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GRE Issue 139: Policy Decisions Should Always Be Left To Politicians - With A Free Essay Review



Claim: Major policy decisions should always be left to politicians and other government experts.

Reason: Politicians and other government experts are more informed and thus have better judgment and perspective than do members of the general public.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.

The statement claims that major policy decisions should always be left to politicians and other government experts largely because the politicians and other government experts are more informed and thus have better judgment and perspective than members of the general public. It is true that compared to citizens, these experts are generally well-educated and they know how to use a systematic way to analyze different situations so as to make a right decision on domestic or international affairs. However, these decisions more or less affect the interests of general public eventually. In some sense, the general public has the right to take part in these decisions that would affect them to some extent. Also, admittedly, these experts as well as politicians are more informed and have good judgment, but they are likely to make decisions that only satisfy their own interests at the expense of that of the general public. Therefore, major policies, especially those suitable for public participation and those affecting people the most should be worked out by experts and general public mutually.

It goes without saying that politicians and other government experts are more informed because with many financial and human resources they could get more information than the general public. Also, because a large number of these people selected are well-educated, they know how to use proper and effective ways for the sake of finding out which decisions are the best ones. In addition, some major policy decisions cannot be left to general public. Take warfare for example. Politicians and other government experts should decide whether or not to declare a war or how to employ armies during battles. If the general public takes part in making these decisions concerning warfare, it might waste too much time because the general public, without specialized knowledge of war, could have too many opinions and thoughts, all of which might be ineffective and wrong, to make a final desirable decision. As we know, any delay means opportunities to win the battle might be irredeemably lost. Thus, these decisions should be left to politicians and other experts.

However, even though general public could not take part in some decisions concerning warfare, it does not mean they could not participate in some other decisions with government experts. After all, lots of decisions made have something to do with them. Taking part in making decisions, they could prevent governments from damaging their own interests. For instance, maybe for the sake of improving economy, the government wants to construct some plants. However, they might overlook people's interests with respect to health, because lots of toxic gases would be released. Also, if all major decisions are left to government staff, then that would likely cause governments to become corrupt and only satisfy their own interests. It is because without any restrictions from general public on government politicians, they could only make decisions for self-serving reasons, even though they know that these decisions would do harm to society as a whole. So, despite being much more informed, these politicians and experts might not make a right decision deliberately.

In conclusion, some major decisions should be left to governments because general public lack specialized knowledge and are not well informed. However, people should take part in making some other decisions because it is not only a way for them to protect their own interests, but also a method for them to protect authorities from corrupting.

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Essay Review

I don't think you need to try to anticipate every argument of the essay in your introduction; doing so takes up valuable time in a test situation, and it generally leads only to unnecessary repetition. I recommend keeping the introduction short (if you feel you must have one at all) indicating only the general thesis of, or approach taken to, the essay.

Your second paragraph is poorly organized and deals with too many topics for a single paragraph. The first part of the paragraph deals with the competence of politicians to make policy decisions and the second part deals with the practicality of the recommendation in certain circumstances (here the circumstance of war). You should deal with those two distinct issues in separate paragraphs.

When you do that, you will realise that the first of those paragraphs (comprising the first two sentences of the current second paragraph) does not adequately elaborate its claim, and in fact repeats to some extent what has already been said. That reduces the value of the claims considerably. In any case, I don't think it does in fact go without saying that politicians "are more informed" than members of the general public; surely there may be certain areas of policy, or certain members of the general public, as informed or more informed than politicians. Think of the possible role of health professionals in deciding policy decisions that concern health care, to take an obvious example.

Your argument about the practicalities of making decisions in time of war is reasonable, but is this true of all decision made in wartime. What about decisions concerning conscription, or concerning the expansion of a country’s involvement in the war? Note also that you don't address here the original reason offered for the claim.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: hahaxiao66
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