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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

GMAT AWA sample essay


Question:
The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper:
“This city should be able to improve existing services and provide new ones without periodically raising the taxes of the residents. Instead, the city should require that the costs of services be paid for by developers who seek approval for their large new building projects. After all, these projects can be highly profitable to the developers, but they can also raise a city’s expenses and increase the demand for its services.”
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

Answer:
The excerpt provided is from the editorial column of a local newspaper. It states that the city should provide its residents new services and improve the prevailing ones without raising the taxes. Instead, what has been suggested is that the cost of providing such services should be met by the developers who seek approval for new and large building projects. According to the author’s opinion, such projects are highly profitable to the developers and in turn raise the city’s expenses and increase the demand for its services.

One noticeable omission in the excerpt is the lack of information regarding the type of service. The author argues that since the large new building projects are highly profitable to the developers, they should therefore bear the cost of such services being provided to the residents. However, there is no mention of which service cost specifically. Say, for example, the city has plans of introducing rain water harvesting due to water shortage. This would entail that house owners invest in rain water harvesting for their own benefit and people living in apartment buildings form a society and everyone contributes toward providing the necessary infrastructure. As for the developers of building projects, they will also take into account the necessary regulations and contrast the projects accordingly. In this circumstance, the house owners and apartment dwellers cannot expect developers to undertake the cost of providing new infrastructure. Whatever their share of cost is, they will pay for that, why would they want to volunteer payment for someone else’s benefit?

As far as improvement of existing services is concerned, I agree, it is the government or the local municipality’s responsibility to provide services to its residents and no amount of compromise in this area would be acceptable. Services that are already being provided by the local body automatically needs to be improved and upgraded as and when redundancy or obsolescence sets in. This is the local body’s responsibility, to be of service to its residence. As there is development on the technological front, the definition of basic necessity keeps changing. At one point of time, it was merely food, clothing and shelter, and now the definition has started including various other factors such as education, maintaining a level of income so as to experience comfort and much more. The local body’s responsibility ends at ensuring that all its residents do have access to the basic necessities of life. If an individual wants more, they should be more than welcome to pay for it themselves and acquire it. If the government has to ensure that every individual is living a high end life with luxury on their fingertips, it would have to throw in the towel. All comforts and luxuries should be taken care of by the individual themselves, wanting it.

The author states that the developers of large new buildings should bear the cost of services being provided in the city. As stated in the second paragraph, the author is not being very clear while mentioning services. However, that point of omission has already been elucidated. This paragraph will be covering the question as to why the developers shouldn’t be paying for the services. Firstly, the author seems to have misunderstood that all building project owners and developers gain profits on their projects. Such developers are salesmen in their own right. They develop property and if there is a willing buyer, they make profits. If not, they write off the expenses and incur a loss. Hence, there is no guarantee that all the developers will make a profit on their projects. Secondly, the one point I fail to understand is why the developers would pay for the city dwellers’ services. The developers themselves are individuals. They are also entitled to the basic necessities overage by the local body as much as other citizens are. When this is the case, why would they go on to pay for services being provided or that should be provided to the citizens? Neither are they running a not for profit organization nor are they here to join the local body. They exist to do business and make profit and that is exactly what they will do. One more point that the author seems to have missed out is the truth about the sky high taxes that even the developers have to pay to the local body in order to erect their projects. That and the huge amounts that go under the table, all unaccounted for, all of it is added to the cost of the project. Hence, there is no question of developers paying for the services of the city.


Concluding, the author’s contention is partly agreeable. Yes, it is the government or the local body’s responsibility to provide the basic necessities with changing times and improvement thereof. However, the local body is not responsible for providing individuals with comfort and luxury that should be on their own accord. Building developers are doing their business and making a profit; that is their way of earning an income and it does not make them responsible for paying for the residents’ living. However, I must add that such developers need to adhere to the basic corporate social responsibility manoeuvres, thus giving back to the society in some way or the other.

Comments are most welcome!!