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

Resolved: Free trade should be valued above protectionism

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/30/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,848 times Debate No: 15698
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




[Preliminary Note: Judge, the affirmative will be using factual paraphrases instead of quotes from cards; however, all cards used for the round will be available upon request at any time during cross-examination and preparation time, as well as after the round for verification of authenticity and legitimate paraphrase.]
What is the alternative to the WTO? Some argue that the world's only superpower need not be tied down by the constraints of the multilateral system. They claim that US sovereignty is compromised by international rules, and that multilateral institutions limit rather than expand US influence. Almost none of the trade issues facing the US today are any easier to solve unilaterally, bilaterally or regionally. The reality is probably just the opposite.
It is because I agree with the Director-General of the World Trade Organization Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi that I must stand resolved, and affirm that free trade should be valued above protectionism.
I offer the following definitions for today's round:
•Free trade - Free trade is the unhindered flow of goods, services labor and capital between countries. It is carried out with very little or without government intervention measures that give domestic firms, households or factors of production an advantage over foreign ones.
•Should - used in auxiliary function to express obligation, propriety, or expediency.
•Protectionism - Government actions and policies that restrict or restrain international trade, often done with the intent of protecting local businesses and jobs from foreign competition. Typical methods of protectionism are import tariffs, quotas, subsidies or tax cuts to local businesses and direct state intervention.
Stability is the highest value to look to in today's round. With rampant unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere, massive economic meltdowns, and weighty devastation of the environment causing mass concern for people around the world, stability, or the property of a body that causes it when disturbed from a condition of equilibrium or steady motion to develop forces or moments that restore the original condition, is something almost universally desired. The side which produces the greatest amount of stability should win today's round.
The best criterion for determining stability in today's round is by Promoting the Free Trade Model. The free-trade model is very simple to understand: put simply, it states that countries export products that use their abundant and cheap resources, and import products that use their scarce resources.

Contention I: Preserving the WTO Holds Significant Benefits
The most important part of promoting the free trade model is that it keeps the World Trade Organization running. The World Trade Organization, herein referred to as the "WTO" was founded in 1995 to promote and regulate trade, and also to mitigate conflicts between its 183 member nations (out of 196 nations around the world, leaving just 13 nations). These are several significant benefits to keeping the World Trade Organization:
A.Conflict Resolution
Bryan Mercurio of the University of New South Wales writes that though a regional system – protectionism – has certain short term benefits, the long-term effects of a fragmented system, lesser growth, and less poverty reduction are too poignant to ignore. Mercurio also suggests that with a collapse of the WTO – which we know will happen without a free trade model around the world – large countries would prey on the weakness of smaller ones, and cause large-scale conflicts worldwide. This is because the WTO has strong mitigation powers that keep large countries in check. The ability of conflict resolution is reason enough to preserve the WTO, but there are others.
B.Environmental Policy
According to Phillipe Legrain, WTO advisor, the WTO allows governments to protect human, animal, and plant life so long as it is not disguised protectionism. Also, the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture allows for the development of non-trade concerns like food security and environmental protection. Further, by fostering trade, the WTO promotes economic growth, which Legrain claims is the generally good for the environment and leads to long-term development. Without these measures by the WTO, it is likely that environments would be devastated for the purposes of short-term sustainability, which would essentially be economic suicide for the countries of the world. Once again, we see that the WTO is necessary.
Mr. Panitchpakdi, from whom I draw my quote, states that the WTO's involvement in multilateral actions is key to fostering cooperation, which nations like the United States the United Kingdom desperately need. Terrorism, poverty, health, and greater global involvement are both economic and social concerns, and are next to impossible to solve unilaterally. Multilateral action through WTO-fostered cooperation is a better means to accomplish these problems. Without the WTO, it would be more difficult for nations to cooperate because they would be lacking a central mitigatory force, allowing for the rampant rule of mega-corporations in the global market. Unilateral action, resulting in inevitable failure, would ensue. This must be avoided for both economic and social reasons.

Contention II: The Ideology of the Model Has Important Consequences
Peter Yu of Michigan State University discusses in an article the implications of a new trade policy between the United States and China. Essentially, he states that implementing a coercive policy – convincing countries to do things by threatening trade sanctions – is poor policy, not only because it's anti-free trade, but also because it holds the threat of starting a global trade war. This small change in the grand scheme of the free trade model may seem insignificant, but it has the potential to erupt global war. Even putting the WTO aside, it is imperative that the world continue to rely on the free trade model to ensure stability and prevent the outbreak of mass war.

Contention III: Protectionism Creates a Welfare State
Empirical evidence shows that the flip side of trade liberalization is a social welfare state, says D. Rodrik of the International Economy Institute. Rodrik states that globalization, as he calls it, has two major effects. First, it erodes the desire for free trade, and leads to more protectionist policies. Also, it expands what is called external risk. Countries that participate in globalization – which is noneconomic – are more susceptible to external risk, and therefore demand and receive more shelter from the variability of the global markets; this in turn leads to the creation of countless new social welfare programs. As we well know, social welfare programs bankrupt the economy and have the potential of bringing about the next great depression. Once again, keeping the free trade model and limiting protectionism is better for stability, not only at the international level, but on the individual national level as well. For these reasons, I urge an affirmative ballot.


To respond to the first contention, that the WTO should be continued. The Monroe Doctrine (authored by one of our founding fathers, who probably knew much more than any of us), advises America against participating in any entangling alliances. The WTO and any other multiculturalist, international organization that tie down American sovereignty and ingenuity are bad for our country and should be strictly eschewed. My opponent also postulates that "protectionism" leads to a welfare state. Are you serious? (For one thing, my opponent, as a Barack Obama supporter, shouldn't have any problem with creating a welfare state) The whole concept of free trade is intended to equalize the global playing field, which is truly a welfare/socialist economy. I urge you to vote con.
Debate Round No. 1


I apologize for not notating that I wanted this round to be in the style of Lincoln-Douglas debate, so that I could have a semblance of practice for district. However, since the style of my case, clearly Lincoln-Douglas in form and function, was apparently ignored, I will unfortunately have to resort to simple straight refutation.

Let's get to my opponent's arguments, shall we?

Con said: "The Monroe Doctrine (authored by one of our founding fathers, who probably knew much more than any of us), advises America against participating in any entangling alliances. The WTO and any other multiculturalist, international organization that tie down American sovereignty and ingenuity are bad for our country and should be strictly eschewed."

1) - the Monroe Doctrine was primarily to keep Britain and other foreign nations from colonizing in the Americas. The US has consistently involved itself in organizations that make it international. For example, the US founded NATO, which is one of the biggest treaty organizations in the world. This keeps both the United States and these other nations from harm.

2) Remaining within the WTO is beneficial! Primarily, we get trade resolution with places like China, where the US can get cheap labor and some of the most excellent assembling nations in the world. Without the WTO's involvement, it would be much more difficult for the US to do this.

3) Extend all of the arguments within my first and second contentions that talk about the significant benefits of the WTO for the world, that my opponent didn't even address; why would you vote con when my opponent blatantly disregards the biggest reasons for voting Pro, which is the text of my arguments.

Con then said: "My opponent also postulates that "protectionism" leads to a welfare state. Are you serious? (For one thing, my opponent, as a Barack Obama supporter, shouldn't have any problem with creating a welfare state) The whole concept of free trade is intended to equalize the global playing field, which is truly a welfare/socialist economy."

1) First and foremost, bringing my political leanings into a nonpolitical debate was uncalled for and very uncouth. If my opponent could refrain from making such a grave mistake next round, I'd thoroughly appreciate it. Thanks.

2) Equating free trade with socialism and then welfare is a huge stretch within itself, but I'll break it down further. The goal of free trade is NOT to equalize the global playing field. It's simply to allow trade and commerce to run its course without countries folding in on themselves or starting trade wars. I don't see how this equalizes the playing field. Further, free trade is FAR from a socialist idea. The fact that free trade is one of the most heavily-promoted issues by conservatives and reactionaries alike is evidence enough to disprove that ignorant statement.

3) Extend my evidence within my third contention from D. Rodrik.

Finally, because my opponent gave no arguments as to why the con side of the resolution - that is, that free trade should NOT be valued above protectionism - pro wins by default.

Vote Pro.


JrRepublican forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has forfeited. Extend my arguments, and, once again, vote Pro. Thanks!


First of all, I would like to apologize for not recognizing that my opponent desired a Lincoln-Douglas style debate--I'm new to this, so you'll have to excuse me. Second, I apologize sincerely for my breach of etiquette in mentioning my opponent's politics. Third, I'm sorry that I defaulted on the last round--I didn't have enough time.

Now, Let's examine the arguments--my opponent clearly sates that "we get trade resolution with places like China, where the US can get cheap labor..." That is inherently detrimental to the US, since the cheap labor will detract from employment in the US, leaving more American citizens out of work. We in America have already seen this happen with many plants moving to nations like China.

My opponent also mentioned the excellent point that the US founded NATO, and one could extend that to imply the US's involvement in the UN, etc. But I would also say that we should not be involved with these organizations that seek to compromise AMERICAN sovereignty with their international law.

As to the argument that free trade should be valued above protectionism, that would depend on whose point of view you are arguing from. Free trade is decidedly bad for the US because it influences job loss. Free trade, then, is naturally beneficial to other countries, but as a United States citizen we should never support free trade because our first responsibility is to our own country and our own economy and to our own jobs. Free trade is bad for our economy because it opens up the global market to countries that, because of their inexpensive labor, would drain economic growth away from the US. Please vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by JrRepublican 7 years ago
CON never proved that North Korea was dangeroous--just well armed.

The argument remains that, following his logic, Canada would be deadly! However, mi.itary miht does not equal threat.
Posted by BangBang-Coconut 7 years ago
I may accept this later.
Posted by Cobo 7 years ago
UIL, my man.
Posted by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
Is this some kind of national topic or something?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by boredinclass 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: alot of arguments went unanswered by con