「Question No. 77」
The following recommendation appeared in a memo from the mayor of the town of Hopewell.
"Two years ago, the nearby town of Ocean View built a new municipal golf course and resort hotel. During the past two years, tourism in Ocean View has increased, new businesses have opened there, and Ocean View's tax revenues have risen by 30 percent. Therefore, the best way to improve Hopewell's economy—and generate additional tax revenues—is to build a golf course and resort hotel similar to those in Ocean View."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
First of all, the author obviously assumes that Hopewell has the same conditions as Ocean View. Based on this questionable assumption, the author expects the proposed golf course and resort hotel to generate additional tax revenues. However, Hopewell may be vastly different from Ocean View, and the differences, including different administration, conditions of transportation, people’s hospitality to tourists, may render the plan ineffective.
Second, the author assumes that it is the golf course and resort hotel that have contributed to Ocean View’s increased tourism, opening of new businesses and increased tax revenues. However, it is likely that none of the improvements are attributed to the two facilities, and instead, there may be other factors behind the improvements. For example, Ocean View may have favorable policies that encourage the start of new businesses, and friendly prices of goods and services that attract tourists. It is also likely that municipal government of Ocean View has raised their tax levels.
Another assumption is that there is still a market for Hopewell’s tourism. The argument provides no information about the size of the tourism market in the area or about to what extent the nearby town—Ocean View—has exploited the market; thus, there may be no market left for Hopewell, because Ocean View has probably dominated the entire market.
No information is present to substantiate the author’s another assumption that there is no way better than building the two facilities in order to achieve the desired results. As a matter of fact, it is common sense that a variety of ways could be helpful for a town’s economy and tax revenues. For example, the town of Hopewell may develop its manufacturing. Unless the author has concrete evidence to rule out other ways that may be effective, the author cannot safely believe that building the golf course and resort hotel is the best way.