The following appeared as a letter to the editor from a Central Plaza store owner
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University: Shanghai Jiao Tong University
February 1, 2021 at 5:36 am
“Over the past two years, the number of shoppers in Central Plaza has been steadily decreasing while the popularity of skateboarding has increased dramatically. Many Central Plaza store owners believe that the decrease in their business is due to the number of skateboard users in the plaza. There has also been a dramatic increase in the amount of litter and vandalism throughout the plaza. Thus, we recommend that the city prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. If skateboarding is prohibited here, we predict that business in Central Plaza will return to its previously high levels.”
The author provides a recommendation that skateboarding should be prohibited by the government in Central Plaza so as to have better shopping environment and recover its business. However, the author ignores several critical questions and draws a problematic conclusion.
Firstly, the author attributes the worsen environment to the increasing number of skateboard users. However, the author fails to establish the causal relationship between skateboard users and worsen environment. Other factors may also lead to bad environment. For instance, the plaza may be lack of money and fail to employ people to pick up litter and clean the plaza. Another possible reason is that increasing people in the city can also lead to increasing litter produced. Unless other possible factors are precluded, it is problematic to say that the number of skateboarders is responsible for the worsen shopping environment.
Even though skateboarders contribute to the worsen environment, the author simply assumes that as long as the skateboarding is prohibited, the business will return to its previously high levels. Nevertheless, the assumption fails to consider other related conditions. If the customer services the plaza provides are poor and the goods in the plaza are of very bad quality recently, the losses of costumers are reasonable and the business cannot increase. Besides, the more and more flourishing cyber shopping may cause people prefer to stay home and shopping online rather than go to plazas. Without ruling out these possible causes, it is unreasonable to say that the plaza’s business can recover by prohibiting skateboarding.
Moreover, the author recommends the city to prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. However, the feasibility of the solution is invalid. On one hand, the government may provide its financial support for more critical problems like healthy and justice in the city. Hence, the government fails to provide financial aid for prohibiting skateboarding. On the other hand, the city may not be willing to do that because this may lead to unbalanced competition. Other plazas may complain about the injustice. Therefore, the recommendation is impractical.
In sum, there exists lots of questions to be answered. The validation of the recommendation is questionable unless all related questions are solved.
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