The Instigator
phantom
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
Zaradi
Con (against)
Tied
7 Points

Resolved: Just governments ought to ensure food security for their citizens

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/12/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 860 times Debate No: 73332
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)

 

phantom

Pro

This is for the final round of Bsh1's Philosophy and Ethics Tournament. Congrats to Zaradi for making it to the final. I very much look forward to the debate.

Food security: "The state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food" [1]

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, "food insecurity is limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways" [2].

Debate structure:
R1: Acceptance
R2: Arguments and rebuttals
R3: Arguments and rebuttals
R4: Rebuttals, no new arguments

[1] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
[2] http://www.ers.usda.gov...
Zaradi

Con

Accepted. Best of luck to Phantom
Debate Round No. 1
phantom

Pro

Thanks to Zaradi for accepting. I’m excited to have this debate.


C1: Social structuralism and the socio-economic/deterministic causal basis of needy circumstances entails responsibility for governments to take care of those citizens who are in special need of food security.

In this contention I will take the [hopefully uncontested] fact that food insecurity is a grave problem and show that there is no group or institution other than the government which is both capable of overcoming this problem or possibly responsible for doing so. Placing the responsibility on individuals to overcome their disadvantaged conditions is both unrealistic and unethical.

Individualism is a prevalent attitude in the US. It is common to view matters of food security as up to the individual and not the responsibility of the government. The socioeconomic and deterministic factors that underpin why people fall into states of deprivation need to be explicated to their full details and consequences. Doing so reveals that it is erroneous to leave food security out of the domain of the government. No other institution, group, or individual can be expected to overcome the food insecurity problem. The fact is that a large portion of the population is born into disadvantaged situations with little going for them. Those born low down within the hierarchical social order are often impotent in regards to their situation. According to the United Nations, poverty is directly related to powerlessness, a denial of opportunities, and an incapacity to function effectively as a part of society [2]. The opportunity to succeed is often there, but such success requires significant inherent potential and motivation to overcome one’s disadvantaged circumstances.

The greatest factors impacting children born in poverty are emotional and social challenges, acute and chronic stressors, cognitive lags, and health and safety issues. “Socioeconomic status forms a huge part of this equation. Children raised in poverty rarely choose to behave differently, but they are faced daily with overwhelming challenges that affluent children never have to confront, and their brains have adapted to suboptimal conditions in ways that undermine good school performance” [1]. In other words, these children perform or behave poorly do to disadvantages that more affluent children are lucky enough to avoid.

The prevailing theory among psychologists and child development specialists is that behavior stems from a combination of genes and environment. Genes begin the process: behavioral geneticists commonly claim that DNA accounts for 30–50 percent of our behaviors (Saudino, 2005), an estimate that leaves 50–70 percent explained by environment...Environment affects the receptors on our cells, which send messages to genes, which turn various functional switches on or off...Genes can be either activated or shut off by a host of...environmental factors, such as stress and nutrition. These switches can either strengthen or impair aggression, immune function, learning, and memory” [1].

A person's core relationships with primary caregivers, peers, adults, and family plays a crucial role in forming a personality. The nine months prior to the birth of a child are also important, especially in regard to IQ. "Factors such as quality of prenatal care, exposure to toxins, and stress have a strong influence on the developing child” [1]. Those who are less well-off have less access to or proper instruction in quality care, are more likely to live in unsafe environments around toxins, are less likely to eat nutritious food, and are more likely to experience much stress. All of these factors have significant consequences on the child which inhibit its ability to succeed later in life. That means children born to disadvantaged parents are fighting an uphill battle from birth.

Those born lower down the rung thus have enormous disadvantages in life. They have to climb an uphill battle just to gain securities that most would take for granted. This situation is incredibly unfair. To say that they’re alone in this--excluding the positive but inadequate help that is given to them--is hugely unjust. When considering where the responsibility of food security should be placed, the facts point resoundingly to the government to correct this unjust state of affairs.

As shown, who you are is based on your genes, your environment, and other similar factors. That means how you do in life stems from external factors with environment playing the largest role. There are many rags-to-riches stories, but it becomes wildly unrealistic to simply expect disadvantaged individuals to escape. The odds weigh strongly against any individual born into socio-economically unfavorable conditions. The government has a duty to protect the well-being of its citizens. It’s thus a chief duty to help correct the unjust predetermined disadvantages that weigh its citizens down.


C2: The function of government entails that it ought to protect the well-being and happiness of its citizens.

The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. This is a model for how a just government should behave. Just governments ought to ensure the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and happiness. Their existence is predicated on this function. Ensuring food security is fundamental to this purpose.


C3: Food security is feasible.

Food insecurity has nothing to do with scarcity of food. It’s entirely about access. The world produces more than enough food to accommodate all of those in need. The rate of global food production is increasing faster than the global population growth. The world produces of 1.5 times the amount of food needed to feed everyone on the planet. All the food in the world is enough to feed 10 billion people [5]. So in principle it’s clearly possible to feed everyone who experiences food insecurity.

According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40% of food in the US is wasted. Reducing losses by only 15% could feed more than 25 million Americans each year [6]. That's over half the number of Americans in poverty. So reducing the amount of food squandered by 30-40% could save enough to feed all Americans who are under the poverty line. That does not seem like much of a stretch. Restaurants, retailers, and all areas of the food chain waste pointless amounts of food. Programs, laws, date-labeling clarification, and public awareness measures could be implemented to deal with unwanted food more efficiently.

Providing access to food for the needy is only one method of overcoming food insecurity. Food stamps and soup kitchens would become mostly obsolete if the detrimental social structuralism was replaced with a constructive infrastructure that removed the socio-economic preconditions to insecurity. It's actually remarkable how little it would take to drastically reduce poverty. In America 15% of the population are under the poverty line. Using data from the Census Bureau it would take $175.3 billion to bring everyone out of the poverty line in the US [3]. That is just 1.1 percent of the total US GDP--by no means a small amount of money but poverty reduction is a huge feat. To put that number in perspective, that's one-fourth the amount the government spent on the military in 2012.

"The utterly ridiculous tax expenditures directed toward the disproportionately affluent class of people called homeowners—mortgage interest deduction, property tax deduction, exclusion of capital gains on residences—by themselves sum to $115.3 billion in 2012. Throw in the $117.3 billion in tax expenditures used to subsidize employer-based health care (also a disproportionate sop to the rich), and you’ve already eclipsed the magic number" [3].

Of course, this wouldn’t be a permanent fix so money would need to be fueled into it periodically. That just means a larger portion of the GDP should be allocated to poverty reduction. Moreover, simply throwing money at people is a poor strategy. To strike at the core of poverty you need to alter the inherent structure of society by improving health care, education, sanitation, and the means for individuals to acquire useful skill sets. This paradigm closely mimics the Plan Canada’s scheme for ending poverty [4]. Expanding on already existing programs would also make great strides towards poverty reduction. Since the government’s primary duty is to its people, and since it wields so much power in reducing poverty, it seems that the government is not obliged just to ensure food security; it’s obliged to eliminate poverty as well. Recall from my first contention that the greatest challenges facing disadvantaged children are emotional/social, stress, cognitive lags, and health/safety. By eliminating these factors, you greatly improve individuals’ chance of success and thus create food security by addressing the problem at its core--successful people do not require the help of government programs. Striking poverty at its core means a more productive and self-responsible society which is beneficial to all.

I thus emphatically support the affirmative.

Sources

[1] http://goo.gl...
[2] http://goo.gl...
[3] https://prospect.org...
[4] http://plancanada.ca...
[5] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[6] http://news.blogs.cnn.com...
Zaradi

Con

Zaradi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
phantom

Pro

I believe we are redoing this. Either way, please don't penalize Zaradi for the forfeit.
Zaradi

Con

i concede
Debate Round No. 3
phantom

Pro

That's unfortunate.
Zaradi

Con

Zaradi forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by phantom 1 year ago
phantom
Please keep this tied.
Posted by phantom 1 year ago
phantom
I'll send the challenge and will re-post the case.
Posted by Zaradi 1 year ago
Zaradi
Yo phantom is that the case you plan on using? I can just presume that bsh is going to be okay with it and just send you the challenge so we don't have to keep waiting. We'll just change around the round format so we both still get the same speaking times and you just start from R1 with the same case.
Posted by phantom 1 year ago
phantom
I am up for having a redo.
Posted by Zaradi 1 year ago
Zaradi
I mean, it would be better because I had...stuff going on and was not in any capacity to post in time. Whether that necessitates a remake is up to you. I can *try* to keep going, but idk if that's fair for either of us.
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
bsh1
Do you need to redo it?
Posted by phantom 1 year ago
phantom
Let's ask Bsh if we can do a remake.
Posted by Zaradi 1 year ago
Zaradi
Sorry I forfeited. Kinda been dealing with...stuff. We can either just continue forward from here or we can ask bsh if he'd allow a remake, presuming you're okay with that. Whatever you want to do since you got ff'd on.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
phantomZaradi
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: Neither side was very clear, on whether Pro won or it was a tie and they are planning to redo it. I leave my vote as a tie for now, and may change it. Following Pro's declaration of the debate as a tie, Con seemed to concede and Pro's sole response was "that's unfortunate". While I may interpret this as concession, I don't want to jump to conclusions. I request either of the debaters to clarify this to me in a PM and I shall change my vote or retain it accordingly.
Vote Placed by Mikal 1 year ago
Mikal
phantomZaradi
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: per phantoms request to tie it
Vote Placed by 8elB6U5THIqaSm5QhiNLVnRJA 1 year ago
8elB6U5THIqaSm5QhiNLVnRJA
phantomZaradi
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Conceded debate by Con to Pro.