The curse of nepotism
In the article ‘The curse of nepotism’, published by The Economist in January 2004, we can identify different persuasive appeals the author used in order for us to see, understand and agree with his points. These rhetorical devices actually make his arguments better. We can spot Pathos, Ethos and Logos throughout the text.
The author started out with an appeal to Pathos, in the title itself. Actually, the phrase ’The curse of nepotism’ appeals to the readers’ values. Thus we can see that the writer started off by diffusing negative energy onto the word ‘nepotism’, stating that it’s a ‘curse’. Another appeal to values starts in paragraph 3, where the author is discussing meritocracy.
Moreover, by referring to the Founding Fathers, the author is establishing credibility, showing us that he is cultivated, that he has done his homework and knows what he’s talking about. Also, he is appealing to people's values in the first paragraphs of the article, so The "Founding Fathers" point is also an appeal to readers' values (Pathos).
Finally, in the statistical references in paragraphs 5, 8 and 9 we can identify a clear appeal to logic, also known as Logos.
On the other hand, numerous weaknesses can be spotted throughout the article. For instance, the statistics expressed are not quite precise: “make up between 10% and 15% of every freshman class”. Also, in paragraphs 8, the author gives the example of Harvard, ignoring other Ivy League universities and in paragraph 9, outdated statistics (1990) are given with quite a small sample of 2000 students, which surely consist of a teeny portion of all Harvard students.