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Prompt: you will be creating a modest proposal of your own. Choose a modern social or...

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kt3ead | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 10, 2010 at 6:54 AM via web

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Prompt: you will be creating a modest proposal of your own. Choose a modern social or political problem and purpose an outrageous solution.

your proposal should take an idea to its most ridiculous extent in order to highlight the seriousness of the problem. Try and convince your reader to agree with your solution.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 10, 2010 at 7:01 AM (Answer #2)

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I think what you need to do is identify some problem you think is important first.  Then come up with some stupid sounding solution.

If I were writing an answer to this assignment, I would argue that that we need to kill all the people in the Middle East and (perhaps) use their bodies for fertilizer to improve agricultural yields in Africa.  Or maybe we enslave all those people and ust them for work first.  This could highlight a couple of problems at once.

From here, I am not intending my words to be taken literally so don't get mad at me...

The Middle East causes nothing but problems.  The Israelis and the Palestinians constantly do horrible things to each other.  The various sects and ethnic groups in Iraq do the same and the dictators of Iran oppress their people.  So what's the point of having them around -- they just create instability for the whole world.

At the same time, it is hard for people to get enough to eat in Sub-Saharan Africa -- the region has trouble modernizing.  Maybe if we used the Middle East's population to fertilize African fields, or if we used them as slaves to build roads and electric lines, etc, we could solve both problems at once.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 10, 2010 at 7:17 AM (Answer #3)

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I think I have a good one that might prove to be tragic. Consider this.  A country is in economic trouble due to overspending. In other words, they are in serious debt. They are in debt more than ever and more than anyone else in the world. The country begins to realize this. Banks made irresponsible loans and people bought things they did not need. As the reality hits, the government finds a solution, which is to spend more. In short, the solution is to spend oneself out of a problem. How does his work?

Also one of the criticisms of these banks that made these loans was that these banks were too large to fail. So, they got government aid and now what is the upshot? These banks are even bigger and they "really" are too big to fail. As you can see, this is our economy. I do not understand it. If there is a strategy in view, then I do not see it.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 10, 2010 at 8:15 AM (Answer #4)

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I love the previous ideas, but the first idea that jumped into my head was a modest proposal on health care.  If we eliminate all forms of health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, many people will die, thus solving the problem of global warming, over-population, poverty, and unemployment, since it would be mostly poor and elderly people who would die. We would have fewer people to worry about feeding, housing, and educating.  This would be a Darwinian solution, a kind of "survival of the fittest." How would you persuade people of your solution? You would have to rely on capitalistic and Darwinian principles taken to their logical extremes.  Imagine the outrage if you were to write an editorial like this for your local newspaper! 

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parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 10, 2010 at 8:34 AM (Answer #5)

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Golly, what a great question!  You can let your sordid imagination run rampart and get credit for it, too! So let's see...

What about an organ traffic scenario? Two countries at war, and the winner literally takes all - first the POWs, then the general population.

Some great films are also "modest proposals" - I'm thinking of "Bladerunner," "Rollerball" and "The Green Sun"("Soyant Vert") and "Moonraker," to name a few.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 10, 2010 at 8:37 AM (Answer #6)

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This one is fairly imaginative.  It will require an imaginative approach to link both problem and solution.  I am reminded of Lt. Frank Drebin in "The Naked Gun," where he proposes to kill all fur bearing animals, skin them, and give the fur to homeless people to feel warm.  He explains this with so much sobriety and seriousness that one is taken aback by both the silliness and the surreal humor of it.  Same principle is evident here.  I suggesting identifying one particular social problem that you think needs to be overcome, and then posing the most outrageous of solutions with a serious and sober tone to it in order to achieve the effect of both Swift... and Lt. Frank Drebin.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted January 11, 2010 at 1:05 PM (Answer #7)

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Immediately, my mind thinks of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Now don’t get me wrong, I think it has some merits. Teachers should certainly believe that all students are capable of achieving, but not all students can achieve to the same leve, in the same way, or in the same time. So what if the government exiled all students who did not achieve the mandated levels in time, and what if the teachers who could not make this happen were sentenced to life in prison.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 11, 2010 at 4:59 PM (Answer #8)

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Well, the diabolical creativity exhibited here by your eNotes editors is certainly impressive! As it happens, I read again "A Modest Proposal" just yesterday and still found it shocking and revolting. Swift is so cool and logical, and his arguments are based on such exact mathematical computations. No humanity, of course, but the math is excellent. You will want some "facts and figures" to support your proposal, some current statistics.

Also, I was reminded at the end of his essay that he included the information that his proposal would not enrich him personally; he was simply trying to solve a problem for the common good. You might consider adding this persuasive technique to your own proposal.

As for an idea for a new proposal . . . how about this. Unemployment in the United States is currently a serious problem with millions of Americans out of work and unable to find work. Wall Street bankers and brokers, however, are doing quite well and continue to increase their personal profits at the expense of taxpayers, even during the current economic crisis. Furthermore, Congress has not acted to restrain their greed. To resolve these problems, bankers, brokers, lobbyists, and Washington politicians will be required to work for the current minimum wage beginning immediately, and their personal assets will be liquidated to repay the loans made to the various financial institutions.

To continue, all unemployed Americans will be sold to China, thus satisfying a large portion of our national debt and eliminating the necessity of paying unemployment benefits. The personal assets of the unemployed and those of Washington politicians and lobbyists will also be liquidated, those sums also applied to the national debt.

 

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 5, 2011 at 3:52 AM (Answer #9)

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Our schools have run out of money. The budgets have have cur, teachers have been laid off, and everyone complains. Schools are too expensive. Instead of teachers, we should outfit every classroom with a bank of computers staffed by a tech support and educations software technician, who will be paid minimum wage. We can get 100 to 200 computers in these rooms. When a student needs help on a concept, they can call in to the teacher help center. Teachers will be paid a little over minimum wage to sit in this help center and answer questions all day. Imagine the money we'd save!

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