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Most important for history

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/17/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,376 times Debate No: 39062
Debate Rounds (3)
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My AP US history teacher just stated that Society, Politics, and Economics are the driving forces for almost everything that happens in society, politics, and economics. He then asked which is the most important.
I believe that society is the most important and my opponent will choose one of the other two and argue it.
First round-accept and choose your stance.
Third-Counter arguments

There will not be room for rebuttal for the counters so ensure that you are clear.
5000 character limit.


Politics is arguably a subgroup of Society, given that Politics is shaped by Society, so I'm going with Economics as the driving force of history.

Economics is the driving force of history, given that it affects politics and society. It affects politics via the people's response to those in power's management of the economy. If those in power can maintain a good economy, they will stay in power. American society in the 1920's boom was considerably different than the Great Depression. Why? The mentality of the society changed from "good times" to "destitution all around us." The Great Depression, by all accounts was a bad decade, but the reason why it was caused has been attributed to all three of the driving forces of history, and are, for that reason, beyond the purview of this debate.
It is axiomatic that a good economy is beneficial to a healthy societal system, to say less of politics. The economy throughout history until the development of capitalism was primarily based off serfs producing and lords taking, in return granting the serfs "protection." The great conquests of increasing wealth was from wealth looted, instead of created. That looted wealth was where the real money to be taken was, and money translates to stature, and stature translates to power. With power, you can influence Politics and Society. The economy can be said to be affected by politics, but with a government system like that, you can expect that the market crashes directly after elections and improves directly before, if there is a government of the "grab as much money from the electorate as possible" persuasion. The kind that retires with a huge amount of money skimmed off projects to finance a mansion later.
The economy was actually a legitimate reason for the colonies in the Caribbean to fight each other. Anybody remember the Spanish Treasure Fleet they packed with gold and goodies and sent back home? The occasional storm would sink a ship or two and then there would be squabbling over who would pick over the carcass, for example. Pirates, buccaneers, and privateers plied the waters in search of a big payout of gold and native artifacts. A sufficiently large and well-equipped crew in search of that payout may even go so far as to attack and sack a city, thus altering the geopolitical situation by removing a center of power for one country. The effects of that loss would damage the health of the society. Then there's the political implications. Those affected would be clamoring for more protection from their government. Because the aforementioned government would have a vested interest in the area, their requests would be granted, and politics would be affected by a shift in the balance of power, as a result of economic interests being threatened.
The Industrial Revolution was propelled by economic forces altering the society. Before the Industrial revolution, the average person was a farmer. Farming back then was a 14-16 hour workday, now weekends off. When the Industrial revolution occurred, not only was there a chance to make obscene profits, but also the chance of work for better pay. Immigrants coming from other, less-developed, and monarchic countries took jobs in the factories because:
1. Economic incentives and
2. More freedom and security than what they had back in the old country
The economic conditions some faced, when looking at the aforementioned obscene profits, caused them to become socialists. A large enough group of them emerged in Russia a few decades later and caused no end of trouble. Some of the socialists were vicious and violent and most tried to change the economy through society and politics. These were typically second and third generation immigrants, who, no longer as thankful for being in America, wanted to have control.

There you have it. Economics is the major driving force of history. Almost every war fought had some economic incentive. The genocidal wars? Take their land and resources. The almost constant bickering between the French and the English? They both had interests in the area and threatened the other's, The Opium Wars? Over trading privileges. The Revolutionary War? Unfair taxation and bureaucrats taking a chunk of their income. World War I? That was over alliances, yes, and firmly political. World War II? The Germans wanted "Living space." The Communist Revolution? The Reds wanted more economic freedom so they could get away from their "oppressive" employers.

And with that, I leave you to come up with a logical argument. Have a nice day.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to argue that, as opposed to one affecting the other two, historical trends tend to move more like a chain. I believe, society influences politics and politics influence the economy. Then, the economy can lightly influence society during periods of economic extremes. Allow me to elaborate. Let us look at India years ago. The economy played little factor in the election of government officials. Instead, people were elected based on their caste(or SOCIAL position) to play a role in politics. Now, that leader may have developed a good economy or a bad economy for his people. Look at China. China was always patriarchal. How many of its leaders were women. This is societal beliefs impacting the government. Clearly, in China, different emperors did well and had good policies which affected the economy and others negatively influenced the economy. Again, society affected political, political affected economics. I believe that the economy does not affect politics hardly at all, but instead politics influences the economy(IRS, EPA, etc.). I did state that the economy plays slightly into society in cases of economic extremes. The great depression showed a negative extreme in which many members of society were destitute. This created changes in society. The changes were only slight, however, because societal factors such as religion did not change. However, societal factors regarding education did change. Remember though, this was temporary. In most cases, I believe that society changes very little, but societal changes are multiplied as they go through the other two factors. In other words, the slightest societal change impacts politics significantly, and those political changes affect the economy even more. It is the snowball effect. Look at it in the case of the today. Abortion and gay rights have become increasingly big issues in our government. Thus, those played a factor in the election of Obama, and Obama played a factor in our economy.
To conclude, I would like to bring up this point: Society elects its leaders. A nation's leaders represent the society of that country.
Counter arguments next round


You raise a legitimate point in saying that India's leaders were elected by their caste. In India, caste is a societal position that determines what you can do in politics and the economy. That is one specific example. However, also in India, is the fact that internal entrepreneurs are providing the backbone of India's economy. The economy, after having been in a slump since the Brits quit India in 1946, was reinvigorated by the aforementioned entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs formed the backbone of Indian society. Your standing in society is determined by your potential economic output. A well placed business initiative can change the very fabric of society. Anybody remember the development of the smartphone? That little device made it so much easier for people to communicate. And... now we have people texting, and the periodic attempts to make chatspeak (otherwise known as Lawl's Syndrome, or 1337sp3k) an actual part of the English language. And who can forget the internet vigilantes who bring down people who commit various crimes. The internet, an creation of capitalism, a form of economy, can change a society almost overnight, as Bill Gates and his PC proved. Now, more than ever before, have you been able to communicate and compile information so quickly and efficiently, all the while listening to music, without a crowded study or space-consuming CD player. The development of such labor-saving devices allowed society to change, with most of the focus going to the internet as the new method of communication, as now conferences are possible from distances of thousands of miles. And with microeconomy brewing on the internet, with the culture now being affected by capitalistic creations such as games where you buy items to maximize your playing experience, like Farmville, or trading on TF2, for example. The TF2conomy alone has an estimated value of $50,000,000 USD, from inside Valve sources. The economy prompts the creation of... creations, which influence the society, which influences politics. A video you see on Youtube outlining something that can be fixed has people writing their elected representatives. All this was possible from the economy, and the incentives to produce.

Your move.
Debate Round No. 2


I concede to your points and I admit that I was wrong. Society is important, but it is not the most important. As I have found, the economy is probably the most important. You win this debate.


Forthelulz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Forthelulz 5 years ago
Whew. Glad I checked today. When I submitted, there were 25 seconds on the clock.
Monday 2050
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Honorable concession