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Manager
Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 123

Kudos [?]: 72 [0], given: 22

Location: India
Schools: Terry, Georgia Tech
WE 1: Working for Wipro Technologies since April 2010

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27 Sep 2010, 23:09
The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen
foods:
“Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become
more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day
service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And
since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to
minimize costs and thus maximize profits.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and
the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions
underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can
also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would
make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

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I think the above argument that the cost of processing comes down with time has some serious assumptions which, if proven wrong, can seriously weaken the argument. There are at least four assumptions underlying this argument that I will try and point out.

First, as time moves on, newer things come into the fray. Thus, although companies may become more efficient with respect to the processing of earlier products, these newer products can significantly increase the net processing time of the company as a whole.

Second, with time comes technology. And as with every new technology, people take time to learn it. For example, the computers, although capable of increasing the efficiency levels manifold, took many years to truly establish itself as a ground breaking technology worldwide.

Third, the author has cited the example of the improvement in processing time of color films. But he has failed to mention how that improvement came about. It might be possible that some ground breaking invention with respect to color film processing was made at that time, and unless a similar invention is made in the food processing industry as well, it is really unjust of the authority at Olympic Foods to expect a similar rise in efficiency level.

Fourth, being in the market for 25 years is an achievement that brings along responsibilities for the company. Olympic Foods must have had some committed customers. If they aim to reduce costs and maximize profits, it would mean an almost unchanged selling price. But, to stay in the market, it cannot afford to take that strategy as its’ competitors are surely going to bring down their own prices to attract customers. Thus, experience alone will help in maximizing profit is a wrong assumption on the part of the company if it wants to stay in the market and retain its customers.

To conclude, I would like to point out that the above points have been completely overlooked by the author of the report. Some relevant statistics from the food processing industry itself rather than color film processing industry would have made the argument stronger. And detailed explanation regarding how improvement in processing time will be brought about is necessary to substantiate the argument that processing time can be reduced with the help of experience gained over time.

************************************************************************

“In some countries, television and radio programs are carefully censored for offensive language and behavior. In
other countries, there is little or no censorship.”
In your view, to what extent should government or any other group be able to censor television or radio programs?
Explain, giving relevant reasons and/or examples to support your position.

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Based on the above issue presented, I feel it is very important for governments and other agencies to keep a close eye on programs being aired and if required censor those programs or part of programs which they deem offensive. I will try to elaborate why this is important.

First, we should remember that a large number of children, in the age group between 4- 10, constitute for a considerable percentage of television or radio audience. At this tender age, where they are just learning to express their thoughts and communicate with people, exposure to offensive language or behavior will imbibe in the child serious flaws that is most unwarranted in any civilized society.

Second, perhaps the largest audience groups for television and radios is that of teenagers. And at the time of adolescence, it is a natural tendency for many to break the established laws of the society. That the offensive television and radio shows assisting the teenagers in their attempt to do so is absolutely unwarranted.

Third, some people complain that too much restriction on programs is a handicap on their creativity. But I feel there is a huge gap between creativity and obscenity that these people fail to see. Legends like Satyajit Ray or Steven Speilberg still managed to make films that are still enjoyed by people of all age group alike, yet they never had to take help of any obscenity to do so.

To conclude, I would like to point out that although television and radio programs should be carefully censored, other areas of entertainment like story books, or console games should be included in its scope too, as these are also important parts of lives of many children and adults alike. Perhaps, to please the critics, some programs with a lesser degree of obscenity can be allowed to air with an adult rating, but certainly not without any censorship at all.
_________________

Samidh
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Senior Manager
Status: Upset about the verbal score - SC, CR and RC are going to be my friend
Joined: 30 Jun 2010
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29 Sep 2010, 10:37
Nice essays.

In the argument essay - I thought we can even point out author missed to state how the strategy from one industry can be applied to the other.

In one of the recent economist articles, I read PIXAR is following Toyota strategy to make movies. So, it could be possible to apply the same strategy from one industry to other as long as the argument presents enough evidence for the same.
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