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George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that

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George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2008, 11:42
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George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg is enough to make one despair of political humanity.

Shaw's statement would best serve as an illustration in an argument criticizing which of the following?

(A) Dentists who perform unnecessary dental work in order to earn a profit
(B) Doctors who increase their profits by specializing only in diseases that affect a large percentage of the population
(C) Grocers who raise the price of food in order to increase their profit margins
(D) Oil companies that decrease the price of their oil in order to increase their market share
(E) Bakers and surgeons who earn a profit by supplying other peoples basic needs
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Feb 2010, 13:07
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The question hisnges on the word pecuniary which means of or pertaining to money.

“That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you," this means bakers will only bake bread for you if it in there money making interests. Making bread is profitable.

"should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg is enough to make one despair of political humanity.” This means doctors interests in providing you medical attention is linked making them money and not becaue it is the right thing to do, so if cutting off your leg would make them more money then they would cut more legs off not because it medically necessary but becaus it is profitable, which is a sad commentary on human nature.

(B) Doctors who increase their profits by specializing only in diseases that affect a large percentage of the population - This staes the doctor is motivated by money to specialize in certain diseases but it this does not mean he is motivated to misdiagnose

(A) Dentists who perform unnecessary dental work in order to earn a profit - A goes to the heart of the matter perfoming medical procedures for the sake of profit and not medical need.


rnemani wrote:
Why is not B?
The argument here is that as bread caters to all, doctors are only speacilizing in diseases that cater to all.
I am not sure how performing unnecessary surgery goes with the criticism.

Please explain

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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2008, 12:36
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Shaw: "Bakers can be paid more to make more bread, but that it doesn't follow that surgeons should be paid more to cut off legs."

A aptly describes a similar situation among dentists, who perform unnecessary procedures to increase their earnings.

IMO, straight A.

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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2009, 08:53
Why is not B?
The argument here is that as bread caters to all, doctors are only speacilizing in diseases that cater to all.
I am not sure how performing unnecessary surgery goes with the criticism.

Please explain
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2010, 18:04
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It's the dentist.
Here's my thinking. GB Shaw makes the point that although you can improve the supply of bread by providing a financial incentive, it does not follow that you should be able to improve the supply of cut-off legs through an incentive. Thus, there is a difference between an incentive for a positive outcome and for a negative outcome.

Cut-off legs are negative when the procedure isn't necessary (obviously, sometimes cutting off a leg is a life-saving procedure), so the closest analogy is A, a dentist who performs unnecessary dental surgeries because he may gain more money by doing so.

In fact, one could replace the cut-off legs idea with pulled teeth and it's basically the same example.
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2011, 17:14
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Its an easy A).

The key in such convoluted questions is to not get intimidated by the language - instead try to work out the logic used. G.B.Shaw [great character btw ;-) ] made the argument criticizing the causal argument made by the nation's Govt.

The nation's govt realized that if bakers have a monetary incentive of profiteering in baking bread, the nation would be well fed. G.B.Shaw criticizes this causal logic and extrapolates it in the case of surgeons who could be given a monetary incentive for cutting legs [red flag: extreme logic used, possible clue for answer]. He obviously fears that surgeons would go around cutting legs even in the cases that don't require this.

The Question asked is "Shaw's statement would best serve as an illustration in an argument criticizing which of the following?

Now proceed to the options:
A) Says some dentists would do unnecessary dental work if given a profit incentive.
This is most parallel to "surgeons who cut legs in cases that are not required. "

B) C) D) E) talk about OT or distortions like "raising mkt share", "increasing the profit margin (as opposed to creating one in the first place) " etc. etc.
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2011, 18:40
IndigoIntentions wrote:
Its an easy A).

The key in such convoluted questions is to not get intimidated by the language - instead try to work out the logic used. G.B.Shaw [great character btw ;-) ] made the argument criticizing the causal argument made by the nation's Govt.

The nation's govt realized that if bakers have a monetary incentive of profiteering in baking bread, the nation would be well fed. G.B.Shaw criticizes this causal logic and extrapolates it in the case of surgeons who could be given a monetary incentive for cutting legs [red flag: extreme logic used, possible clue for answer]. He obviously fears that surgeons would go around cutting legs even in the cases that don't require this.

The Question asked is "Shaw's statement would best serve as an illustration in an argument criticizing which of the following?

Now proceed to the options:
A) Says some dentists would do unnecessary dental work if given a profit incentive.
This is most parallel to "surgeons who cut legs in cases that are not required. "

B) C) D) E) talk about OT or distortions like "raising mkt share", "increasing the profit margin (as opposed to creating one in the first place) " etc. etc.


Why is E incorrect ? It talks about both bakers and surgeons.
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2011, 18:44
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E) Talks about "basic needs". This put me off since surgery as intended in the original premise is not a basic need.
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2012, 04:30
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Price of bread is subject to laws of supply/demand. Surgeons case is not such.
Of course a case can be made that if Surgeon B charges less for his services than Surgeon A, then economics will work here too.

I read the stimulus thrice but was not very clear on what the message was- (pecuniary=monetary, but that still doesn't help)
Made an educated guess that GBS was trying to point out a systemic flaw from an ethical standpoint.

Thus dentists case looks more attractive.
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2012, 06:23
"That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg is enough to make one despair of political humanity."

Question Type: Parallel Reasoning?

Rephrase: A nation, knowing that it could provide for you a supply of bread by paying bakers to bake for you, instead pay surgeons to cut off your leg.

Pre-phrase- paying more to surgeons for something non-basic than for bakers who supply the basic need of bread (food).

(A) Dentists who perform unnecessary dental work in order to earn a profitCorrect, unnecessary work is analogous to being something that is not basic (such as cutting off someone's leg).
(B) Doctors who increase their profits by specializing only in diseases that affect a large percentage of the population- this would be providing for a basic need- wrong direction

(C) Grocers who raise the price of food in order to increase their profit margins- ehhh shell game
(D) Oil companies that decrease the price of their oil in order to increase their market share- wrong direction
(E) Bakers and surgeons who earn a profit by supplying other peoples basic needs- surgueons do not provide a basic need


A
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2012, 18:41
vishy007 wrote:
George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg is enough to make one despair of political humanity.

Shaw's statement would best serve as an illustration in an argument criticizing which of the following?

(A) Dentists who perform unnecessary dental work in order to earn a profit
(B) Doctors who increase their profits by specializing only in diseases that affect a large percentage of the population
(C) Grocers who raise the price of food in order to increase their profit margins
(D) Oil companies that decrease the price of their oil in order to increase their market share
(E) Bakers and surgeons who earn a profit by supplying other peoples basic needs


Good question. Spent 1 min 50 seconds on it. Got A.

You really have to read the question stem properly to get this right. It asks what statement "would best serve as an illustration in an argument criticizing which of the following?" The key word is criticize.

Shaw does not criticize the baker in his statement. His whole idea is that a "sane" society (he does not believe this is sane) observes that a baker gets a reward for baking and uses the same method to get a surgeon to cut off a leg (by giving the surgeon a reward). He thinks this is a bad way of doing things in general because a surgeon should not receive money based on the number of legs he cuts off. He believes that a baker earning money for baking his goods is NOT a good thing to apply everywhere.

So, what else would fit the bill (no pun intended...well maybe a little)? "A" is the only one that makes sense. Other options really just talk about examples like the baker baking his/her goods.

I also did not know what "peciniary" meant. I took a guess that it meant something like "reward" or "money" and just went with it.
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2012, 02:38
IMO A


George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg is enough to make one despair of political humanity.

Shaw's statement would best serve as an illustration in an argument criticizing which of the following?

(A) Dentists who perform unnecessary dental work in order to earn a profit
(B) Doctors who increase their profits by specializing only in diseases that affect a large percentage of the population
(C) Grocers who raise the price of food in order to increase their profit margins
(D) Oil companies that decrease the price of their oil in order to increase their market share
(E) Bakers and surgeons who earn a profit by supplying other peoples basic needs

The argument clearly critizes the morality of a profession by making an analogy when bakers are given a pecuniary interest for baking more and surgeons cutting off leg just to make more money. similarly, dentists make more money by doing unnecessary dental work.
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Feb 2013, 07:36
This was a tough one!
My instinct was to go with A but I think this would be a question that I would spend a lot of time on during the exam rather than just picking something and moving on (Something I need to work on)

After looking up the meaning for Pecuniary - of or pertaining to money

(A) Dentists who perform unnecessary dental work in order to earn a profit - Criticize for performing unnecessary work for money
(B) Doctors who increase their profits by specializing only in diseases that affect a large percentage of the population - Not necessarily unnecessary
(C) Grocers who raise the price of food in order to increase their profit margins - Doesn’t fit the scope of the question
(D) Oil companies that decrease the price of their oil in order to increase their market share - Doesn’t fit the scope of the question
(E) Bakers and surgeons who earn a profit by supplying other peoples’ basic needs - This is not a criticism but an explanation
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2013, 12:54
vishy007 wrote:
George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg is enough to make one despair of political humanity.

Shaw's statement would best serve as an illustration in an argument criticizing which of the following?

(A) Dentists who perform unnecessary dental work in order to earn a profit
(B) Doctors who increase their profits by specializing only in diseases that affect a large percentage of the population
(C) Grocers who raise the price of food in order to increase their profit margins
(D) Oil companies that decrease the price of their oil in order to increase their market share
(E) Bakers and surgeons who earn a profit by supplying other peoples basic needs


It took me awhile to understand what GB Shaw was saying so I read the prompt multiple times. Once I understood it, this was pretty straightforward.

A basic explanation of the prompt (IMO) is that GB thinks it sane to give a baker a monetary interest in making bread for you. But that sanity stops when it is stretched to giving someone a profit motive for doing something that can have a devastating impact on someone's life. This is part of a larger argument of private vs. public sector. For example - imagine a for profit fire department? Police department? Can you imagine what would happen if those two things were privately owned? So having a profit motive of having someone cut off legs makes GB lack faith in "political" humanity - or humanity period. Moving on to the actual answer choices:

A - Fits with this perfectly. Dentist pulling teeth unnecessarily to make money follows the same line of thinking.
B - These doctors aren't given the opportunity to perform things that aren't needed. They are making a personal decision on what field they are going into. Not relevant as far as I'm concerned.
C - Someone selling groceries is similar to a baker not someone cutting off legs. This isn't relevant either.
D - Once again this is not something with a twisted motive of causing personal harm. Yes you could argue it harms people's wallets if they decide to monopolize or oligopolize a particular industry but that is NOT equivalent to physically harming someone.
E - This is completely irrelevant. GB Shaw is not saying how they both provide needed services. He's critiquing the fact that surgeons provide a service that can be quite harmful if it is strictly a profit motive.

A jumped out at me for this one.
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2013, 17:45
vishy007 wrote:
George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg is enough to make one despair of political humanity.

Shaw's statement would best serve as an illustration in an argument criticizing which of the following?

(A) Dentists who perform unnecessary dental work in order to earn a profit
(B) Doctors who increase their profits by specializing only in diseases that affect a large percentage of the population
(C) Grocers who raise the price of food in order to increase their profit margins
(D) Oil companies that decrease the price of their oil in order to increase their market share
(E) Bakers and surgeons who earn a profit by supplying other peoples basic needs


1. I have never seen an answer being right that repeats something from the question. So I would have, and did, rule out E because it mentions BAKERS and SURGEONS. This is a trick answer designed to make the unwary fall for the trap.
2. Furthermore, the answer can't be E because cutting off legs is not a basic need. Sure, sustenance is a basic need, but half a correct answer is an incorrect answer.
3. Grocers increasing the price of food to increase their profit margins does not quite fit here. There must be a correlation. And that correlation here is earning money for something that is unnecessary/unethical. Lest I don't make myself clear with the above, think of it this way. If a doctor makes money from cutting off legs, s/he will cut off legs even when that is not absolutely necessary. And there goes the "unnecessary" in A.

I do admit though, I tested at 98th percentile in Verbal on my last test, am a lawyer, was an English major, and this was a toughie!!! I wasn't completely sure with my answer.
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2018, 13:15
Even though I chose A, I'm not fully satisfied with the answer.How do we know that the leg mentioned in the stem is cut unnecessarily ?
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Re: George Bernard Shaw wrote: That any sane nation, having observed that &nbs [#permalink] 06 Mar 2018, 13:15
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