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The following appeared in a newspaper- Review Please

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Intern
Joined: 02 May 2012
Posts: 3

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02 May 2012, 12:22
AWA ESSAYS: Analyze Argument
ESSAY QUESTION:
The following appeared in a newspaper editorial during the holiday shopping season:
"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.

The author believes that as the Americans are spending a quarter of their leisure time shopping is the reason they are not able to gain a competitive edge over other countries.He further goes on to say that to counteract this trend , the Americans should spend more time focused on personal and communal development.Though the claim might have some merit, but the author presents a poorly reasoned argument based on questionable premises and assumptions and based solely on the evidence offered , we cannot accept his argument as valid.

The primary issue with his line of reasoning lies in his unsubstantiated premise that shopping is the primary reason why America is losing a competitive edge over other countries.He believes that a quarter of leisure time spent on shopping is a very significant number that is affecting the productivity of America.He fails to take into account the activities or work done during the rest of the leisure time and the rest of the time they spend productively.There is the possibility that total leisure time is just 4 hours and a quarter means one hour , and this is very less of a time to affect the productivity of a country.

In addition the author further weakens his argument by assuming that American will gain a competitive edge over other countries by spending more time focused on personal and communal development.He fails to explicitly link how this will affect the productivity of a country.He further assumes that what trend is true for a holiday shopping season represents the trend of the people year long.

He can strengthen his argument with proper research and clarification.He should mention what is the trend of the people during the rest of the season besides holiday shopping season.He should further mention what age group he has based his study on and what is the average leisure time that is spend shopping.He should provide explication of links ,spending time focused on communal development and gaining a competitive advantage ,he assumes exists.

In sum, the authors argument is based on unsupported premises and unsubstantiated assumptions that render his conclusion invalid.If the author truly hopes to change the mind of the reader he would have to largely restructure his argument and fix the flaws in his logic.

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Intern
Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 27

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 111

Location: India
GMAT 1: 560 Q39 V28
WE: Consulting (Computer Software)

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07 May 2012, 03:52
Looks good..Just a couple of thoughts. You can gain significant edge by using some opening statements. For e.g. there are set of people who believe that internet has ruined social and professional life. On the other hand, there are a few who argue that internet has eased out lives of millions of people. The debate is endless. Author in his preceding statement says that "Author's quote"..... continue

Rest looks fine to me. You are well set for 6 all the best.

Ameya

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 111

Director
Joined: 21 Dec 2009
Posts: 582

Kudos [?]: 844 [0], given: 20

Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Finance

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21 May 2012, 04:11
Ameya85 wrote:
. For e.g. there are set of people who believe that internet has ruined social and professional life. On the other hand, there are a few who argue that internet has eased out lives of millions of people. The debate is endless. Author in his preceding statement says that "Author's quote"..... continue
Ameya

Your suggestion looks like the opening for Issues Essays where you flip both sides of a topic before stating yours.

@ Vanio02
don't forget to always press the space bar after every period (full stop).
Grammatical issues: tenses, modifiers.... "He should provide explication of links ,spending time focused..." The question is "who is providing and who is spending"

"The author, the argument, He" do we use pronouns such as he/she to refer to the author? I don't know that's why am asking.

Do we conclude that the argument is INVALID? I think it should be that the argument is not very sound, not convincing, or rather not persuasive. Saying it is not valid is to pass judgement, i think.
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