Context: In the first unit of our course, we have grappled with two contrasting views, by Andrew Carnegie and John Rawls, about the best way to distribute wealth in a society. Carnegie maintains that wealth belongs in the hands of an elite, industrious few, while Rawls advocates for a more equitable distribution that benefits the least privileged members of society.

Prompt: In this essay, your job is to decide, based on your own reasoning and experience, which of the two thinkers you agree with more. You do not need to agree completely with one or the other, but you must select the argument that you find more compelling.

Once you have made that decision, you must complete two tasks:

  1. Summarize the argument’s essential elements.
    1. What is the author’s basic thesis, and what arguments does he make to support that thesis?
    2. What, if any, ideas of the contrasting thinker require refutation and/or concession in order for the first argument to stand up? (For this essay, you must indicate and explain at least one)
  2. Provide an anecdotal example that illustrates why you agree with your chosen author. The example you give could be from your own experience, the experience of someone you know, or it could be something that you are aware of from current/recent world events. You should, however, limit yourself to one example. Therefore, be sure to provide a detailed account/narrative of your example, and to connect it explicitly to the arguments raised by Carnegie and/or Rawls.

General Instructions:

Begin with an introduction in which you briefly introduce and state the positions of the two authors. Transition into a thesis statement in which you indicate which author you agree with, and to what degree. Your thesis should have a clear claim and a concise rationale.

Develop the body of your essay with at least three detailed, well organized paragraphs. These should include:

  • At least one paragraph that summarizes the argument of your chosen author. You should incorporate at least 2 quotations from your primary text in this section.
  • At least one paragraph that acknowledges significant counterargument from the opposing author. As discussed in class, this could be for the purpose of refutation or concession.
  • At least one paragraph that develops a detailed example illustrating why you agree with the author you have chosen

Conclude with a paragraph that restates, in new words, your agreement with one text or the other, and then provides a “so what” moment. Why should this comparison, and your choice of one view over the other, matter to a reader?


  • Word Count: 600
  • MLA format (if your prefer APA, please let me know if advance)
  • A properly formatted works cited page
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