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Round 1: branh03 vs Ian McLean: Make Money, Not Peace?

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posted on Feb, 15 2009 @ 09:07 PM
The topic for this debate is “World Peace Would Be Disasterous To An Ideally Functioning Economy.”

branh03 will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Ian McLean 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.

There is a 10,000 character limit. Excess characters will be deleted prior to judging.

Editing is strictly forbidden. For reasons of time, mod edits should not be expected except in critical situations.

Opening and closing statements must not contain any images and must have no more than 3 references.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements, only two images and no more than 5 references can be included for each post. Each individual post may contain up to 10 sentences of external source material, totaled from all external sources.

Links to multiple pages within a single domain count as 1 reference but there is a maximum of 3 individual links per reference, then further links from that domain count as a new reference. Excess quotes and excess links will be removed before judging.

Videos are not permitted. This includes all youtube links and other multi-media video sources.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.

When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceded by a direct answer.

This Is The Time Limit Policy

Each debate must post within 24 hours of the timestamp on the last post. If your opponent is late, you may post immediately without waiting for an announcement of turn forfeiture. If you are late, you may post late, unless your opponent has already posted.

Each debater is entitled to one extension of 24 hours. The request should be posted in this thread and is automatically granted- the 24 hour extension begins at the expiration of the previous deadline, not at the time of the extension request.

In the unlikely event that tardiness results in simultaneous posting by both debaters, the late post will be deleted unless it appears in its proper order in the thread.

Judging will be done by a panel of anonymous judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. One of the debate forum moderators will then make a final post announcing the winner.

posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 05:01 AM
Opening Statement

First of all I'd like to thank Mem for allowing me into this tournament, especially as a new guy. I hope to not disappoint for my first time. Second, I'd like to extend a thanks and a good luck to my opponent Ian McLean. I always love the opportunity to dethrone one of the favorites, even if it is a little harder. Now for the sweet stuff.

I have been granted the challenge of arguing the pro side for the topic stating “World peace would be disastrous to an ideally functioning economy.” Getting down to business, I pose my first socratic question.

Socratic Question #1
What would be considered an ideal functioning economy?

The backbone of this question...and in essence my opponents argument is assuming world peace really is plausible. Bertrand Russell was quoted in Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony Or Survival saying;

"After ages during which the earth produced harmless trilobites and butterflies, evolution progressed to the point at which it has generated Neros, Genghis Khans, and Hitlers. This, however, I believe is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will return."

Hegemony Or Survival

Russell believes that conflict is part of our inner animal instincts. This encompasses the entire animal kingdom mind you. We see conflict everywhere, from lions fighting for dominance in the herd, to bloods and crips battling for territory in L.A. This is an nice segue to my next socratic question.

Socratic Question #2
Can there ever be a complete absence of conflict?

Now lets break down quickly what world peace truly means. A quick search in Websters Dictionary shows the following.

World: the earth with its inhabitants and all things upon it

Peace: a state of tranquillity or quiet a: freedom from civil disturbance

Putting those together you get a basic summation that world peace means a freedom from civil disturbance for all of the earths inhabitants. For the sake of argument, and to not be a jerk and split hairs, we will leave out the animal kingdom as they don't much have an economy to be affected by peace or conflict. I mention this as in all logical right, world peace is merely a pipe dream, and that as long as humans bear their right to individuality, conflict is bound to arise.

What I plan on showing the judges and readers, as well as convince my opponent, is that without some sort of conflict driving our economy, the citizens of this world would be left to diminish back to the dark ages, to a life where advances in any field of science and technology would be halted due to lack of conflict driving the work, and by all means, the worlds economy.

posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 11:21 PM
Thank you, Branh, and welcome to the tournament! Special thanks to our moderators MemoryShock and Semperfortis for the effort involved in setting up sixteen simultaneous debates. Wow!

Opening Statement

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 will:

34. War is good for business.
35. Peace is good for business.

[1] "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 environment?

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.

[2] "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 of 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 engagement, 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".

[3] "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?

[3] Ibid.

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 has 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!

posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 08:45 PM
I'm gonna go ahead and request my 24 hour extension. This topic is so vast that i feel I may need a little more time to accurately prepare my response. Don't wanna screw up my shot to unseat the champ

posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 02:00 PM
I'll make this reply brief, so as to not take undue advantage of my opponent should he choose to return to this debate.

First Reply

What would a reasonable image of world peace entail? I will repeat my previous Socratic Question:

SQ1: If we are not currently in a state of 'World Peace', what characterizes that absence?

How does that relate to economics? As mentioned in my previous post, I believe the paradigm of scarcity, as necessary to economic health, must be addressed. We see already, in various industries such as computer software and intellectual property, obsolete models of 'limited resource' economics being applied, with the claim that this is necessary to 'spur innovation'.

There are multitudes of ways to bring harmony and health to each and every one of us. But most people don’t know about these things, believing in the scarcity and lack of development that we are told to believe in.

[1] ATS member Amaterasu, "The Abundance Paradigm", pg 18

Innovation is a byproduct of human creativity. It does not need the 'rod of forced necessity' to produce its benefits.

An ideal economic system will be one that recognizes this, and fosters creativity in the most beneficial manner, with the most flexibility, while at the same time effectively managing actual limited resources, and encouraging exploration to remove those limits.

In this scarcity paradigm that we are choosing to live in – though there is plenty for all; it just is very badly managed – we find it hard to envision ways the bounty of the earth can be all of ours, and what it would mean if it came to pass with humanity in control.

[1] ATS member Amaterasu, "The Abundance Paradigm", pg 21

We live in economies falsely based on the concept of 'planned obsolescence'. Razor blades specifically timed to dull after a month of use, batteries that provide just enough power to require replacement at regular intervals, discardable appliances that not only waste resources, but require a 'subscription model' of investment merely to stay functional.

Products will gain durability reputations, an ethical quality – no more planned obsolescence.

[1] ATS member Amaterasu, "The Abundance Paradigm", pg 27

What is our vision for improvement, and would such a vision encourage or discourage peace?

SQ2: Is requiring war, for the control of "limited resources", an aspect of "An Ideally Functioning Economy"?


Thank you, over to you, branh03; I hope you're doing well and I look forward to continuing our discussion.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 10:26 PM
branh03 has forfeited this debate.

Ian McLean will advance to Round 2.

posted on Feb, 24 2009 @ 01:56 AM
This topic deserves some more discussion.

Second Reply

Let's look at Principle 24 of the "Rio Declaration":

Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development.

[1] "Rio Declaration on Environment and Development", United Nations Environment Programme

Indeed, it's patently obvious that warfare is a destructive force. In a cooperating world, a peaceful world, there are better ways for nations to evolve, and embrace change without the desolation of warfare and destruction.

In objecting to this fact, the most common argument made by those who would promote the status-quo of violent conflict is the Broken Window Fallacy. It goes like this:

A young hoodlum, say, heaves a brick through the window of a baker’s shop. The shopkeeper runs out furious, but the boy is gone. A crowd gathers, and begins to stare with quiet satisfaction at the gaping hole in the window and the shattered glass over the bread and pies. After a while the crowd feels the need for philosophic reflection. And several of its members are almost certain to remind each other or the baker that, after all, the misfortune has its bright side. It will make business for some glazier.

[2]Henry Hazlitt, "Economics In One Lesson"

The 'logic' is then taken to the extreme: the baker buys a new window. The glazier, $250 or so richer, turns around and buys a new suit. The tailor who benefits from his patronage can then buy bread for his family, shoes for his children. Why, rather than being a vandal, this boy is the a catalyst, a boon to the economy!

The fallacy is this: what would the baker have done with the $250, if he didn't have to spend it repairing destruction? Could he have invested in a new, more efficient oven? Do his children have to do without new shoes because of the added expense?

In the final tally, the vandal's benefit is seen as nil: all he's really done for the town is reduce its net worth by exactly the cost of one window.

Let's consider the implications of this analogy: how many could be fed, worldwide, how many small business ventures could be financed, if we didn't have to pay the cost of the destruction of war?


Let's sum it up: there are two, and only two, primary causes of the lack of peace in the world: limited resources, and exclusionary ideologies.

Believe it or not, we are winning the battle against limited resources. Advances in technology, to avoid the 'crunch' of lack of resources, are the constant fruit of human inventiveness, and the world productivity in generating such has only increased in modern times. In fact, the technology itself has become the falsely-created limited resource, by those who would control its access and utilization, to perpetuate their own exclusionary ideology of a controlled and manipulated economy.

We are then left with the issue of our world's maturity, in regards to the use of ideological force. We must simply learn to accept that our differences need not lead to violent or coercive conflict. This is the true goal of world peace: a more tolerant, less immature stage of human coexistence.

We should do well to learn, as a species, the lessons of our own individual childhood development:

The preoperational stage occurs between ages two and six.

Piaget used a number of creative and clever techniques to study the mental abilities of children. One of the famous techniques egocentrism involved using a three-dimensional display of a mountain scene. Children are asked to choose a picture that showed the scene they had observed. Most children are able to do this with little difficulty. Next, children are asked to select a picture showing what someone else would have observed when looking at the mountain from a different viewpoint.

Invariably, children almost always choose the scene showing their own view of the mountain scene. According to Piaget, children experience this difficulty because they are unable to take on another person's perspective.

[3] Kendra Van Wagner, "Preoperational Stage of Cognitive Development"

As a world culture, we are beginning to leave the "Preoperational Stage" of human development. Our worldviews have expanded, and we are starting to truly be able to "take on another person's perspective", rather than being trapped in small, self-chosen caves of ideological narrowness.

With this understanding, and its practice, will come increased peace as divisions between previous conflicting and irreconcilable forces benefit from the sheer utility of our increased perspective. The needless destruction and self-defeating, progress-stifling disempowerment caused by violent conflict will become, in time, a thing of the past.

In 20 years, 50 years, or even 100 years, we will look back upon these times, when warfare was still considered 'unavoidable', or 'part of human nature', and say: "What destructive little children we were."

The true 'disasters' we create are always from our own blind limitations. Let us hope and advocate, now, this simple truth:

“World Peace Will NOT Be Disastrous, In Any Way.”

Thank you.

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