The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
13 Points

GY] THBT carrot is better than stick

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,563 times Debate No: 13774
Debate Rounds (3)
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Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. The motion that we are going to debate about today has been hot potato for many years. For my stance, I believe that carrot is better than stick. Before I begin my speech, I would like to define today's motion. There are three key terms, in this motion, that I would like to define. I will define carrot as a 'Giving an incentive' such as compliment or reward and stick as a 'Giving a sort of pressure in either physical or psychological way. Also, I will define the key term' A better than b' as A being more practical and moral then B. In other word, I would like to define the motion 'Carrot is better than stick' as 'Incentive is better than punishment."
First, I believe that people tend to act more likely by incentive rather than punishment. According to one experiment, when an act is done by incentive, one factor , which is the hope for reward' contributes to action. However, when an act is done by punishment, one factor which is hope for not getting a punishment has contributed and usually incentive has better consequence than punishment because people's desire to crave something usually outwards one's desire to evade a certain situation.
For my second argument, I believe that compare to punishment, work that is done by incentive has better efficiency. People do better job when they have incentive, because they have a strong motivation and therefore, more passionate and hard-working, while punishment only makes people tired and less enthusiastic.
My third argument is that incentive implants good memory to people and thus makes them to work another time. When punishment is given, though it can result an immediate result, it implants a bad memory and thus leads to bad consequence. On the other hand, Incentive not only drives an good result but also implants on good memory that can lead to do working more than one time.


Thanks for the topic Boom113.


My opponent defines the topic as "Incentives are better than punishments." This is slightly confusing, since punishments are a form of incentive. The proper resolution is "Positive incentives are better than negative incentives."

==Burden of proof==

My opponent, as the instigator and affirmative has the burden of proving that positive incentives are always better than negative incentives. I will negate by showing that they are equally valid tools (one is not categorically "better") and their relative usefulness depends on the situation.

==My case==

C1) Criminals

Punishment is "better" as a disincentive to crime because positive incentives make no sense. We could, in theory, pay every citizen $25 for each day he or she goes without murdering someone else, but this positive incentive is impractical, expensive, and utterly ridiculous. The average citizen, who does not intend to murder, would collect an easy $25 a day from the government; the serial killer, however, would be willing to give up his $25 in order to kill someone. Only a punishment of life in prison is likely to deter murderers. According to a study published in the American Law and Economic Review, states with worse prison conditions have lower crime rates. [1] The study concludes that bad prison conditions have a deterrent effect on crime. A pro ballot would quite clearly increase crime rates, if we adopt positive rather than negative incentives against crime.

C2) Realpolitik

In the world of international relations, President Theodore Roosevelt advised future leaders to "speak softly and carry a big stick." The quote was meant to show that leaders should seek diplomatic solutions, but that no one would take these diplomatic overtures seriously unless the U.S. had the military might to back them up with force. We can see this doctrine validated in the international community's response to the invasion of Iraq; world leaders at first tried to apply positive incentives to get Bush to back away from an invasion, appealing to flattery, logic, and the importance of maintaining the legitimacy of international institutions. But ultimately, because no country was powerful enough to impose a negative incentive on the U.S. (such as economic sanctions), the U.S. simply ignored them.

The international relations (IR) theory of Realism says that States must maximize their share of world power in order to protect themselves. This conclusion follows from two main corollaries: 1) the international system is anarchic, meaning there is no power above the nation-state and 2) states cannot perfectly divine each other's intentions. Combine these two, and you realize that States live in a dangerous world; if they are invaded, no higher power is coming to their defense to stop the aggressor; in addition, even though another State may be its friend today, a State cannot trust that this friend will not stab it in the back tomorrow (it may have evil intentions or in future, a change in leadership might change the ally's agenda).

From Realism, it follows that the only way for a State to properly defend its territory is to offer a massive negative incentive to invasions. In the past, this has meant having a strong enough national army to impose massive punishment on an invading force, turn the tide of battle, and launch a counter-invasion against the enemy to take their capital. In modern times, it also means having a nuclear arsenal and threatening other State's with annihilation if they launch a nuclear first strike or an invasion that threatens the first State's existence.

Israel has used a strong military and a nuclear stockpile to prevent any major invasion of its territory since 1973. India and Pakistan have used nuclear weapons to prevent any major wars occurring between the two countries (save for a few small border skirmishes).

Thus, the only valid tool for nation-states to deter war is a negative incentive. Diplomacy and positive incentives are far from a strong guarantee, as we saw with the failure of appeasement during Hitler's leadership of Nazi Germany.

C3) Grades

Grades are impossible to classify since they are both a positive and negative incentive. A student who gets an A on a paper gets validation from the teacher, social proof from his friends, and rewards from his parents. There is a positive incentive to get good grades. A student who gets an F on an assignment suffers negative incentives: he will be scolded by the teacher for not working hard enough, his friends will make fun of him for being stupid, and his parents will chastise him. There is a negative incentive against getting bad grades. Since the same incentives can be both positive and negative, it is impossible to conclude that one form of incentive is "better" than the other.


*My opponent references an experiment*

This is un-cited and I can't tell what the experiment actually did from my opponent's description. There is evidence from animal experiments that both positive and negative incentives can strongly influence behavior. Rat behavior can be strongly influenced by a food based reward system, but dog behavior can be equally strongly influenced by administering a small shock as punishment. Dog trainers often use both positive and negative incentives in training.

*My opponent says that positive incentives are better for worker productivity*

Offering people monetary incentives to work harder has shown great success. Yet negative incentives are still needed in the workplace to curb some behavior. Sexual harassment can only be deterred by the threat of being fired.

In addition, minimum wage jobs cannot afford to offer additional monetary incentives since it makes no sense in their business model. Ensuring that workers at McDonald's don't show up late every day can only be done through the threat of them losing their jobs.

*My opponent says rewards implant a good memory*

We remember really bad experiences more vividly than slightly good experiences because adrenaline helps greatly in memory formation. People are far more likely to learn the lesson from a really bad negative punishment than from a slightly nice positive reward. The goal of an incentive should be to change behavior, not leave someone feeling happy.

Because both positive rewards and punishments are equally valid tools and because punishments are really important incentives, depending on the situation, I urge a Con vote.

Debate Round No. 1


Boom113 forfeited this round.


Extend case, vote con
Debate Round No. 2


Boom113 forfeited this round.


Done, vote me
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by m93samman 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 5 years ago
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