Complete Question Explanation
Weaken. The correct answer choice is (A)
In this stimulus, the author makes what seems to be a reasonable argument. Since fines are higher than the cost of taking required precautions, businesses will now install adequate safeguards. One possible problem with this argument is that we know little about the chances of having to pay those fines.
Since this is a weaken question, we might look for the answer choice that shows the fines to be ineffective.
Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. If businesses generally underestimate the risk of accidents, then even if the risk is high that may not be sufficient to induce installment of safeguards.
Answer choice (B): The prioritization of long- versus short-term profits is irrelevant to the authors argument about the effectiveness of the fines.
Answer choice (C): This is consistent with the author's perspective, and thus does not weaken the argument.
Answer choice (D): How businesses record fines for accounting purposes plays no role in the argument that the cost of the fines would induce installation of safeguards.
Answer choice (E): Like the other answer choices above, this one discusses an irrelevant consideration: in this case, it is that of business promotional strategy. Since this would in no way weaken the authors argument about fines and safeguards, this answer choice is incorrect.
#9 - Fines levied against those responsible for certain
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I immediately crossed out A because I thought it strengthened the conclusion that "those that might have such accidents will now install adequate environmental safeguards." My thinking was if the risk of future accidents are actually greater than what they they think they are, it makes it all more important to install those safeguards. My prephase was... look for something that says installing safeguards isn't necessary and I thought this did just the opposite.
Thanks in advance!
Weakening questions are tricky because they demand nuance. It is very rare when a correct answer is the 100% opposite of what the conclusion is in a stimulus. So prephrasing the dead opposite of the conclusion is not going to be an effective way of attacking a conclusion. In other words, your thinking about what Answer (A) describes is correct. If installing safeguards isn't a necessity, that is precisely why it weakens the stimulus. It negates it. It's not the polar opposite, but it negates and weakens it. That is the pattern to try with your prephrase and it is why Answer (A) is correct.
Thanks for the great question!
Thanks for your response but I'm still struggling to understand how it weakens it... if the risk might be higher than it actually it is, doesn't it make it even more necessary to install the safeguards? I'm not seeing any negation, only solidification...
I believe one of our instructors let us know they answered your question via the homework hotline, but please let us know if you have additional questions!
Hi! I'm just a bit confused with A). Does it weaken the conclusion because if businesses underestimate the risk of future accidents, then they will not adequately install enough safeguards?
Correct, karen4300! The author here assumes that business KNOW that it would be more cost-effective to install safeguards than to risk accidents, but if they underestimate the risks they may not accurately make the true cost/benefit calculation. If they think the odds of an accident are much slimmer than they really are, they may be more willing to take that risk rather than pay the costs now.
Adam M. Tyson
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After reading the premise, I prephrased an answer choice that sounded much like answer choice (D). Since the conclusion is "[business] that might have accidents will now install adequate environmental safeguards" I thought, well what if the business decides to take the risk and treat a fine as an ordinary business expense if they even get a fine.
Can you help me see why (D) is a strengthen?
I don't think that Answer D strengthens the argument. Instead it is unclear what it does for the argument. Even if it is considered to be an ordinary business expense, if there is a less expensive way it would still make sense for businesses to chose that route in order to maximize profits. As such, I would say it is irrelevant to the argument.
Hope that helps!
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