by Jessica McBirney
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
The Goose with the Golden Egg
- 620-560 BCE
Aesop was a slave and story-teller who was believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. This story, in which a man becomes greedily obsessed with a goose that lays golden eggs, is part of his collection of tales known as “Aesop’s Fables” which have influenced children’s literature and modern storytelling culture.Pair “Capitalism” with “The Goose with the Golden Egg” and ask students to compare the way in which the theme of wealth is played out in the two pieces. Does a system of capitalism allow people to act on their greedy impulses? Should the government play a role in keeping this in check? Does an unchecked desire for money lead people to do things they otherwise would not?
The Million Pound Bank Note
- Mark Twain
In this classic example of Twain comedy, a man gains fame and fortune simply because he is in possession of a large bank note -- without spending a single cent.Pair “Capitalism” with “The Million Pound Bank Note” and have students think about how Twain’s story challenges society’s thoughts about wealth and what the possession of money says about a person. Does our view of personal wealth depend on which economic system we use?
The informational text “McCarthyism” discusses the United States’ fear of communism during the Cold War and the unfair trials led by Senator Joseph McCarthy to root out supposed communist spies.Pair “Capitalism” with “McCarthyism” to give students additional information on the different economic systems utilized by countries around the world. How does capitalism compare to communism? Why is it important to the United States that they maintain their capitalistic system?
The Elves and the Shoemaker
- Barbara Radner
In this widely known and beloved parable, a modest shoemaker receives desperately needed assistance from unlikely allies.Pair “The Elves and the Shoemaker” with “Capitalism” and ask students to think about the former text through the lens of the latter. Do you think the fable has a clear pro-capitalist or anti-capitalist message?
Capitalism Will Eat Democracy — Unless We Speak Up
- Yanis Varoufakis
In “Capitalism Will Eat Democracy — Unless We Speak Up,” Yanis Varoufakis discusses the state of democracy today and how it relates to the political sphere and the economic sphere.Pair “Capitalism” with “Capitalism Will Eat Democracy — Unless We Speak Up” to provide students with additional arguments for and against capitalism. How does the portrayal of capitalism in the two texts compare? In what ways can capitalism be improved?
- Jessica McBirney
In the informational text “Financial Literacy,” Jessica McBirney explores the various choices a person can make with their money.Pair “Capitalism” with “Financial Literacy” to expand students’ knowledge of finances and challenge them to think on a grander scale. What financial choices does McBirney explore in “Financial Literacy” that are also relevant to capitalist systems?
An Introduction to Communism
- Jessica McBirney
In the informational text “An Introduction to Communism,” Jessica McBirney defines communism and discusses countries that have adopted its practice.Pair “Capitalism” with “An Introduction to Communism” to provide students with an example of another political and economic system. Ask students to compare communism to capitalism. What are the advantages and drawbacks of both systems? Why do students think that countries have been able to practice capitalism successfully, while other countries pursuing communism struggle?