CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 11

QUESTION
Most people in the United States view neither big nor small business as particularly efficient or dynamic and regard both as providing consumers with fairly priced goods and services. However, most people consistently perceive small business as a force for good in society, whereas big business is perceived as socially responsible only in times of prosperity.

The statements above, if true, would provide the strongest support for which one of the following hypotheses?

OPTIONS
[A]. Most people in the United States give little thought to the value of business to society.
[B]. If big business were more efficient, it would be perceived more favorably by the public generally.
[C]. If small business were regarded as being more dynamic, it, too, would receive strongly favorable ratings only in times of general prosperity.
[D]. Even if people did not regard big business as providing consumers with value for their money, they would still regard it as socially responsible in times of general prosperity.
[E]. Many people in the United States regard the social responsibility of big business as extending beyond providing consumers with fairly priced goods and services.
Answer: E
Explanation:

We need to find an inferable hypothesis based on the two-sentence stimulus. We get two ideas in the first sentence: Most U.S. people don’t regard big or small business as particularly efficient or dynamic, although they do seem to think both forms of business offer fairly priced goods and services. However (and this Keyword should always jump off the page at you), we’re told small business is generally perceived as more socially responsible (“a force for good in society”), while big business, according to most people, is only socially responsible in times of prosperity. Some inferences are difficult to prephrase; you may have found that evaluating the choices was the way to go here. Most of the wrong choices touch on issues that fall outside of this very narrow scope. The correct inference is found way down in (E), and comes from combining the last part of sentence 1 with the last part of sentence 2. There are times (non-prosperous periods) when most people believe that big business is not socially responsible even though most people regard big business as providing consumers with fairly priced goods and services. Why not? As (E) puts it, there must be something more to the “social responsibility” of big business than simply providing consumers with fairly priced goods and services.

(A) goes against the spirit of the passage, which suggests that most people in the U.S. do have definite views on, and thus give thought to, the value of business to society.

(B) and (C) We have no idea how the negatively perceived “efficiency/dynamism” factors from the first sentence relate to most people’s attitudes regarding the other elements discussed (price, social responsibility), so we can’t infer what would result from changes in business’ efficiency or dynamism or changes in the public’s perception of same.

(D) We know that big business is seen as socially responsible in times of prosperity, but we don’t know why. This perception may be dependent on the perception that big business provides consumers with fairly priced goods and services, but this perception might be caused by something else. So we can’t tell what would happen if big business didn’t provide consumers with value for their money, and we can’t infer (D).


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