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In 1988 services moved ahead of manufacturing as the main product of the United States

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In 1988 services moved ahead of manufacturing as the main product of the United States economy. But what is meant by "services"? Some economists define a service as something that is produced and consumed simultaneously, for example, a haircut. The broader, classical definition is that a service is an intangible something that cannot be touched or stored. Yet electric utilities can store energy, and computer programmers save information electronically. Thus, the classical definition is hard to sustain.

The United States government's definition is more practical: services are the residual category that includes everything that is not agriculture or industry. Under this definition, services includes activities as diverse as engineering and driving a bus. However, besides lacking a strong conceptual framework, this definition fails to recognize the distinction between service industries and service occupations. It categorizes workers based on their company's final product rather than on the actual work the employees perform. Thus, the many service workers employed by manufacturers bookkeepers or janitors, for example-would fall under the industrial rather than the services category. Such ambiguities reveal the arbitrariness of this definition and suggest that, although practical for government purposes, it does not accurately reflect the composition of the current United States economy.


- The author of the passage is primarily concerned with 
(A) discussing research data underlying several definitions
(B) arguing for the adoption of a particular definition
(C) exploring definitions of a concept
(D) comparing the advantages of several definitions
(E) clarifying some ambiguous definitions


- The author of the passage mentions which of the following as one disadvantage of the United States government's definition of services?
(A) It is less useful than the other definitions mentioned in the passage.
(B) It is narrower in scope than the other definitions mentioned in the passage.
(C) It is based on the final product produced rather than on the type of work performed.
(D) It does not recognize the diversity of occupations within the service industries.
(E) It mis-classifies many workers who are employed in service industries


- The author refers to "service workers employed by manufacturers" (line 15) primarily in order to point out
(A) a type of worker not covered by the United States government's system of classifying occupations
(B) a flaw in the United States government's definition of services
(C) a factor that has influenced the growth of the service economy in the United States
(D) a type of worker who is classified on the basis of work performed rather than on the basis of the company's final product
(E) the diversity of the workers who are referred to as service workers

Official Answer
Very Tough. Question. Can somebody explain how to answer this.
commented Jan 8, 2015 by Senior Associate (437 points)

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