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GRE Argument Essay: Mayor Of Brindleburg - With A Free Essay Review
PROMPT: The following appeared in a memo from the mayor of Brindleburg to the city council. "Two years ago, the town of Seaside Vista opened a new municipal golf course and resort hotel. Since then, the Seaside Vista Tourism Board has reported a 20% increase in visitors. In addition, local banks reported a steep rise in the number of new business loan applications they received this year. The amount of tax money collected by Seaside Vista has also increased, allowing the town to announce plans to improve Seaside Vista's roads and bridges. We recommend building a similar golf course and resort hotel in Brindleburg. We predict that this project will generate additional tax revenue that the city can use to fund much-needed public improvements."
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
The author of this argument states that the Seaside Vista tourism has increased by 20% since the opening of new golf course and resort hotel two years ago. But there is no information on whether any other big event like opening an amusement park happened that year which increased the tourism. If there wasn't any such event that year and there was 20% increase in Seaside Vista tourism only due to new golf course and resort hotel, then this would have strengthened the argument.
Also, the rise in business loan applications has increased this year, not before two years, which means that the increase may be due to some other new business plans enforced by the government. If a report of why there is a sudden increase in business loan applications two years after opening new golf course was provided, then the result of the report would have helped in strengthening or weakening the argument. If this increase is due to the opening of golf course and resort hotel, the report would strengthen the argument.
The author also assumes that since Seaside Vista showed increase in tax money collected after opening municipal golf course and resort hotel, Brindleburg will also have the same effects on opening a golf course and resort hotel. The author has nowhere compared the climate, transport, geography and population of the two towns. If this information was provided by the author, it would have helped very much in determining if opening a golf course and resort hotel in Brindleburg will have same effects as in the town of Seaside Vista.
Finally, the author has mentioned that there are much-needed public improvements in Brindleburg. There is no information regarding what kind of public improvements has to be done. There are certain things like good transportation and good roads etc., for tourists to select a place as thier tourist spot. If the public improvements are laying a proper road or arranging proper transport facilities for the residents of the town, then there would be not be more use in opening a golf course and resort hotel without satisfying those public needs. Author could have provided some information regarding which would have helped in strengthening or weakening the argument.
To sum, the author has not provided any comparisons between these towns or reports to strengthen the argument. Hence the memo is not convincing enough to approve the opening of new municipal golf course and resort hotel in Brindleburg.
Let's start here: "If there wasn't any such event that year and there was a 20% increase in Seaside Vista tourism due only to the new golf course and resort hotel, then this would have strengthened the argument." The good thing about this sentence is that you are explicitly following the instruction "be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation." But since the absence of an amusement park or a similar development does not prove that the increase in tourism is "only due to the new golf course and resort hotel," as your sentence seems to imply, your argument is more or less a tautology. It only suggests that if the increase in tourism was only due to the new golf course and hotel then the increase in tourism was only due to the new golf course and hotel.
The argument you really want to make, I take it, would be something like this: "If there were no other tourist sites built, then the claim that the increase in tourism was caused by the new golf course and hotel would be strengthened." But note that the conclusion you need to arrive at concerns the Mayor's specific prediction. So you need to specify how the alleged fact that increased tourism in Seaside Vista was caused by the new resort would help you evaluate that prediction.
The second question you identify is essentially this: "Is the increase in business loan applications due to the opening of the resort?" If it is, then you claim it would strengthen the argument. There are two problems here. First, in order to answer the question, other prior questions would need to be asked. For example: are the loan applications specifically for businesses that cater to tourists? The Mayor of Brindleburg's memo suggests that the increase in business loans is due to the opening of the resort. Your argument is therefore again a bit tautologous: "if the increase in loan applications are due to the opening of the resort, then they are due to the opening of the resort." The second problem is that you again don't clarify how learning that the increase in loan applications in Seaside Vista was due to its resort would help you evaluate the Mayor's prediction about increased tax revenue in Brindleburg.
The argument of your next paragraph is logically sound, but given the prompt, it takes the wrong form. You need to identify actual questions that need to be answered. And then consider the possible answers and their implications on the Mayor's prediction. That is, instead of saying "The author has not compared the climate, transport, geography etc. of the two towns," say something like "We need to ask whether there are other factors that might have contributed to the popularity of Seaside Vista that Brindleburg lacks." Then you need to clarify how the possible answers to that question would help evaluate the prediction: "If the Seaside Vista resort was popular with tourists because it was close to the sea, for example, and Brindleburg is inland, then building a resort at Brindleburg would likely not result in the same increase in tourism and so not have the expected impact on tax revenue."
Generally, for this type of essay, you need to focus not on the task of proving the weaknesses in the argument (which, as your conclusion demonstrates, is your focus here) but precisely on the task of determining what additional information is needed to assess the recommendation and the prediction. Thinking about the assumptions that the Mayor makes can help you identify the right questions, but your task is not to critique the Mayor for making assumptions.