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Author Message
Manager
Joined: 15 Apr 2013
Posts: 61
GMAT 1: 570 Q44 V25
GPA: 3

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06 Oct 2013, 02:58
"Americans spend far too much of their time buying and consuming non-essential goods. Studies show that, on average Americans spend over a quarter of their leisure time shopping. As such, it is no secret why America is losing its competitive edge relative to other countries. Instead of spending their time productively, Americans are wasting time through frivolous consumption. In order to counteract this trend, Americans should spend more time focused on personal and communal development--by, for example, pursuing educational advancement or participating in volunteer opportunities."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument's logic and analyze the argument's underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument's conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.

In this argument, the author claims that Americans should spend more time on personal and communal development. This claim is based on the fact that Americans spend too much of their time buying and consuming non-essential goods and Americans spend over a quarter of their leisure time shopping which has led to America losing its competitive edge compared with other countries. However on a deeper analysis, it is evident that there are certain relevant aspects that have not been taken into account, leading to a number of mistaken assumptions and logical flaws.

One such flaw is that the author mistakenly assumes that Americans spend over a quarter of their leisure time shopping leads to America losing its competitive edge relative to other nations. The argument is a stretch and is a vague argument made by the author without sufficient data to support the claim. Perhaps, the amount of leisure time Americans have is the least compared with other countries. For example, if Average Americans have 1 hour of leisure time and they spend 30 minutes shopping, compared with India where the Average Indian has 5 hours of leisure time and spend 1 hour of that time shopping. This shows an average American spends less time shopping than the citizens of another country. In order to strengthen the argument, the author should provide data on the number of hours of leisure time Americans have compared with other nations. The author should also provide data on how shopping affects America losing its competitive edge relative to other countries.

Another statement, significantly weakening the argument is that the author mistakenly assumes that personal and communal development are the only methods to be productive. The argument made by the author is too narrow and does not take into account the economic factors that drive the country's productivity. For example, if Americans are taking active part in growing their business worldwide, then American would have a competitive edge relative to other nations. Other activities that Americans perhaps spend their time on are cultural meets aimed to grow the cultural diversity of the country and their knowledge about most of the prominent cultures existent in the world today. To overcome this flaw, the author should analyze the activities that Americans take part it and how it affects the development on a case by case basis.

The author also wrongly assumes that productivity is measured the same way across the nation. Productivity to someone perhaps is not a productive way to spend time to the other. In the same way, the categorization made by the author of non-essential goods could be judgmental and based on opinions rather than objective observations. For example, if somebody spend time trying to make their business better might be judged as non-productive by somebody else because they are more inclined towards services and not entrepreneurship. To make this argument more valid, the author should conduct research to know the general beliefs of the American Public about activities that are considered not productive and goods that are considered non-essential.

After a close examination, it is clear that the author's attempt to show that Americans should spend more time focused on personal and communal development is flawed. The recommendations in the essay show how the argument could make logical sense. The author should provide further data to support his claims instead of providing subjective opinions. The author can achieve this by conducting research or holding surveys that targets the American Public compared with the public of other nations.
Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 194

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31 Oct 2013, 17:49
Again -- you are definitely in the 5.0 range. I'd say you are 'prepared' for the AWA -- time to focus in other areas!

Good luck.

-Brian
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Brian Lange | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | North Carolina

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Intern
Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 4

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14 Nov 2013, 08:08
Hi Brian,

This is my first. I want to get an idea how to proceed further.

It is attached underneath.

Thanks

RIshi

Argument
------------------------------
The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company: "When the Apogee Company had all its operations in one location,it was more profitable than it is today. Therefore, the Apogee Company should close down its field offices and conduct all its operations from a single location. Such centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and helping the company maintain better supervision of all employees." Discuss how well reasoned...etc

Passage
----------------------------

The stated argument misses some important considerations which must be addressed to substantiate the argument. Simply stating a single reason for loss that its numerous field offices and large workforce are resulting in loss to the company, doesn't provide enough evidence. Also, without any facts and figures this argument is not justifiable. There can be other possible reasons which may be acting in loss to the company such as inefficient or surplus workforce, inappropriate selection of location for few field offices, bad high level administration, lack in effective leadership etc.

Certainly there would have been a reason which made the company to decentralize and expand to field or regional offices. Field offices are meant for reaching the customers in their regions for better services and sales. These offices are also important to give a feel of global presence of the company and make a company a multi national company. This certainly adds value to a company. Closing these offices would give an open opportunity and open ground to other competitors to grab a greater consumer base by reaching to the them to their closest, hence, cutting the existing customers of Apogee company. In addition, it would reduce the customer reach, increase the time of services to customer and certainly would make the company from a global player to regional player where the main office is based.

Secondly as mentioned above that one reason for loss can be inefficient and surplus workforce. If workforce recruited is not competent enough to get the business for company or the recruited workforce is more than what is actually required, it would add to the loss of company. Paying greater salaries to such people as compared to sales they are getting for company would act in loss.

Also, another possibility is bad administration or lack of leadership qualities. Even if he company closes its field offices and centralises itself to a single office, lags in high level administration and effective leadership, still would exist. Hence, profitability can't be achieved. Proper guidance and effective leadership are key factors for a company's growth.

Because the argument fails to address various possible key causes as mentioned above, it is not sound or persuasive. The company rather should look for loopholes within the company and adopt some kind of tracking system for sales made by an employee. It would have been more effective and convincing if argument would have addressed the above mentioned points rather than solely going for a single cause.
Economist GMAT Tutor Instructor
Joined: 15 Aug 2013
Posts: 29

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16 Nov 2013, 14:21
Regarding the first essay

Indeed it is getting into the 5 range but make sure you are not overly repetitive- eg in the Intro the word aAmericans is overused. You also do not need to reapeat/paraphrise the whole argument. The second sentence particularly is overly long.

ALso please make sure you do not copy or repeat too much from the prompt eg the first sentence of the first body paragraph. Again, get to the point there and do NOT copy directly from the prompt anywhere, but rather paraphrase. This sentence is copied, for example:

Studies show that, on average Americans spend over a quarter of their leisure time shopping.

I would change that sentence to One such flaw is the mistaken causal relationship between how much time Americans spend shopping and their productivity etc etc

Hope that helps a bit.
_________________

Economist GMAT Tutor
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Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 194

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23 Nov 2013, 19:19
I would say this is in the 4 range. There are some obvious typos ("he" instead of "the") that will cause you point reduction. Just be sure to minimize careless/unnecessary mistakes. Hope this helps.
-Brian

rishimehtani wrote:
Hi Brian,

This is my first. I want to get an idea how to proceed further.

It is attached underneath.

Thanks

RIshi

Argument
------------------------------
The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company: "When the Apogee Company had all its operations in one location,it was more profitable than it is today. Therefore, the Apogee Company should close down its field offices and conduct all its operations from a single location. Such centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and helping the company maintain better supervision of all employees." Discuss how well reasoned...etc

Passage
----------------------------

The stated argument misses some important considerations which must be addressed to substantiate the argument. Simply stating a single reason for loss that its numerous field offices and large workforce are resulting in loss to the company, doesn't provide enough evidence. Also, without any facts and figures this argument is not justifiable. There can be other possible reasons which may be acting in loss to the company such as inefficient or surplus workforce, inappropriate selection of location for few field offices, bad high level administration, lack in effective leadership etc.

Certainly there would have been a reason which made the company to decentralize and expand to field or regional offices. Field offices are meant for reaching the customers in their regions for better services and sales. These offices are also important to give a feel of global presence of the company and make a company a multi national company. This certainly adds value to a company. Closing these offices would give an open opportunity and open ground to other competitors to grab a greater consumer base by reaching to the them to their closest, hence, cutting the existing customers of Apogee company. In addition, it would reduce the customer reach, increase the time of services to customer and certainly would make the company from a global player to regional player where the main office is based.

Secondly as mentioned above that one reason for loss can be inefficient and surplus workforce. If workforce recruited is not competent enough to get the business for company or the recruited workforce is more than what is actually required, it would add to the loss of company. Paying greater salaries to such people as compared to sales they are getting for company would act in loss.

Also, another possibility is bad administration or lack of leadership qualities. Even if he company closes its field offices and centralises itself to a single office, lags in high level administration and effective leadership, still would exist. Hence, profitability can't be achieved. Proper guidance and effective leadership are key factors for a company's growth.

Because the argument fails to address various possible key causes as mentioned above, it is not sound or persuasive. The company rather should look for loopholes within the company and adopt some kind of tracking system for sales made by an employee. It would have been more effective and convincing if argument would have addressed the above mentioned points rather than solely going for a single cause.

_________________

Brian Lange | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | North Carolina

Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile

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