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IELTS essay, topic: Is it acceptable that enormous sums are paid for pieces of art when many people around the world live in poverty?

This is a model response to a Writing Task 2 topic from High Scorer’s Choice IELTS Practice Tests book series (reprinted with permission). This answer is close to IELTS Band 9.

Set 4 Academic book, Practice Test 18

Writing Task 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

The fact that enormous sums are paid for pieces of art is not acceptable at a time when many people around the world live in poverty. Discuss this statement and give your opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Sample Band 9 Essay

It is true that pieces of art in today’s world can change hands for enormous sums. Works by artists such as Picasso, da Vinci and Rembrandt have been sold for millions of dollars. Recently, a Modigliani was sold to a billionaire for one hundred and seventy million dollars. It certainly seems obscene that such figures are spent when many people around the world live in poverty.

The work of many charities would be transformed by the money generated by just one of these art sales and in turn, the lives of ordinary people in need would be transformed. Medicines, food and shelter amongst other things could easily be provided, saving lots of lives, many of which would be children. When the issue is looked at from this point of view, the art sales world certainly seems obscene.

However, in my opinion, things are unlikely to change. Human greed is endemic and people who have the drive to earn that amount of money and who actually have access to these sums in cash are not often people who will part with their wealth. Lots of prosperous people support many charities, but it is unlikely that they would completely relinquish their access to the luxuries that accompany their lives. The works of art are also often seen as investments in themselves, to be held on to for a period of time and then resold at a profit.

In conclusion, in an ideal world, the vast sums of money that are spent on fine and rare works of art would be better spent on helping those in need. In reality, however, this is unlikely to take place.

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