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Please Evaluate my essay.

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Intern
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Please Evaluate my essay. [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2013, 02:44
The following appeared in the opinion section of a national newsmagazine:

“To reverse the deterioration of the postal service, the government should raise the price of postage stamps. This solution will no doubt prove effective, since the price increase will generate larger revenues and will also reduce the volume of mail, thereby eliminating the strain on the existing system and contributing to improved morale.”

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.


Answer:

The argument claims that to save postal service from deterioration, the government should raise the price of postal stamps, since this solution will generate larger revenues, reduce volume of the mail and therefore eliminate strain on the system. Stated in this way the argument fails to mention several key factors on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion relies on certain assumptions for which there is no clear evidence.

First, the author readily assumes that the deterioration of the postal services has been caused by low revenues. Postal services might have been deteriorated due to several other factors such as inefficient management, poor technical staff, lack of harmonious work culture etc. The author further claims that by increasing the price of postal stamps, deterioration of postal services can be curbed. However, this may lead to another problem. The increase in costs may give postal department a high competition from the private couriers, making it difficult for them to survive in the market.

Second, the author clearly skips a simple rule of business. When the cost of a product increases, it's likely to affect its sales or services. However, this may or may not lead to increased revenues. It reduce the volume to such an extent that the firm now generates lower revenues. The author here readily assumes that increasing the price will definitely lead to increase in revenues, which is flawed.

Finally, the author claims that a reduction in volume of mail will eliminate stress, contributing to improved morale. This is again a stretch. For instance, consider the situation during the global recession. When the global corporations experienced a reduction in volume, its employees became more stressful. The employees had more fear of losing their jobs. Hence this assumption is completely flawed.
In conclusion the argument is flawed for the above mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could have been considerably strengthened if the author had tried to analyze the factors that are responsible for the deterioration of postal services. Without this information the argument is unsubstantiated and remains open to debate.
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Re: Please Evaluate my essay. [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2013, 20:05
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This essay is markedly better than the previous one(please-evaluate-my-essay-145831.html) so I am giving it a 4.0. Needless to say, I am quite impressed!


If you want, try the topic about Tarquinia (manhattan-tarquinia-rate-my-essay-and-i-ll-do-the-same-145661.html). It is very thought-provoking. After you write your essay, read the essay by cjliu49 and my comments about his essay. You can even post your essay in the same thread.

*** FEEDBACK ***

4.0. Identifies and analyzes important features of the argument



The paper clearly explains that low revenues may not be the main problem of the postal service, and that even if they are, raising the price of the postal stamps is not necessarily the best way to fix it. The paper also explains why the reduction of the volume of mail processed by the postal service may not necessarily lead to increased employee morale.

For a more insightful analysis the paper could address the following points:
    1. The paper mentions that the reasons for the deterioration are unknown. However, it is not even clear what "deterioration" we are taking about. More generally, it is not specified whether the goal is to save the organization or to improve the quality of service. If the government is trying to maintain a functioning and affordable postal service, as it probably should, then the revenues generated by the postal service cannot be the government's primary concern. If the postal service is unable to handle the high load of correspondence, the government may consider investing more money to increase the processing capacity of the postal service. If the postal service is not generating enough revenues to support itself, the government may consider subsidizing it from the budget rather than raising the price of the stamps if it considers maintaining an affordable postal service a higher priority.
    2. Basic market laws may or may not apply to a national postal service. The volume of mail will not necessarily decrease with an increase in the price of the postal stamps. People will still need to send letters, and private couriers may prove more expensive. The strain on the existing system may not be eliminated.
    3. Employee morale can also be improved by offering additional benefits such as affordable healthcare or early retirement. Remember that these are government employees!
    4. Perhaps employee morale is the real problem that needs to be addressed to reverse the deterioration of the postal service...


4.0. Develops and organizes ideas satisfactorily but may not connect them with transitions


The first paragraph restates the argument. The second paragraph discusses possible reasons for the deterioration of the service and also mentions possible negative effects of a price increase. The third paragraph also discusses possible negative effects of a price increase, somewhat repeating the second paragraph, albeit from a different perspective. The fourth paragraph discusses the effects on the employee morale and then summarizes the critique by giving one constructive suggestion ("It could have been considerably strengthened if the author had tried to analyze the factors that are responsible for the deterioration of postal services.")

The organization would be more logical if the idea about a possible competition from the private couriers was moved to the third paragraph since it demonstrates how an increase in price may affect the sales of the postal services.

Quote:
First, the author readily assumes that the deterioration of the postal services has been caused by low revenues

To be fair, note that the author does not discuss what caused the deterioration. He only discusses how to reverse it.

4.0. Supports the main points of the critique


Indeed, every point of the critique has some relevant support. For example:
Quote:
First, the author readily assumes that the deterioration of the postal services has been caused by low revenues. Postal services might have been deteriorated due to several other factors such as inefficient management, poor technical staff, lack of harmonious work culture etc.

When the cost of a product increases, it's likely to affect its sales or services. However, this may or may not lead to increased revenues. It reduce the volume to such an extent that the firm now generates lower revenues.
Quote:
Finally, the author claims that a reduction in volume of mail will eliminate stress, contributing to improved morale. This is again a stretch. For instance, consider the situation during the global recession. When the global corporations experienced a reduction in volume, its employees became more stressful. The employees had more fear of losing their jobs.


The paper could be improved if it demonstrated the significance of the support that it provides for the points of the critique. For instance, the last example could be closed with "...The employees had more fear of losing their jobs. Similarly, if the increased price of the postal stamps successfully reduces the volume of mail, the postal employees may naturally expect layoffs since the need for personnel would also be reduced. This expectation could plummet the employee morale instead of improving it.[/i]" This is, of course, only one psosibility. The idea is to relate the support to the point of critique being supported. Otherwise the reader is left with asking "So what?" For example, "The employees had more fear of losing their jobs. So what?"


4.0. Demonstrates sufficient control of language to convey ideas with reasonable clarity


There are no major flaws; the meaning of some sentences is unclear. More importantly, the writing lacks in syntax variety. I am not sure how to explain it properly and would welcome help from other experts.
This article may be helpful: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/10-vari ... r-writing/

Quote:
The increase in costs may give postal department a high competition from the private couriers, making it difficult for them to survive in the market.

"For them" seems to refer to the private couriers, which is illogical.

Quote:
When the cost of a product increases, it's likely to affect its sales or services.

The meaning is unclear. What services are we talking about?

Quote:
It reduce the volume to such an extent that the firm now generates lower revenues.

What does it mean? What is "it"? Perhaps the sentence should start with an "if". Also, the "now" is confusing; perhaps it should be "that the firm would..."

Quote:
The author here readily assumes that increasing the price will definitely lead to increase in revenues, which is flawed.

The increase in revenues is not flawed; the assumption is.

[/quote]
Finally, the author claims that a reduction in volume of mail will eliminate stress, contributing to improved morale.
[/quote]
The "contributing to improved morale" does not look right here. I am not quite sure how to best improve it or how to technically explain the problem, but I would reword the sentence: perhaps, "eliminate stress and contribute to improved morale". Otherwise it is a little unclear what is or will be contributing to improved morale: perhaps it is the author who is contributing to improved morale.

Quote:
It could have been considerably strengthened if the author had tried to analyze the factors that are responsible for the deterioration of postal services. Without this information...

"Without this analysis"?

4.0. Generally follows the conventions of standard written English but may have some flaws


Quote:
that to save postal service

"the postal service", as in the prompt

Quote:
Postal services might have been deteriorated

might have deteriorated. "to deteriorate" is an active verb. For example, "Conditions continued to deteriorate as the race progressed."
(New York Times Jan 20, 2013; http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/21/sport ... tions.html)

Quote:
Second, the author clearly skips a simple rule of business.

Usage: "skip" is not the best word in this context. "the author clearly forgets about a simple rule of business" may be a better version.

Quote:
definitely lead to increase

definitely lead to an increase

Quote:
When the global corporations experienced a reduction in volume, its employees

When global corporations... their employees (2 mistakes)
_________________

Sergey Orshanskiy, Ph.D.
I tutor in NYC: http://www.wyzant.com/Tutors/NY/New-Yor ... ref=1RKFOZ

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Re: Please Evaluate my essay. [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2013, 04:46
Thanks a lot for evaluating my essay.

Sahil
Re: Please Evaluate my essay.   [#permalink] 21 Jan 2013, 04:46
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