Some government economists view their home countries as immune to outside influence. But economies are always open s...

Sangwook on December 31, 2014

Help

This is a strengthen with sufficient premise question, isn't it? Then, how does a choice (A) strengthen the conclusion on the stimulus with 100%? Thanks,

6 Replies

Melody on January 5, 2015

This is a strengthen with necessary premise question. Remember that a premise is necessary for a conclusion if the falsity of the premise guarantees or brings about the falsity of the conclusion.

Here the question stem states: "the argument's conclusion follows logically if," thus the argument needs the answer choice to be correct. If that is the case, we know that we are dealing with a strengthen with necessary premise question.

So, as you know, first we check to see if the answer choice strengthens the passage, and then, if it does strengthen, we negate the answer choice to see if its negation makes the argument fall apart. If the answer choice does both those things then it is our correct answer.

Conclusion: "government economists must look beyond national borders if their nations' economies are to prosper."

Why? Though "some government economists view their home countries as immune to outside influence," we are told that economies are "open systems," e.g. we are told that international trade significantly affects prices and wages. The argument ends on a comparison to physicists and how they "learned the shortcomings of a mechanics based on idealizations such as the postulation of perfectly frictionless bodies."

Answer choice (A) states: "A national economy cannot prosper unless every significant influence on it has been examined by that nation's government economists."

Does this strengthen the argument? Yes.

Let's diagram:

P: NEP ==> ESI
not ESI ==> not NEP

If we take answer choice (A) to be true, then the conclusion of the argument--that in order for their nations' economies to prosper, the government economists must look beyond national borders--is strengthened because answer choice (A) states that if a national economy is to prosper, then every significant influence on it has been examined by that nation's government economists.

Negation of answer choice (A): A national economy can prosper even if every significant influence on it has not been examined by that nation's government economists.

Does this make the argument fall apart? Yes.

If it is not necessary for every influence on a country to be examined by that nation's government economists for that national economy to prosper, then the argument's conclusion--that in order for their nations' economies to prosper, the government economists must look beyond national borders--is no longer necessarily true.

Hope that clears things up! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Sangwook on January 8, 2015

Thanks a lot^^

on July 19 at 11:47AM

Here the question stem states: "the argument's conclusion follows logically if" - is that not generally the question stem for a strengthen with sufficient premise question?

It is my understanding that an answer choice can be both necessary and sufficient - would that be the case here?

Veda on August 6 at 11:08PM

I am confused as to how the negation destroys the argument. Even if every single factor is not necessary, it could still be the case that this factor is necessary, right? Or perhaps I am misunderstanding the meaning of the negation. Any help would be appreciated.

Victoria on August 11 at 02:04PM

Hi @Anna2020,

You are correct in that this is a Strengthen with Sufficient Premise question stem.

As you can see from Naz's explanation above, you can use the techniques for a Strengthen with Necessary Premise question to determine the correct answer here. This is because both Strengthen with Sufficient and Strengthen with Necessary Premise questions ask you to select an assumption on which the argument depends, albeit in slightly different ways.

For Strengthen with Sufficient Premise questions, you are looking for the answer choice which would allow the conclusion to be properly drawn. In this way, the correct answer is one upon which the argument depends, but it is sufficient, not necessary, for the conclusion to be properly drawn.

For Strengthen with Necessary Premise questions, you are looking for the answer choice which is necessary for the conclusion to be properly drawn i.e. without this assumption the argument completely falls apart.

As both question types ask you to look for answer choices which outline assumptions on which the argument is at least partially dependent, you can employ similar techniques to answer either question type.

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

Victoria on August 11 at 02:09PM

Hi @Veda-Bhadharla,

Happy to help!

As this is a Strengthen with Sufficient Premise question, you do not necessarily need to negate the answer choice to determine whether it is correct.

There's a bit of an easier way to understand this question that I'll outline for you here to see if that helps!

The author concludes that government economists must look beyond their borders if their nations' economies are to prosper.

Why? Because, contrary to the belief of some government economists, economies are open systems and are significantly affected by outside influences, including international trade.

There's a bit of a gap in the author's reasoning here.

P: Economies are significantly affected by international trade.

C: Economists must look beyond borders if economies are to prosper

The premise says nothing about prosperity. Even if international trade is extremely significant for national economies, there is nothing in the stimulus which suggests that it is necessary for a nation's economy to prosper.

Therefore, we are looking for the answer choice which fills in this gap in reasoning by connecting international trade to economic prosperity.

We can see that the only answer choice which does this is answer choice (A) which tells us that a nation's economy cannot prosper unless its government economists have examined every significant influence on it.

This allows the author to draw their conclusion properly.

P: Economy cannot prosper unless government economists examine all significant influences on it

P: Economies are significantly affected by international trade

C: Economists must look beyond borders if economy is to prosper

Notice how the conclusion follows more logically when we include this assumption/premise.

Hope this helps clear things up a bit! Please let us know if you have any further questions.