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

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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, 04:47
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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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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, 21:25
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, 20:05
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 24 Apr 2018, 00:01
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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Image
C



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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Image
E



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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Image
D




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.
Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...   [#permalink] 24 Apr 2018, 00:01

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