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In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...

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New post 05 Dec 2017, 09:51
Time Taken - 6 mins

Got 2/3 correct.
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jan 2018, 03:47
1
I always shoot myself in the foot by over-thinking on RC. Although I managed a 51/51 on critical reasoning and 44/51 on SC, a 23/51 on RC destroyed my verbal score on the real GMAT - ended up getting a 35 on verbal despite scoring high on the other sections.

That being said, question 2 is a good example of silly mistakes I make and I was hoping for some clarification.

It is stated on numerous platforms that inference questions will never restate the answer but rather paraphrase it. Thus I never expected E to be correct because it basically restates the point almost word for word. This is the only reason I went for A. I assumed that since historians ignored the actual language used in business dealings (language that promoted trust rather than self interest) and thus the impact such language had on business dealings, said historians are not crediting the impact business had on moral values and beliefs.

RC is truly frustrating me because it is the only obstacle preventing me from achieving a 700+ and these stupid mistakes stemming from overthinking constantly brings my score down.

Anyways, point of this post is to understand how the correct inference answer is almost an exact restatement from the passage. Thanks in advance.
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2018, 13:27
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1
yousefalj wrote:
I always shoot myself in the foot by over-thinking on RC. Although I managed a 51/51 on critical reasoning and 44/51 on SC, a 23/51 on RC destroyed my verbal score on the real GMAT - ended up getting a 35 on verbal despite scoring high on the other sections.

That being said, question 2 is a good example of silly mistakes I make and I was hoping for some clarification.

It is stated on numerous platforms that inference questions will never restate the answer but rather paraphrase it. Thus I never expected E to be correct because it basically restates the point almost word for word. This is the only reason I went for A. I assumed that since historians ignored the actual language used in business dealings (language that promoted trust rather than self interest) and thus the impact such language had on business dealings, said historians are not crediting the impact business had on moral values and beliefs.

RC is truly frustrating me because it is the only obstacle preventing me from achieving a 700+ and these stupid mistakes stemming from overthinking constantly brings my score down.

Anyways, point of this post is to understand how the correct inference answer is almost an exact restatement from the passage. Thanks in advance.

So this might sound silly, but it's actually a really common problem on CR and RC: what, exactly, does the word "inference" or "infer" really mean?

By definition, an inference is something that's NOT stated directly in the passage. But if you think about that definition really strictly and literally, it leaves tons of wiggle-room. Sure, sometimes a correct inference is several steps removed from the passage, and maybe you have to walk through several logical steps to go from the EXACT language of the passage to the correct inference. Maybe you had to work pretty hard to draw a conclusion from the facts given, and that conclusion could qualify as an "inference."

But sometimes, an inference can be a fairly simple restatement of something given in the passage. Sometimes, that inference is so obvious that it seems really, really stupid. But as long as the language is slightly different, it qualifies as an inference, and not something that was directly stated. Consider the following:

    Passage: Charlie has a gigantic appetite. He enthusiastically eats at least eight sizable meals a day, and spends most of his waking hours eating, cooking, thinking about food, or making friends with chefs.
    Inference: Charlie eats large quantities of food.

Pretty dumb, right? Of course Charlie eats large quantities of food -- he eats at least eight sizable meals a day, and has a gigantic appetite. But the phrase "Charlie eats large quantities of food" wasn't directly stated. This can count as an inference, as dumb as that may sound.

So here's the right way to approach inference questions: find the four answer choices that are LEAST supported by the passage. The remaining answer choice will be correct by default, regardless of whether it's a simple, silly restatement of something in the passage -- or a more involved conclusion that you derived only after several long, sweaty minutes of heavy thinking. (For whatever it's worth, this general approach might sound familiar if you've read our beginner's guides to RC or CR.)

So don't overthink the inferences, and you'll be fine. :-)

I hope this helps!
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2018, 20:25
GMATNinja,

Could you please help with Question 1 .
I am struck between Options A and C.
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Mar 2018, 19:05
2
R999 wrote:
GMATNinja,

Could you please help with Question 1 .
I am struck between Options A and C.

As always, use POE:

Quote:
Question 1
The author of the passage refers to “truck, barter and exchange” in the highlighted text most likely in order to

Quote:
(a) lend authority to the argument that commerce is characterized by self-interest

Do these words suggest anything about self-interest? No. They are simply words to describe commerce in early modern England. Eliminate (A).

Quote:
(b) identify activities that embody essential qualities of human relationships

The passage does not discuss qualities that are essential (necessary) to human relationships. The passage talks about trust and cooperation, which are arguably essential qualities of human relationships, but "truck, barter, and exchange" would not be considered activities that EMBODY such qualities. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
(c) indicate the terms Adam Smith used to define business relations

"Smith’s view that self-interest dominated the business that emerged in early modern England has had tremendous effects on how such relations have been perceived." - This sentence is talking about the perception of the business relations of that time. What business relations? The ones driven by self-interest. The preceding sentence tells us that "truck, barter, and exchange" (t/b/e) were characterized by individual desire (i.e. self interest). So Smith is simply using those terms to define the business relations characterized by self-interest and individual desire. (C) is admittedly confusing, but it matches the first two sentences of the passage. Hang on to this one.

Quote:
(d) represent the everyday speech used in village communities in England

We don't know whether people in English village communities used these terms in everyday speech, so eliminate (D).

Quote:
(e) introduces key terms used in credit transactions in early England

There is no mention of credit transactions in the first paragraph. According to Smith, t/b/e were characterized by self-interest. On the other hand, conducting business transactions on credit requires trust and cooperation. So when Smith talked about t/b/e, he was not linking those activities to credit transactions. Eliminate (E).

(C) is the best answer.
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2018, 23:01
DensetsuNo wrote:
In the wealth of nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith asserted that the propensity of “truck, barter and exchange” was both the foundation of commerce and a given quality of human nature, driven by individual desire. Smith’s view that self-interest dominated the business that emerged in early modern (sixteenth- and seventeenth century) England has had tremendous effects on how such relations have been perceived. Today it is typically assumed, for instance, that the development of business relations weakened the spirit of cooperation that characterized village communities and encouraged a spirit of individualism and self-betterment that ran counter to community interest.

However, such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England used to articulate their understanding of business relations, language that stressed credit, trust, obligations, and contracts, rather than self-interest. Throughout this period, most business transactions were conducted on credit – of plain dealing and of the keeping of promises – dominated the way in which business relations were conceived. Individual profit and solvency were important, but neither could be achieved without the trust and direct cooperation of one’s neighbours. As a result, buying and selling, far from breaking up communities, actually created numerous bonds that held villages together.
The author of the passage refers to “truck, barter and exchange” in the highlighted text most likely in order to

(a) lend authority to the argument that commerce is characterized by self-interest
(b) identify activities that embody essential qualities of human relationships
(c) indicate the terms Adam Smith used to define business relations
(d) represent the everyday speech used in village communities in England
(e) introduces key terms used in credit transactions in early England



It can be inferred that the author of the passage believes that economic historians whose views have been influenced by Adam Smith have failed to examine which of the following?

(a) The power of business relations to shape moral values and beliefs
(b) The significance of human nature in shaping economic developments and social structure
(c) The importance of village communities in determining the economic well-being of larger society
(d) The consequence of individual communities of changes in a country’s economic structure
(e) The actual language used to by people in village communities to refer to their business dealings



The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

(a) Criticizing a theory of human nature
(b) Evaluating the impact of a particular economist on modern theories of economic history
(c) Chronicling the early history of the use of credit in business relations
(d) Reconsidering accepted ideas about the history of business relations
(e) Explaining the decline of cooperation in village communities




Hi GMATNinja

I marked option Bas the correct answer for question3 and got it wrong

My reasoning was, in the the first paragraph, the author says "Today it is typically assumed, for instance, that the development of business relations weakened the spirit of cooperation that characterized village communities and encouraged a spirit of individualism and self-betterment that ran counter to community interest.". This is a modern assumption (can also be taken as a modern theory) and this comes after the author says "Smith’s view that self-interest dominated the business that emerged in early modern (sixteenth- and seventeenth century) England has had tremendous effects on how such relations have been perceived. " So, we can see that Smith definitely had an impact of modern theories.

From here, we move on to the secong paragraph in which the author starts with "However, such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England..." and goes on to explain "why does the view fail". So, he is definitely evaluating the modern views which goes with option B.

The only way that I see this evaluation could be bettered is if "such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England" is placed at the end of the 2nd paragraph. Otherwise, option B shouldhave been the correct choice.

Option D would have been correct if "such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England" would not have been mentioned. The author passes his own judgement and this should be seen as evaluating.

Please explain where am I going wrong.
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jul 2018, 23:34
Hi CrackVerbalGMAT / GMATNinja / Other Experts,

Thank you for the great explanations for this question. Very helpful. I usually get the questions - "the author mentions XXX in line YY in order to" - wrong in RC. This is one of the question type that I am not able to improve on. Can you please advise on how to attack these question types? I would really appreciate it.

Thank you!

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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2018, 05:41
1. As observed in the first line, the author tends to bring into account the assertion of Adam Smith, let us do POE here
A- The first statement is not offering support to the statement; it is just a piece of information provided.
B- Out of scope. There is no mention of qualities of human relationship. For specific purpose questions, stay very close to the related text otherwise you will fall into the trap created by GMAT.
C- Correct answer
D- Again this cannot be derived from the information provided in the highlighted portion of the text.
E- For specific purpose questions, stay very close and focused on the text. E is not supported by the first line.
2. This answer can be very easily derived from the first line of the second paragraph.
Revisit the text whenever you encounter explicit questions which can be validated from the text. This helps you not to get into the trap of recycled language. Also, this helps in building accuracy.
Revisit the following lines
However, such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England used to articulate their understanding of business relations, language that stressed credit, trust, obligations, and contracts, rather than self-interest.
Let us do POE
A-The lines do not suggest anything related to power.
B- Nothing can be derived from the human relationships.
C- We can’t infer anything associated with the importance of village communities.
D- Not dealing with consequences of individual communities.
E –It is the right answer. This is the beauty of POE. Keep eliminating the incorrect choices, whatever remains serves as the right answer.


3. For the primary purpose question, always try to do the effective reading as revisiting the entire paragraph again to solve implicit questions such as tone, main idea, structure and primary purpose becomes really difficult.





A. Out of scope- there is no theory of human nature discussed.
B. Out of scope- Adam Smith’s assertion is mentioned but no discussion of the impact
C. Out of Scope –no timelines discussed in the passage
D. Correct answer
E. Reversal of what information is provided in the second paragraph
keep practicing. Consistency is the key.
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In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Aug 2018, 16:00
DensetsuNo wrote:
In the wealth of nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith asserted that the propensity of “truck, barter and exchange” was both the foundation of commerce and a given quality of human nature, driven by individual desire. Smith’s view that self-interest dominated the business that emerged in early modern (sixteenth- and seventeenth century) England has had tremendous effects on how such relations have been perceived. Today it is typically assumed, for instance, that the development of business relations weakened the spirit of cooperation that characterized village communities and encouraged a spirit of individualism and self-betterment that ran counter to community interest.

However, such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England used to articulate their understanding of business relations, language that stressed credit, trust, obligations, and contracts, rather than self-interest. Throughout this period, most business transactions were conducted on credit—of plain dealing and of the keeping of promises —dominated the way in which business relations were conceived. Individual profit and solvency were important, but neither could be achieved without the trust and direct cooperation of one’s neighbours. As a result, buying and selling, far from breaking up communities, actually created numerous bonds that held villages together.
The author of the passage refers to “truck, barter and exchange” in the highlighted text most likely in order to

(A) lend authority to the argument that commerce is characterized by self-interest
(B) identify activities that embody essential qualities of human relationships
(C) indicate the terms Adam Smith used to define business relations
(D) represent the everyday speech used in village communities in England
(E) introduces key terms used in credit transactions in early England



It can be inferred that the author of the passage believes that economic historians whose views have been influenced by Adam Smith have failed to examine which of the following?

(A) The power of business relations to shape moral values and beliefs
(B) The significance of human nature in shaping economic developments and social structure
(C) The importance of village communities in determining the economic well-being of larger society
(D) The consequence of individual communities of changes in a country’s economic structure
(E) The actual language used to by people in village communities to refer to their business dealings



The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

(A) Criticizing a theory of human nature
(B) Evaluating the impact of a particular economist on modern theories of economic history
(C) Chronicling the early history of the use of credit in business relations
(D) Reconsidering accepted ideas about the history of business relations
(E) Explaining the decline of cooperation in village communities




1. C) indicate the terms Adam Smith used to define business relations[/b]
Because Adam Smith Asserted this as the foundation of commerce, which translates to "definition of business relations"
2. (E) The actual language used to by people in village communities to refer to their business dealings
Because the author wrote: such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England used to articulate their understanding of business relations
Language is at the heart of the issue, and the author spells that out clearly.
3. (D) Reconsidering accepted ideas about the history of business relations
The passage states a common perception that Smithsonian economics is primarily about pursuing one's self interests. Then the author dedicates an entire paragraph towards refuting that common perception. So, this is a persuasive essay, insofar as it gives evidence for the reader to consider.
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 03:58
GMATNinja I understand that for Q#2 option E is a restatement and hence is correct. But How can B not be correct. The author has emphasised in second para that it is because of the human nature- ie on basis of giving credit or promises- that the business flourished. it becomes quite obvious that the economic historians didnt consider this aspect. Can you pl correct me.
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2018, 17:22
GMATNinja wrote:

Q2: A closer look at who's concerned with "human nature"


hassu13 wrote:
GMATNinjaI understand that for Q#2 option E is a restatement and hence is correct. But How can B not be correct. The author has emphasised in second para that it is because of the human nature- ie on basis of giving credit or promises- that the business flourished. it becomes quite obvious that the economic historians didnt consider this aspect. Can you pl correct me.

In the second paragraph, the author never claims that credit, promisees, and trust are part of human nature.

Instead, the author focuses explicitly on the language that people in early modern England used when doing business. The author points to this use of language as something that the typical view (which does depend on a Smith-like view of human nature) fails to consider:

Quote:
However, such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England used to articulate their understanding of business relations, language that stressed credit, trust, obligations, and contracts, rather than self-interest.

I hope this clarifies why we eliminate (B). Choice (E) is much better supported by the passage, and directly answers the question that we're being asked: What have these economic historians failed to examine?

Q3: Why did the author write this passage?


aviejay wrote:
Hi GMATNinja

I marked option Bas the correct answer for question3 and got it wrong

My reasoning was, in the the first paragraph, the author says "Today it is typically assumed, for instance, that the development of business relations weakened the spirit of cooperation that characterized village communities and encouraged a spirit of individualism and self-betterment that ran counter to community interest.". This is a modern assumption (can also be taken as a modern theory) and this comes after the author says "Smith’s view that self-interest dominated the business that emerged in early modern (sixteenth- and seventeenth century) England has had tremendous effects on how such relations have been perceived. " So, we can see that Smith definitely had an impact of modern theories.

From here, we move on to the secong paragraph in which the author starts with "However, such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England..." and goes on to explain "why does the view fail".

You've got a good grasp of the passage! When we want to state the primary concern of a passage, we're basically asking, "Why, overall, did the author write this thing?"

Breaking it down once more:

  • The author wrote paragraph 1 to present today's typical view of what the development of business relations did to village communities (and to tell us that that view is informed by Smith's work).
  • The author wrote paragraph 2 to explain how today's typical view has failed to take into account language used in these village communities.

So the author wrote this passage to raise doubts about how business relations during early modern England are perceived today. Note that the main concern here is not Adam Smith. It's the conventional wisdom that his work helped to create.

Quote:
So, he is definitely evaluating the modern views which goes with option B.

Let's be careful here. Yes, the author is evaluating modern views of business relations during early modern England. However, what does answer choice (B) say?

Quote:
(B) Evaluating the impact of a particular economist on modern theories of economic history

"Evaluating modern views" is not the same as "Evaluating the impact of a particular economist." The author mentions Smith to help us understand the modern view, but as a whole this passage evaluates the view of early modern England's business relations and how we come to believe it -- not Smith's impact on modern theories. As explained earlier, that's why we eliminate (B).

aviejay wrote:
Option D would have been correct if "such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England" would not have been mentioned. The author passes his own judgement and this should be seen as evaluating.

Please explain where am I going wrong.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this hypothetical statement. To stick with the passage as it's written, the author is telling us that today's typical view fails to account for important information that could change our understanding of business relations in early modern England. The passage pushes us to question this view and consider a different interpretation of business relations.

Quote:
(D) Reconsidering accepted ideas about the history of business relations

This closely matches our understanding of why the author wrote this passage, and that's why (D) is the best answer choice as it's written.


Q1: The Question is "Why?"


sdlife wrote:
Hi CrackVerbalGMAT/ GMATNinja / Other Experts,

Thank you for the great explanations for this question. Very helpful. I usually get the questions - "the author mentions XXX in line YY in order to" - wrong in RC. This is one of the question type that I am not able to improve on. Can you please advise on how to attack these question types? I would really appreciate it.

As usual, when I'm asked for help with a specific question type, I don't have a very satisfying answer. :)

The key to RC is how well you read the passage: if you do a bulletproof job of reading for structure and purpose, then it will become easier to see how a specific detail fits in with the purpose of a paragraph or with the overall purpose of the passage. (More on these general ideas here.)

At the end of the day, this kind of question basically asks, "Why does the author mention this detail?"

This is very different from asking questions like:

  • "Does the author mention this detail?"
  • "Do you see this detail in the passage?"
  • "Would the author agree with this detail?"

This distinction may seem obvious, but in practice it can be tough to stay focused on the author's purpose, especially when you're under time pressure. If you're only looking for details that seem like they were in the passage, or kind of fit with things the author might say, then you'll have a very hard time eliminating wrong answer choices. So always remember that you're looking for the answer choice that best explains why the author has brought up the detail in this exact part of the passage.

I hope this all helps!


Hi GMATNinja,

Thanks for the explanation. I am a bit confused with the term "accepted ideas". Author has presented a theory and then criticized it for not taking into account the language used in early business dealings. But how do we know that the ideas were "accepted".
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2018, 18:15
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ovrup007 wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:

Q2: A closer look at who's concerned with "human nature"


hassu13 wrote:
GMATNinjaI understand that for Q#2 option E is a restatement and hence is correct. But How can B not be correct. The author has emphasised in second para that it is because of the human nature- ie on basis of giving credit or promises- that the business flourished. it becomes quite obvious that the economic historians didnt consider this aspect. Can you pl correct me.

In the second paragraph, the author never claims that credit, promisees, and trust are part of human nature.

Instead, the author focuses explicitly on the language that people in early modern England used when doing business. The author points to this use of language as something that the typical view (which does depend on a Smith-like view of human nature) fails to consider:

Quote:
However, such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England used to articulate their understanding of business relations, language that stressed credit, trust, obligations, and contracts, rather than self-interest.

I hope this clarifies why we eliminate (B). Choice (E) is much better supported by the passage, and directly answers the question that we're being asked: What have these economic historians failed to examine?

Q3: Why did the author write this passage?


aviejay wrote:
Hi GMATNinja

I marked option Bas the correct answer for question3 and got it wrong

My reasoning was, in the the first paragraph, the author says "Today it is typically assumed, for instance, that the development of business relations weakened the spirit of cooperation that characterized village communities and encouraged a spirit of individualism and self-betterment that ran counter to community interest.". This is a modern assumption (can also be taken as a modern theory) and this comes after the author says "Smith’s view that self-interest dominated the business that emerged in early modern (sixteenth- and seventeenth century) England has had tremendous effects on how such relations have been perceived. " So, we can see that Smith definitely had an impact of modern theories.

From here, we move on to the secong paragraph in which the author starts with "However, such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England..." and goes on to explain "why does the view fail".

You've got a good grasp of the passage! When we want to state the primary concern of a passage, we're basically asking, "Why, overall, did the author write this thing?"

Breaking it down once more:

  • The author wrote paragraph 1 to present today's typical view of what the development of business relations did to village communities (and to tell us that that view is informed by Smith's work).
  • The author wrote paragraph 2 to explain how today's typical view has failed to take into account language used in these village communities.

So the author wrote this passage to raise doubts about how business relations during early modern England are perceived today. Note that the main concern here is not Adam Smith. It's the conventional wisdom that his work helped to create.

Quote:
So, he is definitely evaluating the modern views which goes with option B.

Let's be careful here. Yes, the author is evaluating modern views of business relations during early modern England. However, what does answer choice (B) say?

Quote:
(B) Evaluating the impact of a particular economist on modern theories of economic history

"Evaluating modern views" is not the same as "Evaluating the impact of a particular economist." The author mentions Smith to help us understand the modern view, but as a whole this passage evaluates the view of early modern England's business relations and how we come to believe it -- not Smith's impact on modern theories. As explained earlier, that's why we eliminate (B).

aviejay wrote:
Option D would have been correct if "such a view fails to account for the language that people in early modern England" would not have been mentioned. The author passes his own judgement and this should be seen as evaluating.

Please explain where am I going wrong.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this hypothetical statement. To stick with the passage as it's written, the author is telling us that today's typical view fails to account for important information that could change our understanding of business relations in early modern England. The passage pushes us to question this view and consider a different interpretation of business relations.

Quote:
(D) Reconsidering accepted ideas about the history of business relations

This closely matches our understanding of why the author wrote this passage, and that's why (D) is the best answer choice as it's written.


Q1: The Question is "Why?"


sdlife wrote:
Hi CrackVerbalGMAT/ GMATNinja / Other Experts,

Thank you for the great explanations for this question. Very helpful. I usually get the questions - "the author mentions XXX in line YY in order to" - wrong in RC. This is one of the question type that I am not able to improve on. Can you please advise on how to attack these question types? I would really appreciate it.

As usual, when I'm asked for help with a specific question type, I don't have a very satisfying answer. :)

The key to RC is how well you read the passage: if you do a bulletproof job of reading for structure and purpose, then it will become easier to see how a specific detail fits in with the purpose of a paragraph or with the overall purpose of the passage.

At the end of the day, this kind of question basically asks, "Why does the author mention this detail?"

This is very different from asking questions like:

  • "Does the author mention this detail?"
  • "Do you see this detail in the passage?"
  • "Would the author agree with this detail?"

This distinction may seem obvious, but in practice it can be tough to stay focused on the author's purpose, especially when you're under time pressure. If you're only looking for details that seem like they were in the passage, or kind of fit with things the author might say, then you'll have a very hard time eliminating wrong answer choices. So always remember that you're looking for the answer choice that best explains why the author has brought up the detail in this exact part of the passage.

I hope this all helps!


Hi GMATNinja,

Thanks for the explanation. I am a bit confused with the term "accepted ideas". Author has presented a theory and then criticized it for not taking into account the language used in early business dealings. But how do we know that the ideas were "accepted".

The passage itself communicates that these ideas have been accepted:

    Smith’s view that self-interest dominated the business that emerged in early modern (sixteenth- and seventeenth century) England has had tremendous effects on how such relations have been perceived. Today it is typically assumed, for instance, that the development of business relations weakened the spirit of cooperation that characterized village communities and encouraged a spirit of individualism and self-betterment that ran counter to community interest.

Here, the author tells us that the effects of Smiths' view have been so great that today's typical assumptions line up with Smith's 18th-century ideas concerning commerce and individual desire. In other words, Smith's ideas from 1776 have been accepted to the point that they're part of typical assumptions at present day.

I hope this helps to clarify!
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