Essay Assignment 1
Choose an intellectual who has a position on capitalism that you disagree with. Explain their position and offer an argument against their position. You should find an article or series of articles that lays out their viewpoint – a primary source is encouraged, but secondary sources can work as well. You do not have to (and should not) argue against everything your chosen intellectual has ever written, but rather narrow it down to one specific point that you can effectively argue against in a short essay.
1. Your chosen intellectual does not have to be an economist, but they should be an academic – no politicians or journalists. You cannot pick Keynes, Hayek, Mises, Marx, Lange, or Lerner
Some ideas (Definitely feel free to choose someone not on this list):
Milton Friedman Paul Krugman Alan Greenspan Janet Yellen Ben Bernanke Christine Lagarde Joseph Schumpeter Murray Rothbard Joan Robinson Ayn Rand John Rawls Stephanie Kelton Edmund Phelps Armen Alchian Harold Demsetz Thomas Piketty Brad DeLong Richard D. Wolff Jonathan Gruber Ronald Coase George Stigler Joseph Stiglitz Robert Reich Noam Chomsky Ha-Joon Chang Hyman Minsky Steve Keen Robert Nozick Bryan Caplan Thomas Sowell
Another good way to choose somebody is to think of an issue that interests you (healthcare, environmental, business cycle, etc.) and find a scholar at the forefront of that issue who you disagree with. As long as you can connect that issue to capitalism it is acceptable for this essay.
2. By the end of your first paragraph, you should have a clear statement of your thesis – what is the idea you disagree with and why do you disagree with it.
3. In addition to sources related to your chosen intellectual, you must cite at least two other sources (this can include citing data that supports your argument)
4. Paper should be at least 3 pages and no more than 4 (double spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins). You cannot go over the 4 page limit.
5. You need to submit your rough draft to CCLE on October 21 (before 12:30pm PT). Although it does not have to be fully polished, it must be complete. You will also need to send your rough draft to your two peer reviewers (I will assign these).
6. The final draft will be due October 26 before 11:59pm PT (submit on CCLE)
Total – 150 points
Peer Review/Rough Draft – 50 Points
10 points – Submitted complete rough draft on time and sent to two peer reviewers
40 points – Participated in peer review and provided substantive comments to your peers. Please view the lecture and peer review questions for my expectations regarding peer review.
(Your peer review comments will be graded separately by the grader for this class and the grade for these 50 points will appear together on CCLE)
Final Draft – 100 Points
20 points – Introduction paragraph clearly introduces the chosen intellectual and includes a clear statement of your thesis that explains what the chosen intellectual’s argument is and why you disagree with it. At the end of the introduction, I will ask myself if I think I have a pretty good idea of what the essay will be arguing. If I can’t answer yes to that question, you will not do well in this category.
30 points – Essay includes a full description of the chosen intellectual’s position. Essays scoring high points in this category will demonstrate a strong understanding of the chosen intellectual’s views and an ability to describe these views in their own words clearly and concisely. Strong essays will also make an effort to give a fair reading to the thinker even though they disagree with their point of view. Do not argue against a straw man.
40 points – Essay offers a clear argument against the view of the chosen intellectual. You do not have to disagree with their position entirely, but you must point out the deficiencies you find in their analysis. Essays scoring full points will effectively synthesize at least 2 additional sources into their analysis without simply restating the arguments of other thinkers. Be sure that your argument relates back to the broader topic of capitalism.
10 points – Essay is logically organized and thoughtfully written. You will not be graded on grammar or style, but the argument needs to make sense. Each paragraph should have a consistent topic, and ideas should be connected in a logical way.
Thesis Description of Position
Argument Organization/ Structure
A+ 18-20 28-30 37-40 10 93+
A 16-17 25-27 34-36 8-9 83-93
A- 14-15 22-24 30-33 6-7 73-83
B+ 12-13 18-21 26-29 5 63-73
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