ENGLISH 2 MW “Writing Project Prompt for Argument 2: U.S. Consumerism” Background: We’ve been reading Graff et al.’s Affluenza which delves into U.S. consumer culture and argues that said culture has led to the development of “affluenza,” a disease in which we all strive for exponentially more consumer goods at the cost of almost everything else. Although witty and, at times, cartoonish, this book and the conversation in which it engages have important implications not only for us as individuals, but also for us as citizens of this planet. Your Task: In this paper, will ground yourself in the ongoing conversation about contemporary U.S. consumer culture and take a position on whether actions should be taken on the part of the nation’s corporations and companies, government agencies (through regulations), individual citizens – or some combination of these groups (which certainly overlap) – to change the prevalent attitude that the more we purchase and accumulate, the better we are off as U.S. citizens. What can be done, if anything at all, to change the powerful narrative perpetuated in society that more stuff one has, the more successful one is in the United States? You can approach this topic from several different angles like the authors of Affluenza do. For example, you can focus your paper on the economic impact of consumerism in the United States. Some may argue that it is counterintuitive to argue against consumerism because this is what keeps the U.S. economy operating: the more people purchase goods (especially manufactured goods), the more companies can “develop” and expand and, subsequently, create more jobs for individuals who can then make a living. Others may take issue with this premise, arguing that companies often expand and outsource jobs to other countries so that they can exploit foreign sources of labor whose wages would be significantly lower than that of U.S. workers, thus lowering the cost of production and lining the pockets of the employers. One could also argue that there are differences between consumerism and “over consumerism.” Would you agree with this distinction? Do you believe that the former always deteriorates to the latter in a capitalistic society, or are there ways in which citizens can retain a significant amount of collective purchasing power while also living within their own means (a “I own my stuff, my stuff doesn’t own me” kind of thing)? What would you say about our contemporary moment: Is the U.S., as the authors of Affluenza would argue, plagued with a disease whereby we have an unhealthy and insatiable desire for more stuff, therefore diluting the richness of our lives? This leads to another angle that you can take: a moralistic angle. Is it morally okay for our society to engage in this collective (over)consumption of material goods? What are the negative impacts our consumer culture has on other countries’ labor and natural resources? What are the ecological implications of said culture, by which I mean, what sort of impact does the purchasing and manufacture of consumer goods have on the planet’s environment? Are there ways in which we, as consumers, can curtail some of these negative consequences without giving up our shopping habits? Things I Will Look For: Similar to the last argumentative paper, I am opting to provide you all with a few questions that I will keep in mind as I read your paper rather than give you a formal rubric. Some of the questions I will ask myself as I navigate your paper will be: What is your thesis statement? What is your stance on the position of what can and/or should be done about changing our collective attitudes toward U.S. consumerism? Does your thesis clearly articulate your position and the basic reasoning for your stance? Another question that I will ask myself involves your paper’s organization. Do you provide your reader with a layout of your paper? Another important question concerns how well you implement outside sources into your paper. Do you show good writerly judgement in deciding to summarize/paraphrase/quote each individualistic source? Each time you introduce another author’s work, is there clear indication as to when that author’s ideas ends and yours begin? Also, do you use these sources in meaningful ways (to provide support, to provide context, to define key terms, to place in conversation with another source, to provide a counterargument, etc.)? Formatting & Other Specifics: In order to receive credit for your argument paper draft, it must conform to the following basic requirements: • Paper must be 5 COMPLETE pages (or more, if you feel so inclined) • Proper MLA Format: Times New Roman, 12-Point Font, double-spaced & 1” margins, upper left-hand corner: Your name, my name, class, date (i.e. 15 April 2020), & upper right-hand corner: Your last name followed by the page number • Works Cited page wherein you list every source your paper references • ***Must Include at least 3 outside credible sources which can include anything from a NY Times Article and a TED Talk, to a source from COS’ online library databases like Gale, Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, etc. ***So that we aren’t just pulling from Graff et al. and their Affluenza text, I am requiring that you incorporate at least 3 outside sources into your paper. This means you can use Affluenza, but in conjunction with at least two other sources. I have posted several other articles on consumerism to Canvas under the “pages” tab. These articles, taken from The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post, are accessible and full of good information. And, as implied by the bullet point above, feel free to explore on your own other credible articles/sources from which you can pull information for your paper. Due Date: Monday, April 15th by class time. Upload to Canvas.