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Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any

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Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 10 Oct 2018, 02:51
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Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any user) would always be used less carefully than private grazing land. Each rancher would be tempted to overuse common land because the benefits would accrue to the individuals, while the costs of reduced land quality that results from overuse would be spread among all users. But a study comparing 217 million acres of common grazing land with 433 million acres of private grazing land showed that the common land was in better condition.

Which of the following, if true and known by the ranchers, would best help explain the results of the study?


(A) With private grazing land, both the costs and the benefits of overuse fall to the individual user.

(B) The cost in reduced land quality that is attributable to any individual user is less easily measured with common land than it is with private land.

(C) An individual who overuses common grazing land might be able to achieve higher returns than other users can, with the result that he or she would obtain a competitive advantage.

(D) If one user of common land overuses it even slightly, the other users are likely to do so even more, with the consequence that the costs to each user outweigh the benefits.

(E) There are more acres of grazing land held privately than there are held in common.


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 234: Critical Reasoning


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"Hardin" Evaluate Argument Question

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Originally posted by Taku on 07 Mar 2005, 16:19.
Last edited by Bunuel on 10 Oct 2018, 02:51, edited 8 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2018, 17:44
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Let's start by identifying the discrepancy between Hardin's argument and the results of the study:

  • According to Hardin, grazing land held in common would always be used less carefully than private grazing land.
  • However, according to the study, the common land was in better condition than the private land.

Now let's look at the details of the passage:

  • Common grazing land is open to any user.
  • According to Hardin, each individual rancher would be tempted to overuse common land. Why? Because each individual rancher would benefit from overusing the common land. Meanwhile, the costs of reduced land quality from overuse would be spread among all users.
  • In other words, if a rancher overuses his/her own private land, he/she will bear the costs of the overuse. But if a rancher overuses common grazing land, the costs will be spread among ALL users. Thus, it seems as though ranchers using common land have more incentive to overuse the land and negatively impact the land quality.
  • But the results of a study, which compared 217 million acres of common grazing land with 433 million acres of private grazing land, showed that the common land was actually in better condition. This goes against Hardin's argument. We need an answer choice that explains this discrepancy.

Which of the following, if true and known by the ranchers, would best help explain the results of the study?

Quote:
(A) With private grazing land, both the costs and the benefits of overuse fall to the individual user.

This helps explain Hardin's point of view, but it does not explain why the results of the study do not match Hardin's argument. Eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) The cost in reduced land quality that is attributable to any individual user is less easily measured with common land than it is with private land.

Choice (B) tells us that it if, say, 20 ranchers are sharing some common land, then it is difficult to measure the cost in reduced land quality caused by any one user.

On the other hand, with private land, any cost in reduced land quality could be attributed to the rancher who owns the land. Determining the exact cost might be difficult, but we would not have to worry about dividing up the blame.

This information helps to explain Hardin's position. If (B) were NOT true, it might be easier to point a finger at any one rancher and say, "Hey, your overuse of the common land has cost us all X dollars!" That would make it harder for the ranchers to take advantage of the shared land.

But (B) does not explain the results of the study, so it should be eliminated.

Quote:
(C) An individual who overuses common grazing land might be able to achieve higher returns than other users can, with the result that he or she would obtain a competitive advantage.

Again, this helps to explain Hardin's position. Choice (C) gives us even more reason to expect that ranchers would try to overuse common land and that the private land would be in better condition. (C) does not explain the results of the study, so it should be eliminated.

Quote:
(D) If one user of common land overuses it even slightly, the other users are likely to do so even more, with the consequence that the costs to each user outweigh the benefits.

According to Hardin, an individual rancher would have an incentive to overuse public grazing lands. Why? Because the rancher would accrue benefits from overusing the land, and the costs of the overuse would be spread among all users.

But according to choice (D), if an individual rancher tries to exploit the common land as described by Hardin, then the other users are likely to overuse the land to an even greater extent. As more and more users start to overuse the common land, the costs of overuse start to outweigh the benefits, even though those costs are spread among all users.

In other words, if only ONE rancher tries to exploit the system, then that rancher will benefit at the expense of the other users. But, if (D) is true and KNOWN by the ranchers, then all of the ranchers are aware that any such attempt will end up costing them in the long run. Thus, despite the temptation described by Hardin, the ranchers would not want to overuse the common land.

(D) explains the discrepancy, so keep this one.

Quote:
(E) There are more acres of grazing land held privately than there are held in common.

We are not concerned with the number of acres of common and private land. We are only concerned with the condition of each type. Choice (E) is irrelevant, so eliminate this one.

(D) is the best answer.
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Re: Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2005, 16:58
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Conclusion: Common grazing land is in better condition than private grazing land even though common grazing land tend to be overused.

Which of the following, if true and known by the ranchers, would best help explain the results of the study?

(A): With private grazing land, both the costs and the benefits of overuse fall to the individual user.
- does not explain why common grazing land is in a better shape, or why private grazing land is in a poorer condition

(B): The cost in reduced land quality that is attributable to any individual user is less easily measured with common land than it is with private land.
- Again provides us with no useful information why common land is in a better shape

(C): An individual who overuses common grazing land might be able to achieve higher returns than other uses can, with the result that he or she would obtain a competitive advantage.
- out of scope.

(D): If one user of common land overuses it even slightly, the other users are likely to do so even more, with the consequence that the costs to each user outweigh the benefits.
- If this was true, common land would be less appealing to ranchers and they would rather use private grazing land than common grazing land. The consequence would be a lower quality private grazing land.

(E): There are more acres of grazing hand held privately than there are held in common.
- not important. All it tells us is there are more private grazing land than common grazing land.

(D) it is.
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Re: Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Oct 2006, 16:01
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Must be D.

Rancher thinking: "Hey, Why shouldn't I let all my cattle graze on the commonland. Oh, wait a minute, if I do that, my neighbors will start doing the same and pretty soon the common land will be bare and I will have to graze all my cattle on my own land. hmmm... maybe that's not such a good idea!"

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Re: Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Nov 2018, 10:37
GMATNinja DmitryFarber

The reason i selected A is that I thought that if the individual costs in individual system is more , then the individuals would be less motivated to keep their area in a better shape... in contrast, the common land ppl share the expenses and so do not have much of a burden to keep the area in a better shape..
now the answer choice A just tells us that in individual system , individuals have to bear more.. the further reasoning i made based on motiavtion is wrong?? or did i take it too far??
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Re: Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2018, 19:26
AdityaHongunti wrote:
GMATNinjaDmitryFarber

The reason i selected A is that I thought that if the individual costs in individual system is more , then the individuals would be less motivated to keep their area in a better shape... in contrast, the common land ppl share the expenses and so do not have much of a burden to keep the area in a better shape..
now the answer choice A just tells us that in individual system , individuals have to bear more.. the further reasoning i made based on motiavtion is wrong?? or did i take it too far??

Yes, you took this one too far. We have to be careful about adding further reasoning to what we're reading. This is one of the toughest things to keep up when taking the GMAT... but it's essential to take in the passage as directly as possible.

To illustrate, here's (A) again:
Quote:
(A) With private grazing land, both the costs and the benefits of overuse fall to the individual user.

This choice adds more information to Hardin's argument by telling us what happens with private grazing land.

However, this choice does not tell us that "individuals have to bear more" (though I could be misunderstanding what you mean by this). It definitely doesn't state or suggest that "individual costs in individual system is more."

(A) says that in a case of overuse, the costs and benefits of that overuse both fall to the individual rancher. That's it. This choice adds no information or explanation about individual motivations. And this choice tells us nothing about how individual ranchers behave when using common grazing land. So there's nothing here that would help explain the study if it were true and known by the ranchers.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2018, 20:30
GMATNinja wrote:
Let's start by identifying the discrepancy between Hardin's argument and the results of the study:

  • According to Hardin, grazing land held in common would always be used less carefully than private grazing land.
  • However, according to the study, the common land was in better condition than the private land.

Now let's look at the details of the passage:

  • Common grazing land is open to any user.
  • According to Hardin, each individual rancher would be tempted to overuse common land. Why? Because each individual rancher would benefit from overusing the common land. Meanwhile, the costs of reduced land quality from overuse would be spread among all users.
  • In other words, if a rancher overuses his/her own private land, he/she will bear the costs of the overuse. But if a rancher overuses common grazing land, the costs will be spread among ALL users. Thus, it seems as though ranchers using common land have more incentive to overuse the land and negatively impact the land quality.
  • But the results of a study, which compared 217 million acres of common grazing land with 433 million acres of private grazing land, showed that the common land was actually in better condition. This goes against Hardin's argument. We need an answer choice that explains this discrepancy.

Which of the following, if true and known by the ranchers, would best help explain the results of the study?

Quote:
(A) With private grazing land, both the costs and the benefits of overuse fall to the individual user.

This helps explain Hardin's point of view, but it does not explain why the results of the study do not match Hardin's argument. Eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) The cost in reduced land quality that is attributable to any individual user is less easily measured with common land than it is with private land.

Choice (B) tells us that it if, say, 20 ranchers are sharing some common land, then it is difficult to measure the cost in reduced land quality caused by any one user.

On the other hand, with private land, any cost in reduced land quality could be attributed to the rancher who owns the land. Determining the exact cost might be difficult, but we would not have to worry about dividing up the blame.

This information helps to explain Hardin's position. If (B) were NOT true, it might be easier to point a finger at any one rancher and say, "Hey, your overuse of the common land has cost us all X dollars!" That would make it harder for the ranchers to take advantage of the shared land.

But (B) does not explain the results of the study, so it should be eliminated.

Quote:
(C) An individual who overuses common grazing land might be able to achieve higher returns than other users can, with the result that he or she would obtain a competitive advantage.

Again, this helps to explain Hardin's position. Choice (C) gives us even more reason to expect that ranchers would try to overuse common land and that the private land would be in better condition. (C) does not explain the results of the study, so it should be eliminated.

Quote:
(D) If one user of common land overuses it even slightly, the other users are likely to do so even more, with the consequence that the costs to each user outweigh the benefits.

According to Hardin, an individual rancher would have an incentive to overuse public grazing lands. Why? Because the rancher would accrue benefits from overusing the land, and the costs of the overuse would be spread among all users.

But according to choice (D), if an individual rancher tries to exploit the common land as described by Hardin, then the other users are likely to overuse the land to an even greater extent. As more and more users start to overuse the common land, the costs of overuse start to outweigh the benefits, even though those costs are spread among all users.

In other words, if only ONE rancher tries to exploit the system, then that rancher will benefit at the expense of the other users. But, if (D) is true and KNOWN by the ranchers, then all of the ranchers are aware that any such attempt will end up costing them in the long run. Thus, despite the temptation described by Hardin, the ranchers would not want to overuse the common land.

(D) explains the discrepancy, so keep this one.

Quote:
(E) There are more acres of grazing land held privately than there are held in common.

We are not concerned with the number of acres of common and private land. We are only concerned with the condition of each type. Choice (E) is irrelevant, so eliminate this one.

(D) is the best answer.



The question stem is asking to explain the discrepancy between two scenerios?So if that discrepancy is resolved ranchers would know why the result was different? But option D do not provide any such explanation.

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Re: Hardin argued that grazing land held in common (that is, open to any &nbs [#permalink] 04 Nov 2018, 20:30
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