When uncontrollable factors such as lack of rain cause farmers' wheat crops to fail, fertilizer and seed dealers, as...

Meredith on August 27, 2019

Why is B wrong

What makes B less correct than E?

6 Replies

Meredith on August 27, 2019

Previous explanation in the other thread still has me confused.

Irina on August 27, 2019

@Meredith,

Let's look at (B) & (E).

When uncontrollable factors such as lack of rain cause farmer's wheat crops to fail, fertilizer and seed dealers, as well as truckers and mechanics, lose business, and fuel suppliers are unable to sell enough diesel to make a profit.

What this argument is saying is that IF wheat crops fail THEN a,b,c happens.

Which of the following follows logically:

(B) "If rainfall is below average, those businesses that profit from farmers' purchases tend to lose money."

Incorrect because we cannot infer anything from the fact that rainfall is below average alone. The stimulus tells us that if wheat crops to fail, then all these consequences follow. But do we know if the below-average rainfall will necessarily result in crops failing? Not really, the stimulus tells us "when ..lack of rain cause" suggesting it is not a sufficient condition, and the lack of rain cannot guarantee that crops will fail. There is also a separate issue of equating below average rainfall with the lack of rain, what exactly does the "lack of rain" mean? No rain at all? Below average? Significantly below average? Since we have no information to answer this question, (B) is an improper inference.

(E) "The consequences of a drought are not restricted to the drought's impact on-farm productivity."

Correct. This answer choice accurately reflects the information in the passage. (E) tells us that if there is a drought and on-farm productivity is affected, i.e. we know that crops have failed condition to be true, this will impact other downstream businesses as well. Compare it to (B) that asks you to infer that crops have failed, (E) explicitly tells you that to be the case.

Does this make sense?

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Avi on May 1, 2020

Thanks Irina! Great explanation! I too chose B but I see why E is a better answer.

Michael on May 27, 2020

Thank you for the explanation. I am still confused about what (E) is actually saying. Is it saying that the consequences of a drought affect more than the droughts impact on farm activity?

Aneesh on June 5 at 09:57AM

@irina, I understand your explanation, but for my understanding,

(1) Isn't the argument that 'the connection between lack of water and wheat crops failing is not a sufficient/necessary relation' also applicable to (E)?

It's possible that there is a drought and the wheat crops are especially hardy, therefore the impact on farm productivity is minimal. (E) does not directly draw the connection that the drought will negatively impact farm productivity through a S/N condition, or otherwise. As you have mentioned in your explanation, "there's an issue of equating below average rainfall with the lack of rain". Why can't this be said of drought as well? The wheat crops could possibly not require as much water as would be the maximum to declare a drought. Although 'drought' suggest more of a scarcity of water than 'below average', logically they are on the same level when it comes to showing a failure of crops, right?

Could you please explain how you made the connection between 'drought' and 'crops failing' in (E)? Asking especially because the option doesn't just say "A drought would affect farm productivity and would have consequences for businesses A, B and C"

(2) A drought, being a severe natural disaster, may attract the attention of the government, meaning that some kind of aid or compensation is provided to businesses that are dependent on the rain (maybe even the farm itself) If that's so, then the consequences of the drought would be restricted to farm productivity, implying that (E) would not be a suitable answer. Although nothing like this is mentioned in the stimulus or options, it seems to be a major logical hole to me.

(3) Lastly, with regard to (B), I interpreted 'lack' from the stimulus to mean any deficiency. Any deficiency means anything that is not enough, so that would extend to 'below average' since that phrase indicates that there is some kind of deficiency.

The above explanations are just how I picked the problem apart in my head, so I'd appreciate any help in improving my approach.

Emil Tuesday at 12:30AM

Hi AneeshU,

You are right that that E is not a sufficient and necessary relationship. However, E does not rely on a sufficient and necessary relationship. E is quite weak, it is simply saying that a drought could impact things other than farm productivity. This is supported by the fact that sometimes, other parties (like fuel suppliers) also lose business as a result of lack of rain.It does not have to happen every time for E to be correct.

"Below average" could mean a 1 percent drop in rain. This is probably not going to cause crops to fail. A drought is a major drop in rain. All droughts are below average, but moving from 100 inches of rain to 99.8 is certainly not a drought. These are not on the same level at all. Drought is an extreme condition, "below average" is not necessarily extreme.

To your second point, the mobilization of government aid would itself be a consequence of the drought.

To your third point, I don't think this would pass a "reasonable person" standard. That is, imagine that a reasonable person whose country is experiencing a severe drought said "this lack of rain is killing my crops!" Would it matter that there had been a small amount of rain? No reasonable person would dispute the statement that "a drought is a lack of rain." Finally, the dictionary definition of lack does include "not having enough" as well as not having any.