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# Aiming at 5.0 - 6.0. How do you find my awa?

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Joined: 04 Jul 2015
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Aiming at 5.0 - 6.0. How do you find my awa? [#permalink]

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20 Jul 2015, 08:25
ESSAY QUESTION:
The following appeared in a newspaper editorial during the holiday shopping season:
"Americans spend far too much of their time buying and consuming non-essential goods. Studies show that, on average Americans spend over a quarter of their leisure time shopping. As such, it is no secret why America is losing its competitive edge relative to other countries. Instead of spending their time productively, Americans are wasting time through frivolous consumption. In order to counteract this trend, Americans should spend more time focused on personal and communal development--by, for example, pursuing educational advancement or participating in volunteer opportunities."
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument's logic and analyze the argument's underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument's conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.

Response

The argument claims that America is losing its competitive edge because Americans spend too much time buying non-essential goods. Hence, to counteract this trend, Americans should dedicate more time to personal and communal development, such as volunteering. Stated in this way, the argument fails to mention several key factors on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion of the argument relies on assumptions for which there is no clear evidence. Therefore, the argument is unconvincing and has several flaws.

First, the argument readily assumes that America is losing competitiveness because of their population spending too much of their leisure time shopping. This statement is a stretch and is clearly unsubstantiated. For example, countries like China or Japan have extremely competitive industries and yet, their population spends, on average, much more time shopping than Americans do. Furthermore, increased consumption of non-essential goods has historically helped the Americans overcome several crisis such as the crash of 1929. If the argument had explicitly stated the causal relationship between the increased consumption and the plunge in competitive edge then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.

Second, the argument claims that Americans should spend more time focused on personal and comunal development to prevent the country from losing its competitive edge. This is again a very weak and unsupported claim since the argument does not demonstrate how an increased amount of time spent in these areas could help the country regain its competitiveness. For instance, although the percentage of people in Germany holding a university degree is relatively low when compared to America, Germany has been at the very cutting edge of competitiveness. Moreover, despite engaging in volunteering activities may help the personal development of Americans, it is not clear how this would help America as a whole when compared to other countries. The argument could have been much clearer if it mentioned how participation in personal and comunal development would help counteract the trend.

Finally, the argument claims that since Americans spend over a quarter of their time shopping, they spend far too much of their time buying and consuming non-essential goods. However, this evidence does not necessarily mean that Americans spend this time buying non-essential goods, as it is possible that most of their time is spent buying groceries and other essential supplies. Furthermore, the argument claims that spending so much time shopping is upnroductive but does not contemplate, again, the possibility that for most Americans this is not a choice, but a necessity. Without convincing answers to these questions, one is left with the impression that the argument is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence.

In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above-mentioned reasons. It could be considerably strengthened if it stated all the relevant facts such as the possibility that an increased amount of time dedicated to shopping might not have triggered the decrease in competitiveness, or the possibility that most of the goods bought are in fact essential goods. Without this information the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.
Aiming at 5.0 - 6.0. How do you find my awa?   [#permalink] 20 Jul 2015, 08:25
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# Aiming at 5.0 - 6.0. How do you find my awa?

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