GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

2. It is unrealistic to expect individual nations to make, independently, the sacrifices necessary to conserve energy. International leadership and worldwide cooperation are essential if we expect to protect the world's energy resources for future generations.


Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and / or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


The speaker asserts that an international effort is needed to preserve the world's energy resources for future generations. While individual nations, like people, are at times willing to make voluntary sacrifices for the benefit of others, my view is that international coordination is nevertheless necessary in light of the strong propensity of nations to act selfishly and because the problem is international in scope.

The main reason why an international effort is necessary is that, left to their own devices, individual nations, like people, will act according to their short-term motives and self-interest. The mere existence of military weapons indicates that self-interest and national survival are every nation's prime drivers. And over consumption by industrialized nations of natural resources they know to be finite, when alternatives are at hand, demonstrates that self-interest and short-sightedness extend to the use of energy resources as well. Furthermore, nations, like people, tend to rationalize their own self-serving policies and actions. Emerging nations might argue, for example, that they should be exempted from energy conservation because it is the industrialized nations who can better afford to make sacrifices and who use more resources in the first place.

Another reason why an international effort is required is that other problems of an international nature have also required global cooperation. For example, has each nation independently recognized the folly of nuclear weapons proliferation and voluntarily disarmed? No. Only by way of an international effort, based largely on coercion of strong leaders against detractors, along with an appeal to self-interest, have we made some progress. By the same token, efforts of individual nations to thwart international drug trafficking have proven largely futile, because efforts have not been internationally based. Similarly, the problem of energy conservation transcends national borders in that either all nations must cooperate or all will ultimately suffer.

In conclusion, nations are made up of individuals who, when left unconstrained, tend to act in their own self-interest and with short-term motives. In light of how we have dealt or not dealt with other global problems, it appears that an international effort is needed to ensure the preservation of natural resources for future generations.

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