GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

71. Commercialism has become widespread. It has even crept into schools and places of worship. Every nation should place limits on what kinds of products, if any, can be sold at certain events or places.


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


Has commercialism become too widespread, particularly in schools, churches and other places which traditionally have been safe havens from commercialism? If so, does the government have a responsibility to curb the problem? The answer to both questions, in my view, is NO.

There is no evidence that commercialism is creeping into our churches. Admittedly, some commercial activity is present in our schools. Food service is increasingly out sourced to fast-food chains. A plethora of goods and services is sold in college bookstores and advertised in their school newspapers. And students serve as walking billboards for the companies whose logos appear on clothing. However, this kind of commercialism does not interfere with school activities. To the contrary, in the first two cases they contribute to the efficient functioning of the organization. Outsourcing food service, for example, is a cost-cutting measure which provides additional funding for teaching materials, facilities and teacher salaries.

I do agree that, in general, commercialism is becoming more widespread and that one of the by-products may be a decline in the quality of our culture. Electronic billboards now serve as backdrops for televised sporting events and Web sites must sell advertising space to justify maintenance costs. Does this mean that government should step in and ban the sale of products in certain venues? No. This would require that government make ad hoc and possibly arbitrary decisions as to which products may be sold or advertised at which places and events. These are value judgments that are best left to individual schools, churches and other organizations. Moreover, the expense of enforcing the regulations may well outweigh the cultural benefits, if any.

In sum, while commercialism is undeniably becoming more widespread, it is minimally intrusive and works to the net benefit of society. As a matter of public policy, therefore, government should not attempt to regulate the extent of commercialism.

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