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My first essay.. pls rate

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nirupshetty Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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My first essay.. pls rate Post Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:05 am
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  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    Here is my first attempt at an Analyze Argument Essay

    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.


    YOUR RESPONSE:
    The argument that Americans should spend more time focused on personal and communal development rather than frivolous shopping is not entirely convincing since it does not look into different possibilities.

    First, the argument mentions that an average American spends 20% of his leisure time shopping which is hampering the competitive advantage of America over other countries. However, the author fails to mention how much of this time that is being spent on shopping are for basic needs like clothing, shelter and food. A lot of times people spend more time during shopping season since there are lot of close out sales at many stores which can help them save some money. It may be true that these people spend only 5% of their time shopping at other times in the year. This would completely contradict the author's claim.

    Secondly, the argument never addresses the fact that America may be losing its edge due to other factors like globalization and the fact that developing countries like India and china are bringing a lot of cheap labor in the global work force. It was dure to the same reason that during the 70's most of the manufacturing in United States was lost to countries like China and Mexico.

    Finally, the argument does not address the issue of why we need to focus on educational advancement or pursue volunteer opportunities to change this trend. According to me, United States has one of the best educational programs in the world. It would help if the author gave some convincing reasons behind his baseless claim. Probably, spending more government money on industry research instead of defense is the solution to the problem.

    It would have helped if the author gave some productivity numbers for the past 10-15 years of other developed nations and compare it to United states to show this downward trend that he is talking about. Additionally, it would have strengthened the author's argument if he gave some examples of other countries who have focused on education and volunteer opportunities and have made the country more competitive.

    Thus, I am convinced that the author's reasoning is not completely sound.

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    VP_Jim GMAT Instructor Default Avatar
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    Post Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:19 am
    Good work on this one - your approach is spot on. A couple of minor comments: some of your paragraphs are a bit on the short end. Your intro especially could use some filling out - restate the argument, state that it's poorly reasoned, and quickly list why. Aim for four sentences or so.

    A good way to lengthen body paragraphs - and tighten up your writing - is to move your discussion of how to strengthen the argument into each paragraph. Each paragraph discusses a faulty assumption or other error in reasoning the author made - tack on a sentence at the end of each paragraph stating how to improve the argument in terms of that error only.

    Finally, avoid first person pronouns (I, me, my) in your writing.

    Good work - I'll give you a 5.

    _________________
    Jim S. | GMAT Instructor | Veritas Prep

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