Real-World Problem that Could Lead to a Dystopian Society
The first step of this process, then, is to pick a topic. The topic you select for this project should be a problem that exists in the world today; one that could lead to a future dystopia if we’re not careful. The following topics are banned for this assignment: Abortion, Affirmative Action, The Death Penalty, Gay Marriage, Gun Control, Immigration, or Marijuana (recreational or medical). These aren’t banned because they’re controversial – it’s because I’ve read papers about these topics too many times in my time on this Earth.
Below are some possible ideas to get you thinking – you may choose one of these if you’d like, but the best papers tend to be ones where the student came up with the topic instead. Your topics must be approved in the discussion board before you begin the writing process. Here are some sample ideas to give you an impression of the kind of topic I’m expecting:
Exploitative/cult religion like Scientology or televangelism.
Mass Incarceration/Prison Overpopulation
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and oceanic plastic pollution
The Anti-Vax Crisis and Mass Misinformation
The Ethics of Gene-Editing (CRISPR)
Social Networking and Data Security
Gambling and addictive practices in videogames (loot boxes, microtransactions, etc for children and players under 18).
Below is an outline of the content expectations for this paper:
Introduction and Background
Begin with an introduction that previews the main structure of the paper by introducing the problem, its causes, and its effects. Briefly discuss these ideas before ending on your thesis, which is one sentence at the end of the introduction that glues it all together in one argumentative statement.
You should then address the primary issue of the paper in a background paragraph or two. This paper is about some kind of issue in the world today, so you should begin the paper by discussing what exactly that problem is. This is a definitional/set-up paragraph to make sure that you and the reader are on the same page.
Section 1: The Cause(s)
What kind of groups or organizations is responsible for this problem?
You may find that, at its very core, there is a specific entity or group of people responsible for the very origins of the problem.
Consider governmental bodies that are often involved in global affairs like The United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, etc.
Consider corporations like Nestle, Facebook, Monsanto, The NFL, etc.
Consider specific individuals who have played a pivotal role in creating the problem. For example, Harvey Weinstein, the Koch brothers, Mitch McConnell, Martin Shkreli, etc.
You might also consider some broader social, economic, or cultural trends like capitalism, colonialism, racism, or misogyny as the root of the problem. In discussing these types of causes, it would still benefit you to consider some of the above ideas as they’re likely responsible for propagating those kinds of trends.
How/why does that group/entity benefit from the existence of the problem?
In other words, why did they cause it? Does it provide them with financial/economic advantage? Does it create social/cultural norms that benefit them? Does it keep them in political power?
Have these groups/entities done anything to prevent people from solving the problem? In other words, have they worked actively to make sure that the problem continues to benefit them?
Section 2: The Effect(s)
Does this problem affect a specific group of people?
You may find that certain populations are disproportionately affected by the issue. By identifying what kind of groups are unfairly affected by a problem, it helps us understand why/how that problem has persisted.
Consider race/ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, sexual identity/expression, religion, etc.
Use data from reputable sources to support your claims in this section.
What kind of harm does the problem cause?
Does it hurt people financially? Does it create a social/cultural prejudice? Is there physical harm happening? Is the issue exploiting/damaging the environment? In other words, why might this lead to dystopia if we’re not careful? What’s so dangerous about this problem or issue?
Closeout the paper by tying everything together. If we look at each section of the paper in connection with one another, are there any conclusions we can draw? Has it become clear why this problem has persisted despite how obviously harmful it is?
You might end the conclusion with what the future holds. What kind of future harm might this problem cause if we don’t do anything about it? Is that kind of future impossible or inevitable, or somewhere in between?
This paper must be 4-5 pages long. It will be written in APA style with a title page, abstract page (not included in the 4-5 page requirement), and a references page with at least 4 credible sources. For more information on check on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopian_and_dystopian_fiction
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