Thank you, Branh, and welcome to the tournament! Special thanks to our moderators MemoryShock and Semperfortis for the effort involved in setting up
simultaneous debates. Wow!
Ladies and gentlemen, there is a list of Wise Adages, guideposts to the practice of Business, that I have known for years. A small taste, if you
34. War is good for business.
35. Peace is good for business.
 "The Rules of Acquisition", Memory Alpha
The underlaying message? Business is what we make of it.
War, and the cyclical absence of war, have long touched human history, and their effect has been felt economically - of course!
But what if we had a world without war? What if peace could reign, and competition and inventiveness could flourish in a non-destructive
There is cause for hope of such a Utopia, certainly, if we want to look. But fortunately this debate topic allows us to consider the hypothetical
without getting hung up on cynicism: What would
happen, if we were to have "World Peace", and an "Ideally Functioning Economy"? What
would that imply?
My opponent will of course be unable to show that this would lead to "Disaster", and I will do my best to show, as I truly believe, that "Peace is
good for business".
So in this introduction, let me begin by addressing my opponents initial tactics, answering his questions, and asking a few questions of my own.
As much as I am amused by the spin of "World Peace" as being equivalent to "The Complete Stillness Of Death" or "Mindless Subservience To All
Authority", those extreme interpretations are incorrect. Peace, in the context we are addressing here, simply means the absence of War. It's not a
difficult concept. Indeed, we can look at the very page where my opponent found his wry Bertrand Russell quote and find a reasonable definition:
World peace is the Utopian ideal of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of
governance which prevents warfare.
 "World peace", Wikipedia
There may be nits to be picked with this definition, for example it excludes the concept of World Peace as achieved through the dissolution
the nation-state (a true World Government), but I believe it is adequate for our purposes.
I suppose one could get into metaphorical claims such as "Business Is War", rather than accepting that peace can rather easily be described as "the
absence of large groups of people killing each other with guns and stuff". So I will ask, for the sake of getting us all on the same page:
SQ1: If we are not currently in a state of 'World Peace', what characterizes that absence?
Can there ever be a complete absence of conflict?
Theoretically, yes. The existence of conflict of any kind is dependent on perception
, and evidenced by resulting action.
To claim that every moment of life is 'conflict' reduces the term to meaninglessness. There are many times in life that are blessedly free of
conflict, in my experience. Now, I don't think it likely
that there will ever be a complete absence of conflict in society, nor do I think
that would necessarily be a positive thing. Interesting philosophical thoughts.
You might have better asked "can there ever be a complete absence of violent
conflict?", but even that would have been off-topic to this
debate. In later replies, I will explore in more depth various reasonable
images of what world peace will look like, and entail.
What would be considered an ideal functioning economy?
There is as yet no single, unifying theory. One that is somewhat useful, in my opinion, is the popular capitalist theory of Adam Smith:
"In Smith's view, the ideal economy is a self-regulating market system that automatically satisfies the economic needs of the populace".
 "The World of Economics: Major Schools of Economic Theory",
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Other theories and schools of philosophical thought exist, and I intend to explore them, in greater detail in this debate. In particular, the concept
"self-regulating" does not seem to be applied very much, anymore; this is a subject that I believe might be relevant to our discussion.
In general, current economic theories attempt to answer three basic questions:
How do we decide what to produce with our limited resources? How do we ensure stable prices and full employment of resources? How do we provide a
rising standard of living both for now and the future?
As society has advanced in the last centuries, and the fruits of human innovation and trade have grown to have worldwide impact, we have seen a move
towards a worldwide economy
. One that manages -- quite imperfectly, as yet! -- limited resources in a manner such that scarcity
become a controllable economic factor, rather than an unavoidable limitation. War is not required
to achieve this.
SQ2: Is requiring war, for the control of "limited resources", an aspect of "An Ideally Functioning Economy"?
Thanks again to my esteemed opponent Branh, and as always thanks to the readers, judges, moderators, and our course all our supportive fellow fighters
here at ATS!