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The following appeared as part of an editorial in a campus newspaper.
“With an increasing demand for highly skilled workers, this nation will soon face a
serious labor shortage. New positions in technical and professional occupations are
increasing rapidly, while at the same time the total labor force is growing slowly.
Moreover, the government is proposing to cut funds for aid to education in the near
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
TIn this argument the author predicts a nationwide labor shortage in the near future. The basis for this prediction is an increasing
demand for highly skilled workers, especially in technical and professional fields, coupled with a slow-growing labor force and a
government proposal to cut funds for aid to education. At first glance, the author’s argument appears to be somewhat convincing: but
further reflection reveals that it is based on some dubious assumptions.
In the first place the author assumes that the present labor force is immobile and that the demand “for highly skilled workers will have
to be met by workers who are entering the labor market for the first time. Recent American history, however, shows that this
assumption is entirely unfounded. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution most Americans were farm workers, but by the end of
that revolution most had become factory workers. Thus, even though the labor pool remained relatively constant during this period, the
number of farm workers decreased and the number of factory workers increased. This example clearly demonstrates the mobility of
the labor force.
In the second place, the author assumes that the government proposal to cut funds for aid to education will have a significant negative
impact on the ability to train workers in technical and professional fields. The fact is, however, that the percentage of students who rely
on government aid for their education is relatively small, so the effect of such cuts would be negligible.
In conclusion, this argument is unconvincing. To strengthen the argument the author would have to show that the present work force was
relatively static and that the proposed cut in educational aid would have a deleterious effect on the numbers of high skilled workers
available to enter the work force in the future.