Large–scale government projects designed to benefit everyone—such as roads, schools, and bridges—usually benefit some...

Avi on July 6, 2020


I was totally confused with this one. Please explain the passage and the answer. Thanks.


Shunhe on July 6, 2020

Hi @avif,

Thanks for the question! This one’s a bit tricky, but let’s go over the stimulus firs.t We’re told that large-scale government projects designed to benefit everyone usually benefit some groups more than others. Then, the more equally and widely you distributed political power among people, the less likely large-scale government projects are to get funding. So, the author concludes, government by referendum (which we’re supposed to know distributes political power more widely than elected representatives) tends to diminish and not enhance the welfare of a society.

Now we’re asked to find an assumption on which the argument depends, in other words, this is a strengthen with necessary assumption. There could be a number of them here, such as the fact that government by referendum does actually distribute political power more widely than elected representatives. But that’s not one of the answer choices, so it’s another necessary assumption. Let’s take a look at (A). It tells us that large-scale government projects sometimes enhance the welfare of society. Is this an assumption the argument requires? Let’s test it with the negation test. What happens if it’s true that large-scale government projects never enhance the welfare of society? Well, then their absence or presence doesn’t change anything about the welfare of society, so the author would be mistaken in concluding that lack of government by referendum would diminish the welfare of a society (since it just wouldn’t have any effect at all). That means the argument falls apart without (A), which makes it a necessary assumption and the correct answer.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.

Avi on July 6, 2020

Thanks. I guess I just didn't understand the passage because I didn't know what government by referendum meant.

Shunhe on July 6, 2020

No problem, and yeah, that's a little bit of a trickier term, but a referendum is a term common enough that the LSAT expects you to know what it means.