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CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 16

The most successful economies have been, and will continue to be, those that train as many people as possible in the human skills required to research, to develop, and to apply new technology. Japan is a model for this sort of training effort. Europe as a whole is in a weaker position: there is a shortage of skilled labour trained to use the new technologies, and there are not enough scientists able to develop and apply the technology. However, even in Japan there is a shortage of technically qualified people, and, like most European countries, Japan has far too many workers qualified to perform only menial tasks.

Which one of the following can be properly inferred from the passage?

[A]. There is a greater worldwide shortage of research scientists than there is of engineers.
[B]. Japan is not the best country against which to measure a country’s economic success.
[C]. Japan’s successful economy depends upon an uncommonly narrow base of highly skilled labour.
[D]. To be economically more successful, Europe needs to train more people in the new technologies.
[E]. European countries have economies that are more successful than those of most other countries.
Answer: D

Successful economies have been the ones that have included a high level of technological training. Moreover, we’re told in the first sentence that this will continue to be the case. Japan is good in this respect, certainly better than Europe, but even Japan has a high number of people lacking essential skills. What can we infer from this? Certainly (D) follows logically: Europe needs to get its technical training act together if it wants a more successful economy. This is borne out by the fact that Europe is lacking in one respect (technological proficiency) that “will continue to be” needed for a successful economy.

(A) offers an unwarranted comparison that we have no way of corroborating based solely on the evidence in the passage. Engineers aren’t even mentioned by name, so we certainly can’t infer a comparison like this.

(B) Even with its flaws, what evidence exists that there’s a better country to serve as the role model of technological proficiency and training? (B), without support, is not inferable.

(C) We can practically infer that Japan’s economic success is due to a narrow band of highly skilled labour; the last sentence suggests that since so many of the workers are skilled in manual labour only, only a relative few are highly skilled in the new technology. But is this distribution uncommon? Certainly not; this distribution of skilled vs. unskilled labour is typical in most European countries, and we have no basis to infer it’s much different anywhere else, since Japan is the cream of the crop in this respect (“the model for this sort of training effort”).

(E) contains another comparison that has no basis in the facts of the passage. The scope of the passage includes Europe and Japan, period—we know nothing of the relative economic success of “most other countries.”

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