Essay topics: The following appeared in a memo from a vice president of a large, highly diversified company.
"Ten years ago our company had two new office buildings constructed as regional headquarters for two regions. The buildings were erected by different construction companies—Alpha and Zeta. Although the two buildings had identical floor plans, the building constructed by Zeta cost 30 percent more to build. However, that building's expenses for maintenance last year were only half those of Alpha's. Furthermore, the energy consumption of the Zeta building has been lower than that of the Alpha building every year since its construction. Such data indicate that we should use Zeta rather than Alpha for our contemplated new building project, even though Alpha's bid promises lower construction costs."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
The vice president of a large highly diversified company recommends using Zeta Company rather than Alpha for erection of new building project. This statement is based on evidence which ought to be carefully scrutinized in order to give a comprehensive estimation of the soundness of the conclusion.
The first evidence which is given to us is that despite the identical floor plans the costs of construction by Zeta was 30 per cent higher than these of Alpha, at the same time, the headquarter erected by Alpha consumes more electricity and last year expenditures for maintenance were significantly higher than ones of Zeta's building. However, if we compare the 30 per cent of money spent on construction by Zeta and costs for maintenance and electricity, we may figure out that the first amount will dramatically outweigh the expenses on electricity and maintenance. Consequently, this author's evidence is dubious.
Furthermore, the writer uses two examples to make a judgment about all projects of these two construction companies. These two buildings cannot possibly represent a real situation due to the fact that they were built in different regions and perhaps climate and weather conditions. The probability exists that this example is rather aberration than paragon which represent real situation and comparing of other companies' projects may display an opposing results. The writer might have made the argument stronger had he given us more statistical data about other projects of these companies which for instance were erected in similar conditions, region and with usage of similar floor plans. Till we are not given this data, we cannot accept this evidence.
Finally, the writer makes an unreasonable extrapolation of ten years example on today's project. Even if Zeta company used to have some advantages over Alpha, they might have been lost today. For example, these companies may have new CEO's, companies' policies, strategies, equipment and employees. In other words, the conditions of today probably do not similar ones of the past and therefore the usage of obsolete data is irrelevant.
In conclusion, from our viewpoint, arguer's conclusion to give new project to Zeta rather than Alpha whether or not Alpha promises lower construction costs is questionable. The writer's evidence is weak and irrelevant to the argument; as a result, the author’s suggestion is unwarranted. Additionally to it, the writer tends to neglect the fact that promised lower construction costs may be significant thus author's hasty decision is unreasonable and more information is needed to give a comprehensive estimation of the Alpha's proposal.
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