When the supply of a given resource dwindles, alternative technologies allowing the use of different resources develo...

on August 29 at 12:25AM

Please explain!

I am very confused and would appreciate any explanation for this one. Thanks in advance!

1 Reply

Victoria on August 29 at 06:17PM

Hi @molinde,

Happy to help!

Let's start by going through the stimulus.

The passage concludes that "we can never run out of important natural resources."

Why? Because "when the supply of a given resource dwindles, alternative technologies allowing the use of different resources develop, and demand for the resource that was in short supply naturally declines." As the demand declines, "the existing supplies of that resource satisfy whatever demand remains" and "new technologies constantly replace old ones." To support this conclusion, the passage cites three examples of once-dwindling resources that are now in "more than adequate supply": flint for arrowheads, trees for schooner masts, and good mules. These were replaced by bullets, steel, and engines, respectively.

This is a "Weaken" question, so we are looking for the answer choice which weakens the passage's capacity to logically draw the conclusion that "we can never run out of important natural resources."

Answer choice A is incorrect because it is irrelevant. The passage refers to trees that are usable specifically for schooner masts and there are replacements for wood in ship-building should the supply dwindle, e.g. steel.

Answer choice B is incorrect because it still supports the conclusion. While there may be fewer mules today than there were 100 years ago, good mules are now in more than adequate supply because we have replaced them with engines.

Answer choice C is incorrect because it is irrelevant. Whether companies lose money or not does not impact the fact that new technologies are still developed that replace certain resources, thus decreasing the demand for them.

Answer choice D is incorrect because it provides an incentive for developing new technologies, thereby supporting the conclusion.

Answer choice E is correct because we will always require clean air and clean water to survive. As technological change has no impact on their supply - i.e. we cannot increase the supply of clean air and clean water - and there are no alternative resources which can replace them, then if their supply dwindles, it is entirely possible that we could run out of these important resources, undermining the conclusion drawn by the passage.

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any further questions.