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GRE Argument Essay: The Following Appeared In A Letter From A Firm Providing Investment Advice For A Client. - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: ‘The following appeared in a letter from a firm providing investment advice for a client. "Most homes in the northeastern United States, where winters are typically cold, have traditionally used oil as their major fuel for heating. Last heating season that region experienced 90 days with below-normal temperatures, and climate forecasters predict that this weather pattern will continue for several more years. Furthermore, many new homes are being built in the region in response to recent population growth. Because of these trends, we predict an increased demand for heating oil and recommend investment in Consolidated Industries, one of whose major business operations is the retail sale of home heating oil." Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.’
First of all, the author implies that the demand for heating oil will increase in the future, because most homes in the northeastern United States have traditionally used oil as their major fuel for heating. Thus, the author necessarily assumes that most homes will still use oil as their major fuel for heating in the future. If the assumption is proved unwarranted, most homes switch to using electricity as their major fuel for heating instead of using oil, or people start to use more high fuel-efficiency appliance, then, the demand of oil would not increase significantly and the author’s argument would be weakened.
Moreover, the author claims that the demand for heating will increase since last heating season this region experienced 90 days with below-normal temperatures, and climate forecasters predict that the weather pattern will continue for several more years. This claim only make sense on the basis of the fact that the weather in the future will continue to be cold or become colder. If the author’s assumption is proved unwarranted, climate forecasters fail to accurately predict the weather pattern in the future, and the weather becomes warmer due to global warming or other unpredictable reasons, then, people would not need to heat their houses as often, and the demand for heating oil would not increase significantly, thus, the author’s argument would be undermined.
Furthermore, the author claims that it is necessary to invest in Consolidated Industries, since the demand of heating oil will increase. This claim only make sense based on the assumption that new homes will choose to use oil as their major fuel for heating, and Consolidated Industries is the major heating oil supplier for homes in northeastern United States. On the one hand, it is possible that people switch to other heating method instead of using heating oil, and if this alternative possibility is proved valid, then the author’s claim would be weakened because people would use less heating oil, and the demand for heating oil would not increase significantly. On the other hand, if the author’s assumption that Consolidated Industries is the major supplier for heating oil in northeastern United States is proved unwarranted, in fact, it is another company supplying heating oil to northeastern United States, then, investing more money in Consolidated Industries would not help ensure sufficient heating oil for homes in this region, and the author’s claim would be weakened.
To sum up, in order to evaluate this argument, we need to ensure several assumptions: most homes will continue to use heatng oil in the future, and the weather will be cold or colder in the future, and Consolidate Industries is indeed the major supplier for heating oil in northeastern United States.
The first argument, about the projected increased demand for heating oil, is reasonable, but it would make more sense to treat the question of the relevance of population growth and concomitant construction of new homes as part of this first argument than to treat it, as you currently do, in the awkwardly constructed third argument (which ends up repeating much of the first argument).
Your second argument is less reasonable. The argument does not assume that the weather in the future (in the heating seasons) will continue to be cold. That's not an assumption of the argument but a prediction. You could argue that the author assumes the prediction is accurate, but that seems like a cheap argument, and it's not necessarily true. When you make an investment on the basis of a prediction of future events, you are not assuming that those events will transpire, you are betting that those events will transpire. You could perhaps more reasonably argue that the author assumes that the risk associated with weather pattern prediction is not disproportionate to the expected gain if the prediction is true.
Your third argument, as I noted above, is partly repetitive, and it struggles to make the two issues it deals with part of a coherent paragraph, using an awkward "On the one hand X, on the other hand Y" construction that implies some logical connection between the two issues. (That logical construction is used normally to juxtapose opposing aspects of the same phenomenon; e.g., on the one hand, winter is miserably cold; on the other hand, it's great for killing off whole populations of evil creatures, such as mosquitoes and grumpy old men.) I would recommend devoting a paragraph just to questions about Consolidated's operations (i.e., what are the assumptions about where the company sells, and about its prospects for the sale of oil in other regions, where predicted weather patterns may be different, and the prospects for its other major businesses.