The Instigator
Pro (for)
2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

The U.S. Dept. of State should issue special "Agricultural Intern" entry visas to famine victims

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,353 times Debate No: 13786
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




Famine is a perennial problem in sub-Saharan Africa and every year brings wholesale death from starvation to the native population. These tragedies are mitigated to some extent by aid donated by developed countries but all-too-often the food and money is intercepted or diverted by corrupt governments and their officials. [1]

That's why I propose private trading companies send ships to regions affected by famine to rescue as many natives as they can and ferry them to America.

Upon entry into the United States the immigration officials will grant the new arrivals special "Agricultural Intern" entry visas similar to existing U.S. work permits [2] and attach them to the importer's passenger manifest (as the rescued Africans are highly unlikely to have passports).

Of course, the trading company will have to cover the cost of shipping, feeding the Africans during the crossing, etc. and make a small profit on top, and they will do this by auctioning their human cargos off to farmers and plantation owners - handing the purchasers the individual's visa documents as a receipt of sale.

The new owners of these agricultural interns would be able to recoup the their initial outlay and the ongoing costs of housing and feeding their purchases by putting them to work in their fields.

Now, in order to foil agricultural intern-rustlers, farmers and plantation owners would be encouraged to tattoo their logo or mark on their workers' foreheads. This would also prevent any ungrateful interns from breaking the terms of their visas by leaving their owners' farms in order to seek alternative employment.

Of course, these agricultural interns should only stay in the U.S. as long as is absolutely necessary and just as soon as Africa is free from famine and corruption they should all be returned to their native homelands.

This plan would save the lives of hundreds of thousands of starving Africans and boost the profits of American farmers and plantation owners at the same time and I, therefore, affirm that the U.S. Department of State should issue special "Agricultural Intern" entry visas to famine victims.

Thank you.



Reducing the deaths due to famine in Sub-Saharan Africa is truly a noble goal, one worthy of such intellectual and humanitarian greats as Jimmy Carter, George Soros, or Theodore Roosevelt. Assuredly, were a practical method to be suggested, good men of all classes and ideologies would do their their part to alleviate the tragedy.

So it is not out of a lack of concern that I oppose my worthy opponent's plan today; indeed, I share his burden completely. It is only the sheer impracticality of his plan that causes my objection.

Against his proposal:

US farmers already hire 1-3 million migrant workers each year, mostly from Mexico, to provide the unskilled low-cost field labor. [1] This market seems to be full; projections for agricultural labor show that job market growing slower than the national average. [2]

Were this extremely low-cost labor to become available, the only reasonable expectation is that the new agricultural interns (hereafter known as AI's) will displace the currently employed migrant laborers; with the market already full, no significant increase in the number of openings can be projected.

Sub-Saharan Africa has an estimated population of 906 million. [3] In order to make any real affect on the famine situation through my opponent's plan, the vast majority of these people must be evacuated to the US under AI visas. Anything less will not prevent the death of many millions due to the famine, and would merely put off the day of reckoning for a generation, at best.

Not only is this three times the current population of the United States, bringing with it the derivative problems of feeding and housing such an enormous number of new arrivals, but it is 300 times the maximum number of agricultural jobs they can possibly fill. These new immigrants would be stuck here jobless and without any knowledge of English, in the middle of one of the most severe recessions in decades. Welfare cannot stretch to accommodate that many new arrivals, and no private company will pay to feed and house hundreds of millions of unskilled workers without some return. Lacking jobs to give them, there can be no return on such an investment.

Instead of preventing them from dying of famine, then, opponent's plan takes them off their farms (where they have at least a chance of supporting themselves) and turns them loose to die here of starvation.

My opponent my suggest that it is only his intention to bring over a few hundred thousand, just enough for the work we have here, and not enough to swamp us. This would do virtually nothing for the Africans, as they would replace that number in just a few years. All my opponent's plan would do is provide cheap labor for a few western farmers, displacing the current migrant workers (who face famine in their home countries too, I might add) and keep a few hundred thousand people from possibly perishing by famine. It would do nothing to alleviate the current conditions in Sub - Saharan Africa, where the population is expected to grow to one billion (1,000,000,000) this year. [3]

My modest proposal:
One of the major causes of famine is corrupt or inept government, as attested in the Encyclopedia of Public Health: "Underlying causes, however, almost always involve misguided or deliberate public policy, repressive political systems, or natural or human-caused disaster." [4]

The Sub -Saharan governments are relatively weak, however; supported by tiny, poorly quipped armies, [5] they would be relatively simple to topple and replace with US territorial governments. Assuming we leave Nigeria alone, our casualties should be improportionately small for the sheer area of land we could conquer; and once they are under our rule, we can enforce honest government and rational agricultural policies to stop the famine.

These newly invigorated nations would then serve as new markets for our products, new allies in the southern hemisphere, and a source of stability for the region. Their exports can help bring the rest of Africa out of famine without our resorting to further conquest.

In other words, we can save hundreds of millions of lives by conquering Sub -Saharan Africa. That would be a just war, indeed.

Although the cause is worthy, my opponent's plan of evacuating people simply wouldn't work. My plan to change the governments would be much simpler and more effective in reducing the death toll from the African famine.

I negate the resolution, and return the debate to my opponent. Good luck!

[2] (end of first paragraph)
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Chrysippus for accepting this debate and for posting such an eloquent rebuttal together with an alternative proposal

I accept that to ship all the starving Africans into the U.S. would swamp the country but America has a free-market economy and the market will decide how many agricultural interns will be imported - as the market begins to become saturated, the price per unit will fall to a level where it is no longer economic to transport agricultural interns into the United States.

I also accept that Mexican migrant workers will be displaced by the more economic agricultural interns but please don't think they will go hungry back home: after Americans, Mexicans are the fattest people in the world [1]; they'll get their bit, don't you worry about that.

And with regard to language barriers, migrant workers from Mexico tend to speak very little English – indeed, in certain U.S. states such as Texas, Florida and New Mexico you can't get served in some shops and restaurants unless you speak Spanish – I recently passed a store in a suburb of Miami that had a sign in the window that read "ENGLISH SPOKEN HERE"!

In sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, English is the official language of Botswana, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, St Helena, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and English is also widely spoken elsewhere in Africa even though it has no official status.

Therefore, there should be no problem in the agricultural migrants understanding simple commands such as: "Stop moaning you bunch of skulking savages, you'll get fed when the crop is picked and not before" and "Put your backs into it, or I'll have you whipped to within an inch of your lives you indolent work-shy slackers."

Now, regarding my opponents alternative suggestion of imposing American sovereignty on errant African nations: the American colonisation of Africa would be difficult politically as most sub-Saharan African countries are members of the British Commonwealth who are committed to protecting democracy and human rights. Invading a Commonwealth country would lose the U.S. the friendship of Commonwealth members such as Canada, Australia, India and, of course, the UK.

Furthermore, the American record of colonisation is not unblemished. The population of Red Indians prior to the foundation of the United States is conservatively estimated to have been 12 million but by the 20th Century the population had decreased by 95% to a mere 237,000 – representing one of the largest and longest sustained genocides in human history. [3]

That's why the best way to alleviate famine in Africa is to rescue the victims and grant them special Agricultural Intern entry visas to the United States.

Thank you.





I would like to thank my honorable opponent for this stimulating debate. I'm sure the entire community has benefited from this fair exposure of both side of this pressing issue, and I hope he has enjoyed it as much as I.

My opponent admits the measures he proposes will only include as many people as the current market will allow. As he is equally committed to the principles of free capitalism as I, we are in agreement that the government should not force an inordinate number of refugees (or agricultural interns) onto the market.

He also did not dispute the numbers that show such a limited number of people would not have any significant effect on the famine in Africa.

The obvious conclusion is that my opponent's generous proposal would sadly have no real effect in solving this problem.

In this vein, then, I do not think it necessary to respond in depth to some of the more peripheral issues, such as the language problem or the possibility of spreading the famine to Mexico.

I will not point out the recession that Mexico is going through, or the current state of near-anarchy that prevails there; nor will I suggest the possibility of armed violence against the US breaking out on the part of the suddenly unemployed migrant workers. I will restrain myself from making such comments; they are beneath the dignity of this debate.

I also will avoid cautioning my opponent on his choice of examples for the simple commands; the ones chosen seem to reflect a surprising lack of empathy for the hapless agricultural interns for one so good-hearted, and I assume they were merely copied from somewhere else due to lack of time. We all can understand that perfectly, having all been pressed for time ourselves.

I would like to address one point in particular, though; my worthy opponent states (and I quote):

"Now, regarding my opponents alternative suggestion of imposing American sovereignty on errant African nations: the American colonisation of Africa would be difficult politically as most sub-Saharan African countries are members of the British Commonwealth who are committed to protecting democracy and human rights. Invading a Commonwealth country would lose the U.S. the friendship of Commonwealth members such as Canada, Australia, India and, of course, the UK."

He states this as if it were a problem. Of course, there will always be a few petty countries that get upset when the great and benevolent American people choose to alleviate the suffering of others; this is our burden, and we bear it stoically. The solution is simple in this case, however. As none of these countries have much of an economy or military themselves, they are obviously acting out of envy for the fortunate Sub-Saharan countries. We can be understanding about this; after all, it is only natural for them. It would be the simplest of tasks to extend our beneficence through conquest to these jealous little nations, and that is exactly what I propose.

For the purposes of this debate then, consider the British Commonwealth countries (UK included) as being included in the category of Sub-Saharan African countries. There isn't such an important distinction between them after all, excluding that of geography. The colonization of Great Britain should pose no greater difficulty than that of Benin.

My keen-witted opponent also brings up a concern about America's track record regarding colonization. With all due respect, it was not Americans who colonized the US; it was Englishmen. One can assume that the modern, enlightened, fair-minded american colonists and govenors will do a much better job than the insular, bigoted and ignorant 17th century English colonists. His fears on this head, then, are entirely unfounded.

That concludes the debate. I have enjoyed this, and I hope both my opponent and you, the reader, did as well. May the best man win.

Debate Round No. 2
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
Oh, and no offence taken at the Commonwealth jibes by the way - I was pretty rude about the Americans anyway!

Actually, I enjoy that debate and your second round had me in stitches!
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
I don't think its the title I think it is one of those debates that for some technical reason don't get featured on the front page.
Posted by Chrysippus 6 years ago
Huh. I guess the title must be misleading people. Almost no one has looked at it.

They probably think this was a serious debate. Silly people.

No offence meant, btw, by the pokes at the Commonwealth; it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Posted by Chrysippus 6 years ago
"Invading a Commonwealth country would lose the U.S. the friendship of Commonwealth members such as Canada, Australia, India and, of course, the UK."

And this is a problem why?

Wait, we could assign third world countries honorary Sub-Saharan status. That would solve the "problem." It would also give the English political parties worth complaining about.

I fail to see a downside to that plan, come to think of it...
Posted by Chrysippus 6 years ago
This is going to be fun.

Shifting into satire mode. Please note that the views I post here are completely different from those I actually hold, and are merely for purposes of humorous impact.
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
lol, at first I was like "omg, brian's taking on a serious topic, but then as I'm reading, I realized that you were subtly arguing for a return of slavery to the U.S.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
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