GMAT : Analysis of An Argument

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An Argument

52. The following editorial appeared in the Elm City paper.

The construction last year of a shopping mall in downtown Oak City was a mistake. Since the mall has opened, a number of local businesses have closed and the downtown area suffers from an acute parking shortage and arrests for crime and vagrancy have increased in the nearby Oak City Park. Elm City should pay attention to the example of the Oak City mall and deny the application to build a shopping mall in Elm City.


In this editorial the author rebukes Oak City for allowing the construction of a new downtown shopping mall. Citing a number of problems that have occurred since the building of the mall, the author concludes that the residents of Oak City have not benefited from the mall and that Oak City exercised poor judgment in allowing the mall to be built.

Among the problems cited by the author are the closure of local businesses, lack of parking in the downtown area and increased trash and litter in a city park near the mall.

Moreover, the author argues that profits derived from sales are not benefiting Oak City because the owner of the mall lives in another city.

The author's argument is problematic in several respects.

In the first place, the author assumes that addition of the new mall is the cause of the various problems cited. The only evidence offered to support this claim is that the construction of the mall occurred before these problems manifested themselves. However, this evidence is insufficient to establish the claim in question. A chronological relationship is only one of the indicators of a causal relationship between two events.

In the second place, the author has focused only on negative effects the mall has had on the city. A more detailed analysis of the situation might reveal that the positive benefits for the city far outweigh the problems on which the author focuses. For example, new jobs might have been created for the residents of Oak City and tax revenues might have been increased for the city. Lacking a more comprehensive analysis of the impact of the mall on Oak City, it is not correct on the part of the author to conclude that Oak City's decision to allow the mall to be built was incorrect.

In conclusion, the author's argument is unconvincing. To strengthen the argument the author will have to demonstrate that the construction of the mall indeed caused the various problems mentioned. The author will also have to show that the negative effects of the project outweighed the positive effects.

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