Assignment #8 – The Gilded Age
Step 1: Watch – “Something WallMart This Way Comes” online
Step 2: Watch – “Is Wal-Mart Good for America?” online
Step 3: Read – “Robber Barons and Rebels,” from A People’s History
Step 4: Complete the Discussion Board
Discussion Prompt: For this discussion, I am going to have you watch first the South Park episode entitled, “Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes.” Much of this episode, while crude in many ways, actuallly is very similar to what Mark Twain was trying to get across to us in his book, The Gilded Age. These writers use sat- ire to get their points across. What point do you believe the writers of this South Park episode were trying to make with this story? How is it similar to the satire of Mark Twain? Many scholars and writers seem to believe we have found ourselves in a second Gilded Age today, and that the difference between the haves and the have-nots has actually become much worse today than it was 100 years ago. Many of your articles for today’s discussion touch on this. To further understand the situation, take a look at the database amassed by the AFL-CIO. It was designed specifically to help monitor CEO compensation year by year to see the trends that have garnered a 4300% pay increase for these top executives since the early 1980’s. (Oh, and by the way, if you missed it…the average worker’s salary during that same 30 year period only doubled.)
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