GRE Argument Essay 73
The following appeared in a newspaper feature story.
“There is now evidence that the relaxed manner of living in small towns promotes better health and greater longevity than does the hectic pace of life in big cities. Businesses in the small town of Leeville report fewer days of sick leave taken by individual workers than do businesses in the nearby large city of Mason City. Furthermore, Leeville has only one physician for its one thousand residents, but in Mason City the proportion of physicians to residents is five times as high. And the average age of Leeville residents is significantly higher than that of Mason City residents. These findings suggest that people seeking longer and healthier lives should consider moving to small communities.”
The argument given above is a newspaper feature story. It reports that a relaxed small town life is healthier than the fast paced city life. That is why people should consider moving to a smaller town for better health and longer life. It supports this argument with evidence from a small town of Leeville and the city of Mason by comparing the business and general health of people in the two places. However, the evidence given in the argument can be taken as a mere fact that does not support the given statement. The author of the feature story does not consider the possible interpretations of the facts that he presents as evidence. Hence, his stand that small town living is healthier for people is not supported strongly.
The author says that there have been fewer cases of sick leave taken by workers in Leeville than in Mason City. With this fact the author wants to say that fewer people fall sick in smaller towns. However, it can be argued that workers engaged in businesses do not constitute the whole population. There could be many people in Leeville who are not workers, like students, females, children and the old, but are falling sick and have health related problems. It is likely that there are fewer businesses in Leeville since it is a small town. Consequently, compared to Mason City, there would be fewer workers as well. Therefore, if there are few reports of sick leave taken by workers, it is not because people are healthier in Leeville but because there are fewer workers in the town as compared to Mason City.
The argument further gives the ratio of the number of physicians of the place for every thousand residents as proof of better health in smaller towns. This is, however, a baseless evidence since it does not prove that the health of people in smaller towns is better than that of bigger cities. If there is only one physician for thousand residents of Leeville, it does not indicate that the number of patients is lesser as well. How healthy the residents of a place are is not seen by the number of physicians but by the number of patients. There are chances that the number of patients that a single physician sees is higher in Leeville than the number of patients seen by the physicians of Mason City. Moreover, the health of a society also depends upon the efficiency of these physicians. Hence, this fact that there are fewer physicians in Leeville does not prove that the health of the residents is better than in Mason.
Last but not the least, it can be argued that the findings of Leeville and Mason City cannot be used to generalize the fact that people in smaller towns live longer and healthier lives. It might be true that the average age of residents of Leeville is more than that of Mason City, but this may or may not be true for any other place. There could be other small towns where the average age of residents is lesser than that of those in Mason City. Similarly, there could be another big city apart from Mason City, where the people experience better health and longer lives than those of Leeville do. The health of a person is dependent upon many factors like health care facilities, pollution, stress etc. While there are many factors like pollution and stress that is inherent in city life, it is also true that a bigger city offers better health care facilities, qualified and experienced doctors and clean living conditions. Hence, the measure of the health of residents is subject to many factors that are ignored by the author. Moreover, it is clear that the evidence provided by the author is baseless and therefore the argument does not have any logical explanation because of which it becomes weak and inappropriate.