GMAT : Analysis of An Argument
41. The following appeared as part of an article in a trade publication.
Stronger laws are needed to protect new kinds of home-security systems from being copied and sold by imitators. With such protection, manufacturers will naturally invest in the development of new home-security products and production technologies. Without stronger laws, therefore, manufacturers will cut back on investment. From this will follow a corresponding decline not only in product quality and marketability, but also in production efficiency and thus ultimately a loss of manufacturing jobs in the industry.
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 underline 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 in conclusion.
The author of this article warns that, in order to prevent an eventual loss of manufacturing jobs within the industry, stronger laws are needed to protect new kinds of home security systems from being copied and sold imitators.
This conclusion is based on the following chain of reasoning. With the protection of stronger laws, manufactures will naturally invest in the development of new home security products and production technologies, whereas without such protection, manufacturers will cut back on investment. If manufacturers cut back on investment, then a decline in product quality and marketability as well as in production efficiency will result. This, in turn, will cause the predicted lose of industry jobs.
This line of reasoning is unconvincing for several reasons.
To begin with, the author assumes that existing copyright, patent and trade secret laws are inadequate to protect home security system designs. But the author does not explain why these laws don't offer sufficient protection, nor does he offer any evidence to show that this is the case.
Secondly, the argument depends on the twin assumptions that stronger legal protection will encourage manufacturers to invest in home security-system production while the absence of strong legal protection will have the opposite effect. The author fails to provide any evidence or reasons for accepting these assumptions about cause-and-effect connections between the law and what happens in the marketplace.
Moreover, both of these assumptions can be challenged. It is possible that stronger protections would not only affect industry investment or jobs overall, but would instead help to determine which companies invested heavily and therefore provided the jobs. For instance, a less-restricted market might foster investment competition among smaller companies whereas stronger legal protections might encourage market domination by fewer, larger companies. .
In conclusion, I do not find this argument compelling. The author must provide evidence that home security system designs are not being adequately protected by current patent, copyright or trade secret laws. The author must also provide an argument for the assumptions that stronger laws will create more industry jobs overall, while the absence of stronger laws will result in fewer industry jobs.