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

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New post 24 Dec 2019, 01:03
at 700 level, easy passage require us high level of inference. it is hard to pick up the correct answer choice. Power of elimination help a lot. never use prethinking answer in RC though prethinking is good in CR
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Re: In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith...   [#permalink] 24 Dec 2019, 01:03

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