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A Good GAMSAT Essay Example

The following is an example of a great (Task A) essay sent in by a GAMSAT student. Give it a read first, and then I will explain a few problems with it and give suggestions as to how it might be improved.

 

“That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.” Abraham Lincoln.

Does inequality benefit society?

Many in favour of unfettered capitalism have argued that the wealth of the few provides inspiration for the many. They would claim it boosts economic activity and makes everyone better off. However, in truth, severe inequality of wealth is bad both for economies and societies.

For a start, the argument that the rich are an inspiration to the poor relies on the assumption that the wealthy have earned their money through hard work or enterprise. This is often not the case. In fact, the longer a society continues in a state of inequality, the more wealth is inherited rather than earned. What kind of “encouragement to industry and enterprise” is provided by someone born into their wealth?

What’s more, societies that are unequal tend to become more so. Inequality of wealth perpetuates itself. By concentrating wealth – and therefore, crucially, resources in a few hands – countries are less able to provide for all their citizens. Poor education, housing and a lack of opportunities keep the poor in poverty. Nepotism is rife in unequal societies, allowing the children of the wealthy to prosper even before they inherit anything.

Rather than acting as role models to the poor, very wealthy individuals can cause social disharmony. In the recession of 2008 onwards the very wealthy were seen to suffer less than middle- and low-earners. This triggered social unrest thoughout the developed world. Riots blazed throughout Europe and America saw unprecedented anti-capitalist protests by the Occupy movement.

It can, however, be argued that America is built on the very principle Lincoln espouses. The ‘American dream’ teaches that all those who work hard can achieve great wealth. Tax cuts for the rich have historically been supported across all income brackets. The USA remains, however, a deeply unequal country.

While the existence of the very rich in unequal societies may provide some superficial encouragement to low earners, the problems of inequality far outweigh the benefits. The entrenchment of wealth and concentration of opportunities in the hands of the few are deeply damaging to social cohesion. Rather than inspiration they provoke frustration and resentment. The rich should justify their wealthy by devoting concrete support to creating the kind of industry and enterprise Abraham Lincoln so valued.

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This is a great essay that was a joy to correct. Most of the suggested corrections I have made below are intended to shorten sentences or remove minor ambiguities with a view to improving clarity and communication.

You will notice I have also put a strike through the subheading. I have done this because it is unnecessary.

What you want to aim for in a GAMSAT essay is depth and specificity, but all this heading does is broaden the scope of the essay.  This is a common mistake; students read one very specific quote, and instead of addressing the topic directly they use it to kick off a far more generalised essay with a vague title like “Is money bad?!”.

This is a dangerous tactic because you risk failing to resolve whatever monumental issue you now claim to address. Since GAMSAT essays rarely exceed 400 – 500 words it is important to try and keep your lens as narrow as possible. You can’t solve all the world’s problems in 400 words, don’t try.

In the case of this essay it would be perfectly good to use the quote itself as the title. The essay is more or less entirely a response to Lincoln’s argument as it is. I have therefore made some suggestions to tighten it up in this regard and give it slightly more direction.

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That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.” Abraham Lincoln.

Does inequality benefit society?

Many in favour of unfettered capitalism have argued Lincoln argues that the wealth of the few provides inspiration for the many. They would claims He claims it boosts economic activity and implies that this makes everyone better off. However, in truth, severe inequality of wealth is bad both for economies and societies.

For a start, The argument that the rich are an inspiration to the poor relies on the assumption by the poor that the wealthy have earned their money through hard work or enterprise. This is often not the case. In fact, the longer a society continues in a state of inequality, the more wealth is inherited rather than earned. What kind of “encouragement to industry and enterprise” is provided by someone born into their wealth?

What’s more,Societies that are unequal Unequal societies tend to become more so. Inequality of wealth perpetuates itself. By concentrating wealth and therefore, crucially, resources in a few hands countries arebecome less able to provide for all their citizens. Poor education housing and a resultant lack of opportunities keep the poor in poverty. Nepotism is rife in unequal societies, allowing the children of the wealthy to prosper even before they inherit anything financially.

Rather than acting as role models to the poor, very wealthy affluent individuals can cause social disharmony. In the recession of 2008 onwards the very wealthy were seen to suffer less than middle and low-earners. This triggered social unrest thoughout the developed world. Riots blazed throughout Europe and America saw unprecedented anti-capitalist protests by the Occupy movement.

It can, however, be argued that America is built on the very principle Lincoln espouses. The ‘American dream’ teaches that all those who work hard can achieve great wealth. Tax cuts for the rich have historically been supported across all income brackets. The USA remains, however, a deeply unequal country.

While the existence of the very rich in unequal societies may provide some superficial encouragement to low earners, the problems of inequality far outweigh the benefits. The entrenchment of wealth and concentration of opportunities in the hands of the few are deeply damaging to social cohesion. Rather than inspiration they provoke frustration and resentment.

If his vision is to be realised, the rich shouldjustify must express their wealthy wealth by devoting concrete actively supporting to and creating the kind of industry and enterprise Abraham Lincoln so valued.