John Cassidy uses almost exclusively facts and reasons for his argument. The article is rife with numbers and figures, but they are presented in a way that will not overwhelm readers. For example, when explaining the large implications of small changes in percentages, he reduces the difference to easily understood terms: "If productivity grows at an annual rate of 2.9 per cent, living standards double in twenty-four years, or one generation; at 1.4 per cent productivity growth, living standards take almost fifty years, or two generations, to double. (108)" Cassidy compares almost all of the statistics used in this article piecemeal, to avoid inundating the reader. This method is particularly effective, as it allows a number of statistics to be used effectively, without necessitating that the reader remembers them later.
Cassidy wrote the article for a magazine that has a very diverse, cosmopolitan reader base. As such, readers know some about many topics, but are not highly knowledgeable about more than one or two. For this reason, Cassidy explains current economic practices and theories well enough for an entry-level reader to understand. Cassidy explains the general concept of "productivity growth" with a story of a fictional baker, and how many loaves of bread the baker manages to produce in a day. The technical term "multifactor productivity" means very little to anyone who has not studied economics. Cassidy immediately defines it as "a measure of worker's efficiency after allowing for improvements in the equipment they are using. (113)" By defining every concept he uses, Cassidy makes economic concepts accessible to lay readers, and makes it clear to readers that are more knowledgeable what definitions he is using, to avoid confusion.
Cassidy establishes his credibility with a story about whether or not computers really increase productivity - his own story. His conclusion is that he wrote his article no faster or better with his new computer than he could have with his first computer, which was manufactured fifteen years ago. Additionally, there are as many negative aspects of today's computers discussed as positive ones, proving that overall productivity is largely unaffected. Cassidy is particularly effective by using a personal example for what is usually an unsupported clich.
Cassidy also makes note of the limitations inherent in using only himself as an example. He admits that not everyone is necessarily like him in regards to work habits, and does not presume to speak for anyone else's habits. By acknowledging the limits of his knowledge, Cassidy ensures that he supports everything he says, and that he will not say anything he cannot support.
The style and tone of the article are effective for an occasional reader who is not well read in the subject of economics. The article is accessible to nearly anyone with an interest in learning more about the specific subject of the article, but no additional knowledge or understanding of economics is required for this article to be of value to a reader. On the other hand, this article is also very effective for readers with extensive knowledge of economics. Cassidy reduces the concepts presented from abstractions and an economist's lexicon to everyday, common sense examples. In this way, a trained economist can dispense with the formalities and exclusive language and look at the topic through the lens of common experience.
John Cassidy's use of facts and reason is effective in supporting his argument. He uses quantifiable, provable numbers to make his case. Unlike other types of argument, these facts speak for themselves.