[b]The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods:
“Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits.”[/b]
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
Nowadays businesses are searching for ways that create better privileges for them in comparison to their competitors, in order to gain more profit and decrease costs. In the preceding argument the author claims that his company can increase its profit and decrease its costs. Though his claim may well have merit, the author presents a poorly reasoned argument, based on several questionable premises and assumptions, and based on solely evidence the author offers; we cannot accept his argument as valid.
The primary issue with the author’s reasoning lies in unsubstantiated premises. Although, in recent years with aid of technology, many organizations has decreased their costs and profits, but we should not forget that how much time passes labors and employers gain more power and request better work conditions from companies. Consequently, the expenditures rise. It is obvious that the author has not considered this part of problem.
In addition, the author makes several assumptions that remain unproven. For instance, he exemplifies color film processing to prove that production costs have decreased in food industry too. The author wrongly assumes that film industry and food industry has similar pattern. For example, he does not consider that food industry is depend on more different factors like weather, farmers, another industries like chemical companies, labor unions and etc. On the contrary, color film industry has benefited from technology innovation widely. It is like we compare an apple and an orange with each other.
While the author’s argument has several flaws in premises and assumptions, this is not to say entire the argument is without base. However, I personally believe the author should consider hidden expenditures like increasing income of labors, insurance, pensions and so on. Furthermore, comparing a food company with color film processing is not reasonable. If he mentioned industries that relate to food processing such as farming, agriculture or chemical companies instead of film industry, he would convince his reader better.
In sum, the author’s illogical argument is based on unproven premised and unsubstantiated assumptions that render his conclusion invalid. If the author hopes to convince his readers, he would have to restructure his argument, fix its flaws in his logic, rely on reasonable assumptions, and provide reasons and example that support his argument. Without these corrections, I doubt he can persuade his readers.
TOEFL listening lectures: A university lecture on the history of the English language