The Cost of Unpaid Labor Essay

Long Writing

Money Changes Everything

  • Duration:
  • Intended for: Individuals
  • Formality: Graded
  • Completes in: 7 steps
  • Comments: 0
  • Materials: 3
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Melody has been teaching developmental writing at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park since 2011, having previously taught composition and developmental writing at Southwestern Illinois College,…

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Assignment Overview

In the collection Money Changes Everything, students encounter questions about how money changes us. We read about the unpaid work of motherhood in Ann Crittenden’s essay, and the unpaid labor of college athletes in Murray Sperber’s essay.

This essay assignment asks students to consider an unpaid labor (which they do or do not personally perform) and make an argument that it should become paid labor.

Through readings from the collection, and supplemental articles, students confront the idea that money gives us a certain kind of value, prestige, power. And they wrestle with the idea that sometimes, money doesn’t always get exchanged equally for goods and services.

Through free writes and class discussion, students consider what it would be like if all of their unpaid labor were suddenly compensated with money; and they weigh the pros and cons of paying someone for a kidney; paying a surrogate mother; paying a birth mother; paying a college football player; paying a stay at home parent.

Using quotations, good reasons, narrative, benefits, and audience appeals, students compose a 750-1,000-word essay that makes a clear argument to a self-chosen audience: pay for this perviously unpaid labor.


Required Materials
  • Money Changes Everything reader
  • Articles online
  • Computer
Skills developed
  • Argument & reasoning
  • Audience analysis
  • Quotation analysis
7 Steps to complete

1. Reading Set 1

2. Freewrite & Discussion

3. Reading Set 2

4. Topic and Audience Selection

5. Drafting

6. Peer Review

7. Final Essay Submission

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