Rhetoric and Scholarship

Argument and Rhetoric are inseparable

Despite my pretense that they can be graded as separate categories, Argument and Rhetoric are as inseparable as fist and fingers. Just as I can’t describe a fist without speaking of tightly curled fingers, I can’t describe Rhetoric without explaining how it persuades readers to accept an argument. Even so, I try to grade the fingers and the fist.

The Style Aspect of Rhetoric

Example 1

Uncorrected Drafts suffer from imprecise language that inhibits interpretation.

[When read aloud, the following paragraph sounds like mostly comprehensible conversational speech, but viewed on paper, it is peppered with grammar trouble and peculiar phrasing that make comprehension very difficult.]

The NPR broadcast was very interesting and what surprised me is how the claims were accurately correct in my opinion. I would have never thought of how money can change so drastically in time. In the past, we were exposed to using gold as a currency, then to paper bills and now an electronic transaction. In today’s world, society does claim to use paper bills and coins for small matters, but at the same time we already progressed, using digital cash. A prime example, paying bills, in which society pays bills using a computer and that consist only information it’s seems surprising to know now how easily any amount of a transaction can be paid off or transferred. There is no physical money being involved. The closest idea that I can think of using paper would be is sending checks through the mail, but that’s highly rare nowadays.

[The highlights indicate every phrase that needs to be corrected. Red and purple are not particularly significant, but two colors are needed to call out individual phrases.]

Corrected Drafts make clearer statements that are easier to interpret.

The NPR broadcast was very interesting, and what surprised me was that the claims were correct in my opinion. I never realized that money had changed so drastically over time. In the past, we used gold as a currency, then paper bills, and now electronic transactions. Today, although we claim to use paper bills and coins for small matters, we have already progressed to digital cash. We pay our bills by computer; those transactions consist of information only. At any time, all or part of a bill can be paid off or transferred without any money being involved. The only way we use paper now is to send checks through the mail, but that’s highly rare nowadays.

Rhetorically Effective Drafts persuade readers to accept a premise.

The NPR broadcast told the story of money correctly. I was surprised to learn that money had changed so drastically over time. In the past, we used gold as a currency, then paper bills, and now electronic transactions, each time using a more abstract version of barter. Today, although we claim to use paper bills and coins for small matters, we have mostly eliminated those last physical objects in favor or digital cash. We pay our bills by computer using information only, nothing physical. At any time, all or part of a bill can be paid off or transferred without any paper or metal currency at all. The only way we use paper now is to send checks through the mail, but that’s increasingly rare.

Rhetorically Effective Arguments prove more complex theses.

The NPR broadcast told the story of money correctly. It illustrated that money, already an abstraction, has grown increasingly more abstract, as have our lives in general. Before money, we traded cows for corn, but transactions were limited to what one trader had that another trader wanted. With the advent of gold as a currency, trade flourished because the gold could represent cows or corn or any other valuable commodity. It was an abstraction, a symbol of needs fulfilled. Next paper bills, with no inherent value, represented gold. Now electronic entries in a bank branch database represent dollars, each step more abstract than the previous. Today, we don’t trade, use gold, or for the most part use currency: we pay our bills by computer using information only, nothing physical at all. Like the work we do (which increasingly is not physical labor but mental exertion) it’s no coincidence that our cows are also now abstractions. The closest we get to the animal is the shrink-wrapped meat ground and extruded so that it no longer looks like anything that lived.


Example 2

Uncorrected Drafts suffer from imprecise language that inhibits interpretation.

Money, money, money. The extremely complex and arguably fictional foundation of our economy. I always wondered growing up how did a piece of paper with some inscriptions and fancy images become the social fabric of our world? When you put a U.S dollar bill side by side to monopoly money you understand that one is worth something and the other isn’t. Although, monopoly money like “real” money is simply paper from our trees. Therefore, we must question, why is money valuable? Pre Colonial era we traded among each other valuables in which each person needed. We valued precious and rare metals or jewels such as diamond, gold and silver. We valued goods as currency and only cared about items which every colony needed. If a man had a pig but needed a cow he would search for that person that needed a pig and had a cow. This exchange of goods made perfect sense and never involved a paper bill and a complex system of valuing that bill. Money in its self has no real value to it, it isn’t rare and its not pretty. We the people make money valuable, we make the value “real”, but should we?

Corrected Drafts make clearer statements that are easier to interpret.

Money, money, money: it’s the extremely complex and arguably fictional foundation of our economy. I always wondered growing up how a piece of paper with some inscriptions and fancy images became the social fabric of our world. Even a child who puts a U.S dollar bill side by side to Monopoly money can understand that one is worth something and the other isn’t, even though “real” money—like Monopoly money—is simply paper from our trees. Is it because one is issued by the US government and the other by the Parker Brothers Company that makes one of them valuable? In pre-colonial times, we traded among each other valuables which every person needed. We valued precious and rare metals or jewels such as diamonds, gold, and silver. We valued goods as currency and only cared about items which every colonist needed. If a man had a pig but needed a cow, he would search for the person who needed a pig and had a cow. This exchange of goods made perfect sense and never involved a paper bill or a complex system of valuing that bill. Money in itself has no real value to it; it isn’t rare, and it’s not pretty. We the people make money valuable. We make the value “real”; but should we?

Rhetorically Effective Drafts persuade readers to accept a premise.

Despite its importance to all our lives, we have to admit money is a fiction. Children are right to wonder how pieces of paper with some inscriptions and fancy images run our world. They know but can’t grasp why one dollar bill can be traded for candy at the corner store while the other is worth nothing, except in Monopoly. What they do understand is that the houses in Monopoly aren’t real, but the money doesn’t seem so different from the bills we use for groceries. 

In our early history, we traded valuable things directly. If a man had a pig but needed a cow, he would search for the person who had a cow and needed a pig. This exchange of goods made perfect sense but was clumsy and sometimes impossible to manage. Substituting precious and rare metals or jewels for cows and pigs, we were able to trade with everyone, whether they had cows or not. Money in itself has no real value to it, but we agree to make it valuable for convenience. While it no longer represents gold, the money we use today has value only because it is issued by the US government and not the Parker Brothers Corporation.


The Argument Value of Rhetoric

Rhetoric Can Reveal or Hide Arguments

The fact that there is a giant ball of limestone sitting in the middle of the ocean somewhere still being claimed by someone who is deceased is unsettling to me. That is like me having 500 dollars and throwing it in the ocean. When the money washes up onto shore and someone picks it up, it would now be theirs. Nobody can just go pick up the giant ball of limestone and claim it.

This paragraph may contain a valid argument, but the language obscures it. The analogy misses the point of the story of the sunken fei. Nobody will ever retrieve that “money,” but its physical presence or absence is of no longer of consequence to its owner.

Let’s try a different analogy for the limestone disc at the bottom of the ocean. Donald Trump has created a value for his name. Unlike banks that pay huge naming fees to have NFL stadiums named for them, Trump can get developers to pay him millions to attach his name to a project. His name is not an object like the sunken fei. Its insubstantiality doesn’t matter at all. And neither could anybody steal it and be richer. If he’s a billionaire, it’s because he can sell his name for a billion dollars whenever he wants to.


Brevity and Clarity

Don’t Give Readers Time to Disagree

A first draft may contain many capable sentences that make reasonable individual points, but if they don’t transition well from one idea to the next, and if the goal of the argument is not identified in advance, readers are free to follow any path that distracts them and never arrive at the summit you want to guide them to.

1. The value of money is the mental reassurance of wealth.
2. One might question what mental reassurance of wealth has to do with money.
3. Simply it is the way we track value.
4. We are reassured that the money we have can purchase a curtain amount of things.
5. We place a value on money to keep track of things it can purchase.
6. The psychological or economic value of money may change with currency variations, but the money will always be worth something.
7. Over time, America’s relationship with the value of the dollar has evolved.
8. In the early 20th century, it granted a request from the French to convert their dollar assets into gold.
9. Granting that request gave the impression that the US dollar was weak.
10. The French believed that their money was worth more than the U.S. dollar.
11. The French wanted something they thought was worth having, so they asked for gold.
12. Even though the gold was worth no more than the equivalent value in US dollars, the French were not convinced that the dollars were “worth their weight in gold.”

First, combine the sentences for better effectiveness.
[1-6] Money reassures us of our economic wealth. While the volume of goods and services it can buy will change from time to time, knowing that we have enough to meet our needs is reassuring.

Then, provide the needed transition between the sections.
But even money can vary in value compared to other currencies.

Then, combine the conclusion sentences.
[7-12] When the French began to doubt the stability of the value of American dollars, they demanded the US convert their dollar holdings into gold.

Most of your individual claims can be made in a word or two so that the sentences provide their own internal transitions.


Sufficient Scholarship

Example 1

Over-reliance on Personal Perspective

So what makes these pieces of paper we call dollars have value? well because people in society decided to make it have value. This method of currency was created to make the trade of goods easier and faster to manage. After reading “The Island Of Stone Money” one can notice that the inhabitants of Uap had a similar system to the one we use today. Today technology has advanced so much that we can now digitally manage, distribute and hold our money through mobile apps and online websites. whether one prefers using credit cards, Pay Pal or bank apps a physical dollar is a place holder for that digital number on any of those digital outlets. Now comparing Uap’s method to our current method the people of Uap used the stones as their physical placeholder to replace their word. Essentially creating a word for product system. Whilst currently people are using a pixel for product system.

Rhetoric and Scholarship are inseparable in your case, MyStudent. You’re trying to thrive on observation and speculation alone, without bringing any evidence or support from the rich material at your disposal. You cite only the Yap, and you do so in a way that assumes your readers are all familiar with Milton Friedman’s article. They’re not. They haven’t listened to the NPR podcast. They have no idea what you’re talking about. They know only what you tell them. So tell them what you learned and help them understand.


Rhetoric Task

In the Reply field below, cut and paste one of your own paragraphs we can use for a future Rhetoric Workshop.


Workshop Exercise TUE NOV 03

As you read the following paragraph, ask the important questions about Rhetoric.

  1. Does the paragraph use precise language to emphasize its ideas?
  2. Does it make clear claims?
  3. Does the paragraph ask readers to accept a specific premise?
  4. Does the paragraph reveal (or does it hide) its arguments?
  5. Does the paragraph present a complex thesis?
  6. Does the paragraph employ its Scholarship effectively?
  7. Does the paragraph give readers time to disagree?

Many people money launder because, well, it’s an efficient way to increase and keep your funds increased. There many effects and consequences, however. The biggest consequence would most likely be getting caught and potentially serving jail time. In an article by Julia Layton and Oisin Curran, they say “the global effects are staggering in social, economic, and security terms.” When money is successfully laundered, it does in fact mean that the criminal activity does pay off, according to a socio-cultural approach. The success encourages criminals to continue this illegal activity and spend profit without any consequence. There are many negative consequences to this however. These consequences, according to Layton and Curran include, “more fraud, more corporate embezzling, more drugs on the streets, more drug related crimes, law enforcement resources stretched beyond their means, and a general loss of morale on the part of legitimate business people who don’t break the law and don’t make nearly the profits that the criminals do.” It is almost unfair. They are working illegally to get their money. Once they find success there is a high chance they keep going, and once again, continue their criminal activity.

Let’s Break it Down

Many people money launder because, well, it’s an efficient way to increase and keep your funds increased. 

We don’t use Second Person language in academic writing, so we’ll have to scrub the “your” from this sentence. It doesn’t indicate how money laundering works except to increase funds, but that’s not accurate. Money laundering hides the origin of illegally-obtained money before it’s used for legitimate purposes, so it doesn’t “increase funds”; it just makes them more useful.

There many effects and consequences, however.

Any sentence, however brief, that doesn’t advance the argument, should be eliminated. This one is completely contained in the one that follows, which identifies “the biggest consequence,” a claim that includes the idea that there are many consequences.

The biggest consequence would most likely be getting caught and potentially serving jail time.

We’re three sentences in, so this will probably be the focus of the paragraph: the threat of jail time for money laundering.

In an article by Julia Layton and Oisin Curran, they say “the global effects are staggering in social, economic, and security terms.”

But apparently, the scholarship cited will be used to prove something else: the global costs of laundering, not the threat to the individual launderer.

When money is successfully laundered, it does in fact mean that the criminal activity does pay off, according to a socio-cultural approach.

So instead of making a point about the costs to the launderer, we’re asked to consider that the launderer makes out well.

The success encourages criminals to continue this illegal activity and spend profit without any consequence.

Again, we’re offered the image of the arrogant money launderer who apparently cannot be caught and who scoffs at authority.

There are many negative consequences to this however.

We’re wasting another sentence.

These consequences, according to Layton and Curran include, “more fraud, more corporate embezzling, more drugs on the streets, more drug related crimes, law enforcement resources stretched beyond their means, and a general loss of morale on the part of legitimate business people who don’t break the law and don’t make nearly the profits that the criminals do.”

Since we’re uncertain what money laundering is, how and why it works, it’s hard for us to see how laundering results in any of these consequences. The sentence appears to prove NOT THAT MONEY LAUNDERING results in more crime, but that the LACK OF PROSECUTION for crime in general results in smug disregard for the supposed risks of breaking the law.

It is almost unfair.

Almost?

They are working illegally to get their money.

Unclear here is whether the author means drug dealers, embezzlers, or money launderers. They’re all illegal, but this paragraph was about the consequences of money laundering, not all money crimes. 

Once they find success there is a high chance they keep going, and once again, continue their criminal activity.

Again, we’re not sure whether the laundering is the crime, or whether it facilitates the commission of other money crimes.

Let’s Build it Back

First, let’s establish the function and value of money laundering.

Criminals launder money because, well, they can’t spend huge wads of cash at legitimate businesses, or deposit them in banks, without raising a lot of suspicion. Flashing a big roll or spending lavishly without a legitimate source of income is a good way to land in jail.

Next, we make the claim that money laundering is an effective way to evade detection and prosecution.

By operating legitimate businesses that could reasonably receive large amounts of cash (laundromats, car washes, small retail stores, for example), criminals create the appearance of having legal access to the funds they deposit into bank accounts.

After readers know the game, the scholarship makes more sense.

According to Julia Layton and Oisin Curran,  the global effects of this shadow economy are “staggering in social, economic, and security terms.”

But, aren’t the criminals worried they’ll get caught? Apparently not. We need to make that clear to our readers.

As Layton and Curran make clear, law enforcement,”stretched beyond their means,” are unable to keep up with the illegal activities of criminals who successfully conceal the source of their profits. And the consequence of being able to avoid detection is “more fraud, more corporate embezzling, more drugs on the streets, more drug related crimes.” 

The “larger social aspect” of despair among legitimate businesses isn’t a direct result of money laundering. It’s a reaction to the sense among law-abiding business people that they’re being chumps who could profit more if they didn’t follow the rules.

It’s no surprise, say Layton and Curran, that “legitimate business people who don’t break the law and don’t make nearly the profits that the criminals do,” are discouraged to see the criminals prosper, apparently without consequence.

Revised

Follow the causal claims in bold.

Criminals launder money because, well, they can’t spend huge wads of cash at legitimate businesses, or deposit them in banks, without raising a lot of suspicion. Flashing a big roll or spending lavishly without a legitimate source of income is a good way to land in jail. Instead, by operating legitimate businesses that could reasonably receive large amounts of cash (laundromats, car washes, small retail stores, for example), criminals create the appearance of having legal access to the funds they deposit into bank accounts. According to Julia Layton and Oisin Curran, the global effects of this shadow economy are “staggering in social, economic, and security terms.” As the authors make clear, law enforcement,”stretched beyond their means,” are unable to keep up with the illegal activities of criminals who successfully conceal the source of their profits. And the consequence of being able to avoid detection is “more fraud, more corporate embezzling, more drugs on the streets, more drug related crimes.”  It’s no surprise, say Layton and Curran, that “legitimate business people who don’t break the law and don’t make nearly the profits that the criminals do,” are discouraged to see the criminals prosper, apparently without consequence.

7 Responses to Rhetoric and Scholarship

  1. runnerd4 says:

    Although many people believe that increasing the speed limit on major United States highways would increase crash rates, that is actually not the case. Increasing the speed limit could actually lead to some positive effects. Some of these positive effects include shorter commute times and, surprisingly, lower crash rates. To fully understand the idea of how increasing speed limits would help, it is important to be knowledgeable on the different types of roads and which types of roads would be reasonable to increase the speed limit on.

  2. rowanstudent24 says:

    Money around the world to us can be seen as just a piece of paper with no value. Friedman states in the chapter “The Island of Stone Money,” that money of other countries often seem to us as worthless paper or metal. Money also has different value in other countries. Like a Euro is worth a bit more than a U.S. dollar. The opinion of money is different for everyone especially people from different countries. For example, if someone had spent their whole life in the United States and take a trip to a different country, they would have to convert their American dollars to something else. That new money that they get is going to mean something different for them than it would for someone that is from that country.

  3. oaktree1234 says:

    Straight-a students don’t always get everything right. In high school, you probably never would have guessed that the boy in the back of the class with mediocre grades would go on to encounter more success in the business world than anyone else. It happens more often than we’re willing to believe. Although they may display excellence in the classroom, above average students do not always experience the same success beyond graduation. It may sound counterintuitive but achieving good grades in high school is not the single cause of a successful career later in life.

  4. cardinal7218 says:

    Contrary to a popular Hollywood belief, diversity sells. In the 2015-16 season of television and movies, diverse content had the “highest box office and viewership numbers” according to a UCLA study. Audiences have only gotten hungrier for diversity since then, as seen by social media, where hashtags such as #RepresentationMatters are being used this very minute, and by the overwhelming successes of 2017’s Get Out and 2018’s Black Panther. However, in the words of Marina Fang in her Huffington Post article “Audiences Want Diversity In Hollywood. Hollywood’s Been Slow To Get The Message,” Hollywood sees these successes as “the exception rather than the rule.” A demand as loud as the demand for diversity cannot go unheard, though, and streaming services have stepped in where conventional Hollywood is failing.

  5. gooferious says:

    On the island of Yap, residents first started to trade big stones as currency to exchange goods and/or services. One would have to physically move their “transaction” from the home of the buyer to the home of the merchant. This method however grew to be tiresome for many. That’s when an idea was suggested to the people of Yap. Basically what was informed to the citizens of the island was a way to pay for your products without having to physically move the huge stones. If the limestone was kept at the home of the buyer then once he has made a purchase, the ownership of his stone would now go to the merchant but it would remain in the same place. Sound far-fetched? Well it’s not because that’s what we do here in America. The only actual physical item of money would be the cash bills and coins but after the broadcast these bills and coins are as significant as that huge stone leaning on the house of the buyer. Companies make transactions cryptically, it’s done over a computer. Physical money is rarely used in banks unless a member of that bank is making a withdrawal of cash from their account.

  6. pardonmyfrench13 says:

    Sites like Instagram and Facebook rely on heavy traffic to keep afloat. Users of the site use likes and comments to keep the platform relevant and the site popular. Most users fall in the age range of 17-28 years old and are the generation to be most influenced by others. Social media sites now even have people they call “Influencers” who are basically like advertisers. These “Influencer” users wear or talk about a certain product and make it look good in order for the general public to want that same thing, thinking the influencer actually relies on the product in their daily life. These posts just like others receive likes, and with enough likes, it makes the page more popular and generates more users to that page. Many people have started to aspire to be influencers and believe getting “likes” is the main goal. If these likes didn’t exist, neither would the site. People wouldn’t bother to post if there was nothing to compete with making them the lifeblood of the platform. If likes diminished, would the site even exist?

  7. clementine102 says:

    The long process of pregnancy can make a woman go from having a determined abortion to having reluctance on making the decision to have that procedure done. Those women who become reluctant over the course of their pregnancy, inevitably face a phycological process that is natural and can’t go away. It is also undeniable that if you are reluctant to make a decision that can significantly impact your life, especially if you’ve made a decision that you already regret, you experience stress and mainly guilt. Having guilt can be unbearable to live with, especially if you believe you took away a human life. Woman who abort reluctantly in the third trimester are more likely to have guilt trauma.

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