American Isolation is a Good Thing
Debate Rounds (5)
Point 1 Different Cultures
It is merely impossible for the average American politician to put themselves in the shoes of a Iraqi or Iranian. They have beliefs and desires that we cannot understand because we grew up in a Western Civilization. Forcing democracy and our culture onto people we share nothing in common with hardly ever works and in a lot of cases ends in disaster. If you want a good example, there is a book called Massacre at El Mozote that chronicles Americas role in the El Salvador (wikipedia page for those who do not know what I'm talking about is http://en.wikipedia.org......). A modern day example would be Libya (http://www.theblaze.com......), where America supported rebels that turned up being just as violent and unreasonable as the dictator Gaddafi.
Point 2 Economics
The fact of the matter is that now and days, multi-national corporations hold huge amounts of weight when it comes to the politics of America. "To big to fail" is a term constantly tossed around by politicians while they have no allegiances to the American people. This means that American industries are moving overseas because companies want the cheaper labor and these politicians are not stopping them. The American people do not trust banks, as shown by a recent Gallup poll (http://www.gallup.com......) and the government is ignoring the wishes of the people by continuing to pander to them.
Point 3 Military Spending
My family has a ton of history in the military, my dad and granddad were in the Air Force and my uncle was in the Marines, and let me start this argument by saying I am all for veterans rights because they are the reason we in America live very comfortable lives. However, the military needs to be shrunk and we should stop being the worlds police force. 20% of our budget goes to defense while veterans get 7%, education gets 2% and science gets 2% as well ( http://www.washingtonpost.com......).
I'll end my opening with the wise words of president Eisenhower and pay careful attention to 4:50:
Since the resolution is unclear, I will debating the title, which is in resolution form anyway.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE
The topic is not that America's current non-Isolationist foreign policy is bad. If that were the topic, I wouldn't have accepted, as I see our current foreign policy as a mixed bag. I do not need to prove that our current foreign policy is good to prove that Isolationism is bad. There are many alternatives to Isolationism, and just because I can't defend the one we're using now does not automatically make Isolationism a good thing.
POINT 1, CULTURE DIFFERENCES
This contention does not show why AI is good, rather it shows why some of our international actions have been bad, or at least questionable. This contention shows that we need a new way, and we have two options for a new way. You could go with a reformed and most likely scaled back American Intervention, or withdraw from the world fully, practicing Isolation. As I will show later, reformed Intervention is preferable to Isolationism, which would be very harmful.
POINT 2, ECONOMICS
Basically my opponent's contention here is that big businesses are outsourcing to other countries, thus losing Americans jobs. I assume he thinks this wouldn't happen if we practiced Isolationist policies.
This is a very selfish reason to support Isolationism. You could paraphrase it as this: "Other people in very poor countries are getting jobs and I don't like that. Only we Americans deserve a good economy."
If we are rating an act as good or bad, we should look at the implications it has on the 'greater good'. If we take Isolationist policies and refuse to share jobs with poor parts of the world, we are harming the greater good. Some of you may be asking why that is, after all, jobs are jobs, why should it matter where the jobs are?
Well look at it this way. Let's say you're rich, and your neighbor is poor. He's so poor he is unable to buy food, and soon he's going to die. If you could give him some of your money, you would both have enough money for food, and then nobody would die.
If the rich man is America and the poor man is who we outsource to, the parallels are perfect. Taking an Isolationist stance on the issue of outsourcing is basically the international version of refusing to help a starving man. So, while an Isolationist policy on outsourcing is in the greater interests of America, it is not in the greater interests of the world, and thus, it is harmful, and not, as my opponent argues, a 'good' thing.
POINT 3, MILITARY SPENDING
My opponent says we need to stop being the world's police force, and backs this with how much he says we spend on the military compared to other things.
A couple things on this. First, whether or not us being the world's police force is a good thing does not instantly become an argument for or against Isolationism. If we think all the world policing we're doing is bad, we can simply reform our international actions, we don't need to completely shut ourselves out from the world.
To shut ourselves out completely for not liking certain aspects of our current international policy would be like never driving your car again if it was having some mechanical issues. That is an overreaction, seeing as you could always get your car repaired.
Simply put, we can stop being the world's police force without practicing Isolationism.
Second, I'd like to talk about my opponent's statistic. When I follow his link, all I see is the front page of the WP, I don't see whatever article he's referring to. On top of that, I have statistics on this year's spending that contradict his claims.
s://chart.googleapis.com... 19%|Health Care 20%|Education 16%|Defense 13%|Welfare 8%|Protection 4%|Transportation 5%|General Government 3%|Other Spending 7%|Interest 5%&chtt=Total Spending for United States - FY 2014" alt="" />
As we can see, we're actually spending more on education than we are on our military. Ditto for health.
I have shown why my opponent's reasons are either not arguing for Isolationism specifically, or shown that even though they are, the arguments aren't right. But now I would like to give additional reasons to be against Isolationism.
If we practiced Isolationism, we couldn't provide aid to countries that had been wrecked by a natural disaster. How can something be considered good when it asks us to stand by while people need our help?
If we practiced Isolationism, we couldn't expect any help from other countries if something bad were to happen to us. We could be attacked, and nobody would feel compelled to come to our aid. Our economy could crash, but no country would feel compelled to help it recover, as we weren't a part of the worl market anyhow.
If we practiced Isolationism, we would probably see our own economy falter, as a result of lowered trade and imports. I'd like to avoid making you all read a comprehensive study of our economy, so I stop short at providing a few examples of where our economy is at right now, and the implications of an Isolationist America.
For starters, check out how much we trade with our top business partners.
I did the math, and that amounts to roughly $1,916 billion in trade. I don't think we need to be economists to know that if we took that kind of money out of our system. It would suffer greatly from the loss of business.
Next, note the fact that we get 60% of our oil from other countries. Imagine if we had 60% less oil suddenly. That would mean oil getting at least 60% more expensive. With oil being more expensive, how do you think that would affect the average American? Oil already takes a large chunk out of the average man's spending money, we'd only be hurting Americans more by adopting these Isolationist policies. Not only Americans, but also citizens of other countries. Other oil-rich countries would be hurt economically if one of their biggest customers suddenly shut itself off from the world.
What we have to realize is that the world economy is interconnected, and we'd be hurting ourselves and others if we cut ourselves off from the world.
I would like to end with this:
We can avoid the bad parts of Isolationism (economic disparity, leaving refugees to die, raising oil prices, leaving ourselves without allies) and avoid the bad parts of what we do right now (
by simply reforming our current system, without taking it as far as Isolationism, which, as I have shown that there are better alternatives, would be a bad thing to implement.
Important to Note:
The idea of American Isolationism was created in George Washington's farewell address, specifically the line "The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible." (http://avalon.law.yale.edu...). By saying isolation is bad, I am assuming that you are going against this statement, since that has been the meaning of American Isolationism since America was founded. You also did not really give any concrete examples of alternatives to Isolationism, and I really never asked you to defend the current system.
The fact of the matter is we have already harmed our place in the world by not minding our own business. The Banana Republics in Latin America are a prime example of how America has ignored every human right imaginable to gain some extra cash. Going back to the Massacre at El Mozote, where America backed a government that sent out death squads to stop protestors. The reasons for the protests are numerous, but they all revolved around the fact that the majority of the El Salvador land was used for coffee exports to the US which benefited the rich powerful elite that was backed by the US and of course the US. If you are wondering where the word banana republic comes from, just look up United Fruit Company and Sam Zemurray's impact on Honduras.
It's hard to say that not intervening is good, because not invading a country and then saying what could of happened if we did invade a country is pure speculation. For example, I could say its a good thing that we do not take over Japan and radically change its education system but I don't really know for sure. Instead I can point to the Bay of Pigs Crisis as an example of US intervention failing and its positive effects on Cuba. Fidel Castro defeated the Pro US dictator Batista and distanced himself from the US by cutting them off from Cuba's oil. The US, believing that the Cubans would support them against Castro, launched a covert operation, aka Bay of Pigs, but they were humbled by the fact that none of the Cubans supported them and the militias and army easily defeated the US attack. Cuba has been at peace ever since.
"If we take Isolationist policies and refuse to share jobs with poor parts of the world, we are harming the greater good."
No, not exactly. First off, the reason why jobs are getting outsourced is not to create new jobs in foreign lands, because our government has no control over what the corporations do. Its because in worse off countries, people are forced to work for less than in the US, which has a very high minimum wage. Workers here in the US also have strong unions and the people will not tolerate corporations taking advantage of people, in ways such as child labor or physical abuse. This is not the case in developing countries such as Indonesia, where workers are too afraid to speak out because they are afraid of losing their jobs (here is a link to Nike sweatshops http://www.dailymail.co.uk...). So if the people there want to be taken advantage of by greedy corporations and their "jobs", more like slavery to me, then let them go for it. But why should tax payers pay for businesses that are "too big to fail", when they will not see any returns? America should distance itself from the corporations that, as John Kerry says, "move offshore simply to avoid paying American taxes, yet they still get all of the same benefits, including government contracts. We should penalize these companies and deny them government contracts."
I am confused what you are arguing here, you say that you agree with me that we should not intervene in politics then you say that we are shutting ourselves from the world. There is situations where either A) you decide that you must intervene or B) you stay out of it. You don't really seem to get war, either you are killing people or you are not, there is no in between. You keep on talking about reforms, what exactly are they? You never really challenge my position here, and instead called my position of attempting to stay free of wars a "overreaction", when war is the greatest overreaction of all.
I'll post the WP article again for you:http://www.washingtonpost.com...
Its the 2011 federal budget, and as you can see, the amount of money we use use for defense is far bigger than education, infrastructure, veterans or science. You give us a budget that is incomplete because 2014 is not finished yet, who knows what the government has planned for the second half of this year. Since it seems we are getting ready to send solders into Iraq again, I think it is safe to say that defense will get much more funds.
The trade chart that you gave does show how active we are in trade, but it does not tell us how much we depend on other countries. America is a huge country that can easily be more self dependent if we wanted to, as we are twice the size of the EU and slightly bigger than China. The America has an economy of $16 trillion and California makes $2 trillion (http://www.aei-ideas.org...) which is as much as Italy! The fact of the matter is nothing is more economically powerful than the American working class. Plus, the chart is what we are importing and exporting so we are not making money off of what we are importing we are paying for it.
We are actually the fastest growing producer of oil right now in the world, and we just passed Saudi Arabia (http://www.usatoday.com...) as the biggest producer of oil. We are working with Mexico and Canada currently to create a "New Middle East", but tapping the oil requires technology we do not currently have. That is why it is important to stop spending money on pointless wars across the world and starting to invest in our future, science and education.
P1- Isolationism is good because we do not take advantage of smaller countries with our imperialistic foreign policy. Even if we "reform" and intervene less, we are still being imperialistic which is bad
P2- American tax payers should not have to pay for big businesses that take jobs away from them. Also, the jobs that the businesses do create overseas is inhumane, and we should punish those that take advantage of people that do not know better. Not making tax payers pay for unnecessary things is a good thing because you can then spend money on ACTUAL growth
P3- Avoiding war is a good thing, and being isolationist means that you are in as few wars as possible, making isolationism good
AR1- I doubt that any country trusts that the federal government will actually aid them in natural disasters. We cannot even help ourselves, just look at Hurricane Katrina. Money rarely goes to where it is needed, and the foreign nation just ends up upset with us, so not bothering them is a good thing
AR2- We do not need the world, being self dependent is good because the world is always falling apart and we do not let their mistakes affect us.
AR3- We are already taking steps to become energy independent, which is a good thing
"The fact of the matter is we have already harmed our place in the world by not minding our own business. The Banana Republics in Latin America are a prime example of how America has ignored every human right imaginable to gain some extra cash."
Other examples are given, but this quote exemplifies what my opponent is driving at, which is that American foreign meddling hurts people, and so we should turn to Isolationism. I'm repeating myself here, but I'll provide my rationale again. I agree that this kind of stuff is bad. But, America can do good things too. For instance, look at our actions in Haiti. When their natural disaster struck, we came to their aid with $100 million and 5,000 soldiers to assist in the recovery efforts.
So we can see that there is good and bad in our system. However, Isolationism would not be 'good' because while we'd stop pulling sh*t in El Mozote, we'd also stop helping impoverished countries like Haiti. This is why Isolationism is bad, because people get hurt through our inaction. Both our current foreign affairs policies and Isolationism are bad, and therefore we should turn to a third option, which is a reformed foreign affairs policy, where we do what we did in Haiti and avoid doing what we did in El Mozote.
"It's hard to say that not intervening is good, because not invading a country and then saying what could of happened if we did invade a country is pure speculation."
This statement seems to support me. But whatever. After this my opponent goes on to talk about how America's failure in Cuba was good for Cubans. First, I think it's questionable at best to say that things got better for the Cubans after America lost there. Cuban civil rights are virtually non-existent, and civil rights activists and outspoken people are jailed all the time there. It's difficult to imagine that happening to them if they were one of our satellites in this day and age.
But overall, this gets back to my third option thing. If we think invading other countries is too shady of a prospect, then we can just reform our current policies to reflect that, and just stick to pulling jobs like we did in Haiti.
"First off, the reason why jobs are getting outsourced is not to create new jobs in foreign lands.."
I never said that's why they were getting outsourced, I merely said that's why we should support it.
"Its because in worse off countries, people are forced to work for less than in the US.."
My opponent's contention here is that the jobs we give these people suck, and that's why outsourcing should be stopped. However, if we think about this logically, we can see that this would still be hurting people, even if their jobs sucked. No person intentionally looks for the worst job they can take, and then takes it. That would mean that these outsourced jobs are the best option they have. So if we take these jobs away, what are they left with? An even worse job? Perhaps illegal activities, like thievery, murder, or prostitution? Is that something we want to be responsible for?
After this part, my opponent quotes John Kerry who is basically saying that we should stop giving these big companies tax payer dollars. I don't see how this is exclusive to Isolationism. We could include this in a reformed foreign policy.
"You don't really seem to get war, either you are killing people or you are not, there is no in between. You keep on talking about reforms, what exactly are they? You never really challenge my position here, and instead called my position of attempting to stay free of wars a "overreaction", when war is the greatest overreaction of all."
My opponent seems to think that our international actions consist only of war. As I have already exemplified, that is not the case. Therefore, there is a middle ground we can take, where we avoid armed conflict but continue trading with other countries and providing aid to countries like Haiti.
Next my opponent gets back to the federal budgets, saying that I am using an incomplete year of spending. That is correct, my apologies. Then he says that the spending for the military will probably go up, since we're, according to him, about to go back into Iraq. There is very little credence to this assumption. The American people are tired of war in the middle east, and it is likely that it would be an unpopular decision to go back in. Even if we did, who's to say that we would do so on such a massive scale that would require further military funds?
Even if we do go back into Iraq, and the military funding does rise, that does not necessarily mean we should go to Isolationism (due to all the cons associated with Isolationism), but rather a reformed policy (one that would reduce military spending but also doing the good deeds we did in Haiti).
P4 (ECONOMICS), REBUTTAL
"The America has an economy of $16 trillion and California makes $2 trillion (http://www.aei-ideas.org......) which is as much as Italy!"
And why do you think we are able to produce so much? Do you honestly think we could do it all on our own? Remember that we get 60% of our oil from other countries. If we were to suddenly stop getting that, do you think our GDP would remain at $16 trillion? It's estimated that gas prices would double or triple without our oil imports. Losing that oil would make each American poorer, and significantly lower our GDP.
"Plus, the chart is what we are importing and exporting so we are not making money off of what we are importing we are paying for it."
Example: I buy a candy bar for $4, and then I sell it for $5. I make a $1 profit. Based off this, we can see that we are indeed making money off of what we import.
Further, if we were to go Isolationist and limit trade to the 50 states only, the results would be disastrous, according to Mark Perry, economics professor.
"If we restricted trade to just the 50 states, what would happen immediately -- and would increase over time -- would be a huge reduction in our standard of living, because we wouldn't have access to the cheap goods we get from other countries," Perry said. "We also wouldn't have any export markets, so companies like Caterpillar and Microsoft would have a huge reduction in sales and workforce."
Cutting off all ties with the world would have many negative effects for us and for everyone else. On our end, we'd be talking about a collapse of our economy and a major reduction in standard of living. For the rest of the world, the people who live in Haiti, or the people in other poor countries who take our outsourced jobs as an alternative to something far worse, these people would all be negatively effected by our departure from international affairs. Just because our current foreign policy sucks does not mean Isolationism would help people. There is a better, third option available, and so taking Isolationism would be 'bad'.
Thanks for reading.
"For instance, look at our actions in Haiti."
"First, I think it's questionable at best to say that things got better for the Cubans after America lost there."
Truth is, Haiti has not benefited from US meddling. In 1915-1934, the US occupied Haiti due to revolutionaries rising up against the government there. This of course went against the American Isolationistic Monroe Doctrine, which was made so Latin American countries like Haiti would be protected against European slave owners (I believe Haiti was French before they revolted I'm not sure though). Ironically enough Germany stood up for Haiti and there were constant fighting and repression by the US government, including emigration to Germany, until FDR finally ended the madness. When the US left however, they did not really leave Haiti in a good place and Haiti had to basically come up with a new everything from government to education on the spot, with dire consequences. According to the Human Development Index, Haiti is 161st out of 187 while Cuba is actually ranking high on the HDI tied for 59th (http://en.wikipedia.org...).
While it may look nice to see the US helping Haiti out, in reality it just means Haiti has even more debt to deal with, kind of a situation where "you break it you buy it." The relief effort was poor and did not get to the people due to Haiti's terrible communications system and infrastructure. Looters got a large portion of the aid and another large portion of it just rotted in the ports. Rice farmers, due to rice being handed out for free, are going out of business because why would you buy something when you could just get something for free? Marc Cohen, a senior researcher for Oxfam (non profit), says "you might say it is a perfect metaphor for what is wrong with aid to Haiti, instead of bringing subsidized rice in on ships from Miami, we could be helping Haiti grow rice in its own fields" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com...).
"However, if we think about this logically, we can see that this would still be hurting people, even if their jobs sucked."
My job last summer at an arcade by the beach picking up after snotty little kids and getting yelled at by their maniac parents because they lost a quarter to a machine for a mere $8 an hour sucked. 10 year old girls working in carpet factories in Nepal (http://www.cnn.com...) is not only repugnant, sexist but also illegal in the US. Corporations that use child labor around the world should be held just as accountable as if they were working kids to death here. As a corporation, you should either be American or not. I may be seen as narrow-minded by saying this, but America can and has survived on its own.
"Then he says that the spending for the military will probably go up, since we're, according to him, about to go back into Iraq. There is very little credence to this assumption."
Not as far fetched as you think, we already have sent in 275 new troops and "Obama also said the troops are equipped for combat and will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer needed" (http://www.usatoday.com...). Due to the fact that the rebels are more popular than the US backed government and their military are getting pummeled into dust, "combat" inside Iraq will not end anytime soon, at least with anybody but the Al-Queda rebels winning.
"And why do you think we are able to produce so much? Do you honestly think we could do it all on our own? Remember that we get 60% of our oil from other countries. If we were to suddenly stop getting that, do you think our GDP would remain at $16 trillion? It's estimated that gas prices would double or triple without our oil imports. Losing that oil would make each American poorer, and significantly lower our GDP."
We produce so much because the average American worker produced more than the average worker elsewhere in the world. According to The Conference Board, the US produced 67.32 GDP (PPP) per hour which was only behind Norway and Luxembourg (http://en.wikipedia.org...(PPP)_per_hour_worked). The middle east or wherever else we get our oil from is much less efficient, which gives the "New Middle East" even more potential. We are already the biggest oil producer in the world without even coming close to the "New Middle East" potential.
"Plus, the chart is what we are importing and exporting so we are not making money off of what we are importing we are paying for it.
Example: I buy a candy bar for $4, and then I sell it for $5. I make a $1 profit. Based off this, we can see that we are indeed making money off of what we import."
Right, I think I must of read that wrong. I was interpreting it as saying imports plus exports, so to use your example 4 (import)+ 5 (export)= 9, a much bigger number than 1.
"If we restricted trade to just the 50 states, what would happen immediately -- and would increase over time -- would be a huge reduction in our standard of living, because we wouldn't have access to the cheap goods we get from other countries," Perry said. "We also wouldn't have any export markets, so companies like Caterpillar and Microsoft would have a huge reduction in sales and workforce."
*Before I begin, I must say that I have a negative bias towards MSNBC
While I admit, short term it would be worse if America were to stop getting the cheap goods from other places, in the long term it would actually help America. First off, there is the obvious middle man. It costs money to send products across the world, which adds to the price for the American. Second, that worker that makes the good is of lower quality than an American worker and will produce less, meaning that even though he gets paid less money the product he produces is also considerably less making him less efficient. Third, America has the best innovation, as shown by its superior universities. I have gotten to meet college students from across the world being a student at University of Delaware, Delaware has students from 89 different countries (http://www.udel.edu... ). Countries like Japan, China or Germany may have good public schools, but when I talked to my friend from China she basically told me that University of Delaware is better than any university in China. Because higher education is better here, we can think up better and more efficient products than around the world. Fourth, America is FREAKIN HUGE. We are the size of China almost, but we actually have far less people. That means that we have more room to grow than China or any other country not named Russia (whose climate though is far worse than Americas). But fifth and most importantly, https://www.youtube.com...
My opponent quotes me on Haiti and Cuba, but only responds to my statements on Haiti, so we can assume he concedes my points about how Cuba would be better off today if they were with us.
But anyways, the rebuttal to Haiti comes in two parts. First, that we were doing shady stuff early 20th century. Second, the aid we're giving right now is actually bad because it hurts farmers and because the funds provided weren't as effective as we would've liked due to corruption in Haiti.
To the first contention, again, this does not mean we need to turn to Isolationism. My opponent has the BoP to show that Isolationism is good, or perhaps a better way to put it, based on how the debate has gone so far, he has the BoP to show that Isolationism is what America needs to adopt. The example in this contention shows only that our current imperialistic system is harmful, it does not show that we need to turn to Isolationism. Why? Because there is a third option, which is a reformed foreign policy. As I have been showing, the third option can ditch the negative aspects of our current policies, but also avoid the negative aspects of Isolationism.
To the second contention, my opponent first makes the statement that we're racking up money that Haiti owes us. I read the entire article that he sourced this statement from, and could not find a single instance of that being stated.
Next my opponent talks about the poor quality of the aid distribution. Some of the rice rotted in the ports, and some rice was stolen by looters. So the donation of rice didn't go as well as imagined. That does not mean it should not have been done. It's like turning in your homework late. You'll lose points for turning it in late, but you'll earn more than if you didn't turn it in. Same with this. Maybe we didn't get as much rice out there as we wanted, but we got out more than none, which is what would've happened if we'd simply sat on our hands.
But of course, that begs the question about whether or not our donation of rice is overall good for the country. Basically the contention is that farmers are hurt by the donation of rice. My response is two-fold.
First, what farmers? Most farms in Haiti are getting wrecked by natural disaster after natural disaster. So if we stopped donating rice to help the farmers, the now farm-less farmers wouldn't be able to help out their fellow countrymen.
Second, this issue does not mean we must turn to Isolationism. A third option is provided by Marc Cohen, seen in the quote my opponent used from him. Marc says we should help them build farms, instead of just giving them the rice. But if we were to practice Isolationism, as my opponent argues for, we wouldn't be able to employ what Marc wants. Essentially Marc Cohen is supporting me in my support of a reformed, non-Isolationist foreign policy.
My opponent says that US Corp. around the world shouldn't practice child labor. Sure, why not? If we were to make laws to prevent this, that wouldn't be Isolationism, that'd be the third choice I've been touting.
But back to my overall point, it is a lesser evil to allow these corporations to do this. As my opponent has demonstrated, these jobs suck. So the only reason to take this jobs is because they absolutely need to. If we took these jobs away, they would have to do something even worse to acquire the necessary money to survive.
Obama says we're not putting boots on the ground, and that short-term military intervention isn't going to solve anything in the region. Therefore, I think we can say I win this petty squabble over military funding.
In response to my shpeal on America's need to stay connected, and questioning why my opponent thinks we can produce so much, he says:
"We produce so much because the average American worker produced more than the average worker elsewhere in the world."
Yes, but why is it that we produced more? Are Americans just genetically superior when it comes to producing a high GDP? Here's the deal, much of that GDP comes from products manufactured from imports, or comes from Americans outright selling imports. We are using imports to produce our GDP, both through cheap goods, and cheap oil that leaves us with money leftover to spend, thus further boosting our GDP. My opponent likes talking about how much oil we can produce, but the fact remains that it is still less than half of what we are running on now. The epic crash America would experience could very well be irreparable.
Next my opponent challenges an economic professor on the long-term effects of cutting ourselves off from world trade. First my opponent says that since there is a middle man, imports are more expensive. This doesn't make sense based on three factors.
The first is what my opponent has been talking about all along, which is big corporations giving dirt pay jobs in other countries. So even if there is a middle man, he can sell his product for cheap because that's how his employees are paid.
Second, as Mark Perry (again, an economic professor, can't stress that enough) says, the goods we import from other countries are very cheap.
Third, according to laws of economics, cheaper imports is one of the major reasons for importing.
"Second, that worker that makes the good is of lower quality than an American worker and will produce less, meaning that even though he gets paid less money the product he produces is also considerably less making him less efficient."
This is not sourced, and it doesn't make sense. What about something being made in another country means it won't be as good as if it were made in America? You can find just as many awesome foreign made products as you can crappy foreign made products, and ditto for American made products. The difference is the price, and the effect they have on our economy.
"Third, America has the best innovation, as shown by its superior universities. I have gotten to meet college students from across the world being a student at University of Delaware, Delaware has students from 89 different countries (http://www.udel.edu...... )."
This claim is not properly sourced. The source is a link to the Univ. of Delaware website. All it really shows is that Delaware is a popular destination for foreign students. So this stands as a completely subjective statement. While we're on the subject of education, even if it was making us the 'most innovative in the world', it is consistently getting more and more expensive, making this 'innovation' less and less attainable.
My opponent says that Americans have plenty of room to grow. The Federation for American Immigration Reform disagrees, and does so with some pretty good points that talk about more than just how much space we have available.
"Because of the abundance of our nation's resources, we have long been careless about our level of consumption, but it is the precipitous rise in the U.S. population over the last four decades that has resulted in our outstripping of our national resources. We are living beyond our means and are doing so increasingly as our population expands. This is a serious problem with major implications for future generations."
Same as last round, I say that Isolationism is full of Pros and Cons, just like our current policy. Given that there is a third option, one that takes the best of both worlds, Isolationism really isn't a good choice for us.
Thanks for reading.
I did actually
"According to the Human Development Index, Haiti is 161st out of 187 while Cuba is actually ranking high on the HDI tied for 59th" (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
According to Newsweek Magazine, it has one of the "best qualities of life" in the world. People think that the Cuba is a horrible place to live when it really is actually doing quite well for itself. Glen Roberts, a independent reporter (http://www.iammyownreporter.com...) who reports on Latin America went around Cuba and learned that a petition was signed, in 2002, to put socialism into the Cuban constitution. If they really hated their government so much, why would they sign a petition to KEEP the government that Castro started? It really makes no sense and is just propaganda that politicians like to run because they cannot admit they were totally wrong.
"To the second contention, my opponent first makes the statement that we're racking up money that Haiti owes us. I read the entire article that he sourced this statement from, and could not find a single instance of that being stated."
Haiti has been in debt ever since it won its independence in 1804. They appeared to have finally paid them off in 1947, but then were ruled by the Duvaliers from 1957 to 1986 that "were estimated to account for approximately 40% of Haiti's debt in 2000" (http://en.wikipedia.org...). Elizabeth Abbott (http://en.wikipedia.org...) wrote two new chapters in her book Haiti: The Duvaliers and their Legacy after the Earthquake and even renamed the book Haiti: A Shattered Nation. In the book she claims that the Haitian economy is one based on poverty. Haiti had a $1.8 billion at one point , which is ridiculous for a nation that only produces only 7.9 GDP (http://www.imf.org...=) per year and we began to waive our debts until we financed the disastrous earthquake relief that led to their debt yet again surpassing $1 billion.
"First, what farmers? Most farms in Haiti are getting wrecked by natural disaster after natural disaster. So if we stopped donating rice to help the farmers, the now farm-less farmers wouldn't be able to help out their fellow countrymen."
Agricultural production accounted for nearly half of gross domestic product in the 1970s. It now amounts to less than a third(http://www.nbcnews.com...). According to Jean Andre Victor, a Haitian agronomist, "There's a long history in Haiti of groups like USAID flooding the market with rice and other imports," said Victor. "This is not what we need. We need real help and that means completely changing the agricultural system." Renan Reynold, a 37-year-old farmer who makes an average of about $600 a year summed it up perfectly. "If I can't make any money, I can't feed my family." He cannot pay for all the irrigation and other tools to protect his land from the harmful storms, and the looters are the ones left with all the food and all the power.
So, yes I would say Cuba is much better off than Haiti.
"But back to my overall point, it is a lesser evil to allow these corporations to do this. "
You do not have any evidence to support this. I have consistently shown you examples, like Nepal and Indonesia, where every human right imaginable is ignored by these multi-national organizations. America doesn't need and doesn't want them.
"Obama says we're not putting boots on the ground"
We put 275 solders on the ground three days after that article was published, like I said in my last post (http://www.usatoday.com...). In case you haven't learned yet politicians lie.
"Yes, but why is it that we produced more?"
We produce more because our workers our workers make more per hour worked 67.32 GDP PPP(http://en.wikipedia.org...(PPP)_per_hour_worked).
"much of that GDP comes from products manufactured from imports, or comes from Americans outright selling imports."
"it is still less than half of what we are running on now."
"The epic crash America would experience could very well be irreparable."
You do not have any evidence to back such a huge claim. Americas industry was built in the early 1800s by AMERICANS. Nobody came over and helped us do it, we created a independent economy by ourselves and that was when our country was growing the most. We built the textile industries, the railroads and everything else that made the US into a global power by the 1900s (http://en.wikipedia.org...). We did not crash then and we will not crash now.
"The first is what my opponent has been talking about all along, which is big corporations giving dirt pay jobs in other countries. So even if there is a middle man, he can sell his product for cheap because that's how his employees are paid."
You are paying extra for middle man. It does not matter how bad you treat your employees which makes what you are buying inefficient. If we invest more in domestic product, we could take advantage of economies of scale from a larger local industry and they can start paying less for their products too.
"Second, as Mark Perry (again, an economic professor, can't stress that enough) says, the goods we import from other countries are very cheap."
Ok that is the opinion of one professor, they are like everyone else, they differ in opinions. But, just like you, he has no facts to back up his monumental statement. So what if Caterpillar and Microsoft go out of business, all businesses eventually do. There will be new ones to replace them.
"Third, according to laws of economics, cheaper imports is one of the major reasons for importing"
Your source (2) leads to the article on Obama. But just reading your statement, it does not give any reason for why America has to rely on a worse workforce when its domestic workforce is the biggest powerhouse on the face of the Earth.
"This is not sourced, and it doesn't make sense."
I sourced it earlier, we produce more because our workers our workers make more per hour worked 67.32 GDP PPP(http://en.wikipedia.org...(PPP)_per_hour_worked). Here is a really simple example, say I pay a American and a Russian to make me lemonades for an hour. I decide to pay the Russian $4 and the American $8. If they produce like the average Russian, 19.7 GDP PPP per hour, and American, 67.32, the American still makes more money for me (even though i paid the Russian less 19-4 is 15 and 67-8 is 59), and it would get more lucrative the longer they work because the Russian would produce 98.5 lemonades, example version of GDP PPP while the American would make 336.6 lemonades.
"getting more and more expensive"
"This claim is not properly sourced."
Here are a few people that agree
I think that the final round, we should summarize what we said because I showed this to a friend and we have covered a lot of ground. Would you be fine with that?
HAITI AND CUBA
I apologize for missing my opponent's tacked on statistic about how great Cuba is. Before I get into what my opponent said in favor of Cuba, keep in mind the fact that he has not commented at all on the fact that there is serious political and civil rights repression going on there. Nor does he comment on the fact that we as Americans would never tolerate this if they were one of our satellites in this day and age.
First my opponent says that Newsweek Magazine says they have the best quality of life. My opponent does not source this however, and so whether or not there is anything to this opinion expressed by Newsweek is unknowable.
Then my opponent construes a report from an 'independent reporter' (blogger) as a sign that the Cuban people are happy. The fact that the blogger found that 100 people supported socialism doesn't really say anything, except that they like socialism. In fact, it could mean these people are not satisfied with the way things are in Cuba right now. The aim of socialism is to provide adequately for all members of society, after all.
After his comments on Cuba, my opponent sets his sights on Haiti, responding to my questioning the idea that Haiti owes us money by confirming my doubt. America is not racking up Haiti's debt, rather the Duvaliers are. But then my opponent starts going on to use language to suggest that they owe us money, and not the Duvaliers. However his source takes me to a wiki page which merely tells me the name of the author and the title.
Then my opponent responds to my statement about the effect of natural disasters on farms by ignoring the fact and throwing out more statistics and statements. I take my opponent's ignoring as a sign that he concedes. Therefore it stands that if we stopped donating rice, there wouldn't be enough farms surviving natural disasters to support the country.
And as I conclude with this section, I'd like to say that even if I am wrong about these particular countries, does not mean that turning our backs on countries with Isolationism is the right move. Just because we have a problem doesn't mean we quit entirely, it means we should implement reforms so we can do as much good as possible (for acts of good we could commit refer to Marc's suggestion).
LESSER EVIL OF OUTSOURCED JOBS
So in response to my statements about how allowing people in other countries to work outsourced jobs is the lesser evil, my opponent says:
"You do not have any evidence to support this. I have consistently shown you examples, like Nepal and Indonesia, where every human right imaginable is ignored by these multi-national organizations. America doesn't need and doesn't want them."
First I'd like to say that my opponent completely nit-picked my arguments about outsourced jobs. For instance, he ignored the fact we can stop subsidizing these corporations with American tax dollars without practicing Isolationism. We can also enforce higher working standards in outsourced jobs without practicing Isolationism. All of this is ignored.
But onto the above statement, I shall try to clarify what I mean by lesser evil.
Sh*tty job vs no job, or an even sh*ttier job, or illegal activity
That's the option that we are giving these people when we talk about taking away their jobs. As my opponent has made very clear, these jobs suck. Since people are taking these jobs regardless, we can assume that their only other option is something worse, like no job, or illegal activity.
So if we practiced Isolationism, we'd be condemning people to death, illegal activity like robbery, murder, prostitution (regardless of age too), or a job that is possessing even worse working conditions. Whereas in America, the unemployed are taken care of fairly well (comparatively) by our welfare system.
BOOTS ON THE GROUND
I'd like to say first that the 275 are being used as protection for the US Embassy and other US personnel in the area. Additionally, it has been made clear by Obama that troops will not be sent in for combat. All of this comes from the article my opponent uses.
Regardless of the outcome here, it does not change the fact that Isolationism is not a good thing. As I have shown over and over again, there are instances where a new foreign policy tactic could be extremely helpful to the people of the world (i.e. outsourcing and reformed foreign aid). This argument is about whether or not our military funding will be going up. We can cut military funding (as my opponent complains about the amount we spend) and still practice a reformed foreign policy.
"In case you haven't learned yet politicians lie."
Note the unnecessary sarcasm here, voters. I think it is worth considering docking him a conduct point.
My opponent still does not answer why our GDP is so high. He says it's because we earn more per hour, but I ask again, why are we able to do that? I can guarantee that if we started practicing Isolationism, that would not be the case. People would be spending more on gas, which means they'd have less to spend on products from other businesses, which in turn leads said businesses to either make salary cuts or lay people off en masse. The fact that my opponent is ignoring is that America's economy needs to stay interconnected, lest it collapse.
Then my opponent challenges me on the validity of my statements that over half our oil is imported, and that we owe much of our GDP to imports. To the oil, I have already sourced that fact in previous rounds, and I simply assume the readers will be alert enough to realize this, as to avoid repeating sources when they don't need to be.
As for the imports claim, over half our trade is imports. 60% of these are goods (non-capital), so that gets back to my statements about cheap imported products allowing us to have more spending money which leads to more productive businesses and in turn a higher GDP.
Then my opponent says I don't source the fact that America would crash hard if it shut off trade and went Isolationist. I've already shown that it would, both with a professor's analysis, and the statements in the most recent paragraphs. My opponent says that we started out Isolationist, so we should be able to suddenly revert to it now. This is not logical. Back then, we were not interconnected with the world. If we shut ourselves out now, it'd be like ripping out the tubes that connect you to life support.
Next my opponent challenges me on the middle man concept. Look, everyone knows that we import cheap goods, and if you didn't, economics professor has told you. That is not an opinion, that is a fact. If imports were more expensive as my opponent says, why would we import so much? A) My opponent is wrong, or B) We cannot get these things from America so we import. He also tries to say that we shouldn't listen to an economics professor about the price of imports, because the prof. doesn't provide evidence. This is funny because my opponent isn't providing evidence to the contrary of the prof.'s claim, he's merely saying you should take his word over an economic expert's.
Then my opponent tries to explain why we have a GDP, but really only succeeds in saying that we're more productive. Why are we more productive? Because we import cheap goods that can be sold for cheap, so there's tons of money left sitting around after purchase to make more purchases and raise demand.
Then my opponent waives away rising prices with the word 'inflation'.
(source 3 from previous round)
My opponent finds four articles that say we're innovative or whatever, but as I show, it's getting harder and harder to reach that 'innovation'.
And yeah sure, I agree to summarization, but I hope you realize that if you choose to summarize, you can't respond to my arguments this round. That would be refuting, and there is a difference between summarizing and refuting.
Point 1: Cultural Differences
We cannot expect the rest of the world to adapt to our way of life. Just because we may view Communism in Cuba or a dictatorship in Iran as wrong, does not mean we should force our way of life onto another people. For example, a recent Gallup poll showed that only 9% of Iranians approve of the US, while 65% disapprove the US and 25% did not give their opinion (http://www.gallup.com...). My opponent tried to come up with an example of how US intervention actually helped foreigners and the best he could come up with was Haiti, a country wrapped in poverty and has in no way shape or form benefited from US involvement, as I showed with the rice farmers example (http://www.nbcnews.com...). To wrap up this point, by not bothering other nations we keep ourselves in a better position in the world and countries will be more accepting of us, which is a good thing.
Point 2: Multinational Corporations
Multinational corporations are not only hurting our workforce by taking away their jobs they are also human rights violators. Just because a child is sent to a factory in Indonesia or China does not change the fact that it is child labor and cruel and should be outlawed in any form here in the US. My opponent tries to scare the audience by saying that there are no better options, but the better option for a 10 year old girl would be to stay in school and get a real job. The workers there should go on strike for better jobs and to fight the inequality that has come to define these countries, such as China. Only .8% of Chinese households are making 70% of its profits (http://www.china-mike.com...). I say force these greedy corporations stay in the mess they helped make. By staying independent of these corporations we are protecting our workforce, which is a good thing.
Point 3: Defense budget
The defense budget from 2011 that I showed earlier on (http://www.washingtonpost.com...) shows the dramatic difference between money that we spend to be the worlds police (more than the next 13 nations combined as of 2011) and the amount of money that we spend on important things such as education and infrastructure. By involving ourselves less overseas and starting to spend to improve things here domestically, such as education and infrastructure, which is a good thing.
Point 4: Our Workforce
I have shown consistently that our workers are more effective than the average overseas workers, and that they continue to be the most powerful force in the worlds economy. My opponent really seems to resent this fact, saying things such as our GDP comes "from Americans outright selling imports", "this is not logical" and "if we shut ourselves out now, it'd be like ripping out the tubes that connect you to life support." He says all of this without ever challenging the fact that American workers are just more motivated and more independent than the average overseas workers. According to the Baltimore Sun, "of the 21 advanced economies examined in a study published earlier this summer by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the United States is the only nation that doesn't guarantee every worker a certain number of days of paid vacation. Although we have 10 official federal holidays, none are guaranteed paid vacation days " a commonplace legal right in most other industrialized nations." All of this "equates to 700,000 worker "years" of unused vacation (http://articles.baltimoresun.com...) annually." We also have the best universities in the world, as I showed in the end of my fourth post with The Guardian among other sources, so our middle class is being the best educated for their future employers. Investing in the most dependable workforce on the planet is a good thing.
Point 5: Energy
The "New Middle East" as it has been called is the future of oil production, as the production of oil in the region is set to double from its 2010 amounts by 2020 if we continue on the same pace (http://www.usatoday.com...). "(The U.S.) growth rate is greater than the sum of the growth of the next nine fastest growing countries combined and has covered most of the world's net demand growth over the past two years," PIRA Energy Group wrote (http://www.reuters.com...). We are also continuing to be at the forefront of energy research due yet again to our superior universities research. By continuing to invest in domestic energy sources we can become more and more independent when it comes to energy, which is a good thing.
I will leave you with the wise words of two of the greatest US Presidents Eisenhower and Washington, both of which fought for American independence and created the word American Isolation:
Neither stated that trade is in anyway bad, and in no way does American Isolationism stop the free market place. If countries want to trade with us, then they can trade with us, for example Washington was huge in getting French goods during Americas birth, and I never stated that we should cut off trade and all three of us are all for it. However, to pretend that we are completely dependent on other countries is wrong. My opponent makes it seem that if we practice American Isolationism, that every country will all of sudden hate us and stop all trade immediately, but never backs up such a bold claim, we account for a huge amount of the worlds GDP and need others far less than they need us. My argument is that minding our own business will actually improve our standings among our peers, which according to my first statement has been my argument all along. "My argument is that America should choose not to intervene in global politics and that by doing so hurts itself."
So in the final round, my opponent reveals the issue here. We are operating on different definitions of Isolationism. He claims that since he said, "My argument is that America should choose not to intervene in global politics and that by doing so hurts itself."
See this is very unclear. Just because that's your argument doesn't mean that's what Isolationism is. For instance, I could make a debate that says, 'Abortion is bad', and begin with, 'my argument is that it hurts the unborn'. 'Hurts the unborn' isn't necessarily the definition of abortion, rather it's just where I'm coming from.
My opponent should have defined Isolationism from the start of the debate. Why should I be punished for his lack of clarification? Had there been any doubt in my mind going in, I would've asked him to define it, but I thought Isolationism meant no interaction with other countries, period.
Now I know what you're thinking, 'that wasn't a summary right there'. I know, however, I only did that because my opponent has been debating me on the economics of the issue the whole time as if he accepted my definition of Isolationism, only to try to sneak a new definition in the last round.
Therefore I feel my new argument is justified, as it is in response to a new argument from my opponent.
My opponent and I had three major battlegrounds here.
If we adopt Isolationism, we are forced to stand by as countries fall apart that we could've helped. It is true that many of our current foreign policies are questionable, but that does not mean Isolationism is good. What would be good for people is an America that does not meddle for its own benefit (current policy) or stand by indifferently (Isolationism), but a reformed version of our current policy. The best example I provide is the third option in Haiti. There are three things we could be doing for Haiti. One, we could do nothing. Two, we could do what we're doing right now, which is questionable. Three, we could practice a reformed policy, where we help them rebuild their farms and get on with their lives. If we practice Isolationism, we cannot do that.
There's plenty of things we can help with around the world.
My opponent mostly repeated himself, talking about the poor conditions of the jobs. As I have stated earlier, this sections doesn't even need Isolationism. You could stop outsourcing without practicing Isolationism. You could improve the working conditions of jobs without Isolationism. You could stop giving tax subsidies to these big businesses without practicing Isolationism.
Aside from that, my opponent failed to show that the outsourced jobs weren't a lesser evil, so we can rest on the fact that taking these jobs away would ultimately be harmful.
All my opponent did was talk about how we have a high GDP, and when pressed to explain how we have such a great GDP, he was never able to show that we'd be able to do it without outside trade. His example of our economic actions in the 1800s falls apart under cursory observation. I have shown that half our trade is imports, that we are able to buy so much because we import cheap goods, and that 60% of our oil is imported. I have shown that without all of these things in place the average american's spending power would take a hit, and then so would our GDP.
Though Isolationism would probably be better than our current policy, it is still bad when you look at all the opportunities to help we'd be neglecting, and all the damage it'd do to our economy, and our people.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||4|
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.