Issue & Argument: Please critique : Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
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# Issue & Argument: Please critique

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Intern
Joined: 29 Nov 2009
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10 Mar 2010, 13:23
ESSAY QUESTION:
The following appeared in the personal finance section of a popular magazine:

“The average price of an acre of land in the United States is now 50 times what it was in 1970, and nearly 200 times what it was in 1920. The nation’s population is projected to keep increasing, even as the amount of land remains constant. Therefore, people who are approaching retirement should invest heavily in real estate in order to ensure their financial security.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

The conclusion of the argument that people who are approaching retirement should invest heavily in real estate in order to ensure their financial security seems to make sense. However, the premises stated that
1) The average price of land is increasing
2) The population is increasing but not the amount of land
do not necessarily draw the conclusion.

Firstly, the average prices of the land is increasing and is currently 50 times what it was in the 1970 and nearly 200 times as it was in 1920. This seems to be a general trend in real estate that as we move forward in time, the land prices keep increasing. The argument however assumes that this is the case with the land everywhere. However, this may be true only in areas which are ideal for living 'currently'. Over the years, human beings have expanded their territories. As population keeps increasing, we apparently need more place to live. We cut bushes, and forests and expand. However, the prices of the lands that are freshly 'made' this way don't increase unless there is good development in that area. Thus, the average prices of the land keeps increasing is not a general trend as it seems to have been stated in the argument.

Secondly, the nation's population is projected to keep increasing. Again, it depends in which areas is the population increasing. Is it in some states, cities, towns, or counties. This has not been defined clearly. If population is increasing in an area where there are not many people, as in our typical freshly made lands from the previous paragraph, there still is plenty of scope for purchasing land at economical prices which are not following a trend as mentioned in the first premise.

Finally, the argument concludes saying that the people who are approaching retirement should invest heavily in real estate. It doesn't seem to make sense why only this category of people should invest heavily. If the author is suggesting that the investments are going to be profitable in the long run by saying that it is going to ensure their financial security, why shouldn't other categories of people such as middle-aged people or people in their 30's invest in these lands? If the author thinks that the investments are going to be profitable, they will be profitable to everyone.

Therefore, although the argument sounds to be a solid argument, it is very weak, in that the conclusion, although sounds true, doesn't necessarily follow from the underlying premises.
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10 Mar 2010, 13:24
ESSAY QUESTION:
“Companies should be prohibited from monitoring e-mail correspondence of their employees, since this policy destroys the atmosphere of trust and undermines employee morale.”

From your perspective, how accurate is the above statement? Support your position with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

Although, if the companies are prohibited from monitoring the email correspondence, the atmosphere of trust and employee morale may be strengthened, I feel that the companies have certain limitations, and certain rights to monitor these emails. I disagree with the statement that companies should be prohibited from monitoring email correspondence of their employees as it destroys the trust and undermines employee morale because of many reasons, three of the most important as follows.

Firstly, the email is becoming a increasing form of communication. Any person who regularly uses a computer at least reads or writes an email every day. In a company or a corporate environment, email serves as a highest means of communication. People, in some cases, prefer to send emails to their colleagues to talking to them over the phone or in person. The reason is that, he/she has a proof of this communication if someone questions the employee later. In corporate offices, emails such as the one described, serve more than communication. It serves as official documentation. As a result, emails are becoming increasingly popular in a company.

Having described the purpose of emails, I will try to describe the cons associated with the emails. Some companies allow emailing outside of the company in order for their employees to communicate with their clients, vendors, etc. There are many employees who misuse this privilege by sending emails to friends, and families. This misuse sometimes result in a waste of time. Sometimes, some employees email to their friends outside work large files such as their holiday pictures. This wastes precious bandwidth and may impact the work of other employees. Some employees go a step further in the misuse and email to their personal email in-boxes copies of confidential information such as the companies budgets, the companies' mailing lists etc. This is a very serious problem for the company if confidential information is being leaked from its doors. Due to the above mentioned reasons, it is very important for the companies to monitor the emails of their employees. If not within the company, the company must monitor all the emails going out of the company.

There is one more serious impact if the companies do not monitor their emails. Some employee who might be trying to file a lawsuit against its own employee may send information from its company which is against the federal laws such as information pertaining to the military, or to people they do not know, or inappropriate videos or pictures that may be circulating on the Internet. If this happens, the recipient may wish to sue the company as the email is coming from the company and the company is responsible for all of its employees. As a result, the company's reputation is at stake. This may even happen within the company which suggests that the company may in some cases want to monitor internal email correspondence as well as opposed to what was said in the last sentence of the previous paragraph.

Finally, even if the company is monitoring the email correspondence, the employees who are corresponding according to the 'correspondence terms and conditions' set by the company has nothing to worry about and doesn't have to feel that his/her trust is being suspected or his morale is being undermined.

Due to the above mentioned reasons, it is better for a company to not be prohibited from monitoring email correspondence of its employees.
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10 Mar 2010, 13:25
Hi,

Can someone please comment on my issue and argument essays. My exam date is in 10 days and I will definitely let the community know how my actual essays went and what I got in the actual exam. This will help me and also the community.

Thank you.
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