The Instigator
Stephen_Hawkins
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points
The Contender
YYW
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points

This House believes that we should substantially subsidize the extraplanetary industry

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Stephen_Hawkins
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,358 times Debate No: 28530
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (5)

 

Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Rules:

1) Definitions:

Subsidised is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as “A sum of money granted by the government to assist an industry so that the price of a service may remain low and competitive”. To make this clear, my opponent will affirm the partial aid by the government to industry. Not nationalisation by the government, not charitable aid by NGOs, but partial aid by government to industry.

The extraplanetary industry is defined as industry that takes place outside of the planet, such as moon missions, moon bases, private shuttle launches, etc.

2) No headings

This is practice for me for a live debate, and as such the presentation should be as if it were a live debate. As such, no headings, images, etc. that wouldn't be able to be presented in a live debate. This excludes sources, for obvious reasons.

3) Opponent first

As this again is practice for me for live debates, in which I go second, I request my opponent to go first, in the first round. As such, (s)he should forfeit the final round, to make the number of rounds each balanced.

4) ELO Ranking of over 3000 (except YYW)

This doesn't take much explaining. Please have an ELO ranking of over 3000.

Any breaking of any of these rules should result in voters giving all seven points against whoever committed the infraction. For reference, the rules do not hold for this (my) opening post, if anyone attempts to be smart :)

If you fit the requirements but cannot accept, please post in the comments and I shall set this challenge at you. Thank you for reading, and I await any challenges.
YYW

Pro

I want to begin by thanking Stephen_Hawkins for the debate and I would like to first address some administrative issues and then move on to my introduction and topical analysis for the resolution itself. Pursuant to PRO"s stipulation, I will present an affirmative case in the first round. Judges will note that the consequence of this will mean that I do not offer additional arguments or rebuttals in the final round. For this debate, I stipulate that the burden of proof is split necessitating that my arguments support the resolution while my opponent argues for the opposite of the resolution; that "we should not substantially subsidize the extraplanetary industry." My opponent"s participation in this debate henceforth should properly indicate his acceptance of a split BOP and additional provisions, accordingly.

Now, I want to offer a brief sketch of my strategy for this debate. Because the resolution is isolated to address specifically the issue of the use of subsidies to a specified end, it is proper to examine why and under what circumstances governments should use subsidies. In the first round I will examine how market failures stemming from various externalities, scale and imperfect competition create conditions where the use of subsidies may produce an increase in domestic welfare, and may additionally result in other market benefits. In Round 2 I will examine market conditions within the extraplanetary industry and articulate multifaceted public benefits that may result from subsidized extraplanetary industry as defined by my opponent. In Round 3 I will rebut and conclude pursuant to the structure outlined by my opponent above.

Market failures exist where "a difference exists between the actual price and the socially optimal price."1 Market failures may manifest in problems of scale where large fixed costs of entry into a market are necessitated by industry requirements of highly specialized capital. However, upon acquisition of capital allocated efficiently toward production the cost of production falls as units produced both increase and are sold. Because the initial cost of production is exceedingly high a market price of such a good will be disproportionately more than a similar good from an established company which has already recouped its cost of market entry. Because the demand for a marketable product whose price is disproportionately high may be artificially low, where subsidies are allocated to offset the cost of market entry demand may increase where the cost of a product is reduced. This is the hallmark of "learning by doing" within a specified industry. Salutarily, the allocation of subsidies to underdeveloped companies who have not recouped their cost of entry may have the dual effect of increasing demand for a product as a result of lowered consumer costs. Empirical research suggests that this is especially true for high tech industries, such as aerospace, nuclear power and semiconductors.1 By the governmental allocation of subsidies to early-stage industry, such an initial investment has exceeding potentiality of benefiting consumers in the future. For subsidies to be beneficial to developing industry, the World Trade Organization articulates that "the losses made in the initial stages must be significant and the learning curve steep."

Moreover, in imperfectly competitive markets (which tend more to correspond with the situational reality of international trade than perfect-competition hypotheticals upon which many purely free trade economic analysis are predicated) governmental subsidization of industry may result in the strategic relationships between domestic and international firms in a manor favorable to domestic firms and in consequence domestic welfare where properly implemented, as illustrated by Spencer and Brander (1983), (1985) and Brander (1995).1,2 As Gholz (1997) explains, by capitalizing on market failures, to shift rents from successful producers, national wealth may be increased.3 While as Hortsman and Markuzen (1986) validly note,
policies of industrial subsidization may run the risk of the subsidizing of inefficient producers, through proper investment of subsidies to research and development it is possible that presently inefficient domestically subsidized producers may eclipse more quickly global competition by eliminating the need to amass capital for reinvestment into research and development where (as mentioned above) the industrial learning curve is steep and the cost of production decreases precipitously as more units are sold, capital is amassed and then subsequently reinvested into research and development (R&D).

Strategic Trade Theory, as modeled by Spencer and Brander (1983) incorporates a 3 stage model in which firstly subsidies purposed towards R&D and/or other measures increase domestic welfare by shifting profits from foreign firms to domestic firms. This is accomplished by increasing the cost of foreignly produced products of enabling domestically produced products to be sold at a rate lower than that of foreignly produced products. This causes foreign firms to reduce their exports and similarly causes domestic firms who enjoy subsidization to export and, moreover, sell more goods. As a result, the revenue generated by domestically subsidized firms increases while that of foreign firms decreases which will furthermore reduce foreign R&D. Simply, the gain of the domestic firm is won at the expense of foreign competition. This firstly protects the domestic industry from foreign competition during developmental stages, secondly secures the place of a domestic firm within a global economic niche and thirdly erodes the revenue potential of a foreign firm. In consequence, governments may use subsidies as mechanisms of strategic trade policy to shift profits from foreign firms to domestic firms which will reduce national economic welfare in such a way that secures a continued return on investment through future tax revenues and increased global trade.

1 http://www.wto.org...
2 Barbara Spencer and James A. Bredner, "Strategic Trade Policy", in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics
3 http://web.mit.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

I hope to explain to you why subsidies to extraplanetary development are should be strongly opposed. I will show this through revealing the underpinning of his arguments: dogged appeal to Capitalist Nationalism.

It is clear in my opponent’s contentions that support of the resolution is support for Capitalism. His second argument is about making markets competitive, his third to promote local industry, and his fourth to promote strategic trade theory. Moreover, his argument is clearly jingoistic, going as far as to promote local business “at the expense of foreign competition” and readily admits that his Strategic Trade “will reduce national economic welfare”! The proposition clearly wishes to lead us to state supported Capitalism. It goes without saying: if my opponent cannot justify his ideology, then all his arguments fail, as this ideology pervades every argument. My argument by contrast is one against this dogma, and against the marginalisation, destitution and exploitation of the common people, instead focusing on equity, the only aspect of importance. My argument rejects this flawed underpinning for a better one, based in equity and welfare, not cold-hearted mechanical efficiency.

The exploration and development of space is merely a smoke screen, a way to blind us from the reality: an expansion and return to imperialism, a short term solution to economic crisis and avoiding the societal problems here on earth. The humanisation of the cosmos is clearly a new and exotic development, but the underlying motive is evidently dangerous. Rosa Luxemburg in the 20th century explained there needs to be this frontier outside of Capitalist nationalism for two reasons. First, the outside of the “civilised” world is something scaremongerers use to convince us to rally behind otherwise horrible ideas in a scramble for exploitative profit, or to remain in government. Just look at the Falkland War, explicitly by the Argentinian government to create violent nationalism, or the Bush Wars in a scramble for oil and profit. These frontiers lead to fighting and disaster. Secondly, these frontiers are, as Rosa Luxemburg states, for the search of cheap capital and labour. Now, science-fiction aside, expansion to the cosmos offers no benefit in labour power, but expansion into the cosmos does offer prospects for exploiting new materials such as those in asteroids, moons, and other planets. Again, when there is a competition of interests in space, there shall be colonisation and rushes for extracting and exploiting all the resources of a celestial body as quickly as possible, leading to the exploitation of workers similar to the Congo in the 1890, and the stealing of resources, ruining the lives of any colonists living there. Thus, the support of the extraplanetary industry develops the need for the frontier which leads to an exploitation of citizens and the creation of war.

Capitalism in space, lacks borders, lacks restraint, will lead to cosmic destruction, as it has on our planet. However, at least on Earth we can restrain the horror of laissez-faire Capitalism through the power of law and democracy. Yet in the empty frontier of space, law will be non-existent, and exploitation is inevitable. We simply need to look at our history of colonial exploitation of resources to see that, without restraint, we shall devour and destroy ourselves. In the words of Joseph Conrad, who saw materialistic fanaticism of the capitalist colonisers’ first-hand: “They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind- as it is very proper for whose who tackle darkness.”[1] The destruction of the victims and the land is horrible enough, but we destroy ourselves from taking part in such shameful activities. Not only does affirming the resolution lead to mass victimisation of the workforce, but it also leads to the moral destruction of the businessman. The proposition cannot hide behind good intentions: the fact of the matter is that profit is the driving force of extraplanetary development, and in the unrestrained frontier of space, exploitation is inevitable.

What we affirm is not the abandoning of space, but instead the demand of not half-hearted subsidies, but nationalisation instead. My opponent's first argument justifies this: government control is key. We must distance ourselves from unjust resource exploitation and promoting instead a collective effort to better ourselves is the true step forward. Corporate interest is anathema to the interest of the people, and it is the latter which needs to be focused on and promoted.

If we remain focused on corporate interest, what will happen when two corporations make claim to areas as vast as Mars, or Venus, or even an asteroid? Trillions of pounds worth of raw material could be there at the very least. War is inevitable – between corporations as well as countries. Countries like the USA with use space to reassert a dying global hegemonic imperialism to this new frontier. Harry Magdoff commented in The Age of Imperialism “it is the professed goal” of the US and its corporations “to control as large a share of the world market as they do of the US market”[2], and this hunger persists today. It is impossible to exaggerate how dangerous this dual expansionism is to the world at large. Meszaros observed in 2001 that the Anglo-American union threatens humanity with the “extreme violent rule of the whole world by one hegemonic imperialist country on a permanent basis…an absurd and unsustainable world order”[3]. Subsidies will only cause horror.

Moreover, there are massive risks to our local populations if we send space exploration missions. It is not widely appreciated, for example, that if something had gone wrong while the 1997 Cassini Mission was still circling the earth, roughly forty million deaths could have occurred.[4] No plans were in place for such an eventuality. Yet, as early as 1964, a plutonium-powered generator, similar to the Cassini, fell to earth, having failed to achieve orbit. Dr. John Gofman, professor of medical physics at the University of California, Berkeley, then argued that there was a direct link between that crash and an increase of lung cancer on Earth[5]. Both President Obama and the Russian authorities are now arguing for generating electricity with plutonium in space, and building nuclear-propelled rockets for missions to Mars.[6] With an increase in the extraplanetary industry, we’ll certainly see catastrophes like this occur.

So, to conclude, there are four points I am making. Firstly, the extraplanetary industry will result in war between corporations and countries over the rights of land in space. Second, the extraplanetary industry, away from prying eyes will lead to all involved losing their sense of moral decency and care for one another, reducing us to animals and lawlessness will ensue. Thirdly, there will be mass exploitation of workers and colonists outside of their country and planet. And finally, there will be an increase in catastrophes and death on the planet as a result of the growth of the industry and the loss of millions of people’s lives. But in general, I am making the point that extraplanetary development is a distraction from the real world problems. The subsidies can be better spent, improving our police or fire services, for example, which are direly in need. However, the devastating union of state-sponsored Capitalism will lead to jingoistic imperialism, as the state meddles in Capitalism, Capitalism meddles with the state, and everyone loses as a result.

[1] Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

[2] Age of Imperialism, Harry Magdoff

[3] Socialism or Barbarism, Istvan Meszaros

[4] The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet, Karl Grossman

YYW

Pro

YYW forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent forfeited his last round. As such, if he comes back, he is free to use his final round (instead of leaving it blank) to make both side equal. With the customary deduction of conduct from my opponent, I shall say "extent all arguments" and await a strong reply to my case. Thank you.
YYW

Pro

YYW forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Vote Con!
YYW

Pro

YYW forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
Sorry about forfeiting this, Stephen. I feel quite bad about that, actually. I had the flu... oh well. Nice rounds, nevertheless.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
I have an ELO rating of 2,861. If you can deal with that, I'd be happy to take this.
Posted by Raisor 4 years ago
Raisor
I would debate this but it says I don't meet your age criteria...
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Good to see you still don't care about actually causing trouble to someone's life outside of this website.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
InVinoVeritas
;) You're the cutest when you're mad.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
To quote myself: "This is practice for me for a live debate". Also, why would I be arguing for subsidies when I am CON in a debate on whether we should subsidise industry?
Posted by DoubtingDave 4 years ago
DoubtingDave
Stephen, if you are arguing that the government should subsidize extraplanetary industry, challenge me. also, it's difficut with you as con as the instigator. Can you make the resolution as such that you are pro? It's kind of confusing what's being argued here even with your explanations and clarifications.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Thanks for accepting a debate I have an actual investment in outside of the internet, and then ignoring it without any consideration for my need to practice this topic. And a big thanks for saying beforehand how you don't understand the rules AFTER accepting then ignoring the debate altogether. Class Act.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
InVinoVeritas
Cool story, bro.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
You shouldn't accept a debate if you don't understand the rules: you should ask instead. I'm saying this beforehand: Ignorantia juris non excusat
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by DoctorDeku 4 years ago
DoctorDeku
Stephen_HawkinsYYWTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: What's up with 1Devilsadvocate's vote? Anyway forfeit.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 4 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
Stephen_HawkinsYYWTied
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Total points awarded:16 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter VBs.
Vote Placed by tmar19652 4 years ago
tmar19652
Stephen_HawkinsYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Stephen_HawkinsYYWTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Ff
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 4 years ago
bladerunner060
Stephen_HawkinsYYWTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Sorry, Con, since you made a specific point to mention this was prep for a real debate, that you got a forfeiting opponent.