Analysis of an Argument


This is the first of the series of the GMAT writing posts I’m planning. This is how the official GMAT website defines the “Analysis of an Argument” question –

In this section, you will be asked to write a critique of the argument presented. You are NOT being asked to present your own views on the subject.

Here’s the argument I will be analyzing in this first post –

Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.

Here goes my analysis. Hope it reads well !

“Brute force is not for the clever”

While the argument provided fairly evaluates the cost of physical injury; the underlying assumption that financial compensation is a linear increasing function of the physical nature of one’s work seems extraordinarily misplaced; and not just in today’s corporate-driven world, but throughout human history.

Why, if this were to be true, it would have been the invalids who carried the rock under the unforgiving sun, those who cemented the bricks and welded the steel while dandling on thin ropes, during the construction of some of the most magnificent wonders of the world, who would have walked away with wealth and fame beyond imagination as a result of their hardships; and not the likes of say, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri , Adrian Smith or Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who simply dreamt of, planned  and designed the Taj Mahal, The Burj Khalifa tower, and the London sewer system, respectively. The creativity of one’s mind, it has to be admitted, has proven to reward much more, than the strength of one’s muscles. Therefore, it becomes extremely difficult to fathom that a potentially injury involving line of work is valued as highly as is suggested here.

On the other hand, organizations, especially those closely involved with physically challenging work environments, heavy machinery and manufacturing, do end up paying a hefty sum towards insurance premiums, covering for accident hazards, damages, employee claims and what not. The annual insurance bills can in fact attain parity levels with the annual payroll at some of the more strategically inclined modern industries. This is where, I believe, safety and risk-aversion measures have a crucial role to play in cutting down costs.

Carefully planned workplaces, which follow stringent safety norms and regular disaster management drills will not only prevent physical injury, but also go a long way in preserving a companies’ fixed assets – its machinery and infrastructure, whilst also drastically cutting down the insurance bills. No wonder then, that today, almost every organization around the world is going earthquake proof, making infrastructure and machinery investment decisions after exhaustive research, and working closely with skilled safety and disaster management experts. Avoiding damages, it seems, is the best way to cut losses. After all, the less you lose, the more you make !

 

 

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