Joseph Stiglitz, “Rent Seeking and the Making of an Unequal Society” 

(New Humanities Reader)

Franklin Foer, “Mark Zuckerberg’s War on Free Will” (linked on Sakai as 

an excerpt from 

World Without Mind)


Franklin Foer discusses how Facebook, through its use of algorithms that manipulate its 

users in various ways, “outsources” independent thought and encourages what Foer 

calls “mechanical thinking”.  Joseph Stiglitz outlines how a small societal elite can 

manipulate the economy to unfairly reward itself while depriving lower-class workers of 

fair compensation for their efforts.  He calls this activity “rent seeking”, and though he applies it primarily to the financial sector, its definition can be more broadly applied to any industry or elite that is financially rewarded in a way that is greater than their actual creation of wealth. In a well-developed essay that makes use of the texts above, please answer the following question: In what ways can mechanical thinking contribute to the process of rent seeking?

5 full pages must use quotes and use proper citations