The Instigator
Sieben
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
TheAtheistAllegiance
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points

National Success

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Sieben
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/7/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,567 times Debate No: 14294
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (38)
Votes (4)

 

Sieben

Pro

Debate: What causes countries to be successful?

8000 char limit on rounds 2-4. Citations don't have to count towards the word limit. Its cool with me if citations are listed on a separate page.

First round is for intro and clarifications.

In the last round, no new arguments or evidence may be used. It is simply a recap of the debate. Limited to 4000 characters.

TAA has expressed that he might have to miss a round due to his schedule. Don't vote him down for it. I will remind you all during the debate if he does so.

This may turn into an evidence intensive debate. To stop debaters from spamming each-other with links rather than arguments, debaters must actually say everything needed to support their argument, THEN give the citation. For example, "Cuba sucks [1]" ought to be ignored, whereas "Cubans exported over 9000 cigars last year [2]" is valid.

I hope these measures prove a courtesy to readers.

=== Framework ===

Pro/con doesn't really have any meaning. Its just who has the best analysis. I'll be Pro.

This debate will explore the causes of success in nations. Success is meant to indicate quality of life, economic health, etc of the nation. I'll leave it open to debaters to further clarify this term if necessary.

[1] http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com...
[2] http://www.truthdig.com...
TheAtheistAllegiance

Con

Thanks to Pro for starting this debate; it should be interesting.

I agree to the debate's preconditions and definition of success, and I await Pro's case. Also, I appreciate the leniency given for personal issues taking place with my current schedule.
Debate Round No. 1
Sieben

Pro

1) Sampling Bias

i) Theory

Looking at metrics by country is a totally arbitrary sample space. Many countries are large and diverse, while others are infinitesimally smaller and homogeneous.

A sampling bias appears because some economic groups are randomly aggregated together. Undoubtedly, some combinations will score better on “Success” metrics than others. This is due entirely to sampling bias.

ii) Example

Industries have different rates of profit [1]. So when countries have different types AND amounts of industries, it makes a large difference.

For example, Luxembourg's PCGDP is nearly $80,000. Sound good? Well their main industry is international banking. Luxembourg's next largest industry is steel, which makes up only 1.8% of GDP Total bank assets were 32x greater than domestic GDP. These are some serious bankers [2].

So metrics for Luxembourg are basically metrics for being one of the world's largest banks. This makes comparisons between Luxembourg and other nations completely moot because other nations are not similarly composed. Its apples and oranges.

2) Jurisdictional Competition

i) Theory

To a varying extent, populations and capital are mobile. This mobility depends on legal, linguistic, and economic barriers. Governments can attract immigrants by competing with one another on services, legal structures, and tax rates.

Governments successful in attracting immigrants and capital are rewarded with higher tax revenues from the increase in economic activity. So immigration can serve as a check on governments to adopt beneficial policies. The whole population benefits in a spillover effect.

ii) Example

A) Individuals

A list of countries by foreign population can be found here [3]. A list of countries by Sen Welfare Function (SWF) can be found here [4]. My full spreadsheet can be downloaded here [5].

The top 30 countries by SWF have more than 7 times as many immigrants as the bottom 60 countries. They have 2.5 times as many immigrants as the overall average.

There are obvious exceptions like Japan. In spite of these outliers, Immigration is a overall a very significant determinant of success.

B) Corporations

Ireland - Wikipedia writes [6]:

In 1987 Fianna Fáil reduced public spending, cut taxes, and promoted competition. Ryanair used Ireland's deregulated aviation market and helped European regulators to see benefits of competition in transport markets. Intel invested in 1989 and was followed by a number of technology companies such as Microsoft and Google. [...] The GDP per capita in the OECD prosperity ranking rose from 21st in 1993 to 4th in 2002.[20] Between 1985 and 2002, private sector jobs increased 59%. The economy shifted from an agriculture to a knowledge economy, focusing on services and high-tech industries. Economic growth averaged 10% from 1995 to 2000, and 7% from 2001 to 2004. Industry, which accounts for 46% of GDP and about 80% of exports, has replaced agriculture as the country's leading sector.

Ireland is worse shape now because government began an unsustainable spending binge that outstripped revenue[7].

But this is only one country. What have the others been doing? See the following source [8]. According to Figure 1, capital has become increasingly mobile between since the early 90's. Tables 1 and 2 show a near universal reduction in corporate tax rates among developed nations. Table 3 shows that top income tax rates have also fallen significantly – from an average of 67 to 47%.

Clearly, developed countries are competing vigorously for corporate investment and high skilled workers.

3) Market Growth

i) Theory

Prices arise on markets as signals of scarcity and demand. They also allow comparisons between otherwise heterogeneous goods. In this way, markets allocate capital efficiently towards profit maximization. This will produce growth.

Governments acquire revenue by force. Without market prices, they are utterly blind to opportunity cost. As a simple thought experiment, imagine the fate of a business ignoring prices. It would misallocate resources in a second, quickly bankrupting itself. Why would governments fare any better?

Because governments know this, they allow varying amounts of market activity.

ii) Examples - All countries. Seriously, give me the data.

A) Model

I have constructed an econometric model. It is a “Sum of Centered Exponential Declines”. I call it SCED [9]. I use taxes and PCGDP as a function of time to obtain a curve fit. Here are the governing equations:

EQ1 - http://www.debate.org...

EQ2 - http://www.debate.org...

EQ3 - http://www.debate.org...

EQ4 - http://www.debate.org...

Complicated? There are only three parameters - dt, C and tau.

English explanation: Every year is responsible for some economic activity. This grows to a peak after a certain time, dt. The height to which it grows depends on Ci, the growth coefficient for that year. The growth coefficient is updated every period to grow at the same rate as modeled PCGDP. The steepness of the curve is governed by Tau, the time constant.

So growth in 1990 depends on growth from ALL other years before that. Contributions from 1950 are probably negligible. Growth from 1985 might be very significant. Growth from 1990 is just starting, and will not have a large impact on that year's GDP. For an example, see here [10]

The model has to start in medias res, so EQ1 adds initial PCGDP at the first time period as an exponential decline. This is a clumsy but approximately correct way for me to jump start the model.

B) Assumptions

1) Taxes are sucked into a black hole and are never seen or heard from again

2) All growth is entirely due to markets

3) Homogeneous development profile for capital

4) Constant qualitative impact of consumption/investment

Now you might argue with these assumptions. But if my assumptions are wrong, my model shouldn't fit the data very well! For example, if government can produce growth, my model will systematically under-predict GDP.

C) Other Sources of Error

Exogenous shocks

Discretization of continuous phenomena

Limited computing power – only a decimal place or two of accuracy

D) Results

I coded the model and optimizer into matlab. The script file for the US [11] and a trial of matlab [12] can be downloaded and run on your PC. I provide this for transparency, not because I think everyone should spend their time double checking me.

I'm happy to run any data Con gives me. The longer the better. I used the World Bank's database [13] except for the USA, where I used the USBEA's to get a longer history [14]. I used expense (%GDP) for overall tax rate, and PCGDP in constant dollars.

The United States – Correlation = .9923, R2 = .9846 http://www.debate.org...

Ireland – Correlation = .9764, R2 = .9543 http://www.debate.org...

Sweden – Correlation = .9916, R2 = .9832 http://www.debate.org...

Denmark – Correlation = .9754, R2 = .9514 http://www.debate.org...

Those numbers are pretty close to 1. I'm almost 100% correct.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...Report this Argument

TheAtheistAllegiance

Con

1. Sampling Bias:

Pro points out the problem of sampling bias, which comes down to ruling out variables. Obviously the bankers in Luxembourg will not serve as effective comparisons for national success, so we are in agreement.

2. Jurisdictional Competition:

i) Theory:

Immigration may serve as a check on governmental actions, but the significance is minimal. Most governments are subject to their voter base and legal structures. The success of these nations is largely dictated by wise social and economic policies, which then brings in higher rates of immigration as an after-effect. For example, if Sweden's government attempted to cut public services and lower tax-rates to theoretically bring in foreign investment, it would not happen because the voter base would not allow it. In fact, capital relocation is also largely dictated by political stability and economic profitability, which happens AFTER a nation dials in the right policies. And vice versa, if a nation is so unsuccessful that its citizens do not have the means to effectively relocate, then low immigration will correlate with undeveloped nations, but it's not the cause for success/failure.

ii) Example:

A) Individuals

My opponent formulates a spreadsheet to demonstrate the correlation between high rates of immigration and national success, but the whole paper is widely generalized. Comparing developed nations in Europe to undeveloped nations in Africa, is in itself, comparing apples and oranges. African individuals will obviously not be very mobile, for there are few roads or cars to travel in. However, when comparing developed nations under equivalent circumstances, there isn't much of a correlation.

For example, the top ten developed nations have an average immigrant population of 12.4%, the next ten have an average of 15.8%, and the next have an average of 11.7%. The correlation between success and immigration in these nations is negligible. As national success declines linearly, immigration rates fluctuate. Thus, the only notable difference can be found between undeveloped, developing, and developed countries.

I extracted information from these sources and calculated the results myself. I left out oddball variables, such as Japan, Luxembourg, Andorra, etc:

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

B) Corporations

Ireland certainly underwent some improvements over the last 20 years, but so has the rest of the world. Although average tax rates have fallen, that doesn't mean it's the cause behind modern economic growth. With some of the most successful nations currently having the highest tax rates -- Australia, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc -- it isn't accurate to attribute success to low tax rates.

This is because costs are not the only factors corporate investors worry about, but instead profit (revenue - cost). Sales factor into investments, and thus long-term economic growth. Because the world's most successful nations have effectively distributed wealth to poor and middle-class citizens, increased consumption has given rise to larger profit margins, which initiates capital accumulation within these countries' borders. Such programs include subsidized education, healthcare, and employment -- all of which enhance the average citizen's disposable income. Without such programs, aggregate demand would diminish, and so would sales projections, thus capital investment. Instead, the excess resources would remain idle and unproductive.

For instance, Armenia might have a low-cost business environment, but if there is nobody to sell goods and services to, then why bother investing there? There aren't going to be any profit opportunities. On the other hand, Denmark is currently one of the largest investment hubs in the world. This is because businesses are not attracted by costs alone, but also by infrastructure, an educated workforce, and aggregate demand. Taken together, these positive features cannot be incorporated under a low-tax environment.

3. Market Growth:

i) Theory

It is true that governments cannot discern market prices directly nor perfectly accurately, but they can make observations and act similar to markets. For instance, if a state authority wants to contract a private construction company to repair a road, it can auction off the employment opportunity by handing the job to the lowest bidder, which acts similar to markets.

Not to mention, governments are not always supposed to act like markets; in fact, markets do not always produce optimal outcomes. The healthcare industry requires high educational and technological components to qualitatively function, which inevitably leads to high prices for consumers. In this scenario, the role of the government is to provide insurance for people that cannot afford basic health procedures, which circumvents the issue that markets naturally cause and cannot fix. Working examples include nearly every developed nation on Earth, so this theory does not adhere to a Nirvana Fallacy.

ii) Examples

For the rest of this topic, my opponent is explaining a mathematical model he used to predict GDP growth, but I'm not sure what the point of it is. He points out that economic growth from previous years will have an impact on current growth levels, but what this has to do with the resolution is beyond me.

If my opponent is attempting to mathematically correlate economic prosperity with lower tax rates, then there is simply no way this can be done by anyone short of a professional statistician. Economic growth builds on itself, so exponential gains will take place, regardless of tax hikes or cuts. If changes in the tax code did have substantial effects on comparative growth rates, then a linear data correlation would trend with historical tax changes -- trends would also follow between nations based on comparative tax codes. But, this isn't the case, for Norway has considerably higher taxes and higher GDP per capita than the US does. Also, the USA's changing tax rates don't coincide with economic growth very much either...

However, I'm not really sure if that was even what my opponent was getting at. Some elucidation would be helpful.
Debate Round No. 2
Sieben

Pro

=== Con Arguments ===

1) Democracy


Con's sole theory for national success is democracy. He explains nothing. Here are some reasons to be skeptical:

a) The masses cannot allocate resources effectively since they ignore market prices.

b) In the United States, the chances one vote will make a difference are at best 1 in a million [1]. That is basically zero. There is no reason for an individual to invest time or energy into the process. People have no reason to spend sufficient time intelligently directing national policy.

c) Caplan explains: “in politics as in religion, some beliefs are more emotionally appealing than others. For example, it feels a lot better to blame sneaky foreigners for our economic problems than it does to blame ourselves. This creates a temptation to relax normal intellectual standards and insulate cherished beliefs from criticism — in short, to be irrational.” [2] Irrationality in politics will persist because the individual costs are low (see above). The political arena will persist as an emotional playground for people's self image.

So there are many good reasons to doubt democracy can cause success.


=== Pro Arguments ===

1) Sampling Bias

Con concedes this point. He simply says that we should “rule out variables” in order to overcome this issue.

He hasn't explained how, or followed through in the rest of the debate. Countries Con points to like Denmark [3] and Sweden [4] have unique industry compositions. So sampling bias appears in Con's case. I avoid this when I take countries in aggregate.

2) Jurisdictional Competition

I) Theory

Con's account is that countries implement wise policy and then immigrants and capital come.

This is exactly what I said. Governments try to attract immigrants and investment by implementing beneficial social policies. Their efforts culminate in a higher tax base. By Con's own numbers, immigrants make up around 13% of a country's tax base. This is a large monetary incentive to the nation, so it makes sense they would pay attention to it.

ii) Example

A) Individuals

Con doesn't want me to compare developed countries to poor countries - But this is the whole point of the resolution, to see how successful countries are different from poor ones.

Con thinks African countries probably have lower immigration rates because of relatively high transportation costs.

-First, he's got no source showing that its prohibitive for an African family to move to Denmark. If he does find a source, the major barrier will probably be Denmark's elitist immigration policy [5].

-Second, poverty is an insufficient condition to prohibit migration [6].

-Lastly, if Con persists, he can simply take the poorest of the poor countries out of the data pool and rerun the numbers.

Con says there is no correlation because he's broken the top 30 countries down by 10's and found no correlation.


-I can just claim that its a small sample, so there are bound to be errors. The overall differences are not so egregious and could be chalked up to differences in immigration policy and language barriers. I would challenge Con to repeat this technique on his metrics and see if he gets a perfect trend.

-Con is right that there is no correlation with success once you only look at successful countries. Nothing correlates when the group is homogeneous.

-The numbers are still much higher than the overall average, indicating that immigration is a necessary condition for success.

B) Corporations

Con writes that some countries still have high tax rates, so low taxes aren't necessarily the root cause of success. Corporations also worry about political stability etc.

I'm not arguing low taxes, I'm arguing jurisdictional competition. Maybe corporations can put up with higher tax rates if Denmark gets everything else right. The point is that these countries are competing for foreign investment. Lowering taxes is just one way they can do that.

If Con disagrees, I would challenge him to provide an alternative explanation for why corporate and top income tax rates have universally declined, while capital mobility has soared. See source [8] of R1.

Con also writes a bunch of nonsense about aggregate demand and idle resources. These points don't matter. I just want the readers to know that I picked up on it, and am choosing not to take the bait. Even if Con proves that markets are dumb, it just means that countries compete by offering better environments for investment.


3) Market Growth

I) Theory

Con writes that the state can mimic the behavior of markets

His example only shows states can utilize competition to provide services. The point was that the state can never know which services to provide in the first place because it does not have market prices on its inputs. They appropriate capital by force.

Con writes that governments can do some things better than markets, like redistribute wealth.

But market growth is still a necessary condition for economic success, and only markets can produce growth. If governments later take that growth and use it on social programs, fine, but theory and my model shows that the wealth isn't growing anymore. So markets are a cause of national success.

ii) Example

Con says he's not sure what the point of my model is - Its to show that I can explain economic growth entirely with markets... to prove that the state contributes nothing to the growth of GDP because it can't allocate resources efficiently. So when Con tries to say that government investment in education causes growth, we can see it is empirically false.

Con says I'm not a professional statistician. Con himself has argued a crude econometric model for countries citing that high tax nations are sometimes successful - So he should either take his own advice and stop making statistical arguments, or else stop telling anecdotes and default to my holistic model.

Con writes: “Economic growth builds on itself” - My model does build on itself, since each year contributes growth to subsequent years.

Con writes: “so exponential gains will take place, regardless of tax hikes or cuts.” - But my model can show exponential growth because “C” is compounded sequentially. My model is also called "Sum of Centered Exponential Declines"... donno how he missed that.

Con writes: “if changes in the tax code did have substantial effects on comparative growth rates, then a linear data correlation would trend with historical tax changes” - This is silly because Con just said that economic growth builds on itself and is exponential, so a linear correlation is impossible.

Con writes: “Norway has considerably higher taxes and higher GDP per capita than the US does.” Con doesn't give me any data for this. My gut is that Norway has a higher initial growth coefficient, which is a signifier of initial capital and industry type. Norway has 28 times more oil per capital than the US [7].

Conclusion

I'm disappointed with Con. His arguments amount to nitpicking my methodology. At best, his criticisms force me to throw a few countries out of my data sets. He got lackluster results when he did so on immigration. The sole piece of Con advocacy is Democracy, which he never developed or even tagged.

Con's turn.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.cato-unbound.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.workpermit.com...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://www.nationmaster.com...

TheAtheistAllegiance

Con

== Democracy ==

Pro makes the argument that immigration influences government policy, and then interprets my response as an affirmation for Democracy. It would be as if I derailed the topic by bringing up Anarchism, when that isn't what Pro is even arguing here. I made the argument that immigration is an ineffectual factor in national success, while voter bases and legal structures are instead the integral causes. If Pro is worried about the economic calculation problem and individual rationale at the voting booths, I'll address those issues.

a) It's true that the masses cannot know market prices, but they don't have to. If the majority of citizens agree that healthcare costs are too high, then they will vote for a system that might bring prices down, such as Single-Payer healthcare, or a public option. It's not as if the masses are voting on ballots that dictate how much carrots should sell for at Publix.

b) No, the average vote isn't worth much intellectual investment, but that's why representative democracy prevails over direct democracy. The average person knows what he/she wants, and will subsequently vote in officials that specialize in such matters. Division of labor solves this issue, for actual economists and diplomats are appointed as the heads of governmental agencies that aim to produce national success.

== Pro Arguments ==

1. Sampling Bias:

Pro says that Sweden and Denmark's economies' have unique industry composition, so consequently, they are unable to be used as comparisons:

Sweden and Norway are not much different than the US and much of Europe, and ALL of these nations have a degree of unique industry composition[1]. If such subtle distinctions disqualify nations from being incorporated into these datasets, then Pro's entire econometric model needs to be completely discounted.

2. Jurisdictional Competition:

i) Theory

Pro is still mistaking purposes of immigration as the cause for successful governmental policy:

Governments do not shape their policies around attracting immigrants from other nations, but instead around what domestic voters want. Increasing the tax base is a secondary priority to gathering votes, which is why the most successful nations are welfare states with higher taxes and more extensive services. The two outcomes may be largely the same, but one factor is the cause, and the other is an effect.

ii) Examples -- Individuals:

Pro states that the point is to compare successful and unsuccessful nations in terms of immigration, and poverty is not a sufficient barrier:

Developed countries cannot be adequately compared to undeveloped countries due to the incredible differences in migration barriers -- the main one being economic. It's a comparison of apples and oranges, thus the low migration rates are simply correlative and not causative. Also, African limitation of migration doesn't need a source; it's axiomatic, for Africa's infrastructure is terrible [2], so there is little opportunity for movement, which is why migration mostly takes place under extreme circumstances, such as genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc. Even Germans had better chances at emigration during the 19th century than Africans currently have.

Pro criticizes the immigration statistics I calculated:

Contrary to Pro's claim, developed countries are NOT homogeneous, and they have been ranked by heterogeneous levels of success [3]. One would expect that immigration would linearly trend with these success patterns, but the numbers don't follow (as I calculated). Instead, the stats appear to be all over the place, especially on an individual basis. This might be attributed to legal and linguistic barriers, but Pro's model didn't take these factors into account, nor did it account for the vastly different circumstances that drive migration between Africa and the EU, so his contention hasn't been affirmed. And even if an organized, precise correlation could be drawn out among similar circumstances, it would only prove that success is a necessary condition for immigration -- not the other way around as Pro put it.

ii) Examples -- Corporations:

Pro does not argue for lower taxes, but instead for jurisdictional competition:

Well, not many people argue against the benefits of foreign investment, and I agree that it's something countries compete for, although it's mainly an effect, rather than a cause, of certain public policy. Because such investment creates job opportunities, wealth, and ultimately higher living standards, voters largely support governmental attempts to compete for international business, which is the underlying influence and cause. But, the competition itself isn't behind this success, for high educational standards, infrastructure development, and a vibrant middle-class all increase a nation's success, with or without foreign investment taking place, which is why it's an after-effect. Also, if a government attempted to cut important services to become more globally competitive, it wouldn't happen. For example, if the UK decided to dismantle the British NHS in order to lower corporate taxes, it would likely prove impossible because the popular vote overrides jurisdictional competition in terms of public policy [4].

3. Market Growth:

i) Theory

Pro asserts that government can't know what services to provide, nor can it create economic growth:

As I stated before, governments can observe market prices and make decisions contingent upon such information. If the government sees that many consumers cannot afford vital services, such as healthcare, then it becomes fairly obvious that medical service is what needs to be provided. Also, government can create economic growth in coordination with markets. In the case of subsidized research and development, beneficial technology can be invented, which fuels economic growth [5]. So actually, both markets AND governments create economic growth and national success.

ii) Example

Pro explains that his model empirically proves that government can't create economic growth:

The problem is that Pro's model presumably uses data points that were retrieved while government had already been involved in markets, so how could this econometric model accurately demonstrate that no growth was derived from the government?

Pro says I'm trying to be a statistician like him:

No, I only provided some crude averages -- not a model -- that indicated immigration was not linearly correlated with national success, as Pro had claimed.

Pro goes through exponential growth and his model:

My question is how exactly "C" can be attributed to market mechanisms alone when the data is collected from where the government had already been involved. Also, because a linear correlation is impossible, which you admit, how can a causation be derived from the dataset? From viewing your charts, I don't see any growth trends following tax changes in the US.

Pro tries to attribute Norway's success to oil production:

For one, Norway does have higher taxes and GDP per capita than the US [6][7]. Also, oil resources are not a fundamental cause of national success, for Denmark and the Netherlands have barely any oil, while Kuwait has more than everyone else by far [8].

== Conclusion ==

Pro attempts to attribute national success to immigration and foreign investment, yet he ignores the fundamental reasons as to why rich people can travel easier than poor Africans, along with failing to address the correlative inconsistencies among wealthy nations. He also creates a vague econometric model that supposedly proves government has never contributed anything to economic growth, yet even at face value, I can point out problems of sampling bias and significantly incomplete datasets. As presented in Pro's case, the resolution hasn't been affirmed in theory, nor in practice.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Sieben

Pro

***Preamble***

In the OP and comments section, we agreed to leave round 4 to 4000 characters and not to introduce any new evidence. But because Con has decided to substantiate his entire case just now, I kind of have to use new sources. I've kept them to a minimum (3 new ones), and they are directly aimed at Con's new evidence.

Overall I'd say Con's been incredibly rude. I put a lot of thought and effort into my case, and Con just tanks it even though we've taken every measure to maximize his response time. Then, when I'm limited to half characters, Con decides to include actual evidence for his case and brings up new arguments against mine. For example, Con is now arguing government involvement on my econometric model, when previously he had argued linear correlation.


Do with this what you will.


***Case***

3994 characters excluding sources and this sentence.

=== Democracy ===

The debate is causes of national success. Con writes “voter bases and legal structures are instead the integral causes”.

a) The public ignores market prices when they take resources by force. Prices communicate information about scarcity and demand. Without this knowledge, actors are bound to cause economic destruction.

b) Con thinks representative democracy solves the incentive problem. It doesn't because voters still have to figure out who to vote for. But if an individual vote makes no difference, there is no reason anyone would think seriously about politics.

c) Con drops this point. Irrationality can explain why democracy doesn't cause national success.

===Pro Arguments ===

1) Sampling Bias

Con says Sweden and Norway are not that different from the United States. His source is just a link to the US statistics. Sweden's main industries are telecom hardware and lumber [1], while the US's are petroleum and steel [2]. The average rate of profit in telecom is twice that of petroleum [3].

I don't have space to dissect every Con anecdote, and I shouldn't have to. I've already talked about Con's evidence more than he has. A cursory glance at wikipedia should be sufficient to discredit his allegations of similarity.

2) Jurisdictional Competition

i) Theory

Con says immigration is negligible. This flies in the face of his own observation that they make up ~13% of the population, boosting tax bases significantly.

ii) Example

A) Individuals

Con thinks that poverty is sufficient to stop migration.

In 1965, the US repealed immigration quotas and saw substantial increase in immigrants from developing countries, particularly Africa and Asia [4]. So the primary barrier is legislative. Con never answered Denmark's elitist immigration policy.

Con thinks that because the numbers are scattered for already successful nations, immigration doesn't correlate. Con even concedes that it might be due to linguistic and legal barriers, which is totally reasonable if you followed the Denmark and US sources.

Con hasn't repeated the analysis on his own metrics. Just for kicks, the correlation of tax rates with prosperity is slightly negative among developed nations [5]. Con is cherry picking his whole case, failing to uphold the same statistical rigor he asks of me.

B) Corporations

Con concedes that countries compete for foreign investment. He states it is an effect, not a cause of policy. I'm curious as to why policy doesn't stimulate competition, since tax rates ARE policy and that's one thing countries compete on.

Con writes that democracy is responsible for choosing such wise and competitive policy. Even if he wins “democracy”, this is still an evidence for “jurisdictional competition”.

Con says that countries can't just cut programs to become more competitive. Turn this on Con because it shows how democracy inhibits a country's ability to compete for foreign investment.

3) Market Growth

i) Theory

Con thinks states can just look and see what goods need to be provided. But there's an opportunity cost to appropriating resources. Health care or technology spending is fine, but it causes the economy to contract elsewhere. The net effect cannot be measured without prices.

Con has NEVER answered what would happen to a business ignoring prices. The obvious answer is bankruptcy. He hasn't explained why the fate of state programs would by any different.

ii) Example

Con repeatedly says differences between countries invalidate my model, but they don't because my model compares countries to themselves.

Con continuously misunderstands SCED:

Taxes are subtracted from yearly growth, so government spending is entirely discounted. C only depends on predicted growth after removing government spending. Changes in the tax rate take a while to have an effect. That's why each year's growth is a delayed peak [6].

But of course Con can nitpick my model. If these errors were serious, why is my fit so good? Con never answers.




Sources:

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://money.cnn.com... Same source as in Round 2, source [1].

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

[5] See spreadsheet from my round 2 source [5]. Sort countries by Sen Welfare Function or Per Capita GDP or whatever floats your boat. I took the top 30 and got -0.2 correlation coefficient.

[6] See source [10] of round 2.


TheAtheistAllegiance

Con

== Preamble ==

Pro glosses over some vital context. I misinterpreted some of his arguments, which is why sufficient responses didn't come until R3. I stated in the comments WHY I messed up these contentions, and that he could extend R4 to 8,000 characters if he wanted to, but he chose not to, which isn't my fault.

== Democracy ==

Pro argues that Democracy is insufficient to cause national success:

a) The government doesn't need to know the exact parameters of scarcity and demand when it's apparent which direction policy should go toward. This goes back to my healthcare example, in which its obvious that demand outstrips supply, so policy should obviously increase supply.

b) The individual vote doesn't make "no" difference; it makes little difference. But, it doesn't take much effort to know what benefits one's own self interest, so deciding who to vote for isn't a significant problem -- specialization then takes care of the rest.

c) I accidentally dropped this, but I can't respond now.

== Arguments ==

1. Sampling Bias:

Pro asserts that Sweden is actually different than the US:

The point is that the distinctions between the US and Sweden are negligible. According to Pro's own sources, both Sweden and the US are involved with telecommunications, motor vehicles, and steel -- the only difference being petroleum. Apparently Pro didn't look too hard at his own evidence...

2. Jurisdictional Competition:

i) Theory

Pro states that immigration is significant due to a larger tax base:

A 13% larger tax base is negligible when compared to the importance of domestic voters and their influence on public policy.

ii) Examples -- Individuals:

Pro cites legal barriers:

On average, African immigrants typically have higher levels of education and income than even Americans, thus demonstrating that impoverished Africans are not the ones moving around [1]. Poverty is still a significant barrier here.

Pro agrees that legal and linguistic barriers might be a factor, but misses the point:

Pro's econometric model did not account for these distinctions, so his side of the argument hasn't been substantiated, which is the point. I cited a general average, but did not claim a conclusion from that alone. Instead, I used it to show that Pro's statistical rigor is lacking.

Examples -- Corporations:

Pro wonders why policy doesn't stimulate competition:

Policy does stimulate competition; however, competition does little to stimulate policy. The main influence is derived from popular support, which happens to coincide with competitive practices in some cases.

Pro thinks that democracy is evidence for jurisdictional competition:

No, if democracy wins, that means jurisdictional competition has a minor effect on what influences public policy.

Pro says lackluster competitive measures unveils democracy's weakness:


This doesn't apply because some services make nations more competitive in many cases. Government expenditure in education, infrastructure, and the labor market make a country more competitive, which is also in line with popular support.

3. Market Growth:

i) Theory

Actually, the net effect can be vaguely measured, for it can be pinpointed where money is being extracted. If a contraction of one industry is less important than the enlargement of another, then the overall effect is positive. Also, governments don't ignore prices, which is precisely why they don't fail.

ii) Examples

Pro misrepresents my contention:

I actually said that Pro's model is invalid because it doesn't account for certain variables, outlined in earlier rounds.

Pro says his model's accuracy is proof of the state's uselessness:

Well, I can't bring up a new argument here, so I have to just drop this one.



3,743 Characters used -- not including this sentence and sources.

Sources:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
Sieben

Pro

Leaving round blank as agreed.
TheAtheistAllegiance

Con

Blank round.
Debate Round No. 5
38 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Ok, SuperRobotWars just changed his vote, probably because he hates Sieben. Initiating counter-votebomb...
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
I voted based on Con's weak democracy advocacy and poor response to Pro's econometric model. Pro got him when he stated that even if democracy does contribute to national success, ultimately, the policies implemented fall into under the jurisdictional competition argument. Con consistently either misunderstood or misrepresented the Pro' econometric modeling. The model predicted, with near perfect accuracy, GDP growth rates based on tax rates. It wasn't an apples/oranges comparison because it was comparing individual countries to themselves -- that is, projected growth given certain tax rates compared to the actual observed growth rates after the tax policies were implemented.
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 6 years ago
TheAtheistAllegiance
I never thought individual immigration was the only premise you were arguing. I thought that you were arguing the cause of jurisdictional competition -- not whether it caused national success or not.
Posted by Sieben 6 years ago
Sieben
Well the debate was national success. You ASKED if immigration would be discussed, and I said it was ONE of the things. Immigration is a SUBSET of jurisdictional competition, which is an actual concept in international law and economics http://www.google.com... And it is directly linked to studies on tax rates. http://www.cato.org...

I don't need a source of Norway's tax rate, but I do need a source on Norway's industry composition and why its comparable to the US's. If you're going to say that, you have to substantiate it, otherwise I can't argue with it.

How could you think this debate would have been individual immigration alone? I answered: "It will be one of my arguments. Obviously I can't make that case when it comes to Japan.", which implies I'll have other arguments.

And again, if you really were confused, ask. If you were really pressed on time, take a round off like we planned. You have no excuses for being caught off guard. This is an internet debate with 72 hours prep time. Real debates have 5 minutes prep time...
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 6 years ago
TheAtheistAllegiance
Yeah, but you never said anything about it in the forums; it was a totally new argument on your part. Like I said, the context set the debate toward whether less government/lower taxes increase foreign investment -- not jurisdictional competition, so I didn't see the need to ask because I had already thought I knew what the contention was.

And the only reason I introduced sources in the next round was because you bitched about there not being any. I figured that you and I both knew that Norway had higher taxes and GDP per capita than the US, so I didn't link that sort of stuff in the beginning. I wouldn't have linked it in R3 either, but you were going to call me on it, so I linked even trivial stuff just to be safe.

Yeah, you really did actually hit me out of left-field. The entire debate was originally supposed to focus on individual immigration alone, so when you brought up those other arguments, I referred back to the arguments we had in the forums, which had nothing to do with capital relocation. If you really believe that I conspiratorially sat and planned this whole thing out, then you need to see a doctor.
Posted by Sieben 6 years ago
Sieben
I said "Jurisdictional Competition" in my constructive. You've also could have asked.

And don't play dumb. Your "real" case has actual sources. How stupid would that be if I introduced my case and then left sources till the next-to-last-round? Your arguments are not "practically the same" just because they have the same tags. Your case rests ENTIRELY on evidence, so introducing evidence is necessarily the CRUX of your case, and the whole debate.

You have no excuse. I didn't "hit you out of left field". It was all there. It was all clear. And you could have asked for clarification. You could have asked for extra time since we set it to 5 rounds for a reason. You're being obtuse on purpose. Don't count on the audience's similar incompetence.
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 6 years ago
TheAtheistAllegiance
The context matters. You didn't say anything about Jurisdictional competition, yet there was a lot of argument about supply and demand in terms of investment, which would relate perfectly to foreign investment. I figured that foreign investment was axiomatically beneficial, and your argument revolved around what causes increases in foreign investment.

What's the difference between the "real" stuff and the other stuff? My arguments are practically the same, except for an extension and clarification of Democracy, along with the Jurisdictional Competition catastrophe. Also, it's not like I "waited on purpose" to make better arguments; in fact, it's your fault because you hit me from left field with some of this stuff, and I didn't even know what I was arguing against.

Like I said, you can do 8,000 if you want to. I'm probably going to just summarize the end arguments anyway, so it doesn't matter to me.
Posted by Sieben 6 years ago
Sieben
Oh sorry I didn't argue the whole case in the forums... sheesh. It should have been obvious from the get-go that I was not simply arguing "low taxes".

And it isn't just pt2 that is the problem, its your whole damn case. You TANKED the first round, and now you put up the real stuff right before I have to shut up. Its the next best thing to introducing new arguments in the last round. Good for you.

Tell you what, I'll do 4000 characters of arguments, but I'm writing a preamble to the voters about what a jerk move you just pulled.
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 6 years ago
TheAtheistAllegiance
Well, if you would have clarified what you were getting at with Jurisdictional Competition, I would have known what to argue against. Competing for foreign investment was never something we argued in the forums, so I naturally figured you were going for decreased government as a cause of national success.

Just go with 6,000 if you have to. Do whatever, but tell me where you set the limits, so I know the parameters to respond within in R4.
Posted by Sieben 6 years ago
Sieben
Well, its bullsh*t because you tanked the first round. Its not fair if you're going to wait until I can't respond properly to post real arguments and sources.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
SiebenTheAtheistAllegianceTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments. Since SRW revised his vote, I'm revising mine.
Vote Placed by SuperRobotWars 6 years ago
SuperRobotWars
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Vote Placed by Grape 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by TheAtheistAllegiance 6 years ago
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