Critical Argument Analysis

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Fear and the American Economy

Americans are afraid of a lot of things. The world is undergoing many changes right now. Rebel forces are overthrowing dictatorships. Tsunamis and earthquakes are changing the shape of the Earth. The housing market saw its first significant drop in over thirty years recently and is showing no signs of recovering in many areas. Are all of these things related to our economy in America? One would think they are due to the knee-jerk reactions of many Americans in the wake of these different events. What do tsunamis, government unrest and mistakes from years past have to do with our economy? Everything, if one considers the base of fear that most Americans operate from. This essay will argue that Americans base our economy off of fear, using events both nationally and internationally to tie into the economy when they are not even related. Tying every single world event into the American economy is a news writer’s way of making a story – not fact.

A month ago, Japan saw a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that has killed tens of thousands of people. In the midst of that disaster, several nuclear power plants were affected, and now they are leaking radiation in the ground, the ocean, and the air. In America, concerns have been raised about everything from radiation in milk to the safety of nuclear power plants here, to the affect on the economy. What could Japan’s situation have to do with the economy in America? As Andrew Pollack from the New York Times (2011) speculates, “Far greater damage could occur if Japanese automobiles or electronics get contaminated with radiation, or if fear spreads among consumers that they could be exposed to radiation by sitting in a Prius or playing a DVD.” No one has measured the radiation in any of these items, but these sensationalist pieces create an irrational fear in America that feeds into the concept that our economy will never recover.

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