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Can someone explain why the answer to number 3 is e and not c?
 James Finch
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Hi Lane,

This is an "Except" question stem, so we're looking for what isn't in the passage. (C) describes a situation where GDP isn't accurately measuring the economic health of certain countries, so countries with lower GNP can actually be more economically healthy overall than ones with greater GNP overall but, say, much higher levels of inequality. This is essentially the argument being made in the last two paragraphs of the passage, so this answer choice is incorrect.

(E) essentially describes an entirely different one to that made in the passage; the passage here is making the argument that GNP is, at best, an incomplete picture of a nation's economic health and shouldn't be relied upon soley by economists, while (E) is talking about ways that countries' might raise their GNPs, implying that GNP is a useful measure of a country's economy. The passage doesn't do this, as it is primarily concerned with discrediting GNP, so (E) is correct.

Hope this clears things up!
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I was torn between answers C and E, and eventually went with C because I could not find a concrete reference showing that nations with relatively low GNP can sometimes be economically healthier than those with a higher GNP.

The only related reference I could find is in the second paragraph that says:

"Nations that have achieved a relatively high per capita GNP, for example, sometimes experience levels of infant survival, literacy, nutrition, and life expectancy no greater than levels in nations where per capita GNP is relatively low.

From this line, I gathered that high GNP nations, using human indicators, do not necessarily have greater economic health than low GNP nations. I do not see how this is equated with answer choice C that says low GNP nations can sometimes be economically healthier than high GNP nations.

 Adam Tyson
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I, too, found myself debating between answers C and E, rwraulynaitis. I think the text that you have quoted in the second paragraph provides half the picture. The other half is found at the very end of the passage:
nations that do well according to human indicators may thrive even if their per capita GNP remains stable or lags behind that of other nations.
Putting those two parts together gets us a sort of inverse relationship: a nation with a high GNP can be doing poorly while a nation that lags behind in GNP can thrive. "Thrive" suggests to me that they are doing better than those nations described in the text you quoted, and that is how I eventually determined that answer C WAS supported by the text, at least a little bit, while E had no support at all (there was no practical advice as to how to accomplish those goals, just a claim that a shift in focus would be required.) Picking the answer with some support over the one with no support is something we do all over the LSAT!

Also, thinking more holistically about answer C, the passage is generally about how a shift in focus to human factors and distribution of income rather than average income could change the way we view economic health of a nation. While we don't know if any nation with a lower GNP actually IS healthier than one with a higher GNP, this does give us an idea of how they COULD BE economically healthier. So the passage does provide information about how that CAN happen, even if we cannot be sure there is a real case where it does.
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"Even in nations where economic stimulation has brought about substantial improvements in per capita GNP"

Is this not E?

economic stimulation includes reducing taxes, expansion in the money supply, increased government expenditure, devaluation of currency etc. Are we not supposed to treat knowledge like this as given (as someone who studied econ)?

This is one of the things that makes me confused some of the time with RC and honestly diminishes my performance on some of the passages since I incorporate knowledge that I feel is pretty universal (economic stimulus etc.).

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 Bob O'Halloran
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Hi Chrisfromc123,
Thank you for your question.
You have raised an important and difficult question with regard to RC. It is often the case that test takers have difficulty with passages where they have some background knowledge of the subject.

The test makers want to be sure to not give an advantage to test takers with prior knowledge. So you want to approach a passage where you have prior knowledge with the same technique and mindset as a passage where you have no prior knowledge.

Admittingly this is easier said than done!

Practice with passages where you know little about the underlining topic and this will help to give you the hang of the process.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

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