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# It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted

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It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 19 Mar 2019, 06:10
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 47, Date : 24-FEB-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted index of the economic and social welfare of the people of the United States. A glance at it would tell us how much better or worse off we had become each year, and we would judge the desirability of any proposed action by asking whether it would raise or lower this index. Some recent discussion implies that such an index could be constructed. Articles in the popular press even criticize the Gross National Product (GNP) because it is not such a complete index of welfare, ignoring, on the one hand, that it was never intended to be, and suggesting, on the other, that with appropriate changes it could be converted into one.

The output available to satisfy our wants and needs is one important determinant of welfare. Whatever want, need, or social problem engages our attention, we ordinarily can more easily find resources to deal with it when output is large and growing than when it is not. GNP measures output fairly well, but to evaluate welfare we would need additional measures which would be far more difficult to construct. We would need an index of real costs incurred in production, because we are better off if we get the same output at less cost. Use of just man-hours for welfare evaluation would unreasonably imply that to increase total hours by raising the hours of eight women from 60 to 65 a week imposes no more burden than raising the hours of eight men from 40 to 45 a week, or even than hiring one involuntarily unemployed person for 40 hours a week. A measure of real costs of labor would also have to consider working conditions. Most of us spend almost half of our waking hours on the job and our welfare is vitally affected by the circumstances in which we spend those hours. To measure welfare we would need a measure of changes in the need our output must satisfy. One aspect, population
change, is now handled by converting output to a per capita basis on the assumption that, other things equal, twice as many people need twice as many goods and services to be equally well off. But an index of needs would also account for differences in the requirements for living as the population becomes more urbanized and suburbanized; for the changes in national defense requirements; and for changes in the effect of weather on our needs. The index would have to tell us the cost of meeting our needs in a base year compared with the cost of meeting them equally well under the circumstances prevailing in every other year.

Measures of “needs” shade into measures of the human and physical environment in which we live. We all are enormously affected by the people around us. Can we go where we like without fear of attack? We are also affected by the physical environment—purity of water and air, accessibility of parkland and other conditions. To measure this requires accurate data, but such data are generally deficient. Moreover, weighting is required: to combine robberies and murders in a crime index; to combine pollution of the Potomac and pollution of Lake Erie into a water pollution index; and then to combine crime and water pollution into some general index. But there is no basis for weighting these beyond individual preference.

There are further problems. To measure welfare we would need an index of the “goodness” of the distribution of income. There is surely consensus that given the same total income and output, a distribution with fewer families in poverty would be better, but what is the ideal distribution? Even if we could construct indexes of output, real costs, needs, state of the environment, we could not compute a welfare index because we have no system of weights to combine them.
1. The author’s primary concern is to

(A) refute arguments for a position
(B) make a proposal and defend it
(C) attack the sincerity of an opponent
(D) show defects in a proposal
(E) review literature relevant to a problem

2. The author implies that use of man-hours is not an appropriate measure of real cost because it

(A) ignores the conditions under which the output is generated
(B) fails to take into consideration the environmental costs of production
(C) overemphasizes the output of real goods as opposed to services
(D) is not an effective method for reducing unemployment
(E) was never intended to be a general measure of welfare

3. It can be inferred from the passage that the most important reason a single index of welfare cannot be designed is

(A) the cost associated with producing the index would be prohibitive
(B) considerable empirical research would have to be done regarding output and needs
(C) any weighting of various measures into a general index would be inherently subjective and arbitrary
(D) production of the relevant data would require time, thus the index would be only a reflection of past welfare
(E) accurate statistics on crime and pollution are not yet available

4. The author regards the idea of a general index of welfare as a(n)

(A) unrealistic dream
(B) scientific reality
(C) important contribution
(D) future necessity
(E) desirable change

5. According to the passage, the GNP is a(n)

(A) fairly accurate measure of output
(B) reliable estimate of needs
(C) accurate forecaster of welfare
(D) precise measure of welfare
(E) potential measure of general welfare

6. According to the passage, an adequate measure of need must take into account all of the following EXCEPT

(A) changing size of the population
(B) changing effects on people of the weather
(C) differences in needs of urban and suburban populations
(D) changing requirements for governmental programs such as defense
(E) accessibility of parkland and other amenities

7. The passage is most likely

(A) an address to a symposium on public policy decisions
(B) a chapter in a general introduction to statistics
(C) a pamphlet on government programs to aid the poor
(D) the introduction to a treatise on the foundations of government
(E) a speech by a university president to a graduating class

Source: Master GMAT (55)
Difficulty Level: 650

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Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 19 Mar 2019, 06:10, edited 7 times in total.
Fixed the error
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Joined: 16 Jan 2018
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Re: It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted  [#permalink]

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16 Apr 2018, 20:38
I think the answer to Q6. should be d.
Also can anyone explain Q7. with its approach.

Thanks
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Re: It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted  [#permalink]

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17 Apr 2018, 03:40
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Re: It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted  [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2019, 07:35
+1 Kudos to posts containing answer explanations of all questions
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Re: It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted  [#permalink]

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24 Feb 2019, 21:05

Please post OE for questions 5 and 6.

Thanks
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Re: It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted  [#permalink]

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17 Mar 2019, 02:48
Hello gmat1393

After your quoted comment, I have attempted this passage and got question # 5 and 6 wrong, so i wasn't able to explain, Today i encountered this passage again attempted for the 2nd time and the result was same, i felt nervous, researched for half an hour and detected that a paragraph was missing from the passage. Now i have fixed the passage you are requested to attempt this passage again. Kindly let me know if u feel any doubt or find any error in the passage, later on i will post OE for the same.

Thanks

gmat1393 wrote:

Please post OE for questions 5 and 6.

Thanks

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It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted  [#permalink]

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19 Mar 2019, 06:33
narayandutta
rohit80042
gmat1393

Official Explanation

1. The author’s primary concern is to

Explanation

This is a main idea question. The author begins by stating that it would be useful to have a general index to measure welfare and notes that some have even suggested the GNP might be adapted for that purpose. Then the author proceeds to demonstrate why such an index cannot be constructed. Generally, then, the author shows the defects in a proposal for a general index of welfare, and (D) nicely describes this development.

(A) is incorrect, for the author never produces any arguments for the position being attacked. Even when raising points such as the suggestion that hours worked might be a measure of cost of production, the author is only mentioning the position to attack it.

(B) is incorrect since the author is attacking and not defending the proposal discussed.

(C) is easily eliminated because the author never attacks the sincerity of an opponent.

Finally, (E) is wrong, for the author never reviews any literature on the subject under discussion.

2. The author implies that use of man-hours is not an appropriate measure of real cost because it

Explanation

This is an inference question. In the second paragraph the author mentions that a general index of welfare would have to include some measure of the cost of producing the output. The author first suggests that someone might think hours worked would do the trick, but then rejects that position by noting that hours worked, as a statistic, does not take account of the quality of the work time, e.g., long hours versus short hours, working conditions, satisfaction of workers.

(A) best describes this argument.

(B) is incorrect, for the author discusses environmental costs in connection with another aspect of a general index.

(C) is incorrect since this distinction is never used by the author.

(D) is incorrect since this is not mentioned as a goal of such a measure.

Finally, (E) confuses the GNP, mentioned in the first part of the paragraph, with the index to measure real costs.

3. It can be inferred from the passage that the most important reason a single index of welfare cannot be designed is

Explanation

This is an inference question that asks about the main point of the passage. The author adduces several objections to the idea of a general index of welfare. Then the final blow is delivered in the last paragraph: Even if you could devise measures for these various components of a general index, any combination or weighting of the individual measures would reflect only the judgment (personal preference) of the weighter. For this reason alone, argues the author, the entire idea is unworkable.

(C) makes this point.

(A) and (D) can be eliminated since the author never uses cost or time as arguments against the index.

(B) can be eliminated on similar ground. The author recognizes that considerable research would be needed to attempt such measures, yet does not bother to use that as an objection.

(E) can be eliminated for a similar reason. The author may have some arguments against the way such statistics are gathered now, but does not bother to make them. The author’s argument has the structure: Even assuming there are such data, we cannot combine these statistics to get a general measure of the quality of the environment.

4. The author regards the idea of a general index of welfare as a(n)

Explanation

This is a tone question, and the justification for

(A) is already implicit in the discussion thus far. The author sees fatal theoretical weaknesses inherent in the idea of an index of welfare, regarding such a notion as an unrealistic, that is, unachievable, dream.

(B) is incorrect because the author does not believe the idea can ever be implemented.

(C), (D), and (E) can be eliminated on substantially the same ground.

5. According to the passage, the GNP is a(n)

Explanation

This is an explicit idea question. In the second paragraph, the author acknowledges that the GNP is a fairly accurate measure of output. There is no suggestion made that the GNP can estimate needs, predict welfare, or measure welfare generally. So we can eliminate the remaining choices except A

6. According to the passage, an adequate measure of need must take into account all of the following EXCEPT

Explanation

This is an explicit idea question, with a thought reverser. (A), (B), (C), and (D) are all mentioned in the third paragraph as aspects of a needs index. The fourth para-graph does not treat the idea of a needs index but the idea of a physical environment index. That is where the author discusses the items mentioned in (E). So the author does mention the items covered by (E), but not as part of a needs index.

7. The passage is most likely

Explanation

This is an application question. We are looking for the most likely place for the passage. To be sure, it is possible that the passage might appear in any of the five suggested locations, but the most likely place is that suggested by (A). This could easily be one of a series of papers addressed to a group meeting to discuss public policy decisions.

As for (B), it is not likely that the passage would be an introduction to a general text on statistics. It is too firmly dedicated to a particular idea, and the use of statistics is in a way subordinate to the theoretical discussion.

(C) is inappropriate since the discussion bears only remotely on programs to aid the poor.

(D) is even less likely since the passage does not discuss the foundations of government.

Finally, (E) is to a certain extent plausible, but (A) is more closely connected to the content of the passage.

Hope it helps
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It would be enormously convenient to have a single, generally accepted   [#permalink] 19 Mar 2019, 06:33
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