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# Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain countr

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31 Jul 2018, 21:54
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Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain country of Montania have historically been coal miners. However, many coal mines have closed and the number of coal mining jobs available has decreased by nearly 90%. The best way to get these jobs back is to ensure that demand is at the same level it was before we lost these jobs. Our country must offer subsidies that will allow producers to decrease the price of coal and increase the demand for coal and therefore the need for coal mining jobs in order to recover these lost jobs.

Which of the following, if true, would weaken the coal executive’s argument?

A. Coal is already less expensive per unit than is natural gas within the country of Montania.

B. Many of Montania’s trading partners use a combination of solar and wind power.

C. Montania has invested heavily in retraining programs for former coal miners, many of whom have transitioned to other industries.

D. Improvements in technology have increased the amount of coal that can be produced per worker by 1000%.

E. No new coal deposits have been discovered within Montania for the last fifteen years.

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31 Jul 2018, 22:22
Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain country of Montania have historically been coal miners. However, many coal mines have closed and the number of coal mining jobs available has decreased by nearly 90%. The best way to get these jobs back is to ensure that demand is at the same level it was before we lost these jobs. Our country must offer subsidies that will allow producers to decrease the price of coal and increase the demand for coal and therefore the need for coal mining jobs in order to recover these lost jobs.

Which of the following, if true, would weaken the coal executive’s argument?

A. Coal is already less expensive per unit than is natural gas within the country of Montania. Does not weaken the conclusion that offering subsidies will decrease price and help recover jobs

B. Many of Montania’s trading partners use a combination of solar and wind power. Irrelevant

C. Montania has invested heavily in retraining programs for former coal miners, many of whom have transitioned to other industries. Exactly. If miners have transitioned to other industries, then there is no need to offer subsidies.

D. Improvements in technology have increased the amount of coal that can be produced per worker by 1000%. Irrelevant

E. No new coal deposits have been discovered within Montania for the last fifteen years. Irrelevant. Trap answer. While this may be true, it is irrelevant to the conclusion.
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31 Jul 2018, 22:33
how's E irrelevant. That should be the OA. Trying to weaken the conclusion that the country should put in measures to reduce price and increase demand in order to get the lost jobs back. This option E tells us a different reason that there are no new deposits discovered therefore no need to offer subsidies

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Updated on: 31 Jul 2018, 22:51
I think the answer should be e.
It says there used to be 100 open JOB POSITIONS but now there are only 10. How do we open up the closed 90? By offering subsidises which will increase demand and hence new positions. C talks about people who used to work at the mine and nothing about the POSITIONS lost.
chetan2u

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Originally posted by rahulkashyap on 31 Jul 2018, 22:44.
Last edited by rahulkashyap on 31 Jul 2018, 22:51, edited 1 time in total.
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31 Jul 2018, 22:57
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Bunuel wrote:
Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain country of Montania have historically been coal miners. However, many coal mines have closed and the number of coal mining jobs available has decreased by nearly 90%. The best way to get these jobs back is to ensure that demand is at the same level it was before we lost these jobs. Our country must offer subsidies that will allow producers to decrease the price of coal and increase the demand for coal and therefore the need for coal mining jobs in order to recover these lost jobs.

Which of the following, if true, would weaken the coal executive’s argument?

A. Coal is already less expensive per unit than is natural gas within the country of Montania.

B. Many of Montania’s trading partners use a combination of solar and wind power.

C. Montania has invested heavily in retraining programs for former coal miners, many of whom have transitioned to other industries.

D. Improvements in technology have increased the amount of coal that can be produced per worker by 1000%.

E. No new coal deposits have been discovered within Montania for the last fifteen years.

+1 for D

Prethinking: Coal executive requires country to offer subsidies to create jobs by increasing demand. Hence, to weaken his conclusion we need to find something which denies the possibility of creating jobs

A. Coal is already less expensive per unit than is natural gas within the country of Montania.
- Incorrect. We don't know how expensive natural gas is, so we can't determine whether coal is cheap or not.
B. Many of Montania’s trading partners use a combination of solar and wind power.
- Incorrect. This is irrelevant to the argument
C. Montania has invested heavily in retraining programs for former coal miners, many of whom have transitioned to other industries.
- Incorrect. This is irrelevant to the argument. This doesn't give us any reason on how the jobs can be increased or coal demand can be increased.
D. Improvements in technology have increased the amount of coal that can be produced per worker by 1000%.
- Correct. This tells us that due to advanced technology the amount of coal produced per worker has increased to 1000%. Hence even if the demand is increased and price is reduced more jobs can't be created. Few workers will be more than enough to meet the demand as their efficiency has increased by 10 times.
E. No new coal deposits have been discovered within Montania for the last fifteen years.
- Incorrect. This is inconsistent. Argument doesn't mention how many coal mines existed and how many out of them were closed. So there is a possibility that still there are a huge number of coal mines working.
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31 Jul 2018, 23:10
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rahulkashyap, it should be D..reasons as given below

Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain country of Montania have historically been coal miners. However, many coal mines have closed and the number of coal mining jobs available has decreased by nearly 90%. The best way to get these jobs back is to ensure that demand is at the same level it was before we lost these jobs. Our country must offer subsidies that will allow producers to decrease the price of coal and increase the demand for coal and therefore the need for coal mining jobs in order to recover these lost jobs.

Which of the following, if true, would weaken the coal executive’s argument?

A. Coal is already less expensive per unit than is natural gas within the country of Montania.
does not weaken. we are not talking of the relationship with price of gas

B. Many of Montania’s trading partners use a combination of solar and wind power.
Out of context

C. Montania has invested heavily in retraining programs for former coal miners, many of whom have transitioned to other industries.
We are not concerned with the cost involved or amount spent. we are talking of getting jobs by a particular method

D. Improvements in technology have increased the amount of coal that can be produced per worker by 1000%.
Correct. even if we open all the closed mines, each worker now is equal to 1000/100 = 10 workers of earlier. so still ony 1/10 th people will be able to get their job back

E. No new coal deposits have been discovered within Montania for the last fifteen years.
we are concerned with opening of CLOSED ones, the argument never mentions about new ones

D
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Re: Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain countr  [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2018, 23:45
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Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain country of Montania have historically been coal miners. However, many coal mines have closed and the number of coal mining jobs available has decreased by nearly 90%. The best way to get these jobs back is to ensure that demand is at the same level it was before we lost these jobs. Our country must offer subsidies that will allow producers to decrease the price of coal and increase the demand for coal and therefore the need for coal mining jobs in order to recover these lost jobs.

Which of the following, if true, would weaken the coal executive’s argument?

Boil it down - Our country must offer subsidies that will allow producers to decrease the price of coal and increase the demand for coal and therefore the need for coal mining jobs in order to recover these lost jobs.

A. Coal is already less expensive per unit than is natural gas within the country of Montania. - Incorrect - we don't whether coal and natural gas are substitutes of each other

B. Many of Montania’s trading partners use a combination of solar and wind power. -- Irrelevant

C. Montania has invested heavily in retraining programs for former coal miners, many of whom have transitioned to other industries. -- Irrelevant

D. Improvements in technology have increased the amount of coal that can be produced per worker by 1000%. -- Correct -- this justifies the decrease in percentage of workers by 90% and supply and demand of coal is same as before

E. No new coal deposits have been discovered within Montania for the last fifteen years. -- Irrelevant

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Re: Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain countr  [#permalink]

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01 Aug 2018, 02:57
IMO D.

The arugument says increasing the demand back to the previous levels might bring back the lost jobs. But if the new technology has increased the productivity per employee by 1000%, then even if demand goes back to previous levels, it will still be lesser than the supply. Hence, D.
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01 Aug 2018, 21:14
Bunuel wrote:
Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain country of Montania have historically been coal miners. However, many coal mines have closed and the number of coal mining jobs available has decreased by nearly 90%. The best way to get these jobs back is to ensure that demand is at the same level it was before we lost these jobs. Our country must offer subsidies that will allow producers to decrease the price of coal and increase the demand for coal and therefore the need for coal mining jobs in order to recover these lost jobs.

Which of the following, if true, would weaken the coal executive’s argument?

A. Coal is already less expensive per unit than is natural gas within the country of Montania.

B. Many of Montania’s trading partners use a combination of solar and wind power.

C. Montania has invested heavily in retraining programs for former coal miners, many of whom have transitioned to other industries.

D. Improvements in technology have increased the amount of coal that can be produced per worker by 1000%.

E. No new coal deposits have been discovered within Montania for the last fifteen years.

VERITAS PREP OFFICIAL EXPLANATION:

For this weaken question, remember that your job is to understand the stimulus and to "find the gap" in the argument that you've been given and then to find the answer choice that best exploits that gap.

The coal executive argues that the number of coal mining jobs has declined by 90% and that the best way to return the number of jobs back to the number before the decline is to decrease the cost per unit of coal (thereby increasing demand). There are a number of gaps here. Is there any proof that declining demand is what caused the decline in jobs? What about proof that increasing the demand will necessarily increase the number of jobs (maybe the workers who are there are currently underproducing)?

Only (D) exploits one of these gaps: there is no proof that a decline in demand is what caused the decrease in the number of mining jobs in the first place. If now a single worker can produce 1000% (or ten times) what a worker before the decline could produce, then it would take only 10% of the number of workers to produce the same output. Since decreased demand isn't the cause of the decrease in the number of workers, increasing the demand won't increase the number of available jobs to what it once was.

Among the other answer choices, (A) can be eliminated because it is unknown how the relationship between the costs of coal and natural gas would affect demand. Choice (B) can also be eliminated because even though many of Montania's trading partners use wind and solar, you don't know that a) they use these technologies to the exclusion of coal or that b) they haven't always used wind and solar instead of coal. They may have always traded salt with Montania rather than coal.

Choice (C) can also be eliminated, and for a very common reason: it doesn't factor in to the explicitly stated goal While job retraining might be a better plan for laid-off miners and for the economy as a whole, those very worthy causes are not mentioned as part of the executive's goal. The goal is stated as "in order to recover these lost jobs" (where "these" refers to "coal"). The executive is concerned with coal jobs, not with jobs in general, so (C) is a nonfactor.

Finally, (E) can be eliminated because even though no new coal deposits have been discovered in the last 15 years, you don't know that the existing coal deposits have been exhausted. So while the country could be running out of coal deposits, it could also have enough coal to last it for several generations.
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Updated on: 30 Nov 2019, 08:19
This is a poorly built question. While I agree that (D) is an okay weakener, option (B) is a good weakener too. If many people use / prefer solar and wind power, then the price of the coal might not matter after all. So, the decrease in price will not lead to increase in demand, meaning that no more jobs are needed.

If energy users are environmentalists, for instance, they won't care about the price of the coal, because they value solar & wind power.

Originally posted by mykrasovski on 29 Nov 2019, 20:13.
Last edited by mykrasovski on 30 Nov 2019, 08:19, edited 1 time in total.
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29 Nov 2019, 23:35
mykrasovski wrote:
This is a poorly built question. While I agree that (D) is a good weakener, option (B) is a good weakener too. If many people use / prefer solar and wind power, then the price of the coal might not matter after all. So, the decrease in price will not lead to increase in demand, meaning that no more jobs are needed.

If energy users are environmentalists, for instance, they won't care about the price of the coal, because they value solar & wind power.

Hi the question is alright.

Your reasoning is little of i am afraid.
There can a reason that the population is increasing so the energy demand is also increasing so we can have both the industries to grow rapidly because of demand. The reason D is the answer is logically correct. If the Improvements in technology have increased the amount of coal that can be produced per worker by 1000% so then naturally the demand for the labor would go down and the plan proposed to subsidize the coal industry would be counter productive and the plan would not work.
The only option which comes close is C . Montania has invested heavily in retraining programs for former coal miners, many of whom have transitioned to other industries. But this choice has error
"Many "can be interpreted in multiple ways. It can be 2,3 or 50000 we do not know.
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30 Nov 2019, 08:18
Hi arvind910619, let's follow your logic. If the population grew 1000%, then the demand for energy will for sure grow, too. IN fact, both population and productivity growth increase similarly. So, we end up in the same situation as we had before. The fact that productivity increased (because of new technology) does not weaken the argument.
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Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain countr  [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2019, 15:36
mykrasovski wrote:
Hi arvind910619, let's follow your logic. If the population grew 1000%, then the demand for energy will for sure grow, too. IN fact, both population and productivity growth increase similarly. So, we end up in the same situation as we had before. The fact that productivity increased (because of new technology) does not weaken the argument.

Lets give the stem one more try by focusing on bold part of executive argument -
Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain country of Montania have historically been coal miners. However, many coal mines have closed and the number of coal mining jobs available has decreased by nearly 90%. The best way to get these jobs back is to ensure that demand is at the same level it was before we lost these jobs. Our country must offer subsidies that will allow producers to decrease the price of coal and increase the demand for coal and therefore the need for coal mining jobs in order to recover these lost jobs.

As per executive argument - Country can get lost jobs by ensuring the coal demand to the previous levels. If productivity has increased by 10 times (1000%), country will get only 10% of jobs back not all the jobs. Option D clearly shows that one won't be able to get jobs back if productivity has increased by 1000%.

There is no mention of population increase or otherwise.
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Re: Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain countr  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2019, 19:33
mykrasovski wrote:
Hi arvind910619, let's follow your logic. If the population grew 1000%, then the demand for energy will for sure grow, too. IN fact, both population and productivity growth increase similarly. So, we end up in the same situation as we had before. The fact that productivity increased (because of new technology) does not weaken the argument.

Productivity increased means that very few people would be employed and thus the overall actions that the argument propounds will be invalid as the industry will be profitable even with lower volume. Say they increased their break even and thus gained profitability.

We are only concerned with the premises that the argument propounds.
Hope its clear.
Re: Coal executive: The majority of individuals within the mountain countr   [#permalink] 01 Dec 2019, 19:33
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