
Awesome discussion here, I agree its a tough one and the expalination provided is very clear so kudos to everyone who's posted a reply!!

But wt I'm not able to understand is the answer to Q4. As per my understanding the answer should be option D.

Could you please help me with it?? mikemcgarry

Dear .rr1990,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

Here's Q4 again:
The author would most likely not agree with which of the following?

A The disparity amongst the wealth of nations is growing.
B Some of the steps taken by Western governments to combat terrorism are anti-liberal.
C Democratic societies will not elect their leaders irrationally.
D Personal liberty is a virtue of liberal governments that should be highly valued.
E Modern political thinking should be based on reason.

Part of what is tricky about this is the negative in the question. In other words, four answer choices will be statements with which the author agrees, and those choices will be wrong answers! The one that contradicts the author or is the opposite of what he argues will be the correct answer.

Since you think (D) is correct, and the OA is (C), I will just discuss these two choices.
D Personal liberty is a virtue of liberal governments that should be highly valued.
In the second paragraph, the author says:
Dealing with such states creates real problems for Liberals and Communists alike, because they rest on principles foreign to the entire modern Western tradition and hence are often frustratingly incomprehensible to Westerners. It's very hard for us to accept that some people may not want democracy, do not place a particularly high value on personal liberty to do as they wish, . . .
In other words, liberal governments value democracy and place a high priority on personal liberties. That's the stuff that liberal governments value and the other folks, like those in ISIS, do not value. The author would agree that personal liberties are an important big deal for liberal governments. The author would agree with (D). Because the author would agree, (D) is wrong.

Meanwhile, look at (C).
C Democratic societies will not elect their leaders irrationally.
The author writes:
Hence, [the philosophers] would almost all share a certain despair and wonder at the extent to which modern politics has in some places been dominated by irrationality, by, for example, the success of charismatic tyrants who justify their activities by the cult of personality or by racial-ethnic-nationalistic metaphors or by a return to theocracy, the rule of the clerisy in the name of a traditional religion.
The author definitely thinks there is a lot of irrationality in modern politics. Some of the examples he gives are undemocratic governments, but some clearly are democratic. For example, Russia right now is theoretically a democratic government, because folks vote; nevertheless, it doesn't seem that Mr. Putin, the charismatic leader, is going to be voted out any time soon. The "racial-ethnic-nationalistic metaphors" are somewhat less prevalent in US politics now, but it was a big deal just before and after the Civil War, and again in the Civil Rights Era in the 1950s & 1960s. It doesn't take much knowledge of America to recognize that my fellow Americans do profoundly irrational things when they vote!! The author knows there is a lot of irrationality in modern politics, and it seems at least plausible that she would recognize that some of this irrationality takes place in democracies. Certainly, there is absolutely no reason to expect that the citizens of democracies are inherently more rational than anyone else. Therefore, the author would disagree with this, which makes it a right answer.

Does all this make sense?

Mike :-)
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For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2015, 14:07
Hi,
My question is the author says "some places"(as i have highlighted it in the text) and the answer choice generalizes it for all democratic societies. I am unable to understand this. Can any one help pleases?


Meanwhile, look at (C).
C Democratic societies will not elect their leaders irrationally.
The author writes:
Hence, [the philosophers] would almost all share a certain despair and wonder at the extent to which modern politics has in some places been dominated by irrationality, by, for example, the success of charismatic tyrants who justify their activities by the cult of personality or by racial-ethnic-nationalistic metaphors or by a return to theocracy, the rule of the clerisy in the name of a traditional religion.[/color]
The author definitely thinks there is a lot of irrationality in modern politics. Some of the examples he gives are undemocratic governments, but some clearly are democratic. For example, Russia right now is theoretically a democratic government, because folks vote; nevertheless, it doesn't seem that Mr. Putin, the charismatic leader, is going to be voted out any time soon. The "racial-ethnic-nationalistic metaphors" are somewhat less prevalent in US politics now, but it was a big deal just before and after the Civil War, and again in the Civil Rights Era in the 1950s & 1960s. It doesn't take much knowledge of America to recognize that my fellow Americans do profoundly irrational things when they vote!! The author knows there is a lot of irrationality in modern politics, and it seems at least plausible that she would recognize that some of this irrationality takes place in democracies. Certainly, there is absolutely no reason to expect that the citizens of democracies are inherently more rational than anyone else. Therefore, the author would disagree with this, which makes it a right answer.

Does all this make sense?

Mike :-)[/quote]
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New post 27 Dec 2015, 11:19
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mohsint25 wrote:
Hi,
My question is the author says "some places"(as i have highlighted it in the text) and the answer choice generalizes it for all democratic societies. I am unable to understand this. Can any one help pleases?

Dear mohsint25,
My friend, I am happy to help. :-)

It's a common misconception that "all" and "none" are opposites or that "always" and "never" are opposites. In fact, this is sloppy logical thinking. Consider mathematics, because the logical relationships are clear. Consider this statement:
Statement #1: All positive integers are odd numbers.
That's obviously a false statement. If "all" and "none" were opposites, then this would be the opposite:
Statement #2: None of the positive integers are odd numbers.
But this is another false statement! The true opposite of a false statement cannot be another false statement. In fact, the true opposite of Statement #1 is:
Statement #3: "Not every positive integer is an odd number."
That's 100% true. Meanwhile, the true opposite of Statement #2 is:
Statement #4: "Some positive integers are odd numbers."
That's another 100% true statement.

In general the true opposite of "All X are Y" is simply "Some X are not Y." Similarly, the true opposite of "No X are Y" is simply "Some X are Y."

Now, consider the answer choice you cited.
(C) Democratic societies will not elect their leaders irrationally.
In other words, "No democratic societies will elect their leaders irrationally," or "All democratic societies always will elect their leaders rationally." Those are equivalent statements written in terms of "all" and "none." Notice, in terms of the real world, these are patently false statements. The opposite of this statement is NOT the absolute statement in the opposite direction, "All democratic societies will elect their leaders irrationally;" that's another patently false statement. The opposite is the eminently reasonable statement:
"Some democratic societies elect their leaders irrationally."
or
"Not every democratic society elects its leader rationally."
Either one is a true opposite of the original statement and is 100% true in the real world.

It's important to understand this subtle logical point, because many folks are confused by this. It's also very very important to have a sense for what's true in the real world. The whole point of the GMAT is to prepare you for working in the real world! The RC passages and the CR arguments that discuss economic or political or business-related information all reflect the priorities of the real world. An argument that you have to strengthen is typically strengthened by something that would be true in the real world, and similarly for other question types. The more you have instincts for the push-and-pull of the real world, the more the GMAT Verbal will make sense to you. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/gmat-criti ... knowledge/

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 27 Dec 2015, 16:00
Hi,
Initially it was hard to understand but finally i got it. Thanks for your time and effort.

mikemcgarry wrote:
mohsint25 wrote:
Hi,
My question is the author says "some places"(as i have highlighted it in the text) and the answer choice generalizes it for all democratic societies. I am unable to understand this. Can any one help pleases?

Dear mohsint25,
My friend, I am happy to help. :-)

It's a common misconception that "all" and "none" are opposites or that "always" and "never" are opposites. In fact, this is sloppy logical thinking. Consider mathematics, because the logical relationships are clear. Consider this statement:
Statement #1: All positive integers are odd numbers.
That's obviously a false statement. If "all" and "none" were opposites, then this would be the opposite:
Statement #2: None of the positive integers are odd numbers.
But this is another false statement! The true opposite of a false statement cannot be another false statement. In fact, the true opposite of Statement #1 is:
Statement #3: "Not every positive integer is an odd number."
That's 100% true. Meanwhile, the true opposite of Statement #2 is:
Statement #4: "Some positive integers are odd numbers."
That's another 100% true statement.

In general the true opposite of "All X are Y" is simply "Some X are not Y." Similarly, the true opposite of "No X are Y" is simply "Some X are Y."

Now, consider the answer choice you cited.
(C) Democratic societies will not elect their leaders irrationally.
In other words, "No democratic societies will elect their leaders irrationally," or "All democratic societies always will elect their leaders rationally." Those are equivalent statements written in terms of "all" and "none." Notice, in terms of the real world, these are patently false statements. The opposite of this statement is NOT the absolute statement in the opposite direction, "All democratic societies will elect their leaders irrationally;" that's another patently false statement. The opposite is the eminently reasonable statement:
"Some democratic societies elect their leaders irrationally."
or
"Not every democratic society elects its leader rationally."
Either one is a true opposite of the original statement and is 100% true in the real world.

It's important to understand this subtle logical point, because many folks are confused by this. It's also very very important to have a sense for what's true in the real world. The whole point of the GMAT is to prepare you for working in the real world! The RC passages and the CR arguments that discuss economic or political or business-related information all reflect the priorities of the real world. An argument that you have to strengthen is typically strengthened by something that would be true in the real world, and similarly for other question types. The more you have instincts for the push-and-pull of the real world, the more the GMAT Verbal will make sense to you. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/gmat-criti ... knowledge/

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2016, 20:01
1.Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
B Western response to the threat of terrorism runs counter to the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order.
"the Hobbes-Locke formulation of liberal political order is very much alive and in the ascendant" & "however, the threats posed by terrorism are leading many Western governments to introduce significant limitations on personal liberty in the name of national security."

2. The main point of the fourth paragraph is:
A In order to fairly distribute the world's resources, the successful political philosophies of Western liberalism may require changes.
"alarming gap between rich and poor throughout the world, There is no shortage of dire warnings about the urgent need to address this issue, require a significant re-evaluation of the very principles on which the success of that liberalism depends"

4. The author would most likely not agree with which of the following?

A The disparity amongst the wealth of nations is growing.
"increase the already alarming gap between rich and poor throughout the world"
B Some of the steps taken by Western governments to combat terrorism are anti-liberal.
"many Western governments to introduce significant limitations on personal liberty in the name of national security."
C Democratic societies will not elect their leaders irrationally. Correct.
D Personal liberty is a virtue of liberal governments that should be highly valued.
"do not place a particularly high value on personal liberty to do as they wish, and are not concerned about the consent of the governed or citizens' rights in the way that our models of the state require."
E Modern political thinking should be based on reason.
"they believed that modern political thinking must be based on reason, on a rational analysis of human nature and of the conditions necessary for freedom and justice"
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2016, 13:44
I would not agree the answer to Q4.
The main point of the fourth paragraph is:

It's also clear that the political and economic success of Western liberalism is helping to increase the already alarming gap between rich and poor throughout the world, in precisely the way Marx predicted. There is no shortage of dire warnings about the urgent need to address this issue with something more than World Trade Organization meetings and World Bank loans. But any intelligent and effective steps for more global justice may well require a significant re-evaluation of the very principles on which the success of that liberalism depends.

A In order to fairly distribute the world's resources, the successful political philosophies of Western liberalism may require changes.
B Western liberalism is responsible for making the world's poor poorer and the world's rich richer.
C The World Trade Organization is not doing enough to combat the spread of liberalism.
D World Bank loans are ineffective in addressing the needs of developing countries.
E An intelligent and effective approach to justly distributing the world's resources may require changes to both the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.

There is not a single word about "fairly distribution of world resources". "urgent need to address this issue (referring to "alarming gap" the author mentioned earlier) does not in any way "fair distribution of world resources". It probably just meant to say that the rich (person or country) should give support and help to the poor so that they could develop their own ability.
On the other hand, the passage says: "the political and economic success of.....increase the already alarming gap between rich and poor..", indicating the answer "Western liberalism is responsible for making the world's poor poorer and the world's rich richer."
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2016, 15:21
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ahuan077 wrote:
I would not agree the answer to Q4.
The main point of the fourth paragraph is:

It's also clear that the political and economic success of Western liberalism is helping to increase the already alarming gap between rich and poor throughout the world, in precisely the way Marx predicted. There is no shortage of dire warnings about the urgent need to address this issue with something more than World Trade Organization meetings and World Bank loans. But any intelligent and effective steps for more global justice may well require a significant re-evaluation of the very principles on which the success of that liberalism depends.

A In order to fairly distribute the world's resources, the successful political philosophies of Western liberalism may require changes.
B Western liberalism is responsible for making the world's poor poorer and the world's rich richer.
C The World Trade Organization is not doing enough to combat the spread of liberalism.
D World Bank loans are ineffective in addressing the needs of developing countries.
E An intelligent and effective approach to justly distributing the world's resources may require changes to both the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.

There is not a single word about "fairly distribution of world resources". "urgent need to address this issue (referring to "alarming gap" the author mentioned earlier) does not in any way "fair distribution of world resources". It probably just meant to say that the rich (person or country) should give support and help to the poor so that they could develop their own ability.
On the other hand, the passage says: "the political and economic success of.....increase the already alarming gap between rich and poor..", indicating the answer "Western liberalism is responsible for making the world's poor poorer and the world's rich richer."

Dear ahuan077,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

First of all, this is Q2, not Q4. It took me a moment to figure out what you were asking because you made a mistake in the question number. One of the many skills required on the GMAT is detail management.

Let's look at the fourth paragraph:
Sentence #1: It's also clear that the political and economic success of Western liberalism is helping to increase the already alarming gap between rich and poor throughout the world, in precisely the way Marx predicted.
So, there is big growing economic gap between rich and poor. Incidentally, the word "alarming" is a very strong word of emotional evaluation: if the author is using a word this strong, it's worthwhile noting the author's tone here!

Sentence #2: There is no shortage of dire warnings about the urgent need to address this issue with something more than World Trade Organization meetings and World Bank loans.
The word "dire" is a very very strong word for GMAT RC. That's about as emotional as the GMAT RC is going to get!! That's a five-alarm word. If there are "dire warnings," that means that we are threatened with something awful but unspecified: war? a global revolution? terrorism? The nature of the threat is unclear, but that big economic gap discussed in the first sentence is a problem that, if left untended, could result in something very bad. We really need to solve this problem to avoid something bad.

Sentence #3: But any intelligent and effective steps for more global justice may well require a significant re-evaluation of the very principles on which the success of that liberalism depends.
Very interesting: the author identifies solving the problem of this growing economic gap with "more global justice," so in the author's view, there must be something unjust and unfair about having such a large economic gap between rich and poor, and doing something to address this gap would create more justice and fairness in the world. Unfortunately, doing this might involve questioning the very principles on which our government and society are based.

Now, let's approach the question:
The main point of the fourth paragraph is:
A In order to fairly distribute the world's resources, the successful political philosophies of Western liberalism may require changes.
B Western liberalism is responsible for making the world's poor poorer and the world's rich richer.
C The World Trade Organization is not doing enough to combat the spread of liberalism.
D World Bank loans are ineffective in addressing the needs of developing countries.
E An intelligent and effective approach to justly distributing the world's resources may require changes to both the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.


Choice (C), (D), and (E) focus too much on details. Choice (A) is by far the best answer. Choice (B) is a brilliant trap answer.

You wrote: "There is not a single word about "fairly distribution of world resources". "urgent need to address this issue (referring to "alarming gap" the author mentioned earlier) does not in any way "fair distribution of world resources". It probably just meant to say that the rich (person or country) should give support and help to the poor so that they could develop their own ability.'"
You see, it's very subtle. In S#1, the author mentions the mere fact of the gap, although he does call it "alarming." In #2, we get that it's a big problem, a "dire" problem that could lead to some really bad unspecified consequences if it is not addressed; it's a problem that desperately needs to be solved. Then, S#3, the mention of "more global justice" is clearly the author's evaluation of what it would take to solve this question. The opposite of unjust or unfair is "fair," and the opposite of an unjust gap in wealth between rich and poor would be a "fair distribution of the world's resources."
This is why (A) is the best answer.
Incidentally, I think (A) is logically flawless as an answer, but I object to the split infinitive "to fairly distribute"---one would never see a grammar mistake such as this on the OA of a GMAT question!

Choice (B) is a trap answer. You see, the paragraph says: It's also clear that the political and economic success of Western liberalism is helping to increase the already alarming gap between rich and poor throughout the world, ... .
The gap is already "alarming"---it already was a problem. Then, Western liberalism came along and made the problem worse. There, Western liberalism is responsible for making the problem worse, for intensifying an already existing gap between rich and poor, but the implication of this sentence is that something else was original responsible for making the rich rich and the poor poor, and Western liberalism simply contributed to an already existing problem. That's a subtle distinction, and choice (B) completely overlooks this distinction. That's the problem with (B).

Does this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: For all their significant differences, these philosophers   [#permalink] 11 Apr 2016, 15:21
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