The Instigator
Adam2
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Flipz
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Imperialism and empire-building is ALWAYS bad

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,857 times Debate No: 54829
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
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Adam2

Pro

Imperialism is always bad -- that will be my argument. First round for acceptance. As a side note, I should also note that many of these countries that had empires also had racism. Sweden, one of the countries that had one of the most brutal empires in which they oppressed Finland for 800 years, also gave birth to one of the most notorious racists -- Carl Linneus (who in my opinion is worse than Hitler). But that's for another time.
Flipz

Con

I accept. Please post your argument.
Debate Round No. 1
Adam2

Pro

I will start off like this: can you ever name an instance in which empire-building was ever good? The Native Americans, for instance, are not happy with the fact that one country -- Scotland -- took away their land and looted from them. Are the Inuits happy about Denmark being on their territory? No, they're not. The Indians have hard feelings because the British (mostly Scottish) went and conquered them. (It was Scotland mostly, being that King James VI and I was Scottish). Are the Highlanders happy with the way they are treated in Scotland? Are the southern English happy about the way Scotland has treated them? The universal answer is no. Most the things these countries did has damaged the countries they went and conquered. And with imperialism naturally comes cheating and oppressing. The powerful nations that conquered eventually used rape to humiliate the enemies.

Empire-building has caused destructive consequences for the lands conquered. The Indian-Pakistani conflict can be atributed to Britain (mostly the lowlands of Scotland, again). The Northern Irish conflict can be atributed to, once again, Scotland. The grudge that Finns have toward Swedes, is Sweden's fault -- and they've never issued an apology for it. Empire-building is always horrible, no matter what.
Flipz

Con

Defining Imperialism and Empire-building
We need to separate modern imperialism from ancient empire-building because scholars traditionally define the first as an economic relationship where indigenous populations still have a stake in local governance and the second as a complete dethroning of the local political authority, not just transactional but a direct territorial relationship. While an imperialistic nation’s power supersedes local authority and controls the production, supply, and development of local economic resources, that nation typically does not directly govern.

My opponent’s opening argument does not distinguish the two, but for simplicity’s sake, I will only defend modern imperialism. Given the resolution dictates “AND,” if I prove that imperialism is NOT always bad -- i.e. sometimes it’s a good thing-- then I should win this debate. Here we go:

Imperialism Diminishes Poverty and Discrimination
Imperialism has traditionally targeted countries that underutilize their raw resources, like nations in Africa and South Asia. Roads, bridges, mines, rigs, lumber mills, farms, and a whole slew of other economic fixtures and infrastructure are built at the dominant nation’s expense, and while slavery typically characterized old empire-building, European powers ultimately found this unsustainable and hired help to create a productive and paid workforce, lifting entire populations out of poverty. Capitalism helps break down petty distinctions, like the caste system under British Raj.1 In fact, India owes much of its modern economy to lot work done by Great Britain.2

Nations dominated by European political powers in the 18th and 19th centuries typically did not have the technical resources to harness their own economic potential. This is why imperialism became necessary to the modern economy. Even 21st depictions of imperialism, like so-called cultural neocolonialism and globalizing market forces, has helped created international social mobility, destroy dictatorships, and raise democracies from the cinders of those oppressive systems.3 You only need to look as far as Southern and Eastern Europe in the late 20th century and the Middle East in the 21st century to see the ever increasingly positive impulse that has been produced by American and Western European cultural hegemony.

Imperialism Discourages Violence

I want to dispel the notion that Britain is responsible for the current India-Pakistan conflict. The geographical partition did not cause this group to hate each other, because the religious animosity and racial antipathy existed before the British exerted influence. In fact, before the partition, Hindus and Muslims frequently initiated targeting killings, brawls, and pogroms against the other sect.4

But more importantly, economic globalization sparked by the infrastructural gains of early imperialism has created a network of trading partners and democratic allies, expanding the middle class and decreasing impetuses for war. It is no coincidence that the rise in globalization has correlated to a decrease not just in the number of wars but the intensity of war in the last half century. Globalization allows nations to acquire goods and power by trade rather than by territory and force.

[3] Daniel, “Trade, Democracy and Peace: The Virtuous Cycle,” 20 April 2007,

http://www.freetrade.org...

[4http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Adam2

Pro

Defining Imperialism and Empire-building
We need to separate modern imperialism from ancient empire-building because scholars traditionally define the first as an economic relationship where indigenous populations still have a stake in local governance and the second as a complete dethroning of the local political authority, not just transactional but a direct territorial relationship. While an imperialistic nation’s power supersedes local authority and controls the production, supply, and development of local economic resources, that nation typically does not directly govern.

My opponent’s opening argument does not distinguish the two, but for simplicity’s sake, I will only defend modern imperialism. Given the resolution dictates “AND,” if I prove that imperialism is NOT always bad -- i.e. sometimes it’s a good thing-- then I should win this debate. Here we go:
What you're talking about is things that have been the result of the United Nations. Free trade, cooperation amongst countries for a common goal -- peace and democracy -- is not imperialism. Globalization and imperialism are two different things. Arguments can be made for and against the United Nations, however, no one would ever imply that it's imperialism because it's not.
Here's the real definition of imperialism according to Wikipedia:
"Imperialism, as it is defined by the Dictionary of Human Geography, is an unequal human and territorial relationship, usually in the form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another."

Imperialism Diminishes Poverty and Discrimination
Imperialism has traditionally targeted countries that underutilize their raw resources, like nations in Africa and South Asia. Roads, bridges, mines, rigs, lumber mills, farms, and a whole slew of other economic fixtures and infrastructure are built at the dominant nation’s expense, and while slavery typically characterized old empire-building, European powers ultimately found this unsustainable and hired help to create a productive and paid workforce, lifting entire populations out of poverty. Capitalism helps break down petty distinctions, like the caste system under British Raj.1 In fact, India owes much of its modern economy to lot work done by Great Britain.
Slavery is not necessary for brutality and imperialism. Now there is some truth to what you are saying, but it doesn't apply to all. In the case of Germany and Holland (and perhaps Italy), the colonies that were made were settlement colonies, in which the traders traded with the people and in some ways improved the lifestyles of the people that were there. You can't deny, for instance, that, as bad as Apartheid was (and even then you can blame Britain more for this than Holland, since Britain was the colonizer country when Apartheid started), the Dutch improved things about Africa.
That's not the case for Britain and Denmark. Their sole intention was to loot. You can consider their empires organized robbery. Denmark did it on the Gold Coast and in Greenland. Britain did it in their colonies. What you say about bridges, infastructure does not exist in the former British colonies, and neither does it exist in Greenland. Which comes to show that it was all about stealing what they could to enrich the mother country.

Nations dominated by European political powers in the 18th and 19th centuries typically did not have the technical resources to harness their own economic potential.
That's not true. Japan and China were industrializing too.

This is why imperialism became necessary to the modern economy. Even 21st depictions of imperialism, like so-called cultural neocolonialism and globalizing market forces, has helped created international social mobility, destroy dictatorships, and raise democracies from the cinders of those oppressive systems.3 You only need to look as far as Southern and Eastern Europe in the late 20th century and the Middle East in the 21st century to see the ever increasingly positive impulse that has been produced by American and Western European cultural hegemony.
I can argue against what you're saying about Southern Europe (though I don't know much about Eastern Europe)

Imperialism Discourages Violence
What you mentioned was not imperialism. Imperialism really causes violence.

I want to dispel the notion that Britain is responsible for the current India-Pakistan conflict. The geographical partition did not cause this group to hate each other, because the religious animosity and racial antipathy existed before the British exerted influence. In fact, before the partition, Hindus and Muslims frequently initiated targeting killings, brawls, and pogroms against the other sect.4
True but it made things worse.

Imperialism is empire building. It involves using military force to conquer another country completely. Every my opponent mentioned is not imperialism, just globalization and international cooperation.

Flipz

Con

Defining Imperialism

Pro misses the crux of my argument: modern capitalism is not always itself imperialism, but imperialism has played a role in creating prosperity by opening up markets and undergirding necessary infrastructure for the modern economy. Experts support this interpretation:

“The exportation of capital into foreign and less competitive markets was the driving force of all imperialistic ventures. The politics and ideologies were simply justifications of this economic phenomenon.”
Hodgart, Alan. The Economics of European Imperialism. New York. W.W. Norton & Company Inc. 1977

And, Con meets Pro’s definition, as Britain’s relationship with India and other territories qualifies as “an unequal…territorial relationship…based on the ideas of practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another.”
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Imperialism also exports the cultural mentality of capitalism, including certain motivations, desires, and goals that have made the drive to globalized markets possible. Uniting people into one culture makes globalization much easier. You can see this by contextualizing Pro’s definition with a little more information from his Wikipedia source.

“Progressive imperialism… promotes the spread of civilization to allegedly backward societies to elevate living standards and culture in conquered territories, and allowance of a conquered people to assimilate into the imperial society, an example being the British Empire…The term has been applied to Western political and economic dominance in the 19th and 20th centuries…”
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Finally, Pro ignored my arguments about US hegemony. Interventionism is overwhelmingly imperialistic because it involves a direct military and political relationship, not just economic. The US willingness to use force and the direct use of force has had a positive impact on worldwide democracy and freedom – consider Kosovo, Kuwait, and Haiti. President Clinton restored democracy in Haiti, in what can only be considered a direct imperial intervention. This shows that while imperialism can be economic, it does always have to be economic. Consider, again, also the Democratic movements in Eastern and Southern Europe.

“What you say about bridges, infastructure does not exist in the former British colonies… Which comes to show that it was all about stealing what they could to enrich the mother country.”
Hands down, I gave a source and Pro didn’t. British Raj helped India’s infrastructure immensely. Look at my previous speech for the source. More importantly, Pro concedes my argument about the caste system, which shows a positive impact of British imperialism.

“That's not true. Japan and China were industrializing too.”
Yes, they did through European help. European powers carved out spheres of influence and maintained territorial rights in port cities, which is imperialism. Though things were not always alright, the Chinese still benefited immensely from this imperial, economic relationship.

"Imperialism really causes violence."
Imperialism itself is not violence, and though sometimes it causes violence and other bad things, it does not ALWAYS do this, which is all I need to prove.

"Imperialism is empire building. It involves using military force to conquer another country completely."
No, it doesn’t always. See my explanations and definitions above.





Debate Round No. 3
Adam2

Pro

I forfeit
Flipz

Con

Pro forfeits
Debate Round No. 4
Adam2

Pro

Finished -- I can't win. Con has truly beaten me.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Adam2 3 years ago
Adam2
That all empire-building does is cause innocent people to suffer
and you steal from them too
Posted by FaceDancer88 3 years ago
FaceDancer88
What do you mean by bad? Your resolution is very vague.
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