Introduction to Business and Society 2017-18
Length: 6-8 pages/1500-2000 words (double spaced, 12 point font, 2.5 cm margins)
Value: 30 marks (out of 150)
Late essays will be subject to a -2% penalty per day
Synthesizing Course Materials
You are required to draw on one of the films Surviving Progress or The Corporation or the
creative readings by Rice, Garrett and Steinbeck to illustrate your understanding of the key
concepts raised in the text(s) you will be analyzing. The essay writing process involves
several preliminary stages: formulating a working thesis, organizing your notes and
constructing an essay plan. See the guidelines from the first essay instructions and review
Shea and Whitla, part 4.
You are writing a ‘persuasive essay’ (Shea and Whitla, pp. 228-9) which involves some
research. You will need to find and use two secondary ACADEMIC sources for this essay (no
Wikipedia, dictionary.com, etc.). You MUST use proper referencing techniques and engage
in textual analysis (consult Shea and Whtila, chapter 9). Failure to properly and
consistently document and acknowledge your sources constitutes PLAGARISM and makes
you subject to academic sanction.
Pick one of the essay topics below. DO NOT simply answer the questions in the order that
they appear in the topic. The order of presentation is something you need to think deeply
about: you need to think about what it is that you want to say and the order that it
would be best to say it in order to show how well you understand the concepts, issues and
arguments under consideration. Return to your introduction after you have completed
your draft to ensure that the order of presentation you outline here corresponds to the
structure of your essay.
Essays must include a title page (include your name, student number, TAs name and
submission date) and a properly formatted bibliography at the end of your essay.
Papers should be double spaced, with 12 point font (Times New Roman, Arial or Cambria
are common ones) and one inch margins. Each page of your essay (not including the title
page, which would be page ‘0’) must be numbered. Your essay must start with a
comprehensive introduction which includes: i. The position the author takes on the key
question; ii. Your thesis; and iii. An explanation of how your essay will be organized. Your
essay must have a clear paragraph structure, with each paragraph starting with a wellfocused topic sentence.
1. What is the difference between ‘real progress’ and ‘progress traps’ according to Wright?
Why does he refer to civilization as a ‘pyramid scheme’? What is the Victorian ideal of
progress, and how might this have contributed to an ideology of progress that has
helped to obscure the fact that our civilization is in the midst of ‘the biggest progress
trap in human history’?
2. What is the difference between the ‘social division of labour’ and the ‘detail division of
labour’, according to Braverman? What are the social consequences of the capitalist
organization of production? What is the Babbage Principle and how does its application
to the labour process result in the ‘degradation of work’? How can we use Rice’s play to
illustrate the effects Braverman describes?
3. How does Nace define the modern corporation and how is it different from the
‘classical’ form? What are the ‘essential characteristics’ of the corporation, according to
Glasbeek? How does limited liability help to protect investors (shareholders) and
executives, managers and directors of the corporation from individual responsibility?
Who—or what—is responsible for what happens to the farmers in Steinbeck’s story?
4. Should the corporation have legal and ethical obligations to society beyond promoting
the private interests—maximizing profits—of shareholders? Why does Friedman refer
to ‘social responsibility’ as a ‘dangerous doctrine’? Does Garrett’s main character (Mr.
Galt) behave the way he ought to, according to Friedman? How does Glasbeek’s critique
of the ethical justification of capitalism represent a response to Friedman?