Topic 7. Assessing as Probable / Improbable

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Topic 7. Assessing as Probable / Improbable

I. General

Practicum 7.1

Study the communication strategy of Assessing as Probable / Improbable

Step1 Assess something as highly probable / improbable
Step 2 Provide evidence to support your view
Step 3 Refer to the source of information

Practicum 7.2

When practicing Assessing as Probable / Improbable you may need the word combinations to follow. Try and explain what they mean

probable (error); it looks / seems probable; highly (im)probable; a feasible excuse; most probably / likely / unlikely / hardly likely; in all probability / likelihood; feasible, feasibility (study); plausible

Practicum 7.3

Suggest examples of your own using the word combinations below

there is every / great / little likelihood that;

there is (a) high / strong / little probability;

there is a strong / remote / slim possibility;

to get / miss a chance; by chance; a pure / sheer / good / slim / slight chance that; 

to have / miss / seize an opportunity to; at the earliest opportunity

Practicum 7.4

Translate into English

1.Если вы его случайно встретите, напомните, пожалуйста, о нашей договоренности.

2.Ты упустил возможность обсудить этот вопрос с ними вчера.

3.Мне предоставилась уникальная возможность встретиться с автором книги.

4.При самой первой возможности навести его в больнице.

5.Существует высокая вероятность того, что дождя не будет до конца месяца.

6.У тебя нет шансов в этом конкурсе.

7.Скорее всего, они придут на наш заключительный концерт.

8.Существует только отдаленная перспектива его поездки в Канаду в ближайшее время.

9.Весьма вероятно, что этот товар будет в наличии на следующей неделе.

Practicum 7.5

Arrange the Assessing as Probable / Improbable vocabulary in 3 groups relating to 3 steps of the communication strategy

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
In all probability, he will lose the elections As his constituency is turning against his plans to The polls reveal that

I have a feel it might not work

It seems / appears / sounds sensible / plausible / feasible / improbable / unlikely

It is arguable

There isn’t much evidence to support

A feasibility study might add to

Recent findings suggest

The research indicates / discloses / unveils / reveals

It is very likely / hardly possible that

II. Assessing as Probable / Improbable Practice

Practicum 7.6

Rely on Assessing as Probable / Improbable strategy in the following situations

- you are starting a real estate agency against / at the background of highly competitive business environment; assess your chances to get ahead;

- you have been with the same hi-tech company for the past three years, you are ranked among the top 15 specialists in the field and aspire to a promotion; assess your chances;

- you have recently joined a development team of young and ambitious high-fliers; the competition is stiff: all of them come from diverse fields and you have a feel that your experience and expertise can contribute to a successful outcome; assess your chances of becoming a team leader;

- end-of-the-year / midterm exams are looming. You are bright and have a ready tongue, still the prospect of facing the faculty professors is worrying you. Assess your chances of passing the exam.

Practicum 7.7

Suggest your arguments to assess as probable / improbable

- getting a soft loan to purchase an executive car (exorbitantly costly, your net annual income is slightly above the average; the company you are affiliated with enjoys good credentials; you are the only breadwinner of the family with three dependents – a spouse and two kids);

- entering a high-profile university (tuition fees exceed your budget; competition is stiff; challenging entrance exams / interviews; passing grades are high)

- adopting a child (you are single; cannot boast of financial stability; your living conditions and living standards are slightly above the average; high cost of raising a child)

Text 7a

The text to follow deals in talking economics. Study the text and use it as a starting point for communication in semi-formal setting

The World Bank

The World Bank is one of the major channels through which development aid is passedfrom the industrial West to the poor and developing nations of the world. Its scale of operations is vast, which is why its lending programme exceeds $7 billion a year, and its workforce numbers about 4,500. In the last decade, important changes have taken place in the size of the Bank's operations and in the emphasis of its lending policies. What immediately strikes anyone looking at the lending figures over the last ten years is the tremendous expansion in the Bank's loan programme which has increased from $1 billion to nearly $7 billion. The figure includes 'hard loans' which are made at current rates of interest, and 'soft loans' which are allocated to poor countries at concessionary rates, and usually channeled through the Bank's affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA).

In deciding the emphasis of its lending policy, the Bank has had to take into account the 'population explosion' in poor countries. Wide-ranging contraception programmes are not very helpfulbecause there is a strong and deeply-rooted tradition among people in these countries to have big families. The large family unit is believed to mean greater financial stability.

'What the Bank discovered was a revolutionary idea that there was a link between economic and social development, on the one hand, and a reduction in fertility rate, on the other. Thus, improving basic health services, better nutrition, increasing literacy, and promoting more even income distribution, in a poor country, would lead to a lower and more acceptable fertility rate..

This 'advance in thinking' persuaded the Bank to change its overall lending strategy. Where previously it concentrated on the big infrastructure projects such as dams, roads and bridges, it began to switch to projects which directly improved the basic services of a country. There was a shift from building dams to digging water holes to provide clean water. A second reason for the change in approach was that the Bank had learned a bitter lesson from projects financed in the 1960s. Many of its major capital investments had scarcely touched the lives of the urban and rural poor, nor had they created much employment. The projects did not have the 'trickle down' effect they have in industrialized countries. Instead, the huge dams, steel mills were left as monuments to themselves.

This redirection of its lending means that the Bank tends to support labour-intensive activities rather than capital-intensive ones, both in rural and urban areas. There is a better chance, in the first case, that its funds will benefit the bottom 40% of a country's population. The bank is also looking at ways of stimulating the growth of small businesses in many developing countries, since this would create employment opportunities for people with low incomes.

The major thrust of the efforts is directed towards improving conditions in poor countries. The Bank sees it as a moral duty of developed countries to help those living in conditions of absolute poverty. While retaining the priority of helping poor countries clearly in mind, the Bank also assists middle-income countries. What these need, above all, is a constant flow of investment capital, and they are quite prepared to pay market rates for it. On such investments, the Bank earns an average return of 8% annually. It must be remembered that, although many of its loans are on concessionary terms, the Bank is a hard-headed agency, not a welfare institution. It tries to increase the productivity of these middle-income countries so that the loans 'earn the amount required to service them'.

Being such a big and obvious target, the Bank often comes under fire. For example, its officials are taken to task for using the Concorde supersonicaircraft so frequently; about 500 times in one year. Also, the large growth in the organization's personnel has not pleased some US critics.

A more substantial criticism has concerned the President's policy of setting annual targets for lending to specified countries. This could lead to deteriorated quality of loans, some say. One former Bank official said that rather than encourage growth for its own sake, the Bank should begin to think of itself less as a foreign aid agency and more of a financial "deal maker" combining official with private resources for specific purposes.

Finally, some people maintain that the impact of the projects funded by the Bank has been modest. When one looks around the world at countries that have successfully transformed to industrial status, for example Hong Kong, or have greatly improved the well-being of their peoples, for example China, it seems that one should beware of overestimating the Bank's impact. In the case of Hong Kong, change has come about as a result of a trade offensive, the purpose of which has been to flood Western markets with cheap goods made by capitalist methods of production; in the case of China, change has come from radical social reorganization following an armed revolution.


Practicum 7.8

Translate the italicized parts of text 7a into Russian

Practicum 7.9

Practicum 7.10

Use the evidence from Text 7a to answer the following questions

1. What is the main function of the World Bank?

2. Some countries are often described as being poor (or developing), while others are termed developed, still others are referred to as (highly) industrialized. Do you think this is a useful distinction to make? If so, what are the distinguishing features of each category of country?

3. World Bank officials often talk of 'middle-income' countries. Give the names of countries which might be included in this group, refer the term to the above tripartite distinction.

4. What does the term fertility rate mean? In which countries is the rate of fertility high and in which low, why?

Practicum 7.11

Suggest your arguments to support or challenge the view that

- the World Bank is exceeding its jurisdiction;

- the World Bank has contributed to the development of many low-income countries;

- changes in the structure and priorities of the World Bank could benefit both the Bank and the public.

Practicum 7.12

Assume the role of an official with the World Bank. Rely on the learnt strategies (fighting, assessing as probable / improbable, putting down to good / bad luck, being honest, etc.) to support the view that:

- the World Bank is able to empower developing countries through a range of lending programmes it offers;

- hard loans prove to be more effective than soft loans.

III. Communication Practice

Team Work

A research team with the World Bank is working towards more attractive lending policies. Generate a bank of ideas, rely on the communication strategy of Assessing as Probable / Improbable and arrive at a reasonable solution.

Text 7b

The text to follow deals in talking economics. Study the text and use it as a starting point for communication

International Monetary Fund

If international institutions held a global popularity contest, there's little doubt the International Monetary Fund would finish last. Over the past 30 years, the Washington-based agency has aroused fear and loathing throughout much of Africa, Asia and Latin America because of the tough conditions it imposed on governments as the price for its financial assistance. When its role dwindled to near-irrelevance earlier this decade as the world economy expanded strongly, few tears were shed. Its newly-elected managing director warned that what might be at stake nowadays is the very existence of the IMF.

Yet suddenly the IMF is the center of attention again, and this time in a new and unaccustomed role: as the hero of the hour, the institution seen as best able to rescue the collapsing world economy. A principal outcome of the G-20 leaders’ meeting in London was an agreement to triple the IMF's resources to $750 billion, and to allow it to issue a further $250 billion on its own. Part of that money is supposed to go to countries suddenlyin financial straits, and part is designed to serve as a more general liquidity boost to the contracting world economy.

Along with the new resources come, at least in theory, important changes in the way the IMF functions. In the future, European countries will no longer have an automatic right to pick its managing director, as they do at present. And through a reform of its arcane shareholding or "quota" system, the domination of policy by the U.S. and other developed economies will give way to a more balanced system of governance, under which developing countries such as Brazil, China and Russia will have a greater say. The IMF's focus is supposed to shift, too: the G-20 wants it to play a more active role as global economic cop, monitoring policy among the major advanced economies as well as the poorer ones, and blowing a whistle when it sees dangerous behavior. In theory, the IMF should reflect both the changing global economic order and the crisis-induced shift towards greater financial regulation.

Change is long overdue. "Who can possibly justify the fact that Belgium has a substantially larger quota than India, Brazil or Mexico?" asks an official with the Mexican Council for International Affairs. The IMF's legions of critics even include other international agencies. Another official has recently blasted the IMF in an article that described its performance as "less than evenhanded or effective," and accused it of being asleep at the wheel in the months before the current economic turmoil. "The IMF was uncharacteristically disengaged from the debate on growing economic and financial vulnerabilities during the run-up to the present crisis. It offered little concrete policy advice to countries on how to manage oncethe crisis broke."

The big question is whether the IMF is upto the job being thrust upon it. The huge boost to its reserves exists on paper, but it's not yet clear where all that money will come from. At a time when governments are financially overstretched, that's no small sum. Moreover, the thorny issues involved in reforming the IMF's governance structure have been kicked back to the organization; the G-20 simply said they should be sorted out, but gave no guidance about how. For all these unanswered questions, the vote of confidence given to the IMF partly reflects its performance over the past few months.

Even in its revamped form, the IMF will be less of a significant player on the world stage than its founders intended at the Bretton Woods conference in 1944. Back then, the resources allocated to the IMF amounted to more than half of the world's current account payments. Today, its resources amount to about 3%, according to Buira. Still, if the G-20 intentions are put into practice and the IMF does take on a more active – and more accepted – role as a stabilizing force in the world economy, it will be much closer to the original vision of its role as outlined in the 1940s. The IMF is not a Red Cross philanthropic relief scheme, by which the rich countries come to the rescue of the poor. Rather, it should be a highly necessary mechanism, which is at least as useful to the creditor as to the debtor. Rediscovering that sense of equal exchange will be key to the IMF's rebirth.

                                                                                                             P. Gumbel. The Time

Practicum 7.13

Translate the italicized parts of Text 7b into Russian

Practicum 7.14

Practicum 7.15

Practice Assessing as Probable / Improbable strategy in the following situation (to be done in writing)

On behalf of Burkina Faso you are seeking financial assistance with the IMF. Draft a statement of purpose / application to the IMF board stressing which social and political problems you are going to tackle with this aid. Assess your chances of receiving assistance.

Practicum 7.16

Match the collocations with loan with their Russian equivalents

short-term loan беспроцентная ссуда
 to secure a loan (to get a loan against the security of) просьба о предоставлении займа
interest-free loan договариваться об условиях займа
to get / receive a loan ссуда под низкий процент
to negotiate a loan выдать ссуду
to pay off / repay a loan потребительский кредит (выданный частному лицу для оплаты покупки потребительских товаров длительного пользования)
foreign loan получить ссуду
application for loan (cf. to apply for a loan) внутренний заем
delinquent loan краткосрочная ссуда
consumer loan заем, полученный за границей
to grant a loan обеспечить ссуду, предоставить обеспечение по ссуде
low-interest loan неуплаченная в срок ссуда
home loan вернуть ссуду


Practicum 7.17

Translate from Russian into English, relying on the terms from Practicum 7.16

1. Займы, полученные за границей, облагаются налогом.

2. Поскольку наши спонсоры не смогли вовремя предоставить деньги, нам пришлось обратиться в банк за краткосрочным кредитом.

3. О беспроцентной ссуде не может быть и речи.

4. Заемщику пришлось предоставить в качестве обеспечения по ссуде дом.

5. Неоплаченная в срок ссуда стала причиной отказа заемщику в предоставлении нового кредита.

6. Для того чтобы получить заем, вам необходимо написать заявление о предоставлении займа.

III. Communication Practice


A research team with the IMF whose task is to allocate financial aid to support countries suddenly in financial straits. You have to work out a set of criteria to rely on when allocating resources to claimants (social and economic development of the country, size, natural resources, GDP, etc.). Do brainstorming, relying on Assessing as Probable / Improbable strategy.




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