Challenge Match: PatrickGarrow17 vs. Skyfloating: America is the World's Best Economy

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posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 07:37 PM
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Hello reader,

My purpose in this thread is to show that, despite recent contractions, America remains the world's best economy. Skyfloating will be attempting to prove me wrong. I thank you for choosing to spend some time pondering this issue with us, and thank ATS for hosting this debate.

The position that America is the world's top economy has been in decline since 2008.


In 2008, before the onset of the global financial crisis, a median of 45% named the U.S. as the world’s leading economic power, while just 22% said China. Today, only 36% say the U.S., while 42% believe China is in the top position.



www.pewglobal.org...

In 2007-08 we saw the onset of a recession. And yes, we are yet to fully recover from the losses. Despite this, there are many reasons to think we are still the world's best economy.

It is difficult to come to an agreement on what constitutes the best, and this debate will inevitably come down to exactly that definition. Economics is one of the most statistically rich fields, so we have more than enough data to quanitatively crown countries in certain areas. Unemployment, wealth equality, government finances, GDP, GDP/capita, tax rates, fortune 500 companies, on and on...these numbers are all on the books.

My job becomes convincing everyone that America is at the top of the list in the most crucial categories, and has an aggregate edge to any other nation.


First, the size of an economy matters a lot. As much, if not more, than any other factor. The sheer size of America geographically, in population, and in market, gives the opportunist critical advantages.

The US has a total output (GDP) nearly 50% greater than the second most productive country (China), even when accounting for purchasing power. When measured nominally, the US doubles China's output.

When considering overall size of economy, China is the only country that is remotely comparable. Japan (3rd) is a little over a third the size of the US, Germany (4th) about a fourth, and France (5th) is about a fifth.

www.imf.org...

Size does matter when ranking economies, and America wins that category hands down. Further, China (second in GDP) is far behind other countries in GDP/capita. China also operates with a much more state driven system, and this should discourage us from considering them as the top economy. Citizens and businesses in a free market system are much more likely to think and act freely, which leads to greater innovation.

The 42% who rank China ahead of America are incorrect.

Too often, we get caught up in a small piece of time and lose the big picture. This is the case for Americans who are losing faith in their economy. Recessions have come and gone, and the US economy has remained strong.


Of course, there are other factors to consider when ranking national economies. These smaller indicators are where America finds itself lower on the chain.


For most of the 20th century, the United States has been considered the world’s economic superpower. And up until four years ago, the World Economic Forum would agree. In 2008, it ranked the U.S. as the most globally competitive economy in the world. This year, when the group published its annual Global Competitiveness Report, the U.S. ranked seventh.
WSJ

Every year the World Economic Forum publishes a Global Competitiveness Report


The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. The Report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide.


In this report the US ranks seventh behind these six countries:

1. Switzerland
2. Singapore
3. Finland
4. Sweden
5. Netherlands
6. Germany

The United States has dropped on the list every year since 2008.

This report is inherently flawed for a few reasons:


It is made up of over 110 variables, of which two thirds come from the Executive Opinion Survey


Opinions are consistently an overreaction to a given moment.

Another reason the report is flawed, is because it weights variables differently based on which "stage of development" the country is in. America is in the "innovation driven stage," along with the nations ranked ahead of it. America loses points because it's economy is much bigger and is therefore more difficult to operate at the same efficiency, of say Switzerland.

We have a situation where in the wake of recession, America is being underrated because of relative expectations. It has been taken for granted that America is the world's best economy, so when anything indicates otherwise- it's not.

This is a flaw in reasoning that is happening within America and abroad.

Because of the recession, unemployment rises and wealth inequality increases. Government debt goes up because it has to pay more benefits to an increasing poor, and decided on a Keynesian policy.

When we look at things realistically, and avoid momentary hyperbolic opinion, America still has the dynamic economic foundation that it had six, ten, and fifty years ago. It is essentially still the same country, and still outproduces any other by a wide margin.

America has a large population, over 300 million, a diverse workforce, outstanding food production, leading science and technological institutions, more top universities than any other country.

132 of the 500 biggest companies are American.link

America has 412 of the world's 1,210 billionaires - 34%. link


For any person aspiring to improve themselves economically, America remains the place with the highest ceiling. In fact, the ceiling is virtually non-existent.

In order to start a billion dollar company in any of the countries listed ahead of America in the report above, it must be an international company. In America, it is very possible to start a large company without ever expanding overseas.


Skyfloating will surely expose the weaknesses of the American economy. The WEF report tables inefficient government bureaucracy as America's biggest problem. I agree with this assessment.

But I believe the strengths of America are enough to overcome this issue. The debt is manageable over the long term. Many of the statistics that point to a decline on the list for the US are temporary and directly related to the recession: unemployment, poverty, debt. As we move forward in the next couple of decades, there is no country on the planet that seriously threatens America as the world's most productive country and best generator of wealth. China will approach the US in terms of GDP, but economic structure and per capita income makes them a weak candidate for the world's top economy.

A country like Switzerland is simply too small to consider, with a population a third the size of Texas.

I am eager to see which countries Skyfloating proposes as better than America.

And I urge the reader to remember the importance of market size.




posted on Dec, 4 2012 @ 04:03 AM
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My actual position summarized:

1. Up until the 1960s America was easily the worlds strongest Economy

2. Despite still being strong, America is an Empire in decline. This is happening incrementally.

3. If it were to remember the principles which once made it the strongest economy on earth, it could some day return to that status.



*

I travel the world a lot, on Business. Sadly, my own eyes have witnessed what I later saw confirmed in statistics such as so generously offered by PatrickGarrow. That America is no longer what it was.
A healthy economy is best indicated by the standard of living for the majority of its people. Ive been to Switzerland numerous times which is literally poverty-less. Ive travelled to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Germany, countries whose wealth of its citizens and impeccability of its infrastructure put America to shame. Just traveling these countries and then contrasting it with the broken infrastructure, high percentage welfare-dependents and inner-city poverty of America and the daily cries about American unemployment and crisis, Ive seen enough with my own eyes, even before consulting statistics.

PatrickGarrows claim that "America is the World Bests Economy" not only contradicts the numbers, but its a slap in the face of the hundreds of millions of Americans who have seen much better times. Saying "America is doing just fine" is not a path to recovery, its a path of denial. This is the denial that will accelerate our downfall.

Many remain ignorant of our decline because it's creeping along ever so slowly and because of partisan obsfucation the Democrat/Republican-media-hype. Cutting taxes makes the Government poorer, raising taxes makes the citizen poorer, but neither approach can halt the steady decline that is endemic to falling Empires.

Why do Empires fall? It has nothing to do with what the media talking-heads of the parties are telling us. It is because they have reached points of satiation. The satiation of ancient Greece, the satiation of the Roman Empire, the satiation of the British Empire, the satiation of all great Empires has lead to their decline. When a nation, country or empire reaches economic and cultural satiation its populace becomes decadent, distracted by overeating, superficial entertainment, receding work ethic, receding educational standards, receding compassion with their neighbors.. Thus anyone looking at History from a birds eye view can see a nation rise and fall in wave-like patterns.

An important point on which this entire debate hinges:

To see the economic decline of America, you must look at the long-term big picture, not at cherry-picked temporary improvements here and there. For instance, the unemployment rate may have slightly decreased this year, but seen in a 20-year, long-term context, that slight decrease is a droplet of water in a vast ocean of a populace drowning in troubles. In the year 2000, the unemployment rate was 4%, right now its 8%. In 1953 it was 2.6%. The duration of unemployment people are experiencing is even more critical. As Ive said, the decline is slow and incremental, with small improvements now and then, here and there, but looking at the big picture, things are not improving. And they will not improve if we keep wearing the rose-colored glasses and saying "America is the Worlds Best Economy". What utter nonsense. Neither will they improve when we keep blaming the "other" political party for the decline. Contrast that with, say, the unemployment rate of the country of Singapore, at 1.9% or the 5% of Germany or 6% of New Zealand and you cant tell me "America has the Worlds Best Economy".

This post then, is not only to refute Patricks position, but offer a greater historical perspective and point to a way out. What is the way out? The same methods that apply to individuals who are in dire straits, also apply to a nation.Dear Reader, let me ask you this: If you are dead broke, and your apartment is falling apart and you are unemployed and you want to get back out, are you going to walk around saying "Everything is fine. My economic situation is great. Best in the world!" or are you going to face reality so that you can turn it around? Are you going to keep borrowing money from banks or asked to be bailed out by friends or walk around blaming institutions, governments, corporations or are you going to do your utmost to find wiser ways of employing yourself or making your services or products or your personality useful to your community so that they may reward you with income? Think about it. The change required to turn America around is an inner change, not a Revolution on the streets, but a Revolution of the Mind.



posted on Dec, 4 2012 @ 07:54 PM
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1. Up until the 1960s America was easily the worlds strongest Economy




To see the economic decline of America, you must look at the long-term big picture, not at cherry-picked temporary improvements here and there. For instance, the unemployment rate may have slightly decreased this year, but seen in a 20-year, long-term context, that slight decrease is a droplet of water in a vast ocean of a populace drowning in troubles. In the year 2000, the unemployment rate was 4%, right now its 8%. In 1953 it was 2.6%.


Skyfloating has presented us with the argument that America has been in a steady decline during the past few decades. Unfortunately, this analysis is incorrect. My opponents post has painted a misleading picture- that unemployment has been in steady decline since 1953. The statistics provided are the definition of cherry picking.


Bureau of Labor statistics

Let's look at it from a more accurate historical perspective.

True, unemployment rates have doubled since 2000. This is the product of a temporary recession, and is a part of a cycle that America has experienced and recovered from before.

In the early 80's, unemployment was higher than it is now- over 10% in early 1983.. As Skyfloating noticed, we returned to a low rate during the late 90's.

Right now, we are in the early stages of recovery and stand to return to an unemployment rate similar to what has happened following historical recessions.

This has been no steady decline, since 1960 the American economy has steadily grown.

www.usgovernmentspending.com...

When looking at real data, in an accurate historical context, it is clear that the America has been home to the premier economy in the world for a long time, and still is.

Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence of other countries being superior isn't sufficient to prove otherwise.

The power of America has lead many to use a word to describe it that is researved for only the greatest of historical nation states:




2. Despite still being strong, America is an Empire in decline. This is happening incrementally.


Empire. This word epitomizes my stance in this debate. There is no country on earth that can lay claim to this adjective more legitimately than America. Even following, what some call, the Great Recession, America is still an empire.

None of the countries you've mentioned can seriously be described in such a way. America is just bigger.

Japan and Germany have impressive economies, to be sure. But they are each a fraction of the total production seen in America. And neither is superior to America even on a per-capita basis. Germany's poverty is about the same as America's. The most recent data on Japan has it's poverty at higher than America's is now in 2007, before the recession even hit world wide.

Germany's per capita income in nearly 10,000 less that in the US. Japans is about 15,000 less.
CIA World Fact Book

Singapore and Switzerland are fascinating countries. Their models of government and economics can teach the world a lot. But they are small potatoes.

Switizerland has a population of about 8 million.

Singapore is a little over 5 million.


the United States is expected to have 16.9 million millionaires by 2017 -- a 53 percent increase from America’s total of 11 million millionaires today.


huffington

There are almost as many millionaires in the US as there are combined people in Singapore and Switzerland. And wealth creation is trending upward in America. This will more likely than not translate to more business being done, continuing the recovery, and lifting the poor and middle class.




a slap in the face of the hundreds of millions of Americans who have seen much better times.


Not what I'm doing. I'm reminding everyone how good the American economy really is, providing hope.




The change required to turn America around is an inner change, not a Revolution on the streets, but a Revolution of the Mind.


Yes, indeed. And America has an infrastructure second to none when it comes to dispersing ideas to a large number of people within one country. About 80% of the population uses the internet (link). Ideas spread. There is a nationwide call for more ethical government and business in general.

We stand to progress ideologically in both ethics, and science.

America spends 1.5 billion more on R&D than any other country. The US will be a leader in the emerging technology markets.

Peaks and valleys, the nature of life. America is on it's way up once again



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 03:18 AM
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Originally posted by PatrickGarrow17

Bureau of Labor statistics


Dear Reader,

this would not be the first time my opponent has posted graphs that dont actually refute my side but support it! In his first post he posted a graph that showed how China has overtaken America. And if we pay close attention to his latest graph we see that it actually proves what Ive been saying:

I said that the decline is incremental. That means its very slow, with many ups and downs, but the LONG-TERM-PICTURE shows a decline. In fact, we never did get back to the 2.6.% we had in the golden age of Americas economy in the early 50s.

I now present to you a series of facts that will astound you...

1. Decline in Education

A countries economic future rests on the education of its children. Did you know that the U.S. no longer ranks in the top 10 of the Education Index?. South Korea, Denmark, Finland, Australia, Canada, Norway and many other nations rank higher. What does that say about Americas future?

2. Decline in Life Expectancy

Did you realize the U.S. no longer even ranks in the top 35 for Life Expectancy?. Strong economies such as Iceland, Singapore, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong rank in the top 10, but the U.S. is nowhere near healthy overall. Notice how a strong economy correlates to life expectancy.

3. Decline in GDP Growth

Did you know that the GDP of many countries are growing much more quickly than that of the U.S., that the European Union ranks #1 and that, if current trends continue, China is set to overtake the U.S. long-term?

And here is Patrick Gorrow calmly exclaiming "America is the Worlds BEST Economy folks! All is well!"

Yes, I understand its unpopular to point out our own weaknesses. Its painful to have to admit we may no longer be "the greatest nation on earth". Americans are a patriotic bunch who take pride in having led the world for such a long time in science, military, economy and values. But as you can see, even a mere superficial examination of the trends of the last years show that its no longer so.

America CAN be the worlds best economy.

America MIGHT be the worlds best economy again.

But America IS NOT currently the worlds best economy. And that, is the topic at debate here.

And it gets worse. A few snippets from 34 Signs that America is in Decline


#1 According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001. That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011. That is not just a decline - that is a freefall.



#2 According to The Economist, the United States was the best place in the world to be born into back in 1988. Today, the United States is only tied for 16th place.



#12 The U.S. trade deficit with China during 2011 was 28 times larger than it was back in 1990.



#13 Incredibly, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been shut down since 2001. During 2010, manufacturing facilities were shutting down at the rate of 23 per day.



#31 In 2001, the U.S. national debt was less than 6 trillion dollars. Today, it is over 16 trillion dollars and it is increasing by more than 100 million dollars every single hour.


Please see the link for more. Patrick, honestly: In light of these realities, can you still say "America is the Worlds Best Economy" with a straight face?

Is it any wonder that Standard and Poors as downgraded Americas economic rating because of the countries negative prospects?

Another important question we have to ask ourselves is how our economy is expected to recover if the countries with stronger economies all rank higher in the economic freedom indexes...



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And how are we expected to return to greatness if our Federal Debt just keeps increasing...



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Does my debate opponent have answers to these questions?

So if America is not the worlds best economy, what is? Id have to concede that these countries are on the list already provided by Patrick. They are Northwestern-European countries, plus Singapore, with countries such as China prospectives for the future.



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 10:19 PM
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From the outset of this debate, I have sought to acknowledge that I am taking an against the grain position. Opinion of the American economy is decreasing, and many have come to believe the notion that the US is not the world's greatest economy.

By pointing out this fact, I hoped to demonstrate that I am living in the same world as everyone else.

We have been through a recession, our economy has experienced a contraction. Data shows that this type of behavior is cyclical and recovery should be expected.

So, we should leave behind the fallacies that have us downplaying the fact that America is the world's top dog. Its really not even close. Because of a period of boom economy preceding recession, the recession seems even worse than it is. The media, selling fear, perpetuates the idea that America is falling off it's ladder, and a bandwagon effect ensues.

None of this is accurate.

The rest of the world is developing rapidly, so America is losing some relative power. But on absolute terms there is still no close second.

An ant is a strong pound for pound organism. But it is still easily crushed by an elephant. Countries like Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and Singapore are ants. Their economies are incomparable with the scope of the American market. They do some things better than the US, but these advantages are slight compared to the difference in size.

The US real estate industry is three times the size of Switzerlands GDP.www.bea.gov... Look at the sheer output industry by industry. America's economy is so massive in scope, and this is the reason it is the most impressive in the world. Other countries heavily rely on the American market.

Among the bigger countries mentioned, such as Germany and Japan, there are hardly advantages at all across economic indicators and they are still much smaller in total size.

An American economic collapse sends the entire globe into recession. The US is the engine of the entire world. None of the countries being proposed by Skyfloating are nearly as consequential. No country in the world is so breathtaking both in scope and quality of life.

I imagine Skyfloating is now preparing a final statement that focuses on government debt. The other arguments just do not hold. No country has any economic factors so much better than America to seriously convince one that it is a better economy. America is just too big, too far ahead of the rest of the world in terms of production.

Alas, government debt is my opponents only compelling argument. Skyfloating must convince us that the US can not recover from it's debt in order to win this discussion.

I fully believe America can manage it's debt, and continue to be the most productive nation on Earth. It is a long term problem. Around 1950, the US had a similar debt/GDP ratio and it was reduced to a very manageable level in a few decades.



(Please ignore the partisan nature of the graph, not part of my point.)

We are reminded once again that recessions happen and, thanks to the grandness of the American economic machine, the country recovers and remains in the top position. History proves that the debt is manageable.

Since the economy is trending toward continued recovery, we can reasonably project that deficits will be reduced in the coming years. As we enter 2020 and beyond, America has an excellent chance of experiencing another economic boom similar to the 1990s. Natural resources, such as natural gas, may be developed and provide jobs and riches for many citizens. Emerging technologies like alternative energy, genetic medicine, biotechnology, and information tech will continue to be led by American innovation.

High tech markets stand to grow, and America will more likely than not continue to be the world's most significant market. Companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon still have many markets yet unreached.

With modest growth, the debt is a manageable problem to be gradually reduced over the course of 30 years or so. If America follows the boom-bust cycle of it's history and has a strong decade, the debt may be a non issue as early as 2030.

All the while, America will likely be given much leniency by the international community to gradually pay off it's debt because the world economy is so dependent on the US. True collapse doesn't seem likely. America drives the world, and is simply too big to fail. We are unlikely to see bankruptcy or a dollar collapse.

What we must truly focus on is the unprecedented amount of capital in America. Land, minerals, energy, machinery, etc. In terms of real value there is no nation on Earth that comes close to the combined wealth of the US.

One can make all the arguments they want for other countries and their efficiency. The fact is that these advantages are trivial compared to America's. The Sheer production of the USA makes it the world's most impressive economy.




posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 06:54 AM
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Having already presented the documentation/proof I will use this final post for a point-by-point rebuttal.



I have sought to acknowledge that I am taking an against the grain position.


Thats secondary. Whats important is what is true or false.



We have been through a recession, our economy has experienced a contraction. Data shows that this type of behavior is cyclical and recovery should be expected.


Debate Topic is whether America IS the worlds best economy, not whether it might some day be IF it recovers. I have proven that it is not and conceded that it may some day be on top again, if it restores the economic principles that got there in the first place.



So, we should leave behind the fallacies that have us downplaying the fact that America is the world's top dog.


Fallacies? Are you saying its not accurate that the European Union is ahead of the U.S.and China (as well as several countries with higher economic freedoms) are set to overtake America? Have you not read the data in my last post?



Countries like Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and Singapore are ants.


If you are talking about fallacies, this is called "the fallacy of false comparison". Even the more comparable European Union is smaller than America, yet superior to it in economy. The East Asian states (Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China), comparable in population and land mass to North America, are outrunning America. Little things keep reminding me of the loss of American supremacy. I held a Samsung Galaxy the other day and realized that this Korean product is easily superior to my i-phone. I checked education performances in Japan and learned that their standards are way above our schools. Highways and trains in central Europe are far, far superior to ours. Why? Because America no longer leads the way.



The US real estate industry is three times the size of Switzerlands GDP.


These are ridiculous comparisons because they dont factor in population/land-mass. The correct way to compare such data is in PERCENTAGE not numbers. And taken in percentage Switzerland wins every single economic comparison there is.



No country in the world is so breathtaking both in scope and quality of life.


Ever travelled Europe? I recommend the 5 hour car-ride from Lake Como in Northern Italy, through Switzerland and up to Germany to get a good first impression of the breathtaking beauty and higher standard of living in Europe. The next trip you can take is the 7 hour drive from Amsterdam through Belgium and France and up to England. What you will see is the telltale signs of strong economies: Intact Infrastructure, sparklingly new buildings galore, tranquil and productive looking people, etc.



I imagine Skyfloating is now preparing a final statement that focuses on government debt.


No. I already presented our growing debt in my last post.



Alas, government debt is my opponents only compelling argument. Skyfloating must convince us that the US can not recover from it's debt in order to win this discussion.


im amused by this attempt to discard all other evidence and try to narrow it down to one factor. Our debt is one factor but its not the only one because it is balanced out by the Governments assets and GDP. Regardless, we do need to pay off some of that debt to recover more quickly.




Around 1950, the US had a similar debt/GDP ratio and it was reduced to a very manageable level in a few decades.


Yes, but it isnt NOW, which is the whole gist of this debate.



we can reasonably project that deficits will be reduced in the coming years.

As we enter 2020 and beyond, America has an excellent chance of experiencing another economic boom



You have hereby conceded the debate by saying that America WILL BE the Worlds Best Economy rather than BEING the worlds best.



In terms of real value there is no nation on Earth that comes close to the combined wealth of the US.


Had I been assigned your debate-side I would have listed Americas assets. But alas...you seem to have forgotten to.

Dear Readers,

after viewing the facts you can see that America is neither "on the brink of doom" as fear-mongers say, nor "the greatest nation on earth" as hyper-optimists say. Fact is, America is strong but no longer as strong as it used to be. We must take these first warning signals of a country showing tendencies of decline. And we must look to the countries that are economically stronger than us (some of which became stronger by emulating old American ways
) and see what they are doing right. And we must look at the times we had a higher quality of life and look at what worked then. If we walk around chanting "we are the best, nevermind the rest" it wont be long before we are again humiliated in yet another area of global rank.



posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 02:04 PM
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Judgemnts are in:


Both fighters have made valid points which resulted in an interesting debate. Having to choose a winner, however, isn’t based on the fact that they both presented their side of their argument as best as they could but having to keep an eye on the data and information that was inaccurately described and / or portrayed.

I have to go with Skyfloating on this overall debate as he has clearly shown where his opponent’s weaknesses were and easily swayed my opinion.

I won’t be going through all of them but I will give this one out as an example:


The correct way to compare such data is in PERCENTAGE not numbers.


Which is absolutely correct. I also somewhat have the impression that PatrickGarrow17 was sitting on the fence on certain topics while his opponent rebutted them all accurately and with conviction.

Skyfloating wins this debate, hands down.



Both members provided very solid opening arguments pertaining to the current strength of Americas economy. In general, I felt that PatrickGarrow17 cited good evidence of past, present and future trends of the economic prowess of America. His links were full of details which backed up his argument.
I thought that Skyfloating narrowed the parameter of the debate and focused more on the topic at hand and produced a more realistic interpretation of current economic trends that showed a global decline in Americas economy as well as establishing the significant strength of other emerging economies as it stands today.
I wish to emphasise that this was a difficult debate to judge as both members produced outstanding arguments for their respective sides.
Congratulations to both members, this was an excellent debate.
By a very narrow margin, Skyfloating made it across the line first.


The winner is Skyfloating.

Congradulations to our winner and our challenger!

~Tenth





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