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GRE Argument: The Council Of Maple County - With A Free Essay Review
The council of Maple County, concerned about the county's becoming overdeveloped, is debating a proposed measure that would prevent the development of existing farmland in the county. But the council is also concerned that such a restriction, by limiting the supply of new housing, could lead to significant increases in the price of housing in the county. Proponents of the measure note that Chestnut County established a similar measure ten years ago, and its housing prices have increased only modestly since. However, opponents of the measure note that Pine County adopted restrictions on the development of new residential housing fifteen years ago, and its housing prices have since more than doubled. The council currently predicts that the proposed measure, if passed, will result in a significant increase in housing prices in Maple County.
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.
The council of Maple County has predicted that establishing a measure that would limit the supply of new housing will result in a significant increase in housing prices. This prediction was made based on the fact that Pine County adopted restrictions on the development of new residential housing fifteen years ago and its housing prices have doubled. The proponents of this measure have stated that ten years ago, Chestnut County established a similar measure and there was only a little increse in its housing prices. However, there are few questions that need to be answered before we can conclude that the proposed measure will result in increase in housing prises in Mapple County.
The oponents of the measure have cited the fact about increase in housing prices in Pine County since adopting a similar measure. Was there a high demand for houses in Pine County, soon after this measure was adopted, fifteen years ago? We need to know if new industries were opened in and around Pine County after this measure and if this was the reason for high demand of houses there. People would want to stay in places near their office for known advantages like reduced travelling time from office to home and back home. If there were no such industries developed near Pine County, this would confirm that the increase in housing prices is only due to restrictions on the development of new residential housing.
The argument states that restricting new residential housing development resulted in housing prices increasing to double the previous price in Pine County and only a small increase in housing prices in Chestnut County. To go or not go with the conclusion that adopting the measure will result in increased housing prices, we need the answer to two questions: How many houses are there in Maple County, Chestnut County and Pine County? How much demand does each of these places have for houses? Here is why: the housing prices in Pine County may have doubled because there were less number of houses compared to the increasing demand when the measure was adopted, and the housing prices in the Chestnut County may not have increased much on adopting the measure because there was no high demand for houses in in that area and there were more than enough houses for that much demand. Similarly we need to know the number of houses in Maple County at present and the demand from people for the houses in Maple County in order to conclude if adopting this measure would increase housing prices.
Hence, knowing answers to these questions would help us in deciding whether the proposed measure, if passed, would result in a significant increase in housing prices in Maple County.
The first argument is reasonable up until the conclusion, where you claim that if there were no new industries in Pine County (which could have increased demand for housing), then this fact would confirm that the increase in prices was only due to restrictions on development. That conclusion is untrue. There are other possible reasons for an increase in demand aside from the creation of new industries, and there are possibly other reasons for increase in prices beyond an increase in demand. (There may have been improvements to housing quality; there may have been a speculative property boom with people buying houses as an investment).
You identify two other questions that need to be answered in order to evaluate the argument but while you do attempt to explain why those questions are important to ask, you don’t attempt to explain what consequences the answers to the questions would have on your evaluation of the argument (you only state vaguely that the answers “would help us in deciding whether the proposed measure, if passed, would result in a significant increase in housing prices in Maple County.”
Finally, note that Pine County’s restrictions were imposed five years before Chestnut County’s restrictions. What question(s) would you need to ask to determine the possible relevance of that difference?