Round 3: nyk537 v chissler: Generational Economic Class?

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posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 10:17 PM
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The topic for this debate is ”The Amount Of Financial Success An Individual Experiences Is Determined By, And Will Roughly Mirror, The Economic Status He/She Was Born Into."

nyk537 will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
chissler will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

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posted on Sep, 25 2008 @ 08:47 AM
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As always I’d like to open by taking a moment to thank MemoryShock and the rest of the ATS debate members for allowing this to take place. I’d also like to wish my fellow fighter chissler the best of luck in our debate. Let the fun begin!

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The debate we have been given today is centered on financial success as it relates to ones economic status. The exact topic is as follows,”The Amount Of Financial Success An Individual Experiences Is Determined By, And Will Roughly Mirror, The Economic Status He/She Was Born Into." This is a topic that holds a lot of meaning for some, and considering our current financial state, may hold even more meaning in the future.

For this debate I will be looking at two different aspects of this topic separately and then tying them together later to show without a doubt that the economic status we are born into does indeed affect the amount of financial success we can reach.

The first area we will examine will be simply that our financial success is directly determined by the economic state we are born into. I will show you that the way in which we are raised, and the environment in which we are raised in, directly effect how we control our finances later in life. The second area I will discuss is that our financial success will roughly mirror that of the economic status we are born into. With this, I will make a connection between the amount of success we experience as compared to the average success rate at the time of our birth.

After going in depth with these two issues, I will prove to you that there is indeed a strong correlation between the economic climate we are born into, and the amount of success we can experience later in life.

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Without getting too far in depth before my opponent has a chance to make their opening remarks, I would like to give a little background into why I believe our debate topic to be true.

I believe that one of our first chances to make something of ourselves begins with our education. The sad fact of the matter is however, that we organize our public schools in such a way that gives those who need the most, the very least we have to offer. Low income children are much less likely than others to attend a school which has good teachers, current text books, and technology. As a rule, we generally like to blame their situation at home for these circumstances, and tell ourselves that for some reason these children can’t do as well because of the background they come from. This idea is opposite of the faith we should have in our children and our academic systems. It’s because of this very basic reason that children that are born into poor families have an immediate disadvantage in the financial success that could await them.

This leads directly to the fact that, as I have said, the situation in which we are born directly affects the success we can experience ourselves. According to Professor Jacques Mistral from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, “The situation of a son is more than ever likely to be dictated by his father’s social position than by his own merits.” This same line of thinking comes from Alice Rivlin, a senior economic adviser and former VP of the Federal Reserve who says, “Income inequality is widening quite rapidly. It does matter to people that there are such unequal chances to get ahead.”

Furthermore, we can look at a study from the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts, which conducted the first in a series of studies on economic mobility. Their study found that roughly, the income of each new generation had risen 52 percent since 1820, but suggested that “the up-escalator that has historically ensured that each generation would do better than the last may not be working so well.” The study also found that median family income has remained essentially flat since 1973. Another interesting finding was that a man in his mid-thirties today is likely to earn around $30,010 annually – 12 percent less than his father earned, adjusted in real terms, in 1974.

Even more recently, a CBS survey of 17 to 29 year olds found that only a quarter of them expected to be better off than their parents. Forty-eight percent of them actually felt that they would be worse off.

As you can already see, the economic state in which we are born has an extremely profound effect on our psyche. We are constantly reminded growing up how difficult the road ahead is for us if we are born into less than ideal circumstances. As I will continue to show you throughout the course of this debate, this debate topic we have here holds very true today; and something must be done about it.



posted on Sep, 25 2008 @ 04:53 PM
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As with tradition, I tip my hat to my worthy opponent who has stepped up with guns blazing, and to MemoryShock for his continued efforts in the day to day operations of the debate forum. None of us can thank you enough.

 
 


”The Amount Of Financial Success An Individual Experiences Is Determined By, And Will Roughly Mirror, The Economic Status He/She Was Born Into."

We've really got quite a bit to chew on here. Given what has been transpiring with the American economy as of late, such a topic is certainly of interest to many. So we'll take our time, give it a good go, and hopefully have some fun in the process while our readers enjoy what we present.

I'm going to begin my side of the debate with presenting a few terms that I'm sure we are all quite familiar with and that are going to be crucial to our debate.

  • Capitalism: refers to an economic system whereby goods and services are exchanged on a for-profit basis. 1

  • Meritocracy: recognition and rewards based on an employees ability and performance rather than status or personal contacts. 2

  • Caste System: hereditary systems of social occupation, endogamy, social culture, economic class, and political power. 3

     
     


    After reading my opponent's opening statement, I am truly under the impression that he feels we encompass a caste system. It is clearly not the case but the presentation of this belief may be necessary to prove the point he is attempting. In the caste systems of the past, you are born into a specific caste and you may not climb the "social ladder" to a higher caste. Marriages were only permitted within your own caste and to socialized with someone outside of your own caste was not to be tolerated. Does this sound like the society that you and I share?

    We live in a society that promotes meritocracy. The best person for the job. Some may counter this argument and say it's more about who you know and whatnot, which I'm sure has been true on one or two occasions with job interviews. But individualized "myths of meritocracy" does not equate to evidence of systemic wide myths of meritocracy. Meritocracy exists and I'm sure many of us are walking and talking proof of that.

    We live in a system today that provides equal opportunity to its' citizens. I will agree with my opponent that our school system does not provide equal funding to all education institutions. Some schools have better teachers, text books, administrators, etc. But nonetheless, an education is being offered and each individual can decide for him or her self how much of an effort they shall put into it and how much they will receive in return. As we progress through this debate, we will examine these "success" stories that rose above and denied these castes that my opponent seems to believe in.

    As my opponent has alluded to, the crux of our issue here is going to surround the education process. As we are all citizens of this planet and have all shared in the education process, we can all speak for ourselves when it comes to the opportunities that were presented to us. As for my own story, I lost my step-father (only provider in our household) three months before my high school graduation. When I applied for university and student loans, I was unsure of what the future held for me. I had no means of paying my way through school and neither did anyone in my family. Through the process of student loans I received payments in the amount of 100% for all tuition, books, travel, meals, etc. Only after graduation was I expected to begin to pay it back. And even then I'm provided at least six months without being expected to pay a single dime, and even then I can apply to interest relief or even have the overall amount of the loan drastically reduced annually for up to three years.

    The opportunities being provided here are enormous.

    After graduating university, I intended to attend a private institute to work on a human service degree. I just graduated from this program back in June. It was a two year program that cost almost $8,400 a year. Not only did the course not cost me a penny as I received funding for it, that I am not obligated to pay back, but they also paid me over $500 a week in living expenses. My girlfriend also received the same funding for the same program that we attended together. We never would have been able to attend, let alone graduate, if it was not for the ample opportunities provided.

    Does this sound like a caste system do you? Does this sound like a system that does not allow its' citizens to rise above the social class they were born into?

    The fact of the matter is, rich people can become poor just like poor people can become rich. Every executive of every major company in the United States with a big fat bank account was not born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

     
     


    Two way street...

    What I feel my opponent has overlooked and something I intend to focus on through this debate is the flip side of the coin which is just as relevant. This debate is not just on whether or not the ability exists for citizens to rise above the social class they were born into, but it also begs the question on whether or not our citizens can fall from the upper class to the lower class. Let's read the debate topic one more time to seek clarification.

    ”The Amount Of Financial Success An Individual Experiences Is Determined By, And Will Roughly Mirror, The Economic Status He/She Was Born Into."

    Are we to believe that rich people can not be dumb with their money and lose it all? Individuals can be born into wealthy families and find themselves dirt poor at some point in life. Life is a journey and it is only through our decisions each day that our course is determined. I feel my opponent wishes to have you believe that our path and journey is decided at birth. Makes life a little boring, doesn't it?

    Has anyone watched the news lately? Last I checked the American economy is crashing. Rich people everywhere are losing money. Middle-class citizens all over the country are potentially losing their homes, jobs, vehicles, etc. The lower class citizens are finding themselves being pushed even lower and lower under the poverty line with the rise of costs with fuel, dairy products, grains, energy, etc. This is a perfect example that sometimes it's not even the decisions we make in life that will determine our path.

    Each day is a new day and we never know what we're going to get.

    We do not live in a caste system where our future is already laid out.

    Hell, you would win the lottery tomorrow!


    Socratic Questions

    My opponent has failed to present any Socratic questions in his opening statement and while I pride myself on being a nice person, I will not be so courteous.

    1. Do you correlate western society to a caste system?
    2. Does the fact that we reside in a capitalist state contradict your position?
    3. Can poor people become rich and rich people become poor?
    4. Do you believe that meritocracy exists in western society?



  • posted on Sep, 26 2008 @ 09:55 AM
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    Without wasting too much time, I’d like to jump straight into the main argument that my opponent has put forward. What we have just been led to believe is that we live in a meritocracy; where people are treated fairly and are rewarded according to their skills. How can this be though? How can we really know what a person is worth?

    Must of us tend to judge ones ability by taking a look at their past level of success. Yet those of us who have worked in the business world realize that much of what we experience is subject to random factors of which we have little or no control. Some of these factors include decisions made by vendors, competitors and politicians. Because of this, what we believe to be reality is not truly an accurate reflection of someone’s ability, but a random image of external forces.

    In the business world, the meritocracy tells us that merit should determine pay. In the real world though, it seems to be just the opposite. In controlled studies in which people were given random jobs with random pay, psychologists found that people tend to act as if the higher paid workers are somehow superior. This holds true even though they know that the pay scale was random.

    In the world today, success not only depends on perceived ability, but also on other factors such as social connections, education, gender, race and even appearance. Given these troubling factors, how could we possibly live in this utopian-like meritocracy?

    What we have been told not only by my opponent, but by society in general, is that we get out of life what we put in. Does this really hold true though?

    While merit does indeed affect who can get where in life, the impact of merit is quite overestimated. One of the main issues we need to look at is the amount of available income that we are even able to compete for.

    As of 2003, the top 20 percent of American homes received a very large portion of total available income. (Around 49%) At the same time, the lowest 20 percent of American homes only received about 3.5% of the total available income in the country. The top 5% of homes alone received almost 22% of available income. So what can we tell from this information? Well, we can see that despite the perception that we live in a “middle-class” society; most of the money is skewed very highly towards the top of the system.

    Now, if we put aside the information I have provided thus far, what other factors might hold someone down into the economic state in which they were born?

    First we can look at the effect of someone’s placement at birth. As much as we may not want to agree with it, there are those who are given unequal starting points from the very beginning. Where we are born and who we are born to can give us numerous advantages or disadvantages. Some of these advantages are a high standard of living at birth, gifts of cash and property from parents to children, safety nets that can prevent downward mobility from an early age, as well as access to educational opportunities which many of us are not afforded.

    Even if we were to discount placement at birth as a factor, we could look at the fluid state of the job market. For the last few decades, the job growth in America has been unevenly skewed to the low wage service sector. At the same time this is happening, more and more of us here are getting higher education. What we can tell from this is that while the economy is not producing as many high paying jobs, we are producing more and more highly skilled people to fill them. This itself also leads us to uneven advantages.

    Taking a closer look at the job market, we can also determine that the location of jobs can produce a barrier for many individuals as well. Take for instance an electrician who works in New York may receive a much larger salary than an electrician who works in my home state of Kentucky doing basically the same job. Differences in wages between jobs can often be quite large and can mean the difference between wealth and poverty.

    Another factor to consider is one I have already touched upon in my opening; education. Quite obviously, those with more education have higher income and wealth. For this reason, education can be viewed as the primary reason for growth and wealth.

    The disparity in our educational system is very real. We can see by taking a look at any area of the country that education is tied closely with environment. For example, higher class children tend to attend higher class schools, whether it be private prep schools or Ivy League colleges. Middle class children tend to attend middle class schools, such as public schools and universities. Lower class people tend to get lower class education, such as public schools and community and technical colleges. Poor people tend to get poor education, such as inner city schools were drop out rates are higher than graduation rates.

    The reason for this is because most public schools are supported by local taxes. This is why we see better educational opportunities in the wealthier areas. So while some, such as my opponent, are able to work hard and beat the system, it is important to remember that individual success does occur within unequal opportunities.

    A final area I would to touch on for now is that of discrimination. Discrimination on the grounds of race and sex have been the most troubling in recent years. While we can rest a little better knowing that discrimination is declining, we almost must not fool ourselves into believing that it does not still exist. The debate in American over affirmative action in America is an example of the continuing effects of these issues and how they should be dealt with.

    You will be hard pressed to find many Americans who don’t agree that race and sex discrimination are wrong. In fact, many of them would strongly agree that they should be eliminated so that we can all be on an equal and level playing field. However, even if discrimination based on race and sex was eliminated, we would still not have this level playing field that they seek. Discrimination in the job market is based on many more issues. Among them are sexual orientation, religion, age, physical ability, appearance and even region. Just because some of these things are not as prevalent, does not make them any less of an issue for many.

    My opponent has made the argument that we live in a meritocracy. I would argue though, the meritocracy of which my opponent speaks, is merely a myth. This is due to the issues I have outlined here; placement at birth, unequal education opportunities, the changing job market and discrimination in all of its forms.

    Not only do I believe this meritocracy to be a myth, it is widely thought that a pure meritocracy is impossible. Furthermore, I would argue that a system such as that would not even be desirable.

    British sociologist Michael Young outlines a fear such as this in his 1961 novel, “The Rise of Meritocracy.” In this novel, Young describes a society in which those at the top ruled with a sense of entitlement whole those at the bottom were incapable of protecting themselves. Instead of a fair society, the meritocracy became cruel. The meritocracy itself can be harmful because it discounts the most important causes of inequality.

    No matter how much we don’t want to see it, the fact remains that for a vast majority of people, our success can be directly linked to the economic state in which we are born.

    Answers to Socratic Questions


    Do you correlate western society to a caste system?


    I do not. The caste system is a much more harsh and defined system that we currently have today. We also do not have a meritocracy has you have described though. While we do not live within the extreme confines of a caste system, there are still many barriers that can hold us into the economic state we are born into.


    Does the face that we reside in a capitalist state contradict your position?


    Absolutely not. The barriers I have described have less to do with our capitalist society than they do with simple social and economic barriers we have erected ourselves.


    Can poor people become rich and rich people become poor?


    They absolutely can. From what I have shown you though, the odds are highly stacked against them. The debate topic is that success will “roughly mirror” what a person is born into, and does not rule out that some people are able to rise above their circumstances.


    Do you believe that meritocracy exists in western society?


    As I have shown quite extensively here, I believe that perhaps some aspects of this may come into play, but for the most part I find the idea of a meritocracy to be nothing more than a myth.

    Socratic Questions Posed to my Opponent

    1. Do you not agree that the problems I have outlined, (placement at birth, unequal education opportunities, the changing job market and discrimination) do indeed have an effect on the ability of an individual to achieve success?

    2. How do you explain the vast disparity in the distribution of available income as I have outlined, if indeed we live in a meritocracy?



    posted on Sep, 26 2008 @ 11:41 AM
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    My opponent has (thus far) put his eggs in one basket and has relied on the false hope that our readers will agree that meritocracy is actually a myth. This is not a new concept and it's actually one I quoted in my opening statement. I don't think a discussion on meritocracy can exist without examining the supposed myths of meritocracy. Our little hula here shall be no different.

    My opponent's summation of meritocracy and our society is the typical response we see when this concept is attempted to be refuted. Jobs are handed out based on gender, sexual orientation, looks, race, etc. As I've already conceded in this debate, I won't be so naive to say that this never happens. However, just as individualized racism does not equate to systemic racism; the same can be said for meritocracy. If an individual offers employment based on an attribute that is not merit related, it is just that; an isolated incident. The fact remains that our society is created on the belief that the best person gets the job. And that is how our society runs. There are no absolutes in life. We're all a part of the continuum. This concept is no different and we'll have situations to reinforce both sides. But right to the roots of our society, it is all founded on a meritocracy.

    If it wasn't, we wouldn't see such an emphasis on credentials and titles. Universities are not created equal. A Harvard graduate is going to be looked upon under a much brighter light than one from a local community college. Why? Because we live in a state that is based on merit. And the merit of a Harvard graduate is much more prestigious than that of a local community college. I'm sure that both individuals feel the sense of accomplishment and their families are proud. However, the fact remains that society does not view them as equals.

    And it is through these credentials and titles that we create a hierarchy of citizens waiting to be employed.

     
     


    As in my opening statement, I shall now quote a few terms that I feel are relevant to the topic we are addressing. We live in a capitalist society where we operate on a for-profit basis. The goal of each individual and each company is to make money. In this free market, people can become wealthy and rise to the upper echelon of our society. This is not a secret and it is not being disputed. But if this is not or can not happen, then what do we live in?

  • Feudalism: tiered class system of medieval Europe in which land owned by someone of higher status was lived on and worked by someone of lower status in return for loyal service. The monarch was at the top of the pyramid, the peasants at the bottom. Feudalism began on the Continent as far back as the 8th century as a means of ensuring protection for powerful rulers against other powerful rulers. During the Middle Ages, certain provinces or countries recognised other kings as their feudal overlords. 1

    In times of Feudalism, it was built right into the system that the rich would stay rich and the poor would stay poor. The issue here was with the system itself. It did not allow for its' citizens to become wealthy and improve their way of life. If you were born poor, you were poor. If you were born rich, you remained rich. No two ways about it.

    Does this sound like the system that we share?

    If my opponent will have us believe that the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor, yet agrees that we reside in a capitalist state, then I am left to assume that he believes that remnants of a caste system or the feudalistic ways of the past are still evident in today's society. He has already stated that we do not live in a caste system (sort of) so is it feudalism?

    As with the two examples that I have provided, caste system and feudalism, these are societies that were founded on a lack of meritocracy and it was ingrained through their system. Our society could not possibly be more of the complete opposite.

    We provide an education to all, we help lower class citizens with funding to provide such educations, we have double standards for employment when it comes to gender and race so that all populations are being fairly represented. Just more examples of how we as citizens are more than capable of climbing the social ladder.

     
     


    I will now examine the answers that my opponent has provided in response to my initial Socratic questions. Rather than wasting characters by quoting the text that is already listed twice in the debate thus far, I will just number each.

    1. You stand in the middle on this issue. We do not live in a society based on castes but nor a meritocracy. I am interested to hear if my opponent feels we are closer to a meritocracy than a caste system on the continuum.

    2. Living in a capitalist society does not contradict the fact that you feel the decisions we make in life will have no effect on our economic status? Interesting, to say the least.

    3. I'm glad we agree that they can and the rest of this answer will be addressed as the debate progresses.

    4. You have reinforced the belief that meritocracy is a myth. I've elaborated rather extensively on this concept already so I won't go much farther here. But I would like to simply state that I do disagree and I believe that we live in a state of meritocracy. Our society has flaws and I'm sure jobs are given out from time to time on details other than merits, but the fact remains that our society is founded on meritocracy.

     
     


    I will now quote and answer the two questions that my opponent has posed.



    1. Do you not agree that the problems I have outlined, (placement at birth, unequal education opportunities, the changing job market and discrimination) do indeed have an effect on the ability of an individual to achieve success?


    1. I believe the variables you refer to can be a factor if the individual allows them to become an issue. If I am born into the worst of the worst of all variables listed, I still have the opportunity to excel in life and succeed just as anybody else. Our society allows for this.



    2. How do you explain the vast disparity in the distribution of available income as I have outlined, if indeed we live in a meritocracy?


    2. The issue here lies within the rates of pay for specific jobs. Executives, celebrities, etc., are grossly overpaid which makes up for the huge disparity here. The disparity you quote does not reinforce that the poor are incapable of becoming rich. It merely states that the rich are rich and grossly overpaid. As I've previously stated, all of us in life have the opportunity to become these executives or stars and be offered the ridiculous rates of pay.

     
     


    I will now pose a few Socratic questions of my own.

    1. What is your level of education?
    2. If you do not believe that our system is based on the best person for the job, then how do you explain such an emphasis on education?
    3. When I asked if you feel we live in a caste system, you said it was "much more harsh". By this, are you saying that we do live in a form of the caste systems that may be a little looser?
    4. I believe you are quoting individualized cases where prejudice is a factor and the best person does not get the job. This does not equate to a systemic problem. As with any continuum, both sides will always be true. Can you provide a systemic issue that asserts that we do not live in a state of meritocracy?

     
     


    While I grab a drink and give the forehead a wipe, the dance floor is yours. Looking forward to your reply.



  • posted on Sep, 26 2008 @ 02:18 PM
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    I’d like to start off by quickly going over some of the points my opponent has presented to us here.

    My opponent continues to give us outdated societal models in rebuttal of my stance on meritocracy. We are led to draw comparisons between our current state and that of a caste system or feudalism. I don’t believe either of these to be the case, and would argue that our current system does not have a classification.

    Furthermore, my opponent continually acknowledges that individual cases do not equate to a systemic problem. The point is made that our society is created on the belief that the best person gets the job; although I have shown evidence that this is not the case. To illustrate this point, my opponent gives us an example of a Harvard graduate in comparison to a community college graduate. We then see acknowledgment that society views the Harvard graduate as more accomplished, simply because of the name of the school they attended. That may be true, but who is to say that the community college student is not infinitely more qualified than his colleague? Who is to say that the Harvard graduate only attended because of his fathers generous donations? In either case, the Harvard graduate gets the job, which only serves to confirm my argument that success based on merits is simply an illusion.

    Another example given by my opponent that further confirms my previous points is seen in the following statement.


    we have double standards for employment when it comes to gender and race so that all populations are being fairly represented


    This is a prime example of the discrimination I mentioned earlier. What we have here are qualified individuals being passed over simply to fill some requirements for race or gender. This is hardly an example of hard work and merits paying off. In fact, I would argue things such as this, in particular Affirmative Action, go completely against everything that a true meritocracy would stand for.

    Another example of this is to look at the employment of veterans. To most of us, veterans seem more deserving of some kind of privilege than people who are simply of a different race or gender. This is mainly because a lot of people feel that society owes them something. Therefore they are granted an advantage in employment, even if it turns out that they are not the best candidate for a job.

    What’s more, going back to education; students related to a university's alumni (legacies) are granted preference not on the basis of anything they have accomplished but simply because they and their parents have been deemed more valuable than others.

    Does this seem fair to anyone? Does this seem like a system that is truly promoting success based on merits, and not just talking about it?

    What my opponent has so far presented to us is nothing more than posturing that a meritocracy is what this country is founded on. I would even go so far as to agree with my opponent that perhaps this is true. However, we have strayed far from the path of a meritocracy in recent years. The implementation of programs such as Affirmative Action and other special grants only serve to confirm my points that merit alone is not grounds for success anymore.

    The issue we are debating here is not whether or not a meritocracy exists today, but whether or not a person’s success is directly linked to the economic state in which they are born. Through several examples of unequal educational opportunities, discrimination, and a fluid job market, I have shown that the state in which one is born does in fact directly affect the future success one can attain.

    Answers to Socratic Questions


    What is your level of education?


    I’m not sure how this has any bearing on our discussion here, but in good spirits I’ll answer this question. I graduated from a local college in Central Kentucky in 2006 with an associates degree in advertising. Having been unable to find a job with that degree, I enrolled in an online college to complete a 4 year degree in business management in mid 2007. As of now, I have completed about half of my course work but am unable to continue because I cannot receive enough financial aid to cover my classes. I’m currently saving up so that I can finish my degree.


    If you do not believe that our system is based on the best person for the job, then how do you explain such an emphasis on education?


    The emphasis in education is simply the result of being told that it is what we need. We are told from an early stage that we can’t get a decent job or make it in the world without a quality education. Unfortunately, as I have shown, we aren’t all given the same educational opportunities. What’s more, as I have shown, even if we attain the education we are told we need, it is not a guarantee we will get a decent job.


    When I asked if you feel we live in a caste system, you said it was “much more harsh”. By this, are you saying that we do live in a form of the caste systems that may be a little looser?


    I do not. What I was saying is that the caste system is a much more harsh version of the system we currently live in. I don’t know if there is a definitive definition of our current state, but I don’t believe it is any of the ones we have discussed here.


    I believe you are quoting individualized cases where prejudice is a factor and the best person does not get the job. This does not equate to a systemic problem. As with any continuum, both sides will always be true. Can you provide a systemic issue that asserts that we do not live in a state of meritocracy?


    I don’t believe a specific systemic issue could be provided to prove that we do not live in a meritocracy, just as I don’t believe you could provide a specific case that proves we do. However, I would submit to you that programs such as Affirmative Action directly oppose everything that a true meritocracy stands for.

    Socratic Questions Posed to my Opponent

    1. How do you justify programs such as Affirmative Action if you believe we live in a current state of meritocracy?



    posted on Sep, 27 2008 @ 09:02 AM
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    After reading my opponent's last reply, what of his own substance has he provided? Through the course of this whole debate I have guided the discussion on what we talk about and how long we talk about. In my opponent's last post, he spent his whole time trying to refute what I have presented on feudalism, meritocracy, etc., and completely forgot to give us anything on his end. Is he trying to prove he's right by proving me wrong? The beauty of the debate forum is that even if I prove my opponent wrong, the onus is still on my shoulders to prove myself right.

    While my opponent has gotten caught up on trying to trip me up in my own lane, he has forgotten to run his own race. However, fortunate for my opponent he still has plenty of time to present some substance.

    I will now dedicate a small portion of my reply examining some of the details that my opponent has presented in response to my post(s), then further my own side of this debate, and then concluding with some answers and questions in the Socratic method.

     
     


    It has been a planned effort on my behalf to spend a large portion of this debate on the existence of meritocracy. I feel that it was important for two main reasons. Proving the existence of meritocracy is of huge benefit to my side of the debate. And secondly, if it were deemed to be a myth, it really does very little to deter the position I am making or help my opponent, which is what I will discuss in my post here now.

    My opponent has spent all of this time trying to refute meritocracy, but even if it doesn't exist.. what does that prove? Does that prove that the rich can not become poor or the poor can not become rich? No, it doesn't. It simply proves that the belief of the best person for the job is a falsity. In his last reply, my opponent has gone one better to prove that meritocracy is not a reality and has quoted affirmative action. For the sake of clarity, let us take a quick peak at what affirmative action is.

  • Affirmative Action: is a set of actions designed to eliminate existing and continuing discrimination, to remedy effects of past discrimination, and to create systems and procedures to prevent future discrimination. 1

    While this does poke a small hole in the meritocracy argument, my opponent has only shot himself in the foot by playing into my hand. While affirmative action may slightly refute meritocracy, it certainly reinforces the notion that society is offered a hand up from time to time to help them rise from the lower class to the upper class.

    What we are talking about here is the offer of employment to specific populations that are typically represented in the lower class and below the poverty line. By the government initiating programs and efforts to give them an opportunity to earn an income and rise from their proletariat status to the bourgeoisie. Not a huge jump up the social ladder, but a start nonetheless. So what we have here is government run and funded programs to assist the lower class citizens in earning wealth and income. This is also a program that my opponent has seen it fit to quote himself.

    I will now address the Socratic question posed by my opponent.



    1. How do you justify programs such as Affirmative Action if you believe we live in a current state of meritocracy?


    I believe that affirmative action is a program used to help have specific populations be represented in better paying jobs. Does it poke a hole in the meritocracy debate? It does. But it also supports my position that the poor can become rich, and the government has initiated these programs to help along the way.

    The irony in the fact that I had intended to present this program later in the debate as a means of supporting my position, only to find out that my opponent has beat me to the punch. A well received surprise.

     


    I will now present my Socratic questions to my opponent.

    1. Affirmative Action is a program that the government uses to help its citizens rise out of the economic status they were born into. Do you agree?
    2. Are you currently in the same economic status that you were born into? (We'll operate on the honor system in the hopes of an honest answer)

    3. When presented with various social explanations for our current status, you brush aside each. I'll ask you here directly to please present a pre-existing social, economical, and political system that we currently best represent.


     
     


    It seems that with the presentation of the various terms thus far in this debate, it has drastically guided the manner in which this discussion has traveled. When I referred to the caste system, my opponent spent a full reply on refuting the caste system. When I quoted meritocracy and feudalism, my opponent has spent his whole reply trying to refute those concepts. So let's keep an eye out to see if the next term I present is going to continue to shape our discussion.

    Here we have another term that I am sure we are all well aware of and frankly, I'm rather shocked that my opponent has yet to reference it. But here goes...

  • Socioeconomic Status: a descriptive classification of a person's position in society, using such criteria as income, educational level, occupation and dwelling place. Attitudes towards health and health status are often closely linked to socioeconomic status. 2

    This here is what our debate is on. I have been waiting for my opponent to bring it up so we can discuss it, but I can wait no more. Our status' in reference to society, economical, etc., are all wrapped up into one little neat word, which is our "socioeconomic status".

    I was born into a family that teetered on the poverty line for much of my childhood. We never had the best of anything but rarely did I do without. However, one thing I'll never forget is when we would run out of oil for a day or two. No fun on those nights. At the age of 23 (my birthday is tomorrow), I have already greatly exceeded the socioeconomic status that I was born into. Both of my parents were high school drop outs and my mother was a stay at home. In 23 years I have graduated from high school, earned a university degree, and also another two year diploma from an institute that I would put on the level of a community college. My take home pay at the current moment is probably slightly more than double of what I had growing up as a child. And that is not factoring in what my better half brings in. I cite this information as a means of showing that in a short 23 year span, I have already greatly exceeded the status I was born into and would like to think that I have no limits as I push forward in life.

    I am not alone in the story that I present. I was born into a small rural community where nobody had anything to waste. With the efforts of our government, educational bodies, etc., we had the opportunity to attend educational facilities to further ourselves and enhance our employability. I would go as far as to say that 75% of the people I grew up with and considered a friend through my childhood went on to university and are now working in a field that our mothers and fathers would have laughed at so few years ago.

     
     


    "The Amount Of Financial Success An Individual Experiences Is Determined By, And Will Roughly Mirror, The Economic Status He/She Was Born Into."

    I will concede that fifty, sixty, or seventy years ago that this may have been the case. But when opportunities to attend university or other secondary education institutes is so widely offered, such a naive assertion is baseless. I believe that such an argument would be found in populations where they chose not to work, chose not to further their education, and chose not to get up off their ass and do a damn thing about the situation that they have been presented. Public schooling is offered to all, university is not an unattainable goal for anybody... but society does ask that you do a bit of the legwork. Laziness is not an excuse or a justification for saying the system does not work and that we are restricted to the status we were born into. Laziness is the only argument that will hold up to such a statement. One may remain in a lower economic status for the duration of their lifetime, if one has chosen not to do a damn thing about it.

     
     


    In this debate I have provided some personal information and discussed governmental funding. But I have also failed to provide any links to this material. I shall do so now and will show our readers how much help is offered to us with only the click of a button. As I am a Canadian, I will be showing Canadian information.

    Skills Development and Student Funding

    This is a program whereby you can apply to receive funding and living allowances while attending school. The government will pay for your tuition and not expect you to return a single penny.

    Education & Training

    Have a look at this link and see the programs listed.

  • For All Canadians
  • For Aboriginal Peoples
  • For Families & Children
  • For Newcomers to Canada
  • For Veterans
  • For Youth & Students

    These are all specialized programs to enhance employability among various populations of our citizens. It's overall goal is one to enhance their employability, but two, and most importantly, allow them to part ways with the socioeconomic status they were born into and find a level of success that was not shown to them through their childhood.

    I have asserted that it is our decisions in life that determine our path and the status we will call home. These programs are a direct link to assist with these decisions to help to improve our way of life.



  • posted on Sep, 29 2008 @ 08:37 AM
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    As we reach this portion of the debate, I find it prudent that we take a step back and examine where we are and how we have reached this point. So far we have been presented with several irrelevant social systems and led to believe they have any relevance to the topic at hand. We have been told through first hand accounts that the topic we are debating is naïve and baseless; but given nothing more than those accounts.

    At this point I believe that I have shown decidedly that the arguments raised by my opponent have little to no bearing on the topic we are debating. With the exception of the personal accounts of success, which I would never attempt to discredit or belittle, we have been shown that this is merely the exception, not the rule.

    Having said that; and at the request of my opponent, I will now spend some time with this reply adding some “substance” to this debate. This “substance” hit me like a ton of bricks while going over my opponents past statements.

    ----------

    Up to this point, we have been examining the topic as it relates to the financial success of our parents or families. Is this really the point of the debate though? To be sure, let’s take one more look at the topic itself.

    “The Amount Of Financial Success An Individual Experiences Is Determined By, And Will Roughly Mirror, The Economic Status He/She Was Born Into.”

    It’s easy to see how this could be viewed as having our success mirror that of our parents, but I would argue that is not the true intention. What I will now show you is that the amount of financial success we experience has a direct link to the economic status of not only the country we are born into, but also the time period.

    Before I even begin to explain this stance, I will point out that my opponent has already agreed with me here by making this statement:


    I will concede that fifty, sixty, or seventy years ago this may have been the case


    So you see, my opponent agrees that our debate topic was completely true at this particular point in history. Taking another look at our debate topic, you can see that we are not given the task of proving this point to be true today, but simply at all.

    What’s more, my opponent’s case thus far has been built around the idea that the poor can become rich, and the rich can become poor. Again, if we apply this strictly to the debate topic we have been given, we find that this argument is indeed true in today’s world. So what we have here is yet another case of the debate topic being proven correct.

    The economic status that our generation has been born into is one of increasing support and financing for those who wish to work for it. The case does not even have to be made that if you are born poor you will stay poor, because that is not the economic state in which we currently live. As my opponent so readily conceded though, it once was.

    Take for example a young man born into a small country in Africa. Where he lives, there are no government sponsored programs for college, and quite possibly there are no real options for primary education. The economic state he has been born into is one that does not encourage success or upward mobility. What are his options for success given the state in which he was born? Is laziness his problem like my opponent would have you believe?

    Now take for example someone like my opponent who was born into an economic state in which programs are offered that lend a hand every step of the way. With nothing but a strong willpower and some motivation, they can work their way up the ladder and achieve any type of success they wish. Does this sound like the same situation of the gentlemen born in Africa?

    These examples could be countless, and based on any number of factors ranging from location at birth, time period at birth, ruling government at birth, and more. What we always come back to here is the same point though; the financial success we can achieve is directly linked to the state in which we are born.

    What my opponent has attempted to show you is that the debate topic does not hold true today in western civilization where we are provided every opportunity to succeed. This tactic completely ignored the countless other countries that are governed in such a way that financial success is often times discouraged and oppressed. It also completely ignores those who where born in a time period where things were once different. By simply stepping back and re-examining the debate topic, we have found an entire new outlook for this debate.

    Answers To Socratic Questions


    Affirmative Action is a program that the government uses to help its citizens rise out of the economic status they were born into. Do you agree?


    I believe that it can help some people out of the economic status they were born into, but I don’t believe that is its true purpose. As I have shown though, this is simply a tool that our generation’s economic status has given us as an opportunity to succeed.


    Are you currently in the same economic status that you were born into?


    Honestly at this point in my life I would say I am. My income today is a little above par from what my father brought home when I was a child. I will say though that I don’t expect this to hold true very much longer. (hopefully)



    When presented with various social explanations for our current status, you brush aside each. I’ll ask you here directly to please present a pre-existing social, economical, and political system that we currently best represent.


    As I’ve said before, I don’t know that there is a set system that I feel best describes where this part of the world is at right now. I suppose it could be argued that perhaps it contains certain aspects of several of the systems we have discussed here. As I have shown though, there are many different systems around the world that all lead to our debate topic being true.

    ----------

    So as we have seen here, no matter how many economic states and types of socioeconomic status my opponent can present will change the fact that our debate topic is always proven correct. In countries such as ours, where opportunities are provided to us, we achieve financial success because our economic status encourages it. In many other countries around the world though, the poor remain poor and the rich remain rich because the economic status does not allow change.



    posted on Sep, 30 2008 @ 06:16 AM
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    As I was typing my reply, a work related emergency has reared it's head and I need to go in for the afternoon. So I'm going to save my work and use my 24 hour extension.




    posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 09:04 AM
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    My opponent in a last ditch effort has decided to grasp at straws in hopes of pulling ahead in this debate. While I feel he does finally raise some good points with his position, I scratch my head and wonder why it took him so long to finally raise these points we've been wondering about. The social programs that I've wanted to discuss have controlled this debate up until the final reply. Only now does my opponent finally shine a light on the rest of the world, a concept that I expected to be explored right from the get go.

    We're going to spend some right now discussing this gentleman in Africa and his story, as well as my opponent's approach surrounding this tactic. While this issue will be addressed, I also intend to point out how my opponent has conceded his position for the western civilization and in our current society, just in a last ditch effort to try to prove that this concept may hold true in one part of the world. Even if he the reader feels he has made his point with Africa, which is like no place else on this planet, he has decided to throw everything else out in this effort. Is that really worth it?

    Let's have a look at this now.

    Africa is a sad story and it is a story that does not seem to be getting better for some people. While many still live in poverty, there are countries in Africa that are finally experiencing success and living a life where economic freedom is to be felt. South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius, Ghana, Cameroon and Egypt are all systems that have turned a corner and are experiencing tremendous success. As of 2007, South Africa had the 20th highest GDP in the world. 20th! Social programs are developed and are providing economic freedom to citizens.

    What I would like to examine now is the economic freedom that we have worldwide. I will first begin with a quick reference to what we are referring to when we say economic freedom.



    Economic freedom is freedom to produce, trade and consume any goods and services acquired without the use of force, fraud or theft. Economic freedom is embodied in the rule of law, property rights and freedom of contract, and characterized by external and internal openness of the markets, the protection of property rights and freedom of economic initiative. In the present the concept, as it is most used, is usually associated with a free market system. Indices of economic freedom try to measure economic freedom, and empirical studies based on some these rankings have found it to be correlated with economic growth and poverty reduction. 1


    Let us now take a look at some of the countries that are listed as having some of the highest percentages of economic freedom.

    1) Hong Kong
    2) Singapore
    3) Ireland
    4) Australia
    5) United States
    6) New Zealand
    7) Canada
    8) Chile
    9) Switzlerland
    10) United Kingdom
    11) Denmark
    12) Estonia
    13) Netherlands
    14) Iceland
    15) Luxembourg

    The United States of America prides itself on being a home for the free and where the little man can come through her doors and make a real life for themselves. Yet when compared to the rest of the world, the United States ranks fifth for having the most economic freedom. So a country that is well known for a free market where the poor can become rich, has four countries that this sort of thing happens with more regularity.

    The poor can become rich and it happens. Not only does it happen, it happens around the world every single day.

    We are not discussing western civilization, I am talking about the world. I am discussing the human race as one. My opponent has given up on the western world and has turned his attention to Africa. Let's have a look at a quote from my opponent.



    Now take for example someone like my opponent who was born into an economic state in which programs are offered that lend a hand every step of the way. With nothing but a strong willpower and some motivation, they can work their way up the ladder and achieve any type of success they wish.


    Here my opponent concedes one's ability in the western world to rise from the economic status they were born into. He has done so with the hope of winning this debate on the topic of Africa, but he has overlooked the tremendous success that so many of their countries are having. I've been faulted this debate for being off-topic and quoting the exceptions, however my opponent has conceded most of his position to quote the one exception in society, thinking that this will win the debate. Well even that exception that is Africa is showing success and is producing social programs where individuals can experience success not seen by their elders.

    Since they keep coming up and while we're on the topic, let's examine these exceptions that we keep hearing of. I previously asked my opponent if he still resides in the same economic status that he was born into. He has admitted that he does make more money than his parents did and expects to rise from this current status in the very near future. While I do congratulate him, I ask how every situation of an individual rising from their status is an exception? When individual stories have been told, by both participants in this debate, they are considered exceptions. When social programs are quoted as a means of assisting citizens, they are exceptions. When countries are displayed as being built and operated on free markets where citizens are free to buy and sell products on a profit basis, these too are exceptions. Well where does one draw the line and say that it is no longer an exception and that it is actually the beautiful reality that citizens can actually rise from the economic status we were born into a live a more fruitful life in a way that our parents never could. It seems that any time it comes up we're told that it is such a rarity. However between two people in such a short period of time, a lot of exceptions seem to be coming up.

    What I will say is that it is my opponent who relies on the exception and that it is a fact that world wide citizens of this planet are free to do as they wish and with the right amount of effort can make a life for themselves that their parents did not.

    A quote from my opponent.



    So as we have seen here, no matter how many economic states and types of socioeconomic status my opponent can present will change the fact that our debate topic is always proven correct. In countries such as ours, where opportunities are provided to us, we achieve financial success because our economic status encourages it. In many other countries around the world though, the poor remain poor and the rich remain rich because the economic status does not allow change.


    An agreement that the rich and become poor and the poor become rich in the western world. I'm glad that we have gotten that out of the way. We can now focus on the rest of the world as that is what seems to be the only issue that is left for debate. If my opponent and our readers could be so kind as to refer back to my earlier list of countries listed with the highest percentages of economic freedom. If you look at that, an obvious truth is told very quickly. The United States is listed as fifth and Canada behind them at number seven. This did shock me when I first uncovered the list. But you see, we are presented with a predicament. My opponent agrees that this is a possibility in the western world, but the problem is that the western world is not even recognized as having the most economic freedom. Countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland, etc., are all right there and doing a better job at economic freedom than both our homes. So while I do not understand why my opponent has said that this happens in the western world but not internationally in the first place, it's much worse for my opponent as this does happen internationally and it actually happens more.



    posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 10:19 AM
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    Ladies and gentlemen, I am not sure if my opponent has completely disregarded my previous points in this debate, or if perhaps they truly do not grasp the implications of them. In the previous statement, my opponent has tried to paint the picture that I have forfeited my entire argument in a last ditch effort that hinges on Africa. This is just plain wrong.

    Once again we are presented with financial statistics and lists of economic freedoms that hold little or no bearing on our discussion. In fact, the list my opponent provides us only strengthens my point that success does in fact mirror the status into which we are born. Is it any wonder that the higher you go on the list, the better chance you have of achieving success? Why is this? Is it because the better economic state you are born in, the better chance you have to succeed? The answer is a simple yes.

    My opponent repeats constantly that I have conceded my position by admitting that a person in the western world has the ability to go from poor to rich. In reality, this is the point that proves my position.

    As I said previously, our ability to succeed hinges on the economic state which we are provided. Regardless of whether or not you live in Canada, America, Africa, or Japan; if the economic state encourages success, you can easily achieve it.

    My opponent seems unable to understand that the social programs we keep hearing about are in fact part of the economic status of which we are debating. It is for that reason that I can claim our debate topic to be completely true. The success we can achieve in life is directly linked to the economic state in which we are born. If we are born in an area that provides social programs, has good education, and offers people the ability to succeed, the sky is the limit. If we are born into an area with no social programs, poor education, and a government that does not allow personal success, then we can draw a direct link to the lack of success we can achieve.

    This may seem like a broad stroke to paint, but that is the nature of our debate topic. We are not debating specifics and nuances, but rather the economic state of which one is born in general. As I have shown, this can include social programs, government, and many other factors.

    I ask you again to not allow your judgments to be clouded by the mounds of statistics and lists that my opponent has presented here. Let us take one last look at the specific debate topic to ensure we are on the same page.

    ”The Amount Of Financial Success An Individual Experiences Is Determined By, And Will Roughly Mirror, The Economic Status He/She Was Born Into."

    Now take into account that the economic status we are born into is more than just who our parents are or what our family has. The economic status we speak of includes what country we live in, what social programs are offered, what type of government we have, and more. It is easy to see that these factors have a direct impact on the amount of success we can achieve. No amount of lists and statistics from my opponent can change that.

    ----------

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank MemoryShock for hosting this debate and allowing us the privilege of having this discussion. I’d also like to thank chissler for giving me one heck of a fight. We’ll have to do this again…once my wounds heal.



    posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 09:33 AM
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    What we have here is a simple concept being debated by two participants. We are not faced with a complex theory or a scientific equation. It is merely a social fact that we have been asked to discuss. The rich are rich and the poor are poor, right? Wrong. While a disparity does exist between the rich and poor, as my opponent initially alluded to but has seemed to avoid the topic since I responded, this disparity can be overcome. This gap can be beaten and is being defeated and we are seeing these results worldwide.

    In this debate I have presented concepts such as meritocracy, which tells us that the best person gets the job and through hard work one can succeed financially in life. We have talked about feudalism and caste systems, which were the social, political, and economical systems in the past where we were born into a status and kept in that status for life. No interaction outside our castes or status whatsoever. We have talked about capitalism, which provides citizens with a free market and the opportunity to succeed on their own two feet. Our position states, the amount of financial success an individual experiences is determined by, and will roughly mirror, the economic status he/she was born into. If we are born poor, we are not poor for life. We can overcome the adversity we've been offered at birth. I have provided links to social programs that the Canadian government offers to assist citizens who require financial help to enhance their employability.

     


    My opponent has played a game of musical chairs with his debate topic. Not only am I confused with what position it is that he is preaching to us, but I can not figure out how he is even connecting the dots to each stance that he has taken. I'm going to quote our debate topic one more time and I will bold a specific part to clarify something for my opponent and hopefully he can see where he has gone completely off-topic in another last ditch effort to make a point in this debate.

    “The Amount Of Financial Success An Individual Experiences Is Determined By, And Will Roughly Mirror, The Economic Status He/She Was Born Into.”

    I believe my opponent feels that his back is against the wall and is attempting to redefine what it is we are debating. Rather than discussing the economic status that any of us are born into, he now wishes to discuss the economic state of each nation that we are born into. Even if our readers felt that this was on-topic, which I don't believe it is, I certainly hope that he will not be offered a free pass considering this only comes up in his final post. My opponent has egregiously failed at presenting his debate topic because he hasn't had a debate topic. He has been walking in his own circles through this debate trying to figure out what his position is. I think he should have taken the time before this debate began to truly figure out where he wanted to go with it and then go. Instead we are forced to deal with this ongoing charade of musical chairs.

    Economic mobility is a key component to our debate and how much freedom we as citizens have within our society to move upwards or downwards, unfortunately. But nonetheless, this mobility is essential. To illustrate the mobility that can be seen worldwide with various nations, I have provided citations and statistics surrounding the mobility that citizens of nations internationally are offered on a daily basis. When presented with these statistics, my opponent had what to say?



    Once again we are presented with financial statistics and lists of economic freedoms that hold little or no bearing on our discussion.


    My opponent will have you believe that mobility is not what we are here to discuss. Given the debate topic, the amount of financial success an individual experiences is determined by, and will roughly mirror, the economic status he/she was born into, I would say that mobility is one of the only concepts that we are here to discuss. This only reinforces my assertion that my opponent has still failed to grasp the topic at hand.

    After five posts his position seems to be that he is right and I am wrong. Why? Because he said so.

    But this debate isn't about being right and wrong. The topic of this debate is exactly what I've quoted several times already this post. I won't bore our readers with it again as I'm sure they've got it. But for the first ten posts of this thread, that is our topic. After this final post of mine, the topic then becomes who made the better case. Not who is right and who is wrong, but who did a better job on maintaining their position and presenting the stronger case.

    As I conclude this debate, I once again ask our readers to simply examine the facts. After three posts, my opponent had only followed my lead and talked about what I had to say. In his fourth, he tells us of a sad story of a boy in Africa. And in his fifth, well he tries to replace "economic status" with "economic state" and redefine the topic we have been presented. I have presented concepts that both reinforce my position and refute my opponents, we have discussed specific stories and specific social programs provided by a specific federal government. I have engaged my opponent with countless Socratic questions that force my opponent to spend much of his posts responding to what I have had to say rather than focusing on his own position. My opponent has done none of which. On most of his posts he presented no Socratic questions and allowed me to spend no time responding to questions that he wanted to ask, and when presenting his own position he failed presenting the links that I had hoped he would provide.

    View this as a court of law. What has my opponent provided other than conjecture and confusion? He has failed to provide anything in the form of citations or links. Conjecture and confusion.

    Facts speak for themselves.



    posted on Oct, 9 2008 @ 10:36 PM
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    I will attest that this debate was a tough one for our judges. That theme seems to be rampant in this round of debates. I would like to congratulate both Fighters as they did one hell of a job with this topic.

    That said, the judges have spoken. Split decision goes to chissler.



    NYK presented a couple irrelevant points, one of which is this.
    www.abovetopsecret.com...
    and something must be done about it.

    1. He never followed up on this

    2. He provided proof for his opponent's position by intimating that one can fall below one's parent's economic position.

    3. In round 3 NYK is forced into arguing against his opponent's position and out of his element. He asks a bunch of questions, but a debate is about proof and we're not here to prove it for him.

    4. He gives 'facts' and figures but does not support them with citations.

    5. He makes assertions but saying so doesn't make it true:

    As we reach this portion of the debate, I find it prudent that we take a step back and examine where we are and how we have reached this point. So far we have been presented with several irrelevant social systems and led to believe they have any relevance to the topic at hand. We have been told through first hand accounts that the topic we are debating is naïve and baseless; but given nothing more than those accounts.

    He makes one good point here:

    [Opponent's quote: I will concede that fifty, sixty, or seventy years ago this may have been the case]

    So you see, my opponent agrees that our debate topic was completely true at this particular point in history. Taking another look at our debate topic, you can see that we are not given the task of proving this point to be true today, but simply at all.

    But the point was brought up by his opponent. He's grasping.

    =====
    1. Chissler picked up that his opponent has been forced to argue on his terms and NYK forgot to provide support for his own position.
    =========
    While this does poke a small hole in the meritocracy argument, my opponent has only shot himself in the foot by playing into my hand. While affirmative action may slightly refute meritocracy, it certainly reinforces the notion that society is offered a hand up from time to time to help them rise from the lower class to the upper class.

    2. Here, he makes big points with this clever analysis, giving him a lot of leverage for the efficacy of his position.
    ========
    It seems that with the presentation of the various terms thus far in this debate, it has drastically guided the manner in which this discussion has traveled. When I referred to the caste system, my opponent spent a full reply on refuting the caste system. When I quoted meritocracy and feudalism, my opponent has spent his whole reply trying to refute those concepts. So let's keep an eye out to see if the next term I present is going to continue to shape our discussion.

    3. He picks up that he is guiding and defining the debate and his opponent is playing catch up.
    ========
    More big points here:

    We are not discussing western civilization, I am talking about the world. I am discussing the human race as one. My opponent has given up on the western world and has turned his attention to Africa. Let's have a look at a quote from my opponent.

    =========
    After five posts his position seems to be that he is right and I am wrong. Why? Because he said so.

    4. Exactly
    =========
    View this as a court of law. What has my opponent provided other than conjecture and confusion? He has failed to provide anything in the form of citations or links. Conjecture and confusion.

    5. And again.

    =========
    To me, Chissler has guided and defined the debate, has provided citations and facts, and made his points in a convincing fashion.


    NYK has failed to provide facts and figures or citations, has played catch up and has fallen into at least two traps (as shown above).

    He makes declarations but saying so doesn't prove they are true. Chissler picks up on this and capitalized on it.

    ------
    Judging:

    The criteria are these:
    We are looking for the following:

    - How well a Fighter presents rhetoric and supporting source for his/her side of the topic.

    -How well a Fighter refutes the rhetoric and supporting source of his/her opponent (post by post and over all)

    -How well a Fighter controls the flow of the debate.

    -Final 'proving' of the debate topic. This condition is less stringent, though important, than the others as the focus is on how the Fighters interact.


    NYK - 1 point for his point that in the past, 50 years ago his position is true, there was a caste system and it was difficult to rise above or fall below. He does not support, control or offer convincing final proof.

    He fails to follow up on his argument, and gives several irrelevant statements. He seems to be searching for an angle. So one negative point.

    =======================
    Chissler - Five points as listed above. He has a better structured debate and adheres to proper debate format. He refutes his opponent convincingly at every turn and guides the debate. Finally he has a good summation, providing several citations. No negative points for him.
    ======
    By dead reckoning I score the debate

    NYK - 1 point for and one point against for a total of 0 points.

    Chissler - 5 points. None against. I might even give him one bonus point for cleverly reversing his opponent's point on Affirmative Action, while clearly admitting it poked a hole in his argument at first.

    Winner Chisser.



    nyk537 v chissler

    Another great debate, with both fighters presenting wonderfully lucid well thought out arguments for their respective positions. (for the sake of this I will refer to both fighters as "he" my apologies for any gender confusion)

    nyk537 made a strong opening with a very good first post, but didn't follow it up, instead allowing chissler to set the terms,and as we have seen before, reacting to his opponent rather than being proactive with his own position.
    Some very good points were made but there was a failure to capitalize on the positions attacked, specifically with regards to meritocracy, which I feel could have been refuted more fully.

    This was not entirely nyk537's fault as chissler again set the tone and direction of the debate and consistently refused to let his opponent off the hook and allow nyk537 to frame his own arguments with any clarity of purpose.
    Instead, nyk537 was drawn into playing his opponents game and concentrated on refuting his opponents position rather than strenghtening his own.

    Had nyk537 thought in global terms at an earlier point, he could have made chissler much more uncomfortable, but alas that wasn't the case.

    Another thrilling fight goes to chissler by a relatively comfortable margin.



    Round 3: nyk537 v chissler: Generational Economic Class?

    Judgment; NYK wins. Oh so barely. You may want to read this one. It was a really rough debate to judge.


    Opening statements. Excellent job, both fighters came out fighting. Chissler did slightly better, but just, in his taking control of the debate.

    Chissler wins this round.

    Round one-

    Although NYK has a wonderful oratory, he lost a couple of good opportunities in this round to take the wind out of Chisslers sails. He could have pointed out the we do not technically have a capitalist society, and he could have pointed out that by Chisslers own admission, he had already nearly finished his high school education before losing his father. He does try to point out that primary schools differ in their quality because of differential taxes being paid in differing areas, but he isnt taking full advantage of this argument by saying that had Chissler not had the primary education he did he may not have even entered college and thus turned the tide.

    Chissler starts out by undermining his own argument by saying that Harvard grads are much more apt to succeed than State U. grads. However, Chissler has succeeded in so far taking advantage of the admission of capitalism and the lack of refuting Chisslers personal experience by NYK.

    Chissler gets this one.

    Round 2

    NYK picked up on Chisslers error in bringing in Harvard and successfully refutes the point.He finally begins to tear down Chisslers assertion that we are in a meritocracy in a more substantial way. He succeed in bringing down the meritocracy, but unfortunately, he is on the defensive, and Chissler is chipping away at his nerve, he ends the post with out conviction.

    Chissler immediately picks up on this and is almost mocking NYK for it. He has no choice but to admit affirmative action is a strong argument against meritocracy, and half heartly tries to convince that it someone indicates that as a hand up..it...what? He makes no good point there. He is essentially admitting that there is a systemic recognition that the lower classes need help up and out. Losing the meritocracy argument, which was the bulk of his argument to date, is not of no consequence as Chissler suggests, and he goes on a bit of a rant about how if you cant make it it is your own fault. Not the wisest strategy.

    This round goes to NYK.

    Round 3

    I was really doubtful when NYK began this round, his phrasing was weak, but, he found his stride. The fact that he and Chissler were in different countries gave him an idea and he ran with it. Chisslers mocking him for being a follower may have worked against him. Although NYK is discussing socio-economic status, as Chissler was hoping, this is a big derailment for Chisslers "only lazy people dont succeed" argument. NYK gives Chissler more concession than he should have though, by sort of abandoning the argument that in the West ones circumstances at birth mirrors ones level of success in life.

    Chissler picks up on this, and wisely runs with it, but unfortunately, his argument that the fact that some African nations are doing well is not compelling evidence that this is holding true for its citizens.

    This round to NYK.

    Closing

    NYK makes a weak attempt to back out of the concession he made to Chissler on the West being a place you can exceed your status at birth. He gave slightly too much in the last round and did too little to reclaim it in this one. His points are valid, but that concession cost him a lot.

    Chissler also attempts to regain a point he conceded. Meritocracy and also brings up points that he raised that did little for the debate. Capitalism and feudalism. He then criticizes NYK for not staying with a topic throughout the debate, but he himself lost his topic, meritocracy, so it does him no good. He states he has shown us that the mobility of the nations he has brought in as success stories equals the mobility of its citizens, but he did not show us that. He tries to shift the judging to who has maintained their position, and he wants it to be him, but they both lost their positions and I am now relying on the final point of contention that was raised by NYK. Chissler attempts to say that the economic status and economic state (as relates to a country) cannot be the same, but, his own arguments for government programs have already hurt that position.

    NYK takes the round, by the barest of margins.

    Chissler by far has the superior style. No question. He was masterful, took control, and did as he said, guided the debate for the first half. NYK has a good mind, but he does need to take Chisslers advice and tighten up and be more decisive. However, NYK did have the flexibility to grab a better argument when it came along. He would have won more decisively had he not put his own foot in his mouth by conceding the West to Chissler. He did not need to, that battle was not over.

    Chissler's cockiness cost him this debate. Both by inspiring NYK, and by allowing him to think that his style alone could win it. These guys were tied at the closing. Had he spent his last post demonstrating that African citizens were benefiting as much as their countries were he would have won. Instead, he spent the post (and portions of several of them) tooting his own horn. I need to see substance to go with the style and that one point of NYKs he left insufficiently addressed cost him.




    posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 05:51 AM
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    It was an excellent debate, Nyk. Thank you.


     
     


    I would like to make a comment to the judge who says that my "cockiness" cost me this debate. After reading the results I can't help but feel that I've annoyed this person in my approach and that because I can be confrontational and assertive, that I've had two strikes against me before I even opened my mouth.

    To say, "cockiness cost me this debate" is not reading what's been said.. but focusing on how they perceive we are intending to say it. In the debate forum, I don't think that should be the case.

    With that said, I appreciate the comments from all judges and will use this as a means of improving myself moving forward.



    posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 07:23 AM
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    Great debate chissler, and congratulations on a well deserved win.

    As the judges said, you had me reeling early on and I was never able to fully recover.

    I'll look forward to exacting my revenge at a later date.






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