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The Contender
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Is Private Sector investment in human space exploration preferable to public sector investment?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/29/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,762 times Debate No: 19050
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




I negate the resolution, Resolved: Private sector investment in Human Space exploration is preferable to public sector Investment. Public sector investment first is critical to defense, second, private spending is unsafe and inefficient and finally public sector investment is critical to the health of the economy.

First, public sector investment into human space exploration is critical to US defense and international position. As a NASA press release from October 6th, 2011 indicates, NASA investment into human space exploration often produces a large number of spin technologies that can be applied to the military. All modern military rocketry technologies used in nuclear missiles and conventional weapons were developed by NASA, and outsourced to the military. Aviation Week states on March 5th, 2006 that modern military technology development will lie in space technology in the future, and NASA is critical to that process; the development of military technology would most likely halt if the military was to be refused help from NASA in setting up inter space jets, or satellites that can strike down any unidentified, moving objects from space. Without public sector investment in NASA, the United States would be weakened in military technologies and could easily be defeated by major enemies in a conventional war. In addition, private companies, who often have contracts with NASA, would be broken from their contracts and would release valuable high end military technology to China, India, Russia or Iran in exchange for money. This leaking of valuable US defense technology and the destruction of our own technological progress would destroy our dominant international position built through military superiority and make the US a second class country that can easily be threatened.

Second, privatization would result in great safety risks and inefficiencies. As both MIT and NASA Chief Ron Dittemore have said, "an overemphasis on profit can bias decisions, resulting in Program weakness with reduction of critical skills and erosion of checks and Balances."A profit motive will force companies to cut as many costs as possible in order to boost profits. Unfortunately such costs often include the safety measures that can be the difference between life and death if something goes wrong. The risks to everyone involved are also enhanced by the sudden need for inter-agency and even inter-business communication and cooperation. For example, if a private company faces a severe problem in space, it cannot obtain cooperation from a competing company who may have a solution since that competing company does not have a profit motive to help that company; this may pose dangers to astronauts within space.

Third, public sector investment ensures local job growth and protects domestic jobs. Each year, as stated by the Guardian on October 10th, 2011, NASA uses its 19 Billion dollars to employ thousands of domestic technical experts and local engineers. A private company, however, would outsource jobs to different countries, and not hire local engineers. Tens of thousands of jobs relating to NASA would be lost as a result, as companies can simply hire equally capable foreign engineers. Also, reducing government spending by cutting NASA would hurt the US economy. As John Maynard Keynes also states in his General Theory of Unemployment, reducing public spending in a recession is one of the worst things a government can do, as it will reduce aggregate demand and cause a cyclical process of job loss, and reduced investment in the economy. Removing 19 Billion dollars of essential spending in this economy would not be a wise decision. In addition, private companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Virgin Galactic and Space X often depend on public investment and subsidies to survive. For example, Space X constructed the Falcon Rocket and Design model for an estimated 1.9 Billion. Without public contracts, according to MIT and Space Review, many of these companies that depend on public space investment would go bankrupt; the estimated job losses with a privatization of a space program would lie in the ballpark of 1 million.

I negate the resolution for the following reasons: public sector investment is critical to our defense, private investment is naturally inefficient and unsafe, and space investment is critical to our economy.


As for the rules of this debate, I will refrain from ad hominem attacks with the desire that my opponent will do the same. I look forward to my first debate since my senior year in high school.

As the affirmative, I believe I have the burden of proof so I must obliterate all doubt to win your ballot.

I affirm the resolution, Resolved: Private sector investment in Human Space exploration is preferable to public sector Investment.

Private sector investment in the Human Space exploration is preferable to public sector investment because private sector spurs competition.

My sole contention is that the private sector spurs competition. Without a doubt, if the public sector is involved in ANYTHING, it flushes out the competition sooner or later. The same standard applies to space exploration. If the public sector is not involved in space exploration, then the taxpayer money can be used more effectively. The public sector money can not be split into competing camps, it must be funneled into one company, this destroys competition. It destroys competition when the businesses it would be competing against, total costs increase because the business is paying taxes individually and continually having to compete with their own tax dollars. This is hazardous to the business. As the costs pile up, businesses fail and then the market is shrunk and all competition is obliterated by the public sector. Thus, as the ONLY camp involved, the public sector is free to control the market to benefit its own desires. If there is privatization, there must be competition at all times. As long as there is two competing, equal opportunity powers, the market benefits as prices decrease as the companies try to undercut each other. All the fat is trimmed, the same fat that would not be possible if the public sector was involved.

Next, I will refute my opponents points.

Public sector investment into human space exploration is critical to US defense and international position.
My opponent and I can agree, that human space exploration is critical to US defense and international position, we disagree on how to best achieve it. The private sector is a more efficient to achieve this because the public sector always bends to the political will. Depending on which party is in control of the budget, the funding can increase or decrease. A decrease can occur at the worst time like right now due to the rising influence of countries that may or may not (depending on whom one is talking to) be hostile towards the country. The budget while be gutted in times like these. And after analyzing the business cycle, one can expect this every 20 years.

Second, privatization would result in great safety risks and inefficiencies.
Prima facie, this may seem true, but upon closer inspection, it is wildly inaccurate. Let's say there are three companies in the industry of human space exploration: Company Fly-High, Company Touch the sky, and Company Ascension. All three are equally managed and are actively competing, but "Ascension" in an attempt to undercut their competitors, cut a crucial part and lives are lost in explosion. The market, as a result, would become more cautious when using, if they even use, Ascension. Ascension would lose money and would have to make a major decision: close down or try to find and solve the problem. "Fly-High" and "Touch the sky", as more healthy alternatives experience growth as they receive business that was loyal to Ascension. Worst case scenario, even if all three experience a disaster, there is now a power vacuum, other companies can arise and seize the business that was loyal to Ascension, Touch the Sky and Fly-High. Either way, the market will always find the best for the best price. However, this does not happen in public sector. As stated earlier, there is no competition in the market. If there is a disaster, there is no alternative. As a result, the companies become largely inefficient because there is no force or pressure on them to change. If the public sector is involved in space exploration, it would lead to MORE disasters and less safety.

Public sector investment ensures local job growth and protects domestic jobs.
While this seems great, upon closer inspection, it is a logical fallacy. My opponent assumes that the public sector will look to employ Americans, however these are not the jobs an economy desires. As the only company, the public sector would largely inflate their incomes because of the guaranteed company income. They look to keep retention and keep their workers happy and rolling in the money but soon, a careful analysis of the budget reveals that the public sector financed a largely inefficient and bloated budget. The public clamors for their heads. Soon there are massive layoffs. We all witnessed this with NASA. The cost per mission was massive and the taxpayer could no longer finance it. The layoffs cause a massive increase in the misery index that could have been avoided had there been competition. A private company is able to organize their debt and prioritize if times get difficult, an option the public sector does not have because their financiers are able to elect representatives that can them down. It is only just to privatize human space exploration for the above reasons.

I did not use evidence for my first round because it seems that every major news agency has a bias. My opponent fell for that when he used quotations from NASA to support his or her case. It is the logical equivalent of asking Warren Buffet's secretary what she thinks of Mr. Buffet?' while Mr. Buffet sits in the room. WHATEVER he or she says, it is going to be with ulterior motives because his or her financier is within the sound of his or her voice and this has a direct influence on his or her responses. This being said, if my opponent asks, I have no qualm with posting quotes to support my side although I prefer to use logic and critical thinking.
Debate Round No. 1


jjx1 forfeited this round.


My opponent did not post an argument for the so I urge a vote for the affirmative.
Debate Round No. 2


jjx1 forfeited this round.


I hope my opponent is fine but since he failed to post an argument, I urge a vote for the affirmative. Thank you!
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
good to know
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
is it because they can study it really well and then you lose
Posted by GWindeknecht1 4 years ago
In the future con, don't put up your entire case for anyone until they've accepted the challenge. Devote round 1 to acceptance only.
Posted by Oldfrith 4 years ago
hmmm...... I'm thinking about it.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
I agree because a pritvate comany is more efficient then a goverment one.
Posted by GWindeknecht1 4 years ago
This is October's PF topic
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Invictus shattered all doubt, and jjx1 FF didnt help.