The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Resolved: The U.S. should allow all imports of goods and capital.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 783 times Debate No: 67606
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)




First round acceptance and clarifying of definitions only. Second round for positive arguments. Third round rebuttal and positive arguments. Fourth round rebuttals only. Fifth round conclusion (no new arguments for positive advancement of position or against opposing position).
Full resolution: The United States should allow imports of goods and capital from any society outside of the United States allowing that the domestic laws of the U.S. (such as regulations, finance laws etc.) are followed. Essentially, anyone may sell goods to the U.S. and invest in firms, land, capital goods so long as they abide by the laws that all U.S. investors and U.S. firms have to abide by with goods sold in the U.S. and investments in U.S. firms, land, and capital goods.
Firm: Profit seeking associations that provide goods and/or services to consumers.
Land: Property owned for purpose of sale or development.
Capital Goods: Goods bought with the express purpose of creating other goods or for providing a service (tree pulp to turn into paper as an example of the former, a lawn mower as an example of the latter).
The con position would be that the U.S. should not adopt this policy; as such, one could counter that full economic isolation is the best means, or that merely some mark less than total import allowance (within domestic law) should be allowed.
Good luck, and thank you in advance for your acceptance.


I accept. I will note that, as CON, all I have to prove is that not *all* goods should be imported. PRO, on the other hand, has to prove that all imports should be allowed to enter the country, and has the burden of proof. Therefore, to win this debate, all I have to prove is that *one* or more goods or services should not be imported.

I would also like to define 'goods'.

Goods: merchandise or possessions; this includes people

On to you, Pro.
Debate Round No. 1


First, thank you for accepting the debate, but I have to say I have yet to find any economic theory that has people as economic goods; laborers and entrepreneurs and investors, sure, but not goods like jet-liners or hot dogs. The definition begins with "merchandise or possessions;" since human beings in the U.S. cannot legally be made the merchandise or possession of another human being, I will primarily assume that our debate need not cover the "this includes people" as part of that definition. I will hope that this debate does not become one of free trade and immigration; there is quite enough difference to make them separate topics of debate, and while I have the maximum character limit on each round for this debate, it is still a limit.
Secondly, BoP is fully on me. Now, let"s begin.

The reasons for importing all consumer goods, capital goods, investments, etc. without restriction are as follows; it will allow us to be wealthier, it encourages a reduction of trade barriers against our exports, and it encourages neutral peace with other States. First, allowing the free import of goods will make the average consumer of the United States wealthier. The reasons a foreign good sells in another country is two-fold; it is either cheaper to produce in the foreign country, or it is of a different quality that consumers prefer to the home counterpart. Either way, the only reason a foreign good sells compared to a home counterpart is because the consumers prefer the foreign good. In the case of differing quality, profits are going in the direction that satisfies human wants, and giving the economic signals to make products more like the foreign one. In the case of a cheaper good, there is a freeing of resources happening; the foreign seller has more money to continue creating what is desired, whilst land, labor, and capital at home is freed up to produce different goods the American consumer wants. Either way, wealth is improved with imports.

Now, the astute reader will likely ask how the U.S. is to pay for its imports if it does not trade with other countries. Excusing for the time the antics of the Federal Reserve in selling government debt abroad (by creating dollars and increasing inflation), other countries need dollars to buy American goods and Americans need the foreign currency to buy foreign goods. However, under the system of fiat money we have today, this would mean that an almost barter-like situation has to happen in the international market; there has to be people from outside the U.S. who for some reason want U.S. dollars, and they have to have the currency the U.S. firms want to use to buy foreign goods to sell. So, in todays world of fiat money, the "balance of trade" is only an issue when factoring in the selling of government debt (which is more an indictment of governments spending beyond their means than of trade between private individuals).

Lastly for this opening post, a policy of importation without restriction allows for a safer U.S. and less reason to involve the U.S. military in foreign conflicts. When States go to war, it is essentially an extension of domestic politics; the British wanted the U.S. for economic reasons in the Revolutionary War, the control of lands West of the Mississippi river was economic in seeking to mine the gold and other resources there, among Northerners during the American Civil War there was those who wanted to keep the south in order to avoid a free-trade zone not subject to Federal tariffs [1], there was war debt to be protected in the first World War [2], and a desire by different capitalists to protect interests in Europe or acquire interests in Pacific oil is partly behind the attempts by FDR to get the U.S. into the second World War [3]. Additionally, the Spanish American war had many economic incentives [4]. While a moral outrage is described as the reason for war in all the cases I have listed (the mexicans or spanish accused of shooting first in the Mexican-American and Spanish-American conflicts, the taxes imposed by the British in case of Revolution, Slavery and Fascism and Monarchy in the other conflicts), this is merely part of ensuring the "prefect trinity" that Clausewitz considered important to a war is present; a hatred of the enemy for which to get the support of the common citizen [5]. There is plenty of moral outrage in the world, but it is the movers and shakers with economic interests who lobby States to pursue a policy of war or peace. With the ability to sell any good in the U.S. and the ability to own capital in the U.S., there is two incentives for the rich of foreign nations; they are incentivized to stress peace towards the U.S. in their own States (since war kills paying customers), and they are likewise incentivized to lobby for peace from the U.S. in order to protect capital interests. What this means is that the U.S. is less likely to be attacked and simultaneously less likely to be belligerent, thus reducing the security dilemma that States face in the international scene [6]. When coupled with the incentive for other States to open up, as well as the reliance each State gains upon each other, there will be more peace and more prosperity. I hand the ball to Con.



I thank my opponent for posting his case.


My opponent essentially claims a good cannot be defined so broadly because he has never heard it be defined that way. However, I assure him the basic definition of a good *can* encompass a person. A good, as broadly defined, is “a material that satisfies human wants and provides utility, for example, to a consumer making a purchase.”[1]

The definition could encompass a human, as a human could be treated as a good. A person could satisfy what a human wants, provide utility, etc. In fact, humans were considered goods for most of human history, via slavery. They were bought, sold, satisfied their owners, and provided utility. Now, I will not cite slavery in the historical context, but this still occurs in the form of sex-slaves. Human trafficking is a serious problem. And, sex-slaves do, in fact, fulfill the broad definition. Therefore, as a person *can* be considered a good. As my opponent is arguing that *all* goods should be allowed to become imports into the country, he then must support human trafficking.

I will now provide a case of various exceptions to my opponent’s argument. All I have to prove is that one good should not be allowed to enter the country, as any exception would mean that PRO’s premise—that all goods should be allowed to enter the country—would be negated.

1. Human trafficking

As noted above, a person could be considered a ‘good’, meaning sex slaves could be an import. I will argue that sex-slaves should not be allowed to enter the country.

Human trafficking is, sadly, a thriving business. It represents 31.6 billion dollars in international trade in 2010. It is considered one of the fastest growing markets in the world. The most common use for these slaves is sex, however they can also be used for manual labor and other strenuous tasks. 35% of those trafficked are children, and children are generally exploited for sexual use. Children are also sometimes drafted into guerilla groups in order to fight other militants or the governments in said country. This is a growing problem [2].

Indeed, if *all* goods were allowed to enter the country, human trafficking would have to be legalized, as people count as goods. If my opponent opposes human trafficking, then he concedes the debate, as not all goods would be allowed to enter the country.

2. Drugs

This one is more debatable, as many people support drug use, its legalization, or are apathetic towards the issue. I hope to demonstrate that drugs would be an exception.

According to the International Narcotics Control Board, drug use is “one of the greatest challenges that the world is facing today”. Indeed, when drug economies grow to large levels, they often displace other, more productive industries [3].

Under the current law, legalizing drug imports would severely inhibit DEA enforcement of the current prohibitory laws. My opponent, therefore, would have to argue for a total change in drug law—regardless of the fact that it would increase drug use and harm local communities. Again, drugs are a ‘good’. This is another exception to legal imports, meaning the resolution is again negated.

3. Child pornography

This one is obviously a ‘good’. And the reasons for prohibiting its imports are obvious. Allowing its import would, again, require its legalization. This means that there would be increased child pornography usage. This would lead to more child abuse, those either in the films or increased rape as pedophiles may want to ‘live out’ their fantasy. The reasons this should not be allowed to become a legal import is fairly obvious.

This is another exception, meaning not *all* imports should be allowed, again negating the resolution.

4. Nuclear weapons

Again, another self-explanatory exception. We should not allow other countries to ‘ship in’ nuclear weapons, as allowing citizens to have nuclear weapons is not in the best interest of the country. It could be argued that what if another country was giving its weapons to the US. But I do not see this occurring, as the US has a capacity to make its own nuclear weapons. Further, if another country wished to reduce its own stockpile, they would not need to send it to the US, as they could dispose of it on their own land—and even if they didn’t, they could detonate their weapons in underground facilities or unoccupied areas in an ocean. Regardless, I don’t see why nuclear weapons should be allowed to be imported into the US.

5. Poisons

Again, self-explanatory. In WW2, the UK had a covert misson in order to send anthrax cakes into Germany. This would kill off the food supply, poison the water, etc. This would bring Germany to its knees. It was known as ‘Operation Vegetarian’ [4]. The plan was never brought to fruition, as it would lead to the deaths of millions. But again, this merely highlights why we should not allow poisons, such as anthrax, into the country. It would endanger thousands, if not millions, of people. This is another ‘good’ which would harm the world.

6. Invasive species

A dog is a good. A cat is a good. A turtle is a good. And so are. . . Pythons. Ferrell hogs. All of these invasive species could, in fact, be considered ‘goods’. Why, then, should these exotic pets be prohibited imports? In Florida, many people began bringing invasive pets to their homes. Over time, these began to escape. Now, 25% of the fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals in southern Florida are considered exotic. Many of the things, such as weather or natural predators, do not effect invasive species. This allows them to flourish and destroy the local habitats. Attempts to control invasive species in the region costs $500 million per year, and still these invasive species still occupy a huge amount of land in Florida [5].

As can be seen, the environmental impact and economic impact of these invasive species are enormous. This is another example of imports which should be illegal.

7. Counterfeit

This, as money, is considered ‘capital’—though, with further thought, sex slaves could be considered capital too. Regardless, this is another exception which must be accounted for. Low estimates of counterfeit in the US is 70 million, or 1 in 10,000 bills are fake. Higher estimates of 200 million also are often cited, or about 2.5 notes out of 10,000 are fake [6].

Counterfeit obviously harms the economy, via enforcement costs, increased inflation, and money people get from it which is not earned (they make ‘money’, but do not produce anything, meaning potential economic growth is inhibited).

Again, another exception.

8. Items with military or proliferation applications

To define this, “Classified and Unclassified Items that have military application that are considered defense articles . . . blueprints, design plans, and retail software packages and technical information” [7].

Again, weapons and classified items which could be used for terrorism should be prohibited as imports, as it threatens national security.

9. Restricted weapons

Explosives, automatic weapons, etc. These are other obvious ‘goods’, which threaten national security and the well-being of innocent civilians. Another exception.

Free trade?

I support free trade. But I support sensible measures to prevent, among other things, the items listed above as illegal. PRO must prove that *all* goods and capital should be allowed into the US. I have provoked 9—but I could have done more—exceptions.


PRO must prove that *all* capital and goods should be allowed to enter the country. All I have to do is prove that at least *one* example of a good or capital should not be allowed to enter the country. I have provided 9. Unless my opponent refutes them all, he loses the debate. I have provided 9 things which should not be allowed into the country—so, not all goods or capital goods should be allowed as imports. Which means, as of now, the resolution is negated.

Back to you, Pro.








Debate Round No. 2


Thank you Con for your swift response. However, I feel there must have been a mix up in communication; the full resolution, as stated in PR1, was as follows;

"The United States should allow imports of goods and capital from any society outside of the United States allowing that the domestic laws of the U.S. (such as regulations, finance laws etc.) are followed. Essentially, anyone may sell goods to the U.S. and invest in firms, land, capital goods so long as they abide by the laws that all U.S. investors and U.S. firms have to abide by with goods sold in the U.S. and investments in U.S. firms, land, and capital goods."

This was done because the length of the full resolution would not have fit nicely. Now, much of what Con describes would be illegal if done by a citizen within the United States.

Human Trafficking: Illegal in the U.S. across all 50 states of the union per the 13th Amendment of the Constitution. Hence, it would be illegal for a U.S. citizen to import these "goods" (slaves forced to provide a service against their will would be a more accurate definition).

Drugs: Personal stance aside, many drugs are illegal in the U.S and around most of the world. Prescriptions, under U.S. law, would still need FDA approval.

Child Pornography: Again, illegal for U.S. citizens to purchase it, still illegal.

Nuclear Weapons: Argument extended.

Restricted Weapons: Argument extended.

Invasive Species (as defined by law in respective state and federal law): Argument extended.

Now, on to the case of counterfeit bills and military blueprints, defense plans etc, as well as the poison example. In the case of counterfeit currency, that is a case of fraud (as the person who traded for currency most likely wanted the "legitimate" currency). Otherwise, it is willfully participating in counterfeiting money, a crime in the U.S.

In the case of blue-prints, there is a reasonable dichotomy that can be set; it is U.S. plans, or it is not. If it is U.S. plans, then why should they not be imported back into the territory of the State they were stolen from? Also, would fall under the laws of disclosing "top-secret" information. If not U.S. files, then why complain about a free-er market working to do the spy"s job at a cheaper expense?

In the case of potentially poisonous foodstuff; who knowingly buys tainted food? You mention a case that the FDA may certainly be less efficient at (part of the problems of being part of a territorial monopoly), but it is still illegal to sell tainted food, with or without knowledge. So, the same argument is extended.

However, I would like to use my last round of positive arguments to address something that should come up; how does one prosecute a criminal outside U.S. borders? How does one safely sue for damages? It would work in terms of shifting responsibility until the original criminal pays restitution.

Consider the case of poisoned food. Most likely, a grocery chain bought the tainted food. That food was likely bought from a food packager, who bought stock from different sellers. As each group along the line gets sued (the grocer, then the packager, then the food seller), restitution is achieved. However, a foreigner may claim immunity from such practices, and their home courts for whatever reason agree; what then?
Well, the solution on the international scene now for disputes is settled by private arbiters. [1] The reasons for going along with this as a business owner is simple; agreeing to go to one of these private courts is the price of entry, and disagreeing results in blacklisting. The incentives are heavily inclined, then, to make quality important in trade.

So, most of Con"s concerns stem from a misreading of the full resolution explained in Pro Round 1, and where a legitimate concern does exist private companies have set up to keep businesses honest with each other across borders and to satisfy consumer demands.



I thank PRO for his response.

1. Definitions

PRO’s argument is that in R1 he noted that the items must be within current legal codes. However, his definition did not specify ‘current’. Indeed, laws are changed all the time. To get to the core of the definition, “allowing that the domestic laws of the U.S. (such as regulations, finance laws etc.) are followed.” Meaning, it does not mean that *current* laws must be followed, but that *any* laws must be followed. As laws can be changed, it means anything that is currently illegal can *still* work under his vague definition.

2. My previous arguments

PRO dismisses them based upon his ‘legality’ argument. However, in some states, drugs are becoming legalized [1]. So even if we *assume* that his statement is correct, there is at least on exception to the resolution—meaning the resolution has been negated. Further, the importation of many animals are also legal with a permit [2].

Overall, we can see how legality isn’t a card Blanche rebuttal. However, even if it was, drugs should definitely be responded to by my opponent.

3. Economics

In order to not have a fully semantical debate, I will have a separate argument for which voters can review and vote based off of merits as well. In order for *all* goods to be imported, PRO must support a free-trade regime. I will argue that a free-trade regime is not in the best interest of the US and the world.

Free trade is actually associated with decreased economic output. Free trade agreements always promise huge gains in employment, but generally reduces the amount of American workers becoming employed. Using the Korean free trade agreement as an example, the White House promised 70,000 new jobs and increased imports and exports. What occurred? Increased exports generally mean more American jobs, and more imports lead to… fewer jobs. Therefore, allowing *all* goods to enter the country would actually harm the American worker. The trade agreement led to more imports but did not increase exports. Trade deficits were incurred, and the net effect on the economy was significantly negative [3].

NAFTA is another good example of a free trade deal gone wrong. The US incurred 700,000 job losses due to the law. The law made trade easier, imports and exports became less regulated. More imports entered the US. Overall, the manufacturing industry lost 400,000 jobs. What occurred was other countries gained jobs, whereas the US was harmed significantly [4]. It is not in the US’s best interests to supports laws which strengthen its neighbors and weaken itself.

As can be seen, free trade would mean more imports, or what Pro wants. However, it has been demonstrated that more imports cost US jobs and harm the economy [3]. Therefore, economically speaking, it would be beneficial to prevent *some* goods from entering the country. Indeed, I am not in opposition to imports—they are needed. However, to say that *all* imports should be received is absurd. The economic impacts would be enormous, and would, on balance, harm the United States.

Overall, on balance, free trade would harm the US. A tariff on all goods, could, as PRO noted, cause tensions. However I never argued that imports should be entirely regulated. I am merely stating that *some* imports must be regulated in order to ensure growth and prosperity in the United States.

The resolution is negated.





Debate Round No. 3


Thank you Con.

On Con"s "loop-hole", stating that "any" laws, including past ones, would be followed; this is one absurd legal theory. Slavery would still be illegal, discrimination would be illegal, etc. The whole point of "lawmaking" involves changing bad laws made before. It can be safely assumed that "follow the laws" means the current ones that cops will arrest you for and juries try you for.

On con"s second point; Con points out that some states legalize certain things on Con"s "ban" list. The laws of the other states and the federal governments would still apply; colarado police won"t arrest you for possession of marijuana, but federal agents will, and any state you try to transport it to will. So, in essence laws are tricky. However, the merits or lack thereof of marijuana or whether exotic animals should be owned are all rich topics in and of themselves; arguing that the import is wrong for those reasons is to argue that the domestic law is wrong, something that would still be a problem if imports are not around. Since imports have to legally go through customs, legally all products sold by foreigners must be legal. Con"s argument simply does not follow.

So then we get to the crux of the issue; economics. Con argues that free trade hurts American jobs. Firstly, even considering the larger 700,000 number con used, and assuming, despite this assumption being entirely in Con"s favor, that each person had 3 dependents, that would be 2.8 million Americans affected negatively by the free trade...and 297.2 million Americans would benefit from this freer trade.

However, it is easy to forget human suffering when dealing with statistics, so let"s deal with another one; that jobs created from the import of foreign capital into America. The Japanese car industry, while not yet the level of the "domestic" industries, employs many people and keeps most of the money it invests in the U.S. [1] This is just from one country and one industry! And consider the price of cars because of the competition; how many people would be worse off because they could not afford a vehicle?

However, "what about the 700,000?" one may ask. The question here is whether the correlation is the cause. In the U.S, both employer and employee pay for food stamps, WIC, and unemployment insurance, to name just a few. This increases the cost of employing someone and creates an artificial floor of productivity a worker must reach; an employer has to attract a potential worker with a really high wage to off-set the problems the employee will face in collecting as much money as the employee needs. However, if an employee does not produce enough wealth to justify that wage, then it is not a lasting arrangement. The jobs lost were using scarce resources in a way that was not economical, and the whole point of the lay-offs, from a macro-view, is to free up labor for more urgent tasks.

The 400,000 seemingly chronic loss of jobs, then, is where the insidious effects of the welfare system come into play. Unemployment insurance, in paying for time laid off from work, incentivizes staying unemployed longer than if one did not have unemployment insurance. Food Stamps, WIC, etc. pay based on income level; this means that there is a gap between a welfare-eligible income and a welfare-free and living with more benefits than welfare would provide. Within that gap is a place where, after taxes and accounting for the lack of welfare, a person is poorer than a person earning less and accepting welfare. This incentivizes under-employment, or part-time jobs.

Add this deleterious effect with the problem of central banking; inflation increases imports as substitutes in foreign countries become cheaper by comparison [2]. So, again, the U.S. is responsible for it"s economic woes; we have only ourselves to blame for not competing in a competitive market.

And on a final note, the welfare issues and the central banking issues would still be problems without any imports at all. The imports at least help the common citizens of the U.S. in providing new capital and selling cheaper alternatives, both of which help to fuel an American economy that continues to be hampered by her government. I turn this back to Con.



1. The semantical argument

Is it really silly to argue that there is a loophole in the definition? You merely said that the imports must abide by law. Not current law. Therefore, future laws and past laws apply. Slavery was legal in the past, drugs will likely become legal in the future. The legality argument is not a card blanche response. Drugs, invasive species, and human trafficking are all valid points and must be responded to.

2. Economics

PRO seems to put much of the blame on other domestic issues. However, welfare is not the *cause* of the job loss. It could be argued that it *amplified* the job loss, but to argue that it is the sole cause is absurd. Welfare *may* exacerbate problems. It *may* lead to laziness. But it is not the cause of the significant job losses incurred due to recent free-trade agreements. It is absurd to claim this. Further, Welfare may be causing less harm as time goes on, as welfare reform was passed in the same time period as many of these free trade agreements were signed. And Welfare reform is associated with increased levels of employment and decreased poverty [1]. Therefore, if anything, welfare policies became less deleterious over the period that agreements such as NAFTA were passed. Welfare policies were loosened, meaning that they *prevented* job loss, and did not cause it. In fact, many analysis’s argue that the existence of welfare may reduce poverty [2]. Again, arguing that welfare *caused* job loss in the hundreds of thousands is absurd. Welfare *may* work to *amplify* job losses, and making them more long term. But Welfare is never the initial unemployment forcing. And may even work to alleviate some social ills.

PRO notes how some large industries—namely, the car industry—imports may help the job situation. This is in dispute. The reason companies like Toyota employ so many people here is because there is a large market. It is cost-efficient to have manufacturing plants here, since a huge amount of their income comes from US consumers. You reduce shipping costs. However, to put those jobs here also costs a lot of start-up money. Smaller imports which are not from large companies or wealthy countries (like Japan) may not do this, and will continue to keep their predominant workforce abroad. This would mean that for smaller industries, the effect would be negative. This would mean that not all imports are beneficial, and that some protective measures would overall benefit the US economy.

PRO again attempts to put the blame on central banking. Again, banking may exacerbate any effect, but it is not the forcing. Just as the sun is the forcing behind interglacial changes, CO2 often works to amplify the warming effects. Free trade begins the pain, and these other things PRO points to are amplifiers. They are negative, to be sure, but are not the largest factor in the equation. Further, if PRO supports *current* law, then the current law supports the central bankers. Which means he must also defend current legal institutions. They, as he claims, exacerbate any problem. Meaning he must also defend their existence, as they are under the *current* legal code. Using his logic, he then must support increased imports due to central banks. If the ‘bad’ imports are coming in due to the bank, he must defend them. Why? Because current law supports it. And he must defend *all* imports. He cannot pick and choose which ones he supports. Just because a bank backs one he cannot wave it away. He must support it based on the terms he wants to use for this debate.

In many ways, higher inflation helps the economy as it causes consumers to consume more. Inflation also leads to increased wages [3]. Therefore, again, assuming that inflationary measures are the cause of the job loss is absurd. And how do these measures, according to my opponent, hurt the economy? By increasing foreign imports! Therefore, he essentially concedes that at least *some* imports will hurt the US economy. If this is true, then why allow them into the country? If *some* imports are bad, then why not restrict their access? He essentially ruins his case by arguing that the central bank is bad because it… increases imports… which means by that flow imports are bad.

PRO seems to want to have a little discussion on welfare and central banking. I would love to. Maybe he could challenge me to a separate debate on central banking (e.g. gold standards). But overall, these arguments are red-herrings. What is the *net* effect of imports on the US economy, and should they be restricted.

To allow all imports in, PRO must support free trade. I provided evidence that these free-trade regimes harm the economy. PRO claimed that the central bank did it. Why? They increase imports. This concedes that imports are bad, and therefore he essentially concedes what I was saying. He says welfare caused it. Why? Disincentive to work. It may *exacerbate* the problem, but isn’t the cause. In fact, the effect of welfare has been decreasing over that time period, meaning the amplification is smaller than it would be otherwise. Meaning it likely was not the cause of the massive job loss due to these laws. In fact, welfare is associated with decreased poverty, meaning that welfare is likely NOT the culprit of the massive job losses.

So, what do we have under economics?

1) Free trade harms economy

2) PRO admits that imports harm economy

3) Therefore, as allowing *all* imports into the country would harm the economy, it seems logical to restrict *some* of their access to our country.

As can be seen, allowing all imports would exacerbate any economic woes we are now facing, and would decrease US living standards. Some imports should be barred entrance to the country. Resolution negated.




Debate Round No. 4


Thank you Con for your swift response.

This debate has been about whether "The United States should allow imports of goods and capital from any society outside of the United States allowing that the domestic laws of the U.S. (such as regulations, finance laws etc.) are followed. Essentially, anyone may sell goods to the U.S. and invest in firms, land, capital goods so long as they abide by the laws that all U.S. investors and U.S. firms have to abide by with goods sold in the U.S. and investments in U.S. firms, land, and capital goods." I have argued in the affirmative, and Con had contended. Our disagreements have been on two points; the semantics of the resolution, and the economics of freer trade.

In his opening round, Con argued that some things should not be imported because of the harm they could do. I pointed out that much of his list is negated by the full resolution (which frankly would not fit in a nice headline). Con rebutted that drugs and exotic animals still follow the domestic law of some states, and also attempted to bring in an argument that past laws (such as laws protecting slavery) could be allowed under the wording of my resolution. I argued that while yes, states do have differing laws, both the laws of the states and the laws of the federal government of the U.S. are in effect in the U.S., and so Colorado would likely not have legal importation of marijuana while the federal government maintains that it should be illegal. On the argument of using past law, I have argued that this is an absurd legal theory; our current law supersedes the past law, and future law will supersede current law and make past laws null and void. Punishment for breaking new laws in the past may be protected by ex post facto, but one cannot sell things that are illegal today. Con has simply responded with an assertion to this point. At this point, it is up to the voting audience on whether firms can sell things based on past law.

On the second point, economics, I have argued that imports help to free up land, labor, and capital at home for more productive means. I have also argued that the "balance of trade" is only really a problem when factoring in debt the U.S. federal government sells to foreigners by means of Federal Reserve monetizing the debt. Con has responded by pointing out the labor "freed" from unproductive sources, and call it a detriment when 700,000 jobs are lost to free trade. I point out that this is the freeing of labor for more productive uses, and that welfare and inflation hamper us in this competitive sense, but also point out that the problems inflation and welfare create are still present without imports and that the imports increase our wealth even as the Federal Government artificially increases the costs to the consumer.

Con has since rebutted that free trade is the main cause of the problem and that central banking and welfare may merely exacerbate the problem. Con then goes on to say that central bank inflation helps to increase wages and that reduced poverty is linked to both the same time period as welfare reforms and freer trade. I hold that he makes my point for me; inflation artificially increases the costs of both the final good and labor, granting the foreign competition an advantage, and that freer trade has reduced the price of goods and thus increased the standard of living by allowing poorer people to purchase more with less labor. Where the central banks inflation hampers the U.S. competitively and increases the prices of goods and labor, at best not doing anything to affect prices within the domestic sphere at all on balance, freer trade helps to increase the standard of living where government laws and practices reduce the average person"s wealth. Where welfare creates artificially higher prices and wages, and creates a gap between incomes that apply for welfare and incomes that provide more than welfare benefits plus wages, free trade actually boosts the effectiveness of welfare while reducing this gap. Further, to say reduced poverty is linked to the welfare reforms from the same period as increased trade creates a dilemma; which reduced poverty, the freer trade or welfare reform that still artificially increases prices and has a gap? I hold that the freer trade has reduced poverty by increasing real wealth, just as argued in PR2.

Con has argued that poorer countries may not export capital; that still does not account for lower prices in what they do sell improving real wealth.

Con created a straw-man in saying that I am against free trade hurting the economy because inflation increases imports. By this very straw-man, Con has created a dilemma for the position he has held for 2 rounds; if all free trade is bad, then why have any at all? The answer must lie in what Con does not contend.

On the note of free trade incentivizing peace, Con has remained silent. On the point that while federal programs have hurt 700,000 jobs and, for sake of argument, 2.8 million U.S. citizens, Con has had much to say. About the 297.2 million citizens that benefit, over ten times the number of people negatively affected by free trade, Con has remained more quiet. While I have hopefully argued well that the 700,000 jobs are more the fault of government policy rather than freer trade, isn"t a policy that helps 297 million and increases peace while helping to reduce the welfare gap and effects of inflation that most affects those 3 million negatively better than one that does not increase peace and hampers 300 million with at best a static market? I argue that it is, and that the resolution should therefore be affirmed.

Thank you Con for this debate, and thank you to anyone who has read this full debate. Please vote for the better competitor, and provide RFD for any vote you cast.


I thank my opponent for the debate. I must remind the audience that PRO had the BOP throughout the debate, and as noted in R1 any exception to his rule would mean the resolution is negated. It is fairly obvious that, as a whole, my opponent has failed to fulfill his BOP and prove that *all* goods should be allowed importation into the US.

PRO ignores my entire rebuttal to the semantical argument: That his legality argument is weak and does not provide a card Blanche. Therefore, he concedes it as true. Meaning his argument—that the resolution negates the argument—is not valid. Therefore, every single point I made in round 2 is essentially dropped, meaning the resolution is negated and PRO automatically loses the debate. Therefore, his arguments pertaining to legality are refuted based upon his concessions of the argument. He then argues past laws are override by current laws. This is irrelevant. You did *not* say that the laws had to either be in action or existing today—nor did you say they had to be functioning laws. As *laws* was not defined, it is open to interpretation. And, therefore, arguing that past laws are irrelevant does not work, as they were relevant in the past. And you never said this debate was about current law. As noted, the legality argument I made was dropped by my opponent, meaning he essentially concedes my opinions and loses the debate.

PRO then goes on to claim that free trade is a straw man. No. His argument requires free trade. Allowing all imports would be a free trade system. By extensive evidence detailing how imports harm the USA is, by itself, enough to win the debate. I specifically noted how imports at all would harm the economy, and allowing all imports would be devastating. My opponent response, “if all free trade is bad, then why have any at all?” is very flimsy. Historical evidence—contrary to the myth that prostitution was—indicates that slavery was the world’s oldest profession [1]. Slavery existed throughout most of human history, but almost universally was considered a ‘bad’ thing. Therefore, merely because something exists does not mean that it is good.

PRO continues to make the red-herrings of both inflation and welfare. This debate is about neither of those things. Both exacerbate the issues of importation, but are not the cause of the issue. I honestly don’t see how the argument that inflation makes imports *worse* really applies. The fact is, his premise presupposes that imports are a bad thing, meaning he essentially concedes the debate. And the effects of welfare—as noted—have been decreasing during the period globalization has been occurring, therefore the negative effects cannot be attributed to welfare. Really, my opponent ignores the well supported statistical analysis of free trade leading to 100s of thousands of job losses because he cannot directly respond to it. He offers no reason as to why welfare and inflation are the sole causes of the economic issues caused by free trade. Inflation may *increase* the problem, but it is not the problem. Soda may increase obesity rates, but it is not the problem.

My opponent claims I dropped the peace argument. This is untrue when you think about it. I noted how free trade increases unemployment, which leads to many risk factors, including poverty, which increases crime rates. Therefore, in relation to the domestic USA, it likely *increases* violence. Second, many wars (e.g. ISIS) are being fought by religious zealots who are not incentivized by money. Therefore, it is arguable whether or not free trade is applicable to the modern world. And finally, I am not in opposition to *some* free trade—as I noted early in the debate. I am opposed to *full* free trade. I have presented evidence that allowing *all* goods into the country would *harm* the US. Therefore, the resolution is negated, as *some* imports should be refused entry because of the deleterious economic impacts.

Overall, I have proven how there are *some* exceptions, meaning the resolution has negated. I noted how, at least domestically, a free trade regime would *increase* violence and worsen the economic output of the US via job loss. Overall, PRO fails to offer convincing reasons as to why *all* goods should be allowed entry, whereas I provide multiple examples as to how his ideas would harm the US and examples of goods which should be restricted.

Also, as noted, importing invasive species is NOT illegal under current law—meaning there is at least one exception—so I win the debate.

I urge a CON vote.


Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago

Conduct - Tie. Both had proper conduct throughout.

S&G - Tie. Both had adequate spelling and grammar throughout.

Arguments - Con. While both sides presented compelling cases, Con was able to nail Pro with a loophole found in the resolution. This loophole was essentially Con taking advantage of the fact that Pro never defined which laws, thus Con argued while having *all* laws in consideration. Pro tried to rebut this by saying that the resolution relates to current laws, but without that notion expressed it holds no real bearing in the debate. Case-wise, Pro placed a heavy burden on himself by using the term *all*, thus Con only had to present one import which should not be allowed. If Con hadn't utilized the loophole, Pro's lack of rebuttals would have stood, unfortunately for Pro, his lack of rebuttals hurt his case tremendously because they are essentially dropped arguments on 6 out of the 9 imports that Con listed.
I found the debate to be focusing too much on definitions and what is or is not the cause of the issue in regards to welfare and the harms/benefits of free trade. If Con hadn't found the loophole, these arguments would have held much more weight in the debate. However, because Con already defeated Pro in regards to the laws loophole and imports that were dropped by Pro, it's clear that Con wins arguments. I would highly recommend that Pro not place such a heavy burden on himself in regards to wording the resolution as *all* imports. It's hard to affirm such a motion because if merely one thing stands to negate the claim then it's all lost. Overall, Pro put up an excellent fight, and had that loophole not been utilized, it would have been a much closer debate.

Sources - Tie. I found this to be difficult to judge. Both utilized sources in an appropriate and effective manner. In terms of quantity and quality, I found them to mix with Con relying alot on Wiki in R2. Quantity-wise, it's Con. Quality-wise, it's tied.
Posted by dtaylor971 2 years ago
Sadly, this debate turned into a "definitions" debate. The definition of goods, as presented by 16k in the first round, stands as "merchandise or possessions, this includes persons." This was the only viable, clear definition of "goods" presented in the debate, so I accept that term as the ground of this debate. Pro's full resolution did not specify exactly which laws should be followed (current or past, even future, as pointed out in a smartass move by 16k.) Thus, any "goods" stand in this debate, which is essential to the con's arguments.

Pro must prove that all imports of goods would improve the U.S to win this debate. Pro made a nice argument regarding the overall effectiveness of allowing all imports for the U.S, but fails to show that all imports would be beneficial. However, he does somewhat meet the BoP via showing that enforcing this policy would be at least part beneficial. But all con must do to negate the resolution is show certain goods that would not be beneficial for the U.S to trade for.

Con named nine certain goods that should not be allowed across U.S borders (via trading,) 6 of which were essentially dropped by the pro. As I have covered, all of these arguments are valid, for 16k found a loophole and said it does not matter if the laws were past, current, or future. Pro practically conceded to this, saying the definitions were "implied" (see start of fourth round.) It is worth noting that 6 of 9 items were dropped via definition (as I take it,) meaning the resolution is negated, and con wins. If we must go any further, con's animal argument is not technically illegal, and it was never refuted in proper fashion.

In conclusion, the outcome of this debate boils down to what the definitions are. It was overall effectiveness vs. goods that should not be imported along the U.S borders. I interpreted the definitions to go the way of the con, which means all 9 of his items were valid. Seeing as 6 of them were dropped, a ballot for con is in order
Posted by dtaylor971 2 years ago
Voting real soon
Posted by Danielle 2 years ago
to read later * someone please remind me to read and vote on this
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
I will put a normal argument too so that the debate isn't fully trashed
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
kk, just add "no semantics" So bitches like me dont show up :P
Posted by jackh4mm3r 2 years ago
I don't see why we should close it down. Worst case scenario for me is that I learn to better word my resolutions; good luck for the remainder of this debate.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
Bruh I found loopholes in the definition. If you don't like my semantics we can always get the debate closed so you can debate someone who is not being a b!tch like me lol. But I will write my case just in case you want to keep goin'
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in Comments.
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: In comments. Sources tied after further review. Either side may contact me, because my RFD was tough to put in words and even harder to explain clearly.