1.Some findings have revealed that cities around the world are growing large. Could you outline the possible causes and predict consequence? Band 6.5
It seems to be an increasingly widespread concern that more and more cities are growing into metropolises around the globe, resulting in a wide range of issues consequently. And I think that the rapid industrialisation and bulging population are responsible for this.
To begin with, countries and economics are heavily relying on modern industry instead of agriculture is the first reason for the growing size of cities. Due to the massive factories and other related sectors are built, there are much more job opportunities and better living facilities created in big cities. As a result, people in surrounding areas lean towards moving to the cities to promote their own living standard.
Another important reason leading to this phenomenon is that as the population is bulging every year, the cities have to expand correspondingly. To illustrate, in many developing countries, such as China and India, the population is growing at high speed, which means that more city infrastructures would be established so as to meet the increasing demand. If there are no such huge migration pouring into the big cities, the cities will develop at natural speed.
The effects of all these are not positive. Though people dwelling here can gain the high income and high quality life, they will definitely face various issues such as intense competition in the workplace, traffic congestion and environmental degradation. Likewise, in the macro level, urbanisation will always widen the gap between the rich and the poor, which will even lead to regional conflicts.
In sum, the industrialisation and fast-growing population have brought impact on the development of some cities. We should be aware of the bad effects and do something to call a halt to the unreasonable expansion of metropolises.
2.Economic progress is one way to measure the success of a country, while some people think there are other factors. What other factors should be considered? Within these factors, do you think anyone is more important than the others? Band 7
Nowadays, most countries around the globe are concentrating on the economic development. However, whether the economic progress alone can fully depict the development situation remains a controversial issue. In my opinion, other factors should also be taken into account.
One important factor is that the education system reflects the capacity of sustainable economic growth. This is mainly because whatever industries the countries rely on, skilled workers and experienced experts are always the essential resources, especially in the high-tech areas in which those well-educated employees are sometimes the core competitiveness of enterprises.
Other crucial indicator is the social welfare system which sometimes serves purposes to meet the basic human need. Specifically, citizens living in such countries can be carefully looked after when they are out of work, sick or retirement, and more importantly, such system will eliminate the inequity in the society by the taxation leverage and other measurements. Therefore, we say these countries are advanced.
The final one, from my perspective, is how the country is perceived by other countries. It should be a peaceful country which treats others fairly and accepts the universal values. Moreover, a developed country should not only have great tangible power, but play a corresponding role in the global affairs.
In sum, apart from economic progress, there are several other persuasive factors to make a country successful. Of course, economic is still a prominent criteria, but it is obviously not the only one. Definitely what makes a country brilliant is not its GDP or modern building, but how civilised it is.
3.Some people think that it is more important to plant more trees in open area in towns and cities than building more housing. To what extend do you agree or disagree? Band 6.5
Nowadays, there is an increasing concern about the greenery around the country. However, whether these trees should be planted in a city’s open places rather than giving way to more accommodation remains a controversial debate. I agree with the view that if housing supply in a city has surpassed demand, the open areas should mainly be covered by trees.
Firstly, with enough housing for locals to live, trees are needed to cool down the cities and towns. While many cities have to heavily reply on air-conditioning to decrease the indoor temperature during summer, with more trees planted, the outside temperature can be adjusted to a lower level. As a benefit, it will be cooler in people’s homes.
Moreover, trees can function well to clean up the toxic substances in the air. If we want more people to stay away from some health issues that are caused by environmental degradation, trees can definitely help. And this is something those housing buildings cannot contribute.
Of course, when the majority of residents in some towns cannot be provided with comfortable housing, it is a different case. As shelter is one of the most important elements for human survival, it should be considered as a priority in these places. As long as shelter is not an urgent problem, then greenery can be prioritised for open areas.
In sum, both trees and housing play an important role in urban life style. When most city residents already have a home to live in, open spaces ought to be given to trees. On the other hand, building more accommodation on the available land is a wiser choice, vice versa.
4.In some countries, governments are encouraging industries and businesses to move to regional areas outside the big cities. Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages? Band 6.5
Industries and businesses are the primary concerns in many cities as they make the city more congested and pollute the environment in one hand, while create job opportunities and contribute to the development of the city on the other hand. Due to the fact that many of the enterprises are operated and promoted in bigger cities only, encouraging them to move to adjacent areas is a considerable proposal. I believe that has more benefits than drawbacks and several reasons will be put forward on below.
To begin with, there are several advantages why industries should move to the regional areas and the government should take initiatives to do so. Primarily, the most significantly influential aspect is the development of the regional areas. To be more precisely, setting up of the enterprises in the rural area will help to advance the basic infrastructures like transportation facility, electricity and road in the rural areas. In addition, the people of this area will have the golden opportunity of employment and that would better the living standard as well. Moreover, the economic activity of the area will increase and that would let the government take further initiatives in order to update this urban area. For instance, the various types of small businesses and industries like hotel, lodge, suppliers will emerge and that will support other businesses and add value to the economy of these areas. Last but not least, regional offices are often helpful to expand businesses and to reduce the manufacturing and operating cost. Thus, many big industries would be actually benefited from this.
Despite this, there are several disadvantages of moving the businesses and industries to urban regions. One of the prominent drawbacks is the exploitation of natural resources. To illustrate, the industry will use the various kind of resources such as forest, water resources which will cause the environmental degradation like pollution, climate change and much more. Moreover, the gradual decline in the number of population in such areas will increase the crime rate. Finally relocating an industry to a different place involves a huge amount of costs and the industries would not want to spend this amount naturally.
All in all, comparing the merits and flaws, the government must encourage the selected industries and businesses to move to regional areas where they would operate in a better fashion for the overall betterment of economy and environment and population.
5.Accommodation and transport problems are increasing in many large cities. Businesses are encouraged to move to rural areas. Do advantages outweigh disadvantages? Band 7.5
The movement of organizations from urban areas to less-developed provinces is a solution to various municipal problems, but we cannot turn a blind eye to the shortcomings of this trend. The essay will clarify both sides of the coin, and demonstrate my view that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
On the one hand, it is absurd to say that an organization can easily move from a major city to the countryside without suffering any losses. A change in terms of position may cost a firm, for example, a reduction in the quality of its workforce. Not every employee is willing to resettle down in a faraway province, and they prefer seeking another career in the metropolis to maintain their current living standards. The enterprise, to handle such risk of brain drain, would have to hire local workers who are normally less competent. The expenses for their prerequisite training courses are significant, but an improvement in their professional performance would still not be guaranteed.
On the other hand, I believe that the advantages of this scenario are more important. Firstly, such re//location.href of organizations can reduce the population density in the urban areas. As a result, the influx of workers traveling in rush hours which causes traffic congestion would disappear. Secondly, the movement of companies’ headquarters makes way for the construction of more residential areas, so the citizens would no longer have to live in narrow houses and apartments anymore. Finally, factories carry along with them modern production lines to the suburban areas, hence the rural population might have access to such cutting-edge technological advancements, which have been by no means close to them ever.
In conclusion, I believe that governments should encourage companies to move to rural areas because of the mentioned considerable benefits.
6.As well as making money, businesses also have social responsibilities. Do you agree or disagree? Band 7
People have different views about what kinds of obligation a company should have. While I accept that the top priority of companies is to generate profits, I believe they should also have social responsibilities.
On the one hand, I believe businesses already contribute to society by simply focusing on making money. The first reason is that when companies earn much profits, they can expand their businesses, which creates more job opportunities for people. Some big multinational corporations such as Apple or Microsoft can be a great illustration. They have been employing hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world, which helps to reduce unemployment rates in many countries. Additionally, when companies make higher profits, they will pay more taxes for the government. This money can be used to invest in important fields such as education or health care, which will benefit society as a whole.
On the other hand, I would argue that apart from making money, companies also need to have social responsibilities. Firstly, since the rising number of factories these days has led to serious environmental damage, companies need to take immediate actions to help protect the natural environment. For example, they could try new technologies to recycle their wastes instead of disposing of them right away. Secondly, corporations should also consider helping those who are less fortunate such as homeless or disabled citizens. This will contribute to better society and also help to enhance the image of the company or the brand.
In conclusion, although companies should prioritise the need to make profits, I believe they should also have social responsibilities.
7.Many people now live in societies where buy goods have become cheap. Do advantages outweigh disadvantages?
The prices of goods have reduced significantly owing to increased productivity, technology and other factors, which allows people to afford various products. Beneficial as this development may seem instantly, there are some drawbacks worth considering.
On the positive side, the life of the population has largely improved in many areas. In terms of daily necessities such as food and clothing, lower costs enable even the impoverished to live on a tiny budget without their serious concern about hunger or the cold. Furthermore, those with average incomes can enjoy products of higher quality more than before. As for higher needs such as entertainment and education, affordable prices provide the majority of the population with access to better and higher education, whereas most common forms of leisure activities have been added to the options of ordinary people for better life quality. For instance, travelling by air for a holiday has become very common because of cheap airline, and more people are now able to attend courses with reasonable fees at centres.
However, price reduction is also accompanied by several disadvantages. One of them is the decline in product quality generally caused by the failure to comply with mass manufacture standards. An obvious example of this is China made goods which are notorious for poor durability as a result of using unqualified materials and unskilled labour in exchange for price competitiveness. Another problem is that people can waste products and resources when the goods are too cheap to mind. For example, households and restaurants throw away a massive mount of leftovers every day worldwide; similarly, water is wasted in many developed countries.
In conclusion, it is obvious to acknowledge the dominant benefits of humans' effort to make products financially available for everyone, but the adverse effects of this development should not be overlooked.
8.Nowadays, most large companies operate multi-nationally. To what extent those companies should have responsibility towards local communities in which they operate? Band 7
In the globalisation process, a variety of organisations run on an international scale. However, I believe that these firms should not forget to place more of an emphasis on contributing to the development of the local societies where they are located in several aspects.
The first responsibility that the multinational companies should take is to preserve the local environment. Companies of any size would exert negative influence on the region's air and water quality by running factories, disposing of waste to the waterworks or simply using airconditioners. Therefore, it is encouraged that they are active in placing restrictions on the level of the contaminants released and endeavouring to operate on an environmentally friendly basis.
Second of all, paying tax on schedule is also an obligation. The tax money is used to upgrade the public constructions and regulate the socio-economic activities, thus facilitate people's life. Accordingly, not paying tax properly, the companies not only violate the national laws, but also indirectly deprive the inhabitants of a wide range of benefits they are well-deserved to reap.
Finally, the major global companies can support the regional communities by creating jobs. Provided with career opportunities at a firm near their homes, the workers can not only save time and money for traveling but also find it easier to take care of their family. In a broader view, this action helps reduce the unemployment rate at the area, which boosts the local economic development in the long run.
In conclusion, I believe that helping the local communities thrive should be considered a must for the international organisations, and there are many ways to implement the task.
9.Countries are becoming more and more similar because people are able to buy the same products anywhere in the world. Do you think this is a positive or negative development? Band 9
It is said that countries are becoming similar to each other because of the global spread of the same products, which are now available for purchase almost anywhere. I strongly believe that this modern development is largely detrimental to culture and traditions worldwide.
A country’s history, language and ethos are all inextricably bound up in its manufactured artefacts. If the relentless advance of international brands into every corner of the world continues, these bland packages might one day completely oust the traditional objects of a nation, which would be a loss of richness and diversity in the world, as well as the sad disappearance of the manifestations of a place’s character. What would a Japanese tea ceremony be without its specially crafted teapot, or a Fijian kava ritual without its bowl made from a certain type of tree bark?
Let us not forget either that traditional products, whether these be medicines, cosmetics, toys , clothes, utensils or food, provide employment for local people. The spread of multinational products can often bring in its wake a loss of jobs, as people turn to buying the new brand, perhaps, thinking it more glamorous than the one they are used to. This eventually puts old-school craftspeople out of work.
Finally, tourism numbers may also be affected, as travelers become disillusioned with finding every place just the same as the one they visited previously. To see the same products in shops the world over is boring, and does not impel visitors to open their wallets in the same way that trinkets or souvenirs unique to the particular area do.
Some may argue that all people are entitled to have access to the same products, but I say that local objects suit local conditions best, and that faceless uniformity worldwide is an unwelcome and dreary prospect.