There is now evidence that the relaxed pace of life in small towns promotes better health and greater longevity than does the hectic pace of life in big cities. Businesses in the small town of Leeville report fewer days of sick leave taken by individual workers than do businesses in the nearby large city of Masonton. Furthermore, Leeville has only one physician for its one thousand residents, but in Masonton the proportion of physicians to residents is five times as high. Finally, the average age of Leeville residents is significantly higher than that of Masonton residents. These findings suggest that the relaxed pace of life in Leeville allows residents to live longer, healthier lives.
Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.
In this argument, we are informed that workers in Leeville take fewer sick days than workers in Masonton, a larger city than Leeville. Also, a smaller proportion of people in Leeville are diagnosed with stress-related illness. The Leeville Chamber of Commerce attributes these two facts to the health benefits of the relatively relaxed pace of life in Leeville. While I concede that such a lifestyle could result in a healthier physical and mental state, some assumptions underlying the author’s argument, if prove unwarranted, may deprive the validity of the conclusion.
I maintain that other plausible explanations can also account for the facts presented in this argument. However, with only the current information, we are unable to decide which explanation is best. Nor is it utterly certain that one factor alone is responsible for the facts presented in the argument.
To begin with, the Chamber of Commerce claims that Leeville workers take fewer sick days due to better health. While I admit that this might be the case, I also argue that fewer sick days taken by the local workers do not necessarily spring from a healthier state. Absence of significant information contributes to the failure to rule out the possibility that workers would still attend work even if they were seriously ill. More specifically, the workers’ limited absence from work in Leeville may not lie in their satisfactory health conditions, but could be ascribed to a strict or even harsh working discipline. What is of equal possibility is that Leeville’s workers themselves are reluctant to take sick days, which could be explained by their extraordinary passion for jobs. In addition, it will be unfair to keep blind to the possible scenario wherein the comparatively smaller number of sick days taken by workers in Leeville could also derive from Leeville’s sparse population of local workers. All of the aforementioned explanations pose a great challenge upon, if not utterly reverse, the proposed one in the argument.
In addition, the author ascribes a lower proportion of diagnoses of stress-related illness in Leeville to the relaxed pace of life. However, the proportion of diagnoses alone does not sufficiently indicate a healthier state of people in Leeville. The lower proportion could also be explained by unsatisfactory medical resources in Leeville, both in terms of the number of hospitals and the capabilities of local doctors. If this is this case, then the relaxed pace of life in Leeville is less responsible, if at all, for local people’s excellent health, since Leeville citizens could be suffering from a variety of diseases, which have been neither diagnosed nor treated.
Even if workers in Leeville are indeed healthier than workers in Masonton, it is doubtful that the relaxed pace of life is the only factor responsible. Generally speaking, good physical and mental states stem from a variety of factors: appealing environment, pleasant social relationships, and healthy diets, to name a few. While we cannot assert that these factors are present and lead directly to local people’s good health, we are confident that these explanations could rival the one proposed in the argument.
To summarize, although it is reasonable to believe that a relaxed lifestyle contributes to better health in Leeville, there are several alternative explanations that could challenge the author’s one and can also plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.