The Instigator
Freemind
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
miketschultz
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

American Consumerism is the most positive aspect of the American lifestyle

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/13/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 9,493 times Debate No: 4675
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (8)

 

Freemind

Pro

American Consumerism is key to our superiority because it forever allows us to strive for better. Humans cannot attain perfection, the very best we can do is strive. American consumerism is a basis for continuous search of better, therefore, it is the only guaranteed way that we can live in a society which will never regress in the grand scheme.
miketschultz

Con

consumerism: the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary 2006)

Now before my opponent and i engage in debate, i would like to point out the following observation about the topic at hand. My opponent must prove to you, without a doubt, that the ability to have an "ever expanding consumption of goods" is the best thing about life in the United States, above all other aspects in the american lifestyle. This is his burden, and if he does not fulfill it, he should not win the round.

Keeping this term and burden in mind, i will prove to both you, the judge, and to my opponent that american consumerism is in fact not the most positive aspect of the american lifestyle, but rather, is one of the most negative and could lead to the downfall of the american lifestyle.

Let us first begin with the cause of american consumerism: capitalism. While capitalism has good intentions, and works exceptionally well on small scales, the current american capitalist machine has grossly overstepped its bounds, extending its reach into other countries and creating a global economy. Don't get me wrong, there are positive aspects of this, but the harms outweigh the benefits.

It is easy to see that capitalism has created, and even teaches consumerism on a large scale. The two go hand in hand. Think of the impacts of these teachings. They teach us to be greedy. To step on our fellow man to get to the top. To never be satisfied with what we have. These are not warrantless assumptions, but can be easily derived from the above definition of consumerism. This idea purported to the american masses by corporate america has bred a society that cares solely about material goods.

The fact that we outsource almost EVERYTHING that is bought in this country means that americans have no reason to be competitive in the international market. And we aren't. Our education system lags far behind other countries... we are both weak and stupid. See http://4brevard.com... if you don't believe me.

Not only have we lagged behind in international education as a result of the capitalist / consumerist mindset, it hurts others around the world as well. Wal-mart and Nike hire children in third world countries, pay them almost nothing, and then move onto other countries to repeat it. Check out www.thecorporation.com for evidence of this... or just watch the documentary.

To further back this point, i cite one of my OPPONENTS OWN ARGUMENT'S from a previous debate of his.

"We're talking about global capitalistic institutions. In 1995 the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha deemed hanging to be the necessary means to quell the articulate voice of poet Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight fellow Ogoni activists.(http://www.commondreams.org......) What were these voices protesting? Shell Oil Company. Who paid off General Sani Abacha? Shell Oil Company."

Our desire to consume goods, whether it be oil or cheaply made toys painted with lead paint (thanks china and american corporations desiring profit) hurts people. In fact, that last example (china) i cited directly effects and hurts american citizens. If our own consumerism can turn around and hurt us, how can it possibly be considered the most positive aspect of the american lifestyle?

While american consumerism hurts us at home, it also hurts us abroad. The devastation wrought on the United States on september 11th, 2001, can be directly linked to american consumerism. They did not attack us because they hate our freedom. "They attacked us because we have constantly put the American economic interests and safety of our allies in the Middle East before the defense of our principles." (http://www.huffingtonpost.com...)
More evidence can be brought up on this if need be.

Now, judges, think about this. If we were attacked for our freedoms and such, then why were the World Trade Centers, a well known symbol of american capitalism, smashed with planes? Is this really the best aspect of our culture if it killed upwards of 3000 people?

In my opinion, no.
Debate Round No. 1
Freemind

Pro

First, I would like to propose my own definition for "consumerism" (http://dictionary.reference.com...)

1.a modern movement for the protection of the consumer against useless, inferior, or dangerous products, misleading advertising, unfair pricing, etc.

2.the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy.

"Let us first begin with the cause of american consumerism: capitalism."

Close but, no cigar. To sell something, representing capitalism, there must be demand, representing consumerism. So; capitalism is not the "cause" of consumerism, rather, consumerism is the cause of capitalism.

To quote my opponent: "capitalism has good intentions"
So inherently, EVERY single advantage from capitalism is brought about because of consumerism. However, since capitalism is NOT consumerism, any and all of the flaws associated with capitalism must be applied to capitalism ALONE.

If my opponent tries to argue that the harms out weigh the positives of capitalism that is irrelevant. Only the advantages of capitalism can be weighed in this round. All of the advantages MUST be used as a voter in this debate.

Unlike other species of animals, humans have a specific aptitude for the acquisition of language and grammar. Linguists and psychologists have postulated that this linguistic faculty depends in part on the genetic inheritance of the human species. (http://www.cnrs.fr...)

The thing that separates humans from animals is the capacity for language. The ability to communicate. This is what has allowed humans to dominate the planet.

Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 99%
male: 99% female: 99% (2003 est.) (https://www.cia.gov...)

American's have a 99% literacy rate. Americans are just as prepared for education as any other country, if not more so. When my opponent tries to argue that:

"Our education system lags far behind other countries... we are both weak and stupid"

Look to the two above cards. We are not stupid. Stating that we are weak is a clear fallacy. Look at our hard power and the hegemony, or influence, our nuclear umbrella gives us. We are neither weak nor stupid.

"Not only have we lagged behind in international education as a result of the capitalist / consumerist mindset, it hurts others around the world as well. Wal-mart and Nike hire children in third world countries, pay them almost nothing, and then move onto other countries to repeat it"

Once again these are problems with CAPITALISM and cannot hold ANY sway in this debate.

"Our desire to consume goods, whether it be oil or cheaply made toys painted with lead paint (thanks china and american corporations desiring profit) hurts people. In fact, that last example (china) i cited directly effects and hurts american citizens. If our own consumerism can turn around and hurt us, how can it possibly be considered the most positive aspect of the american lifestyle?"

Once again, this is actually referring to capitalism. If you look at my first definition of consumerism it is there in part to Protect against examples like lead and other flaws of capitalism.

"Our desire to consume goods"

No. Not solely to desire to Consume goods, but to BETTER our surroundings. Don't but this? Then think of it this way: Why do you purchase something, Say a T.V.?
Because it will make your living space more comfortable. You, as a Consumer(not a capitalist), have wanted to better your surroundings. Thus, consumerism is based entirely on the want for BETTER. Please mark this as my first off case argument and should have an independent voter on it, that means that regardless of everything else, this is reason enough to prove that CONSUMERISM is the most positive aspect of American lifestyles.

My opponent uses the following card to illustrate why 9-11 was caused from consumerism: "'They attacked us because we have constantly put the American economic interests and safety of our allies in the Middle East before the defense of our principles.'"

But this says "They attacked us because we have constantly put the American economic interests". Economic interests. That is solely a flaw from Capitalism. Consumerism is not about Economic interests. If it was then we would never consume anything. It costs to consume and therefore is against economic interests.

"Now, judges, think about this. If we were attacked for our freedoms and such, then why were the World Trade Centers, a well known symbol of american capitalism, smashed with planes?"

Please look at the first word of the third line of my opponent's argument.

All of my opponent's disadvantages are claimed from CAPITALISM. He is making the deadly flaw of using consumerism and capitalism Completely interchangeable.

Now for my case.

As I've said before, consumerism is logically based on the desire to BETTER our surroundings. If we are forever trying to BETTER our surroundings, then the Principle, the Mindset, is at least completely positive. Since we are debating the aspect then practice does not hold sway. Consumerism is the most positive aspect of american lifestyles.

"They teach us to be greedy. To step on our fellow man to get to the top. To never be satisfied with what we have"

No. CAPITALISM teaches us those.
CONSUMERISM teaches us:

To strive for more, to do our best to keep up with every person's enhancement of their own surroundings, and to always have hope for a better in the future.

So judges, let me reiterate. All of the positives from Capitalism support the Pro. All of my opponent's arguments should be discarded because they refer to Capitalism not Consumerism. Consumerism is an attempt to better ourselves and our surroundings, any and all negatives of capitalism cannot be claimed through Consumerism, and consumerism actually helps protect people from the flaws of capitalism.

The Pro has multiple solid arguments while I have proven that my opponent, the Con, has zero arguments against me.

Judges you must weigh the round by looking at all the good from the principle of consumerism and noting that the flaws my opponent bring up are not associated with the resolution and therefore are all untopical.

Thank you judges and Opponent.
miketschultz

Con

miketschultz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Freemind

Pro

I would just like to flow across all of my arguments, stress the following:

Definition:1.a modern movement for the protection of the consumer against useless, inferior, or dangerous products, misleading advertising, unfair pricing, etc.

One way to look at consumerism: it is nothing more than an movement to protect the people. This is a point that the judges should vote Pro

Opponent:"Our education system lags far behind other countries... we are both weak and stupid"

Refutation:"Unlike other species of animals...genetic inheritance of the human species. (http://www.cnrs.fr......)

The thing that separates humans from animals is the capacity for language...This is what has allowed humans to dominate the planet.

Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 99%
male: 99% female: 99% (2003 est.) (https://www.cia.gov......)"

To reiterate, The ability to communicate is the basis for education. America is at a 99% literacy (or ability to read and write, thereby communicate). One doesn't have to compare the U.S. to other countries. America is in an excellent position for education. If our education level is low, that is a product of public education. Policies of education are made by the government and not the consumeristic mindset. My opponent might try to argue that the reason we're poor in education is because corporations have limited the amount of education funding. Again that is a by product of CAPITALISM.

Opponent:"Our desire to consume goods, whether it be oil or cheaply made toys painted with lead paint (thanks china and american corporations desiring profit) hurts people. In fact, that last example (china) i cited directly effects and hurts american citizens. If our own consumerism can turn around and hurt us, how can it possibly be considered the most positive aspect of the american lifestyle?"

Refutation:"Once again, this is actually referring to capitalism. If you look at my first definition of consumerism it is there in part to Protect against examples like lead and other flaws of capitalism."

Moreover, I would like to point out my opponent's clever word choice. "Our desire to consume goods, whether it be oil or cheaply made toys painted with lead paint" This is a clever way to make it seem like americans WANT to buy those cheap goods. I bet that if you asked any mother if they want to buy lead painted toys that same mother would say no. My opponent tries to make it seem like americans Enjoy consuming cheap and dangerous products. No, cheap capitalistic institutions enjoy it when americans consume cheap and dangerous products.

My opponent's arguments that consumerism hurts people are wrong. Sorry to be so blunt. The examples my opponent give show us how capitalism is bad, however, consumerism is also a means to protect against those examples. Flow across my opponent's arguments that "Now, judges, think about this. If we were attacked for our freedoms and such, then why were the World Trade Centers, a well known symbol of american capitalism, smashed with planes?"

Now flow across my refutation that this applies to "american capitalism". Don't believe me, look up. "a well known symbol of american CAPITALISM"

Flow across my opponent's following arguments and my following refutations.

My point: "As I've said before, consumerism is logically based on the desire to BETTER our surroundings. If we are forever trying to BETTER our surroundings, then the Principle, the Mindset, is at least completely positive. Since we are debating the aspect then practice does not hold sway. Consumerism is the most positive aspect of american lifestyles."

Opponent's: "They teach us to be greedy. To step on our fellow man to get to the top. To never be satisfied with what we have"

Refutation:"No. CAPITALISM teaches us those. CONSUMERISM teaches us: To strive for more, to do our best to keep up with every person's enhancement of their own surroundings, and to always have hope for a better in the future."

If your wondering about the "desire to better our surroundings argument" please look to my second speech.

The difference between capitalism and consumerism.

My opponent argues through out the round that the harms of capitalism out weigh the advantages. We are not debating capitalism. My opponent has continually grouped them together. They are connected, but they are not one in the same as my opponent would like you to believe.

One can only sell something is if there is demand for that object. Since consumerism can have that demand it can lead to capitalism or the selling of that object. In lay men's terms, the only way capitalism can exist is through consumerism. What significance does this argument hold in this debate round?
Think of all the advantages of capitalism. It makes us drive to make better products for the populace. Whether it's a newly developed car with 50 miles/gallon or a new form of medical treatment, capitalism has many benefits. My opponent even states this earlier. Look to his first speech. Because capitalism exists because of consumerism, then with out consumerism none of these advantages would be able to exist. Moreover, any and all flaws of capitalism must be discarded. The problems and harms that arise from capitalism are due to flaws with the principle of capitalism therefore irrelevant in this debate round. We can debate outcomes of consumerism. So the flaws of capitalism cannot hold sway against the pro.

Moreover, I would just like to bring up my statement that the principle(what we are debating in this theoretical world) of consumerism is one to BETTER our surroundings. This attempt to BETTER our selves and our surroundings proves that consumerism is the most positive aspect of american lifestyles. Let's use cars as an example. Let's say they cause global warming. Well now that we know this(in this theoretical world) we buy hybrid cars. It's a little black and white but think about it. We're just trying to BETTER our surroundings.

Now I would like to point out the key arguments in this debate.

--Education. First of all, my opponent never gives evidence for his argument that America is stupid and our education system lags behind. I have supplied evidence that americans are in just as good a position to be educated, if not a better one, than just about any other country. Moreover, I have also proved that even if our education system does lag behind, that cannot hold sway because it is not the fault of consumerism. This proves that on the point of education, the judge should vote Pro.

--Desire to consume cheap goods. As I have said before, consumerism is not the desire to consume cheap goods, rather, the desire to better our surroundings. This proves that on the point of the desire to consume cheap goods, the judge should vote Pro.

--Terrorism. My opponent tries to argue that 9-11 was caused by consumerism. However, his own evidence says it was caused by capitalism which, as proved through out the round, is not consumerism. This proves that on the point of terrorism, the judge should vote Pro.

--Capitalism is attainable only through consumerism. As I have proved earlier, all benefits of capitalism are reasons to support the Pro whereas all negatives to capitalism are inherent flaws with Capitalism and cannot be held against the Pro. This proves on the point that capitalism is attainable only through consumerism, the judge should vote Pro.

--Consumerism is a desire to BETTER our surroundings. As I have proved, the consumeristic mindset is one of betterment. We, as consumers, are forever looking to better our surroundings. This proves on the point that consumerism is a desire to BETTER or surroundings, the judge should vote Pro.

On all the major points of this round the Pro has won. Thereby, I can see nothing but a Pro ballot.
This is my last speech, dont allow the Con to make new arguments. I would not have time to debate them.
miketschultz

Con

miketschultz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
Good arguments, Freemind. I think you may have duped CON with your definition of consumerism - "consumerism" being equal to "improvement" more or less is a new one on me. But I am a stickler for semantics, so you got the point. And you got all the others because CON forfeited. Interesting.
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Freemind
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