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Analyzing Argumentation: A Comparative Essay Essay

Global financial crisis is one of the most challenging problems that the world is experiencing right now. Many countries have been affected by this dilemma which is characterized by the backlash of the economy, the bankruptcy of many corporations, and most of people falling under unemployment. This kind of situation is also creating difficulties even for developed countries like the United States of America.

Being the case, many people including scholars or ordinary citizens are thinking of ways in order to address the falling economy of the country. Those people who are proposing solutions or alternatives in order to address the economic crisis that the country is experiencing are mostly suggesting of ways that veer away from the usual perspective of the people. Two possible proposals that could help in dealing with the economic problem of the United States and even other countries in the world are exemplified in the article of James K. Galbraith entitled “Plan” and Bill McKibben’s Localize.

James Galbraith argues that the problem with the United States economy is not about saving capitalism, but rather how to preserve the unique and successful mixed economy that was established in the United States over the eight-five years since the New Deal. He asserted that the system of the United States is not capitalism.

Rather, the main feature of the country’s economy is its large public sector, which at its peak was efficiently concerned in the development of important areas of the society such as: “research, defence, financial stability, environmental safety, social security, and large measures of education, health care, and housing.” However, the success coming from the government’s effort to further enhance these areas has been threatened and damaged because of the thirty years of attack against the government (Galbraith).

Galbraith identified the “posing conservatives” as the main culprit in the decline of the government and its efforts. He explains that these conservatives rhetoric of free markets is just a façade. In reality, they are not really interested in free markets but rather their main goal is to use the government for their personal benefits by means of establishing monopolies, controlling resources, blocking regulations, crushing unions, and the overall diversion of gains from taxpayers to their own private pockets. Their reckless perspective towards warfare, as well as their refusal to implement a standard of ethics and transparency, is putting the financial system in a very disadvantageous position.

The author further supported his premise that the United States economy is grounded in its large public sector by stating the post-war system that it was built on. The country’s system as he explains is established on “technological leadership, financial stability, and collective security” (Galbraith).

He emphasizes that the world gives credit to the United States and even use their currency because they gave back the public goods in terms of peace and economic progress. In this sense, he used this as a basis in creating the next successful system that should be implemented in the present economy of the country. This system should be grounded in terms of “regulated finance, collective security, and, above all, a national purpose” (Galbraith).

In relation to these, he proposes that public planning will be an effective way in order to incorporate this system with the country’s economy. For some decades now, planning has been regarded in America with a dirty connotation and as such gained contradiction from the majority of the population; nevertheless, he still asserted that the absence of central planning will put nobody in charge. However, he clarified that planning should be done independently by the government.

The government should find a way wherein this plan will not be infiltrated by lobbyists who stand for the interests of big corporations. The government should foresee a future that is not manipulated by lobbies and even the Congress. He pointed out that the Congress should not take part in this planning as long as this branch of government is dominated by lobbies. Moreover, he defines planning as a process that involves thinking, coordination, and action. The government should also put into mind the long-term national interest of the country, the specific targets that must be achieved, the best way to do it, and the actors that should be involved (Galbraith).

Galbraith also concretely applied his proposal of planning in terms of the pressing issue that the country is facing such as climate change. He elaborates the way by which the climate change could be addressed through the establishment of a Federal Department of Energy and Climate with real independence. This body could be created by means of a bias-free central planning that will design a proper system which will identify the best solutions and the way to turn it into a reality (Galbraith).

He concluded his article by saying that “planning is not coercive, but it should be privileged” (Galbraith). Dealing with issues like the energy and climate crisis requires the direct participation and action of the government and the cooperation of the general public, which can be achieved partly through regulation and standards made out of planning. The challenge that the United States is facing, as well as the world, is not easy but it is not hopeless. He highlights that if proper planning and actions are made, there could be better future that is possible (Galbraith).

Bill McKibben has a different approach in addressing the present economic problem of the United States and other countries in the world. He elaborated that capitalism is powered by coal, gas, and oil. The economy of the country is largely dependent on these finite natural resources that are already reaching its depletion stage. In this sense, he argued that in order to solve the economic problems of the country, a new way of operating things must be implemented that does not depend on these resources. He proposed that localization is a possible way of saving the economy (McKibben).

He explained that the society got accustomed with the practice of using coal, gas, and oil as a means of making the economy work. However, this time might be coming to an end because fossil fuel is already depleting. He proves this assertion with the current situation of fossil fuel in the international market wherein its price has kept increasing because of the large demand and the minimum supply.

The effects of this decreasing natural resources is not just threatening the economy but it also puts in peril the sustenance of basic needs like food. This could be attributed to the fact that the farmers who used to be the main producers of food are replaced by machineries that are operated by fossil fuel. As a result, the decreasing supply of coal, gas, and oil are also affecting the efficiency and productivity of farms to produce food in order to sustain the needs of people (McKibben).

In relation with this problem, he proposes localization as a possible way to deal with the current dilemma of the economy. He explained this process through the development of farmer’s market. Farmer’s market can be the fastest growing part of the American food economy. The advantages of supporting and developing this industry have benefits that exceed beyond mere economic gains.

He asserted that going back to human labour as a means of production will answer the problem of depleting fossil fuel as well as the environmental concerns that come with using this resource. In relation to this, a study that was conducted regarding consumers who buy their food at the supermarket shows that the people there lack interaction with each other. Simply put, interpersonal relationships are not developed in this kind of setting. Moreover, farmer’s market also produces fresher and tastier food as compared with those bought in the supermarket, which is already advantageous for an individual’s health (McKibben).

McKibben also stressed that the reality of the present situation of the economy clearly shows that fossil fuel is becoming too expensive for the people to afford. In this case, a relocalization must be implemented in order to solve the problem. As such, efforts towards localization, such as the introduction of farmer’s market, must be given the proper support that it needs from the government through subsidies because this is a good alternative rather than being always dependent on fuel-operated machineries. He concluded his statement by saying that what the people demands now is economic durability and satisfaction (McKibben).

According to the principle of argumentation, an issue should be presented which the two sides will give their standpoint on (“Argumentation Theory”). In this case, the problem that these two authors tend to address is the possible way by which the economic problems of the United States and other countries might be addressed.

Galbraith argues that through an effective central planning, an economic system that is grounded in national interest, regulated finance and collective security can be achieved. On the other hand, McKibben asserted that localization is the solution to the current economic problem that caused by being is largely dependent on finite resources like coal, oil, and gas. The discussions above clearly show the arguments of these two authors. The major tenets of their proposed solution have its respective similarities and differences.

Both Galbraith and McKibben have similar perspective in terms of their effort to veer away from the usual perspective of the United States economy, which is grounded on capitalism. The respective suggestions that they made tend to disregard the concept of the free market because it is more focused in the enhanced participation of the public sector. This is seen in Galbraith assertion that an independent government should play a bolder role in planning the new system that should be established. Similarly, McKibben also have the same idea when he explained that the localization efforts like the farmer’s market should be given more subsidies by the government.

On the other hand, they have their own differences as McKibben was able to lay out a more concrete plan of action to address the problem; while Galbraith only identified a method in order to do such. McKibben was able to apply his idea of localization through the development of the farmer’s market. However, Galbraith failed to properly identify how central planning works when he used the Federal Department of Energy and Climate as an example. He merely stated that planning should be done independently without the intervention of lobbyist but he failed to specifically state the way to do such.

The comparison of these two authors’ positions about the issue and the supporting details presented shows that McKibben was able to make a more convincing argument because he was able to properly and specifically apply his idea of localization to a tangible project plan, which Galbraith failed to do. Moreover, the planning process of Galbraith was vague in a sense that he was not able to properly explain the steps involved in this process.

Lastly, Galbraith also committed a fallacy in stating that lobbyists represent the people behind big corporations because this is a generalization that is not exactly as factual as there are lobbyists that advocate other causes. All things taken into consideration, McKibben outweighed Galbraith in terms of argument feasibility and concrete supporting details.

Works Cited

“Argumentation Theory.” 9 September 2009. University of Twente. 18 March 2009 .

Galbraith, James. “Plan.” November 2008. Harper’s Magazine. 18 March 2009 .

McKibben, Bill. “Localize.”

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