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#10 - In some countries, national planners have attempted to

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Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen. The correct answer choice is (C)

The author begins by describing how the planners in "some countries" have attempted to solve the problems resulting from increasing urbanization. You can be sure that her argument will proceed by introducing an alternative: instead of reducing migration from rural areas into the cities, why not trade the products and services produced by a predominantly urban population to import the agricultural products previously produced in rural areas? Of course, this would only solve the problems affecting the scarcity of agricultural products. What if urbanization also leads to overcrowding, polution, health hazards, etc.? The economists are silent on these issues, which is why their solution is potentially flawed. Since your job is to strengthen their argument, look for an answer choice that eliminates the need to address them. This, in so many words, is answer choice (C).

Answer choice (A): This answer choice does the exact opposite of what is needed: it weakens the economists' solution by suggesting an alternative approach to mitigating the effects of urbanization.

Answer choice (B): This answer misses the point of the argument, which is about the effects of urbanization and not its causes. Furthermore, either of the two solutions proposed in the stimulus can be seen as economic: this answer choice fails to explain why the economists got it right while the national planners did not and is therefore incorrect.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. It provides the much needed link between the scarcity of agricultural products and the problems created by urbanization. Without this connection, the economists' solution makes little sense.

Answer choice (D): Even if trade imbalances are at the root of urbanization, it is unclear how the solution proposed by the economists will affect them. This answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): Clearly, if free trade policies can exacerbate the problems caused by urbanization the economists' solution may be flawed. This answer choice therefore does the exact opposite of what is needed and is incorrect.
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I had a real tough time understanding precisely what the conclusion of the stimulus was saying/. I had the conclusion pegged as the last sentence hopefully that is correct. Specifically what the economists position entailed.

Steve Stein
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Hi A,

That one doesn't really have a conclusion, but the presentation of an assertion made by some economists.

The author begins by discussing how some national planners have sought to respond to the problems of urbanization: by reducing migration from urban areas.

An alternative approach suggested by some economists: they say that an effective solution would be to trade goods produced by an urban population to get the agricultural products that were previously produced domestically.

So, is this agricultural product trade really a good solution to the problems of urbanization? It is if, as correct answer choice (C) provides, a lack of such agricultural products is actually one of the main problems associated with urbanization.

I hope that''s helpful! Please let me know whether this is clear--thanks!

Steve Stein
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I think I misread the stimulus but can't figure out why my interpretation was wrong. My interpretation: agricultural products were previously produced domestically, and no longer are, and thus people have migrated to urban areas, which has caused "problems." We don't know why agricultural products are no longer produced domestically, but since the economists' solution to the "problems" is an international trade adjustment, a trade imbalance provides a link. I chose D. C was my second guess, but I never saw the need for that link.

How would I have known:

Cause: increased urbanization -> Effect: "problems" aka "less agricultural production"

instead of:

Cause: less agricultural production -> Effect: increased urbanization, which then causes "problems"


Thanks for your help,
Francis O'Rourke
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Hi Laura,

There's one major point you missed in the premises: we don't know and (for the purposes of this stimulus) we don't care why people are moving to the cities away from rural areas. What we do know is that this increased urbanization is creating problems for the nation.

Take a look again at the stimulus; though it talks a lot about problems, it doesn't actually tell us what those problems are. However, the economists think that getting agricultural goods from other countries in exchange from things produced in cities will solve the problems. In order for this to actually solve the problems, the problems have to be about lack of agricultural goods in the country or a surplus of urban goods. This is exactly what choice (C) tells us.

Choice (D) is flawed because nowhere in the stimulus does it say that the economists' proposal will create a trade balance.
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Hi! I understand know why C is the correct answer with the (very helpful, thank you!) explanation at the beginning of this thread, but I'm a bit confused about why D is incorrect. The explanations given here are that it isn't clear how the changes described will impact the trade imbalance, but doesn't the last sentence essentially imply that the whole point of exchanging urban goods for goods in need that were previously produced domestically is to restore a balance?

I'd really appreciate better understanding where I am going wrong in this takeaway or how I am going too far in this implication; thank you!!
Brook Miscoski
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The stimulus conclusion is that the urbanization problems can be solved by trading for agricultural products. That's the conclusion we need to strengthen.

Answer choice (D) talks about a trade imbalance, but we have no idea whether that relates to agricultural products. A trade imbalance might just be an import-export imbalance and not have anything to do with a specific kind of product--in fact, in common usage, that's often what it means to say "trade imbalance." So (D) doesn't provide any information that strengthens the conclusion that trading for agricultural products will solve the problem, because (D) has nothing to do with agricultural products.

Remember, when strengthening the stimulus, focus on whether the answer choice supports the conclusion without you doing too much of the work for that answer choice.