Inequality and Democracy Stability: Directions: Choose one prompt from the list (see next section) and write an essay that responds to it. The following formatting rules apply:

  • 1-3 full pages (do not go over 3 pages)
  • Double-spaced
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Size 11 or 12 font, Arial or Times New Roman
  • IF you decide to include sources not covered in class (i.e., news articles; not required) please be sure to cite them appropriately. For information on how to do that, please see this guide citing sources.

Your essays are due in Dropbox in Canvas no later than 11:59pm on Wednesday, April 28. There ARE late penalties; see the syllabus for details.

Choose ONE question from the following: Inequality and Democracy Stability

  1. We’ve discussed inequality in conjunction with several units including those on regime change market failure and social policy. How does inequality impact the quality and stability of democracy? Should democratic states deal with inequality at all, and if so, how? If they should, explain why and how they should do so; if not, explain your reasons for taking this position. In your essay, provide an overview of what inequality entails, your conceptualization of democracy, and evidence or examples that support your proposed social policy.

  1. “No democratic nation state has ever arisen anywhere in the world except in conjunction with a market system” (Lindblom 1982 332). What does he mean by this statement? Do you agree with Lindblom that the market “imprisons states” – and why/why not? In your argument make sure you define what you mean by “the market” and democracy, draw from Lindblom’s argument as to why he believes this statement to be true, and address how globalization impacts the relationship between democracy and the free market.
  2. Why do some cleavages become axes of political conflict while others do not? What explains why ethnicity and race in particular seem to play such an important role in political conflict? Address how identities form as well as what influences their politicization; make sure that you also think carefully about the role of boundaries – state, national, and perhaps others – in shaping identity formation and politicization.
  3. What impact has increasing globalization had on the modern nation-state? In particular how has the increased mobility of capital influenced states’ ability to shape policy within their own borders – and what implications does this have for domestic politics more broadly? Be sure to clearly specify what you mean by globalization, and to address differing impacts of globalization on either (a) different regions or (b) developing versus developed states.
  • Rubric: These essays will be graded using the following criteria. Partial points are possible. Make sure that you cover all the criteria!!! Inequality and Democracy Stability
  1. The essay thoroughly addresses all the questions posed (1 point).
  2. The essay includes a clear thesis statement (1 point).
  3. The essay demonstrates a solid grasp of concepts, theories, and reasoning covered in the course (4 points).
  4. The essay makes a clear, logical argument (2 points).
  5. The essay uses appropriate/relevant course materials and other evidence (2 points).                                           Essay Writing Tips:

Essay Writing Guidelines

In writing your essay, make sure to remember the following tips: Inequality and Democracy Stability

  • Make an argument. Each of these prompts requires you to take a position, and then to provide evidence for your position. Tell me what your view is, and why it is that way.
  • Have a thesis statement, which is a single sentence that captures your argument. State it at the very beginning and do so clearly. Don’t worry about flowery writing. It can be as simple as “I argue that X causes Y” or “I argue X is better than Y.” I have a lot of essays to grade. Don’t make me search for your main point; tell it to me straightforwardly.
  • Have broader points within which there are more specific examples and use paragraphs for each main point. So you might say “X causes Y because of A, B, and C.” Then devote a paragraph each to A, B, and C, in which you explain their logic and provide specific facts or reasoning that support your argument. Remember – make a claim, provide reasons, and give evidence to support both.
  • Define the concepts and terms you will use. Make sure to set the standards by which you are judging how something does or does not belong to a certain group, or why one thing better embodies an ideal or trait than another. For instance, what is a democracy, a state, authoritarianism, etc.? How will you know one when you see it?
  • Make sure that you answer the entire question. I will deduct points if you do not answer all parts of the question. This is one of the most common reasons for receiving a lower grade.
  • Think critically about your evidence. Does it logically lead to your conclusions? In many of these essays you can set your own standards. In most cases there is no objective right or wrong, just arguments that are more or less logical. I do not care about what side of an argument you are on, just that your points logically back up your argument and do not contradict each other.
  • Make sure to include as much of the relevant information from the course lectures, readings, and, if you wish, news articles. If there is a specific concept or author mentioned in the question text, address it thoroughly in your answer.


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