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June 2007, Logical Reasoning 1, Question 1


Question one is a main point question. We know this because it asks what the main conclusion of the economist's argument is. On a main point question, our job is to break the argument down and find its conclusion. The correct answer will either be a direct quote of that conclusion or a rephrasing of it.

So if we look at the argument here, the conclusion is found right in the middle. Not all efforts to increase productivity are beneficial to the business as a whole. We know that's the conclusion because the rest of the argument is explaining why. So the first sentence sets up a little scenario we're talking about, something that's true of all businesses. They strive to increase their productivity because that's the best way to make sure the business keeps going.

And then the last sentence explains why we should believe that not all efforts to increase productivity are beneficial to the business as a whole, because, well, here's an example. Sometimes you try to increase productivity by decreasing the number of employees. And that harms the dismissed employees, as well as the well being of the people who are left behind.

So with the conclusion in hand, we go to the answer choices looking for that restatement. Answer choice A, if an action taken to secure the survival of a business fails to enhance the welfare of the business's employees, that action cannot be good for the business as a whole. Now, that's not something that the argument ever said at any point.

There's no equivalent of that above. So that can't be the conclusion because the conclusion of an argument is always directly stated. Answer choice B, some measures taken by business to increase productivity fail to be beneficial to the business as a whole. Now this is our conclusion.

It's just a slight rephrasing of the conclusion, taking not all are good and changing it to some are bad. So B's our answer, let's briefly see why the others aren't. Answer choice C, only if the employees of a business are also its owners. Well, the argument never said anything about the employees being the owners, so this can't be the conclusion.

D, there's no business that does not make efforts to increase its productivity. That was the first half of that set up in the beginning, evidence and not conclusion. Decreasing the number of employees in a business undermines the sense of security of retained employees. Well, that's the last piece of evidence but not the conclusion.

So the answer is answer choice B.

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