"Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day service in 1970to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits."
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In yourdiscussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence inthe argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or ounterexamples 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 argument states that the costs of processing go down over the time. Hence, the Olympic foods can expect that their experience will enable them to minimize costs and thus maximize profit as they will soon be completing their 25 years . The argument also quotes the example of color film to support the argument. Stated in this way the argument fails to consider several key factors based on which the argument could be evaluated. The conclusion of the argument relies on the assumption for which there is no clear evidence. Hence the argument is weak, unconvincing and flawed.
First, the argument assumes that over the time the costs of processing go down because organizations learn how to do things and become more efficient. The statement is a stretch and not substantiated in any way. The argument doesn’t take into account various other factors due to which the cost of processing can increase such as increase in the cost of raw material due to scarcity, government regulations enacted to safeguard environment, enacting new safety rules etc. To illustrate, there are several industries in which the cost of processing have increased over the time rather than decreasing. For instance, in timber industry the cost of processing has increased in many countries due to the low availability of raw material. Similarly, the cost for companies making poly bags has increased in the recent times due to strict regulations put by govt. to make biodegradable bags. The argument could have been much more clearer if it explicitly explained how the cost of processing will go down even if there other factors change.
Second, the argument compares color film processing costs to food processing costs. However, the comparison in itself is flawed since these two are very different industries from each other. The color films in 1970’s were new in the market and there was not much demand for them. The modern techniques for color film processing were yet to be developed as due to low production scale such a need was never felt . By 1980’s, the color films captured the market and techniques for large scale color film processing were developed and color films processing became much cheaper. However, the costs have remained almost the same thereafter. In case of food processing the production can’t be done on large scale as the food products are perishable and more over any ground breaking technological breakthrough is not expected as the food industry is already pretty much saturated, unlike the color film industry of 1970’s. If the argument had provided evidence that how these industries are similar then that could have strengthened the argument.
Finally, the argument claims that the profits will be maximized, once the costs are minimized. However, it doesn’t tell how just minimizing costs can maximize profits without taking into account such factors as competition, demand, availability of raw material etc. Without sufficient evidence one is left to thinking that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than a substantive evidence.
In summary, the argument is weak and flawed. It could be strengthened if the author mentioned all the relevant point..In order to assess the merits of a certain situation it is essential to have full knowledge of all the factors.