In using the phrase "the state's chip" (line 29), the author of passage A most clearly means to refer to a government's

alliehall21 on July 21, 2020

Can you explain B vs. A

Why B over A

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shunhe on July 21, 2020

Hi @alliehall21,

Thanks for the question! So we’re asked here for what “the state’s chip” means in line 29 of passage A, so we should go to that line and read above and below it in order to get the full context. In the lines above, we’re being told that blackmail victims are paying to avoid being harmed by persons other than a blackmailer in the lines above. This is why blackmail depends on a third party. And in the example given, a blackmailer is threatening to turn in a criminal unless the criminal pays the blackmailer money. When doing so, the blackmailer is bargaining with the state’s chip. So the state is the third party here. And what is this chip that belongs to the state? What does the state have to do with this transaction that would make the criminal fear the state? Well, it’s the state’s natural, legitimate interest in knowing about crimes so that it can go on and prosecute them! That’s what the blackmailer is using as leverage on the criminal; the criminal doesn’t want the state to know about their crimes, or else the state might prosecute them. And that’s what (B) gets at, which is why it’s the correct answer.

(A), on the other hand, tells us that the state’s chip is its legal authority to determine what actions are crimes. This is close, but not quite there. Is what the criminal fears the state’s authority to say what is and isn’t a crime? No, the criminal has already done something defined as a crime! What the criminal fears is facing the consequences of having done that crime, and not the state’s ability to call it a crime or not. That’s why (A) is wrong.

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