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That free trade does more harm than good

12 points
5 points
ChasmChasm (PRO)

Free trade is a style of macroeconomics where barriers to international trade, such as tariffs or quotas, are reduced to zero, allowing free movement of goods and services across borders. Throughout my arguments I will show you that free trade based on merit is illusionary, how free trade leads to the exploitation of less economically developed countries (LEDCs), and the significant harm it does to developed, rich countries.

The fundamental principle of free trade is that the country which can produce goods at the lowest cost should produce them, trading with countries which have advantages in different goods. This belief in a meritocratic style of efficiency sounds appealing and is the greatest benefit of free trade. ‘If trade is damaging your country you simply have to work harder!’ But if we examined the true reason for trade, we would find it a manipulative web of human misery. Trade happens for two reasons: nefarious governments or human exploitation.

A country needs a comparative advantage, relative to all other countries, in a good to produce it to trade. But these are not just a natural feature of nationalities, there is always manipulative governments behind it. We are governed by the invisible hand of the markets, but even that can be handcuffed by the government. Let us take China, no doubt the example of trade wealth my opponent would reach for. China has a great manufacturing industry, but that is through government rule-breaking at every turn. China’s central bank artificially lowers the value of its currency, meaning the price is artificially lowered. China steals the intellectual property of its rivals to get ahead. China subsidies manufacturing to drive away foreign competitors. It is never a fair fight between the American and Chinese worker, one competes in free trade, the other is backed by the state. Free trade must rely on every nation following its rules. They will never. Free trade does not favour the most efficient, it favours the most underhanded.

For a nation to succeed in trade it needs its government to keep its eye on the ball, but also to turn many blind eyes. Cost is lower for those will the most efficient manufacturing process, but it is lowest for those with the fewest government regulations to follow. The result of this is that the moral vacuum of capitalism is left to run freely. I may now be able to pay next to nothing for clothes, but that is the result of the young child working in the sweat-shop. It is not only labour regulations flouted by those desperate to get ahead in this race to the bottom. China lets its factories create as much pollution as they want. No costs from environmental regulation! No cost to the bottom-line, but a cost of human life. Cancer has now become China’s leading cause of death, spurred on by the lung cancer caused by its new pollution. Algal blooms create dead zones in the oceans around China, life has been sacrificed for profits. It is only once we poison the last river that we will discover that money cannot be eaten.

These problems are insurmountable for any economy wanting to compete in a world of free trade. If they don’t introduce rules the problem gets worse, if they do there is always another country willing to betray them for an imported 30 pieces of silver. The climate is a problem of existential threat for humanity. Our drive for international trade and lose regulation will only make it worse. Are we really to be the species that drove itself extinct over slips of green paper and small shiny bits of metal? We make the rich richer, but is that fact going to be appreciated by the famished child worker? Will they be happy with their short, prospect-less life knowing that they were able to let me upgrade my iPhone every year? Absolutely not! If we cannot say that they are, we must reach the conclusion that free trade does more harm than it does good. Therefore, I implore you to support this motion.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-13 22:22:25
| Speak Round
dpowell3543dpowell3543 (CON)
I'd like to start off by thanking my opponent for accepting this debate. Now lets get on with it.

Section 1: To start, I'd like to refute my opponent's arguments. After reading their arguments, it seems my opponent doesn't understand what free trade is. I've come to this conclusion on the basis of how my opponent provided their points are more in line with a conspiracy theory rather than a legitimate issue. The fact that they didn't provide any evidence to support their claim. So, to clear things up, I'm going to define "trade" and "free trade" in order to get us all on the same page.

Free Trade- international trade left to its natural course without tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions.
Trade- the act of buying goods and services.

So now that we're on the same page, lets continue.

Section 2: Free trade being bad is a common misconception. Free trade is actually very successful, but difficult to see, which is why a lot of people believe its bad. But in reality, not having free trade or restricting it is bad. Restricting free trade limits the options of what consumers can buy and driving up the prices of everything. This is even worse for the lower class individuals who can barely make it by as it is. Let's look at some of the benefits of free trade.

1. Free trade offers higher quality goods for lower prices. This should speak for itself. This has been very helpful for lower and middle class people, especially families. Because of free trade, they're able to afford the things they need and still manage to save money they could have for things they want.
2. Here's another self explanatory benefit. Free trade reduces imported-input costs, which in turn helps reduce production costs, which in turn helps economies grow.
3. It improves efficiency and innovation, allowing markets to shift workers and resources to area where they'll be more effective. This creates higher wages as well as more job opportunities.
4. One of the great benefits of free trade is competition, which, as history has shown, is detrimental to a successful economy. The more competition there is, the lower the prices are and the more money gets put into the economy. This causes it to grow.

Now, I'm not claiming that it's a perfect system. Far from it. Just like everything else, it has it's downsides. There are going to be some negatives, but that doesn't mean that it's a bad system. All in all, it's done a lot more good than harm, with well over 20 countries benefitting from this system.


Section 3: Now to finish off, I'd like to touch up on a couple key points from my opponent's example of how free trade has "harmed" people. 
Point 1: My opponent claims that China's sweatshops exist because of free trade. This isn't entirely true. First off, sweatshops first appeared in China in 1978, before they opened up their economy and started using free trade. This is because they have very loose labor laws, which allows sweatshops to form and remain in operation. Now this is a slightly tricky scenario. Why? Simply because it doesn't add up to them. A sweatshop is defined as a factory that violates at least 2 or more labor laws. To those of us who are used to having some strict labor laws, we'd look at China's work system as a "sweatshop", but to them its not. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't make their working conditions better, but just because it's a sweatshop in our countries, doesn't mean we can go around and calling their factories sweatshops. Besides, everyone's been trying to get China to better their worker's working conditions.
Point 2: Pollution is also something that's not caused by free trade. China's pollution is caused by a lack of laws that make companies dispose of their waste properly. My opponent also brought up that the pollution harms the environment. Though this has been disproven time and time again, but that's a debate for another time.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-14 03:18:13
| Speak Round
Chasm: I have a few questions I would like to ask my opponent. 1. This is very much not the crux of the debate, but has he actually read my definition of free trade? His new definition if anything reduced the detail of mine. 2. Free trade does have benefits yes, but where has he shown that those benefits outweigh the harms? 3. He mentions that lower prices are better for those on lower incomes. Prima facie this is true, but as I shall examine in round three, how are these people to consume when they have no job? Can he tell me how the unemployed British miner or the laid-off US steel worker benefits
Chasm: Realise my stuff got cut off here
Chasm: I'll post them all again, so ignore things below this
Chasm: 5. Even if the laws are different, do we not prefer stronger regulations? A western factory will treat workers better and protect the environment more. Even if that increases costs that is worth it? Doesn’t trade encourage every country to try and cut down its life-saving regulations to attract trade?
Chasm: 4. I am not a fan of citing data in debates, because they’re debates no who can get the fancier citation, but even if we accept free trade has benefited his 20 countries what has happened to the other 178 in the world? Do 178 losers from trade not outweigh his 20 successes?
Chasm: 3. He mentions that lower prices are better for those on lower incomes. Prima facie this is true, but as I shall examine in round three, how are these people to consume when they have no job? Can he tell me how the unemployed British miner or the laid-off US steel worker benefits from cheaper cars?
Chasm: 2. Free trade does have benefits yes, but where has he shown that those benefits outweigh the harms?
Chasm: 1. This is very much not the crux of the debate, but has he actually read my definition of free trade? His new definition if anything reduced the detail of mine.
Chasm: I have a few questions I would like to ask my opponent.

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ChasmChasm (PRO)

I would like to address the arguments from round 1. While my cross-examination contains many of my points, I will make a summary rebuttal now. Let us imagine a business which advertised in its window this special offer: half-price to any murderers. We would no doubt be put off from buying from this business, certainly, we would never commit murder to receive the discount. This shows the flaw my opponent has made in his arguments, to confuse money for morality. Free trade does reduce prices, but this is insignificant compared to the human misery it brings about. This debate is not about if free trade makes goods cheaper, it is about whether we can live with ourselves knowing the harm it causes. My answer to that has to be that we cannot.

I will now move onto the second part of my arguments, this time focussing on how free trade negatively affects the citizens of less economically developed countries (LEDCs). So much so that we should consider it doing more harm than good. My two arguments are that free trade simply allows the rich to exploit the foreign poor, through lacking regulation, and that free trade will be actively detrimental to the economy of many LEDCs.

Free trade is really a very simple idea: the country that can produce a good for the least cost should make it then sell it to other countries. This is the basis of all my opponent’s strengths. But I would like to examine what actually makes the cost of manufacture so much cheaper that it makes economic sense to trade. What are the costs of making a t-shirt, for example? There is the fabric, but that will be priced about equally everywhere. There is the factory rent and machinery upkeep, but these are probably not substantially different. The significant difference in price comes from the fact that the Bangladeshi worker has so many fewer rights than the British one and is given a significantly lower wage. Under free trade the manufacturing moves to the most relaxed regulations. This creates a race to the bottom, with every state now encouraged to slash regulations.

Regulations are not a bureaucratic game, they save lives. Let us never forget the 1000 garment workers killed when a factory collapsed in Bangladesh in 2013. This factory would never have met the high standards we demand in the West. If we had not made Bangladesh dependant on poor regulation for its economic survival, these people would still be alive. Let us also consider the extreme poverty of the world, would we accept that if it were at our door? No. We would demand higher wages for these workers. Free trade encourages low regulation. The cheaper prices on goods we do not need to consume at all may as well be death sentences.

Secondly, forcing the economies of LEDCs to open themselves to free trade totally will cripple them. Let us imagine a fairly standard agricultural community in an LEDC. Most farming is done in small farms, maybe run by a family or two. These small producers make food and then sell it to survive. What happens if we open these people up to free trade. In Ghana, this had a disastrous impact for the small rice farmers. They were flooded by cheap imported rice from India and the United States. Domestic farmers could just not keep up, seeing their incomes slashed. What made imported rice so cheap? It was massive subsidies given by the US government to Texas rice producers to make them efficient.

Who really wins in free trade? Answer: the rich countries able to subsidise their firms to buy the best equipment possible and produces artificially low prices. That is what my opponent means when he says, “free trade moves resources to where they’ll be the most efficient”, he means taking the incomes, livelihoods, and futures away from millions of the world’s poorest.

If we were forced to see the results of free trade on our own doorsteps, we would see it was doing more harm than good. That it is hidden does not mean the harm is any less.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-16 02:09:06
| Speak Round
dpowell3543dpowell3543 (CON)
Section 1: For starters, my opponent claims that made my arguments about morality. I'm not too sure where they got that, but my arguments have nothing to do with morality. On another note. My opponent claims that free trade and better economies don't make people happy. But it's exactly the opposite. Studies show, that the better the economy, the happier the people are. So if free trade betters the economy, wouldn't it therefore make people happier? It would sure make sense to me.


Section 2: My opponent claims that free trade gets rid of jobs. Well we can't necessarily say this is solely a fault of free trade. No matter what economic system you use, the risk of losing jobs is high. There are also other factors that could cause job loss, like illegal immigration. But that's a debate for another time. But when it comes down to it, free trade provides far more jobs than it takes away. With free trade reducing the costs goods, demand will naturally increase. With in increase of demand, there will be a huge demand for more people to make and sell those goods. Some good examples of this section and the previous section are the U.S.A. and Scandinavia. All are very successful countries, all of their citizens are generally happy and they're all free market capitalists who practice free trade. Even Venezuela used to practice free trade before their economy was destroyed by socialism. On that note, developing countries can also greatly benefit from free trade. Practicing free trade will allow them to access to economic resources that they generally don't have. Does my opponent mean to imply that this is bad for them? Now that I've provided examples like my opponent has asked, I would like my opponent to provide a valid example of their claims.


Section 3: I shall now use the rest of my remain characters to answer some of the questions that my opponent asked in the cross examination section.
1. Yes. I did read my opponent's definition of free trade. But they seemed to stray from that same definition later in their arguments. Hence, I provided the official definition that's in the Webster's Dictionary. So it in no way reduces the meaning of my opponent's definition.
2. My arguments went over exactly how the benefits outweigh the harm.
3. Please see Round 2: Section 2 for the answer to this question.
4. My opponent seems to not understand the weight sources carry on a debate. Sources are good for supporting/proving ones claims and arguments. A lack of sources make one's arguments weak and empty. Their arguments at that point are pretty much red herrings or strawman. In other words, logical fallacies.
5. Free trade does not affect the labor laws of each country. It only affects the tariffs and other taxes that countries would have to pay in order to import and export other goods. In other words, free trade is an agreement between two countries that would decrease these tariffs which allows the prices to be lower. One cannot blame free trade for a country's lack of laws to poor laws. That rests entirely on their culture. But as I said, people, especially the UN, have been trying to convince these countries to change those laws.
6. My opponent brought up the other 178 countries that don't benefit from free trade and asked what about them. Well I have two answers. The first one being, I said over 20. There's no knowing how many of those countries practice free trade. The second one being. Not all countries use the same economic systems. There's 4 different systems and well over 178 countries. So the chances of them all using free trade are pretty small.

I'd like to thank my opponent for their arguments and I look forward to seeing their response.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-16 13:35:08
| Speak Round
dpowell3543: I would like my opponent to provide a valid example of how free trade has legitimately been harmed by the practice of free trade.
Chasm: I would like to know if my opponent read the headline he was citing? I don't like adding citations, but he does not need to strengthen my points for me!
Chasm: Also, I would like my opponent to actually point to how his examples embody the unrestricted free trade he desires? The USA is the global example of protectionism, because free trade failed it. Most of scandinavia is constantly behind EU tarrifs. Does he actually cite a real example?

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ChasmChasm (PRO)

[citations in comments]

I will begin my third proposition with some responses to my opponent. While he is correct to say that the definition of trade does not affect labour laws that is irrelevant. As I have shown, the effects of free trade are to always encourage it. He speaks about free trading moving to the lowest costs, is labour regulation not the most significant cost that a government could reduce? I do not fully understand his cross-examination but presuming that he meant a country that had been harmed I have two responses. Firstly, I have already given numerous examples of countries that have been harmed. Ghana, Bangladesh, to name but a few. But we risk making the fallacy of division with this line of thought. A country as a whole can seem to benefit from trade, even if it harms their citizens more than it benefits them. If all minimum wage workers were forced to work 20 hours days it would boost GDP, but clearly do more harm than good. A ludicrous example, but one I hope shows my point. I will directly address his other arguments in the body of my argument. This speech shall be dedicated to the impacts of free trade on developed nations, with particular focus to my home United Kingdom.

My opponent is right to suggest that jobs can be lost in any type of economy, but jobs lost to free trade are different from other causes of unemployment in two ways: they are industry-wide and they are nationally determined. If before free trade a steel plan closed in Hull the workers might simply be picked up by another plant or move to Redcar to join a plant there. Workers with relevant skills and experience could be easily picked up in another part of the industry. Free trade is uniquely destructive because it decimates entire industries, moving everything oversees suddenly and unforgivingly. A laid-off British steel worker cannot simply move to China for his next job. Movement within nations is easy, movement across nations is prohibitively difficult.

My opponent lauded the benefits of this, declaring that it “allows markets to shift workers and resources to area where they’ll be more effective.” It is easy for us to take this detached, spreadsheet approach. To treat a human as nothing more than a productivity statistic, seeing it as a good thing if their lives are destroyed for a 5% reduction in long-term costs. Let’s look more into what happens when free trades cause industries to be destroyed. In the north of England entire towns revolved around their local coal mine or steel plant. Almost everybody worked in these plants, or in businesses supplying the workers, like shops or pubs. [1] Now, they are gone. Free trade meant that cheap Chinese steel and coal tore the industry to shreds, remember, this is the key benefit of free trade my opponent gave.

Entire communities have been decimated. They have been psychologically scarred by an unending legacy of unemployment and despair. [2] They could not move into an industry the UK exports, like financial services, because they had no education for that and anyway, it was all in London. These areas are now some of the most deprived in Europe. [3] All that could be offered are minimum wage jobs working supermarket checkouts, as large proportions of the population rely on benefits. In these conditions human misery knows no bounds. Young people are drawn into ever more violent drugs gangs.[4] Populism and the far-right grow. Do not think this is limited to the UK. My opponent points to the USA as a shining light of free-trade, does he understand that those millions who have had their livelihoods destroyed voted in Trump, perhaps, the most protectionist politician in the world? They can see clearly free trade does them more harm than good. I hope for the sake of every child beaten to death by drugs gangs, or every future turned to nothing but misery, just so my opponent can tout his slight productivity gains, that you see it too.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-18 10:20:31
| Speak Round
dpowell3543dpowell3543 (CON)
Since my arguments have gone virtually uncontested, mostly because I've shut down my opponent's rebuttals, I shall use this round to refute my opponent's latest arguments and establish parameters for information that my opponent need to provide for their arguments in their final round.

Section 1: I shall start off by going over the sources my opponent provided in the comments section.
Source 1- This first source, does absolutely nothing to help support my opponent's claims. The source is about how coal burning causes climate change and how the UK is aiming to solve that problem while their mining operations are being shut down thanks to climate change laws. This has nothing to do with free trade.
Source 2- The second source, much like the first, has nothing to do with free trade. It's talking about basically the same thing as the first source. Unlike the first source, it's mainly an opinion article, one that seems to struggle staying on topic at times.
Source 3- This one discusses some strain on the UK's economy, but, it also doesn't talk about free trade. It talks about the economy suffering due to Margaret Thatcher and the fact that their economy relies solely on London. This caused a huge strain on the equality of the economics.
Source 4- This source also doesn't support my opponent's arguments. It's entirely about the UK's crime rate and how many crimes may not be recorded in the census. This doesn't even reference the economy at all.

So my opponent's sources are invalid. They don't provide anything to their arguments or support them.

Section 2: Now, while I have listed several countries that practice free trade and how it benefits them, my opponent has provided very poor examples and two countries' names. Well, let's look at those countries. First off there was Ghana. Ghana's GDP rank is 71, out of 195. So that means they're doing pretty well for themselves so far. They haven't had sweatshops since 2014, before they started practicing free trade. They're hoping to increase the continent's trade to 52% by 2022. The next one was Bangladesh. Bangladesh does practice free trade, but not entirely. They still export things just fine, but imports are taxed and rare. Either way, free trade has been helping to boost their economy. They do have sweatshops, however, due to the betterment of their economy, their worker conditions are gradually getting better. So, ultimately, my opponent's "examples" ended up working against them. 

Section 3: My opponent seems to believe that when people lose their job, they can't get another one because their specialty "left the country". That never happens. My opponent seems to like steel mills and mines, so I shall use them to explain. If one steel mill shuts down, there will always be more that the workers can go and find work at in their own country. As long as there is a demand for steel and mined goods, there will be mills and mines to produce them. They're not just going to up and leave. Workers will never have to leave the country to work in their field unless they absolutely want to. Usually it's due to better opportunities. Like higher pay, better benefits, or maybe even a higher position. No matter what, as I have explained, it has nothing to do with free trade.

Section 4: Another thing my opponent doesn't seem to understand is that when a business shuts down, or the workers lose their jobs for other reasons, they'll never be able to get other jobs. Well as I have explained, free trade doesn't play any part in this. Businesses close, mostly to being unable to compete with their competitors. Look at malls for instance. Malls are shutting down because they can't compete with the growing superstore and online store industries. All those retail workers are losing their jobs and going off to new retail jobs or getting better jobs. Even if they lose their job for being bad at it. They'll still get another eventually. Free trade doesn't affect this.

I look forward to reading my opponent's final arguments.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-18 18:47:31
| Speak Round
dpowell3543: Since I ran out of characters in my round for this, I shall do this now. I would like my opponent to prove that free trade has lost people their jobs and that they at no point lost them for a different reason. I would also like my opponent to prove that free trade has legitimately worstened the working conditions and overall happiness of the people.
Chasm: Does my opponent understand how citations or debating works? My citations all backed up the relevant claims in my argument. Citations are not there for him to simply copy and paste the work of different thinkers from!
Chasm: He mentioned he gave examples, would those examples be Scandinavia, which has EU protectionism, or the US which has the most protectionist world leader slapping tariffs on as many goods as he can find?
Chasm: Can he produce a citation for his most ludicrous claim that there will always be other jobs, given that UK steel workers have decreased 92.5% since 1971?

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ChasmChasm (PRO)

With my final submission, I would like to provide an overview of the debate. Throughout the debate a theme has emerged, my opponent has said that lower prices are a benefit of free trade and that every harm I have brought up is either “not in the definition” or is irrelevant. This is seemingly from a denial of the laws of cause and effect, there is nothing in the definition of having a heart-attack that means you go to hospital, although clearly one causes the other. I have shown why my harms come about, if you want the benefits of cheaper prices you must stand by the harms I have shown in three stakeholder groups I will analyse now: workers making good to trade (1st and 2nd speech), business owners in developing economies (2nd), and the poorest in developed countries (3rd).

The first stakeholders are the ones directly harmed by the process of free trade my opponent outlined: that manufacturing takes place where it can happen at the lowest cost. As I showed, lowest cost actually means lowest wages and regulations, for these are most of a firm’s cost. Governments want their countries to be manufacturing powerhouses, but the only way to do this is to attract firms with even laxer regulations. Therefore, a direct result of trade is to encourage a race to the bottom of weak regulation. This will hurt workers the most, who are the ones being exploited here. We would not accept their condition for a British or American worker. They are therefore being harmed significantly. My opponent’s only response was that economic growth made people happier. His evidence: “Economic growth does not guarantee rising happiness.” I rest my case.

Secondly, I outlined how protectionist measures such as tariffs or quotas were important to protect businesses in LEDCs. I gave the example of local farmers going out of business because they could not compete with cheaper imported rice. These countries do not have the investment or wealth of developed countries to invest in the most efficient production systems, but by putting their farms out of work we trap them into never developing out of poverty. My opponent said jobs are lost all the time. This is true, but this is not a job loss as much as an industry decimation. No farm can compete with imported rice. He also said that Ghana’s GDP was high so they couldn’t be struggling. I have already shown this is not true, GDP can be high but a population harmed. A homeless American is in a country with the highest GDP in the world but is not one of the richest in the world.

Finally, my third speech showed how free trade can even have damaging effects on rich countries, giving the example of the UK. For the avoidance of doubt, Thatcher was the PM who imposed free trade on the UK, removing protections for steel and coal. My citations showed how reliant many areas of the UK were on coal, especially the north which is now one of the most deprived areas of Northern Europe. Now, these areas have no highly paid and respected mining jobs the only ones they have are minimum wage in supermarkets or takeaways. I showed how this leads to despair, and how hopelessness leads to crime. This area had the highest spike in UK violent crime in the last couple of years. My opponent says that they should find other mining jobs. They cannot, China undercuts the UK because it has lower regulations. More Chinese miners die slowly of black lung, but at least it’s cheap! UK steelworkers have fallen from 320,000 in 1971 to 24,000, they are not getting jobs back. My opponent gave the example of malls, a market that cannot be affected by trade as it cannot be exported. Look at UK steel and coal, look at the destruction of free trade.

The world is turning on free trade. The US, his example of free trade, elected the most protectionist president ever. We would happily pay a bit more for a TV if it ended the suffering of the millions in the groups I have outlined. Harm > Benefit

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-20 00:07:13
| Speak Round
dpowell3543dpowell3543 (CON)
Since my opponent used this last round to summarize their arguments I shall do the same. My arguments were that the only purpose of free trade is to remove tariffs and lower the costs of imported and exported goods. My opponent claims that I brought up "making" goods cheaper. That is false. I just said the cost to purchase those good were made cheaper, not actually making them got cheaper. I thoroughly went over how there is no correlation between free trade and poor working conditions that are brought about by a country's different culture or economic system. My opponent first attempted to use China as an example. But I have shown in that same round that China had poor working conditions before they started practicing free trade. The closes my opponent ever got to providing more examples were the names of two countries. Ironically, the two countries my opponent provided, were evidence against his claims as I have proven in Round 3, Section 2. I have gone over and shown how free trade actually helps people and how it does more good than harm. In Round 1, one of the sources I provided had a list of all the countries who were in free trade agreements with the U.S. One of those countries, was Jordan, a small, third world country. This trade agreement is expected to liberalize the trade market with this country. Expecting to have completely removed all tariffs and non tariff barriers in bilateral trade for all industries. Speaking of trade and agreements. Here is another thing my opponent doesn't seem to understand, though it is probably something I should have clarified in an earlier round. It's simply that free trade is an agreement system. Which means Country A and Country B make an agreement not to place tariffs on a certain kind of product, not necessarily all products. This is the case for the U.S. Yes, we have tariffs on some products, most of them come from other countries we don't have free trade agreements with. My opponent brought up how the U.S. has tariffs on Chinese good, well that's because the U.S. doesn't have a free trade agreement with them. Oddly enough, much of the tension between China and the United States when it comes to trade is caused by the lack of a free trade agreement, something both countries have been trying to establish for quite some time now. On another note. Throughout my debate, I have provided several sources that fit with my argument very well and do a good job at supporting it. My opponent however, has not. They did provide sources, but as I have discussed they did absolutely nothing to support their claims. After having thoroughly read every source, not once had I ever come across any of the authors talking about free trade or blaming free trade for any of the issues that those sources discussed. They blamed just about anything else, from coal burning being the cause of climate change to the UK's failing economy due to their poor economic system and Left wing politics. Especially the EU's laws. This is why Britain is aiming to leave the EU, because they're policies are slowly destroying the economy. An interesting fact, is that the UK's economy is probably only being kept alive by their 40 free trade agreements. Given what we know about my opponent's sources, they would have us believe that everything that goes wrong in an economy or the weather. If it gets hot, if a business closes down or if workers lose their job, while there is the possibility of other factors, it's primarily free trade's fault. This is blatantly false. As I've stated numerous times before, free trade cannot cause any of these to happen. Throughout the debate, I have made several arguments with sources to back them up. My opponent's arguments mainly consisted of straw man and hypothetical scenarios/theories. Since my opponent has failed to provide any valid proof of their claims, my arguments have gone virtually uncontested. Which is why you should vote Con. 

Thanks to my opponent a gain for the debate. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-20 05:43:59
| Speak Round
dpowell3543: I didn't have enough characters to say this. Have a great day.
dpowell3543: My opponent seems to have forgotten that their source about the crime, never mentions the economy at all. It discusses the crimes that are on the census and those that are not recorded. They also seem to be ignoring the fact that the UK's crime rate skyrocketed shortly after the gun ban went into effect, but that's a debate for another time.
dpowell3543: Everytime my opponent has attempted to show how free trade has caused others to suffer, I showed how that is a straw man claim and that there is no way that free trade has caused any suffering. As I stated in my conclusion in Round 4, please note Round 3, Section 2.
Chasm: Have a great day too! My source was saying that violent crime rocketed in the North, specifically Yorkshire. I don't want to get into the guns debate but this is nothing to do with regulations about gun ownership, as the last change to UK regulation was 1996
Chasm: 1997*

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dpowell3543dpowell3543 (CON)
Well I wasn't expecting this one. Since, as I've stated in my summary in Round 4, my arguments have remained virtually uncontested. So all points are extended. But I shall use this time to properly thank my opponent for this debate. It was very interesting. I'd also like to again welcome them to the site and wish them luck on their future endeavors.
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2020-04-21 06:13:25
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I really appreciate my opponent's sportsmanship in acknowledging that, and for giving a really enjoyable debate
Posted 2020-04-22 22:13:50
Whoops sorry! I completely didn't expect a 5th round
Posted 2020-04-22 22:13:15
That explains it.
Posted 2020-04-22 14:39:44
noted. You guys had reply speeches turned on, that's what the last round was and it's why the order was reversed.
Great debate, these economic ones are not favourite ones to read, but you definitely deserve a judgement, so I'll do my best!
Posted 2020-04-22 09:02:56
I ask that the judges overlook my opponent's forfeit in the final round as neither of us knew that that was going to be a thing. The rules said nothing about there being a 5th round. Thank you.
Posted 2020-04-22 08:42:26
Got you. Thanks!
Posted 2020-04-14 19:43:06
Also, welcome to the site.
Posted 2020-04-14 15:07:10
Cross examination is pretty much a side conversation about the topic that's being debates where both parties can ask question about their opponent's arguments for them to clarify in the next round or to point out flaws, etc.
Posted 2020-04-14 15:06:00
Just wanted to say thank you for replying and engaging with the debate! With some viewing of this site I was worried this would be a 50/50. I am new to this, and was just wondering what cross-examination is?
Posted 2020-04-14 09:07:37
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2020-04-23 13:51:34
JackSpratJudge: JackSprat
Win awarded to: dpowell3543
I found this debate a little bit frustrating to read because I felt both sides danced around issues. PRO had some great opportunities with respect to China, and Bangladesh, and the relationship between domestic versus international interests as it relates to regulations (trade or labour). CON highlighted a few benefits but really avoided how trade agreements often have standards or protection elements within. The complexities of trade agreements, what they contain, and how they are negotiated were not addressed. I think both sides could have leveraged that.

Sources need to be used effectively. They support facts stated. They do not present facts not stated.

I agree with CON that PROs opening position was more reminiscent of a conspiracy theory, then a factually based argument.

BOTH: I think you should have nailed down the definition, even reverted to the comments section to ensure you had the same position of what free trade is.

PRO. When you are stating facts, statistics, etc it is imperative you provide a source. Whilst I understand your position of the battle of the sources, that is part of the debate. CON did a great job and showed a lot of respect, by reading your sources and trying to understand how they relate to your position.

CON. Be careful when making comments that may appear as ad hominem. When you question the counterpart's ability to understand, you risk being perceived as attacking the person rather than subject. There were a couple of instances where I cringed a little for that reason. Further as stated above, I do not think it is proper to give a link as an argument. (developing countries benefit of free trade)
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This was a great judgement and explained a lot of what I saw in much more concise language! I think it illustrates perfectly how different judges are looking for different things.
Posted 2020-04-23 16:12:44
2020-04-23 15:59:05
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Chasm
I've gone through this debate very carefully twice now, and I get the same result each time. PRO takes this one fairly comfortably.
Most of the gains were made in the first round, but after that, my scoring has PRO edging slightly forward each round, while CON goes nowhere.
This will be hard to summerise, and it's going to look like I'm skipping over points that both sides might feel were valid. Happy to explain in more detail in the comments for this judgement.
PRO's main point is that Free Trade harms Countries with poor production and poor economies, (Ghana and Bangladesh), and countries that refuse to lower health and safety standards and other working/living conditions. (UK) At the same time, it incentivises countries to lower their own laws in order to produce product cheaply. (China)
CON's attempts to counter these points ultimately end up supporting them - often through an unfortunate misreading of the argument. For example, he says that people can get better quality products for cheaper prices from overseas (rd1). This supports PRO's UK example. He says that people are happier with a good economy, despite the fact that PRO had said it was people in POOR economies that were miserable.
Late in the debate PRO explains how people can mistakenly think Free Trade is helping countries because those countries can have high GDPs - yet they actually still have abject misery of the populace. CON then seemingly illustrates this exact thing this by pointing out that Ghana is a relatively high GDP, so "must be doing quite well for themselves!"

Ultimately sources were not used effectively by either side, (more about that in the feedback) although CON used them slightly better. So this ended being a narrative debate for me.In that instance PRO was more convincing. The pictures painted of China, Ghana, Bangladesh and the UK were very easy to follow and supported the main point well.
Conversely, CON never convinced me that there were significant benefits to Free Trade for anyone but a rich economy like the USA.

SOURCES - PRO, I'm not going to count sources quoted in the comments section, especially not in a limited character debate. Sources need to be cited in round. On THIS site, a sneaky way to do this is to use the hot links, since that won't count towards you character count. It's a risk though because a lot of old school debaters like to see a list at the bottom of your argument.
CON - when you link a source, you need to make it really obvious what I'm supposed to get out of it. I'm never going to look it up unless it's contested, so if there's a point to be made from it, make sure you quote it in round. Also be careful about linking to an article that makes an entire case for you.
Also one of your sources, (the hilariously titled one about booming economies NOT being linked to happiness) links to an article that I can't read because I need to register to read it. I'm not going to do that.

CROSS EXAMINATION - I would love to be corrected on this by someone else, but the way it was explained to me, your CX round is not used for you to make new arguments. It's more a place for you to hash out issues between yourselves. For example, the whole definition thing could have been done there. As judges we don't care what the def is, we just need to be told.
As such, you must never assume a judge is going to read the CX round. Personally, I only read it if it gets referred to in constructive rounds. In THIS debate,m it didn't affect anything, but I just thought I'd mention it.

PRO - watch your formatting. Your argument was really hard to read. Use paragraph breaks, headings, colours, numbering... All these things help me follow your train of thought.

Also don't get suckered into arguing something you've already won. Especially in a limited character debate. The definitions were FINE - you definitely didn't need to discuss them.
Some judges want to see you address every issue your opponent brings up, so this can be hard sometimes, but you really have to find a way to address it without actually making it a point, otherwise by the time we get to the third round, the whole thing is just comments on individual things that have happened above.

Your strength was your narrative descriptions. They weren't great - there's a lot of room for improvement with better formatting and a more conversational tone - but they were very good and won you the debate in MY opinion. Never forget that formal debate is less about being RIGHT, and more about being CONVINCING.

CON - I have a lot of respect for your debates. I always read them and I always know that whoever you're up against had better bring it, because you are relentless and you never forfeit.
In THIS debate, I don't know if you were distracted or what, but there were several times you seemed to misread what PRO had said.
At one stage you even said that Competition was DETRIMENTAL to an economy. (rd1)

You were right to call PRO out on not using sources, but in this case, that wasn't enough. The narrative he was giving was so familiar and logical that there wasn't really much to contest. Don't get me wrong, I took points off his arguments because I would have liked to have seen more evidence of the SIZE of the impact free trade had, but ultimately he didn't need the sources to convince me that an impact had transpired.

I think you lost this debate because you kept focusing on the wrong thing. When it was job loss, you focussed on the country producing the goods rather than the one buying them. When it was happiness you focussed on the one buying them rather than the one producing them. When it was how well a country was doing, you looked at GDP which is exactly what PRO was warning us that people do!
You really needed to tighten up on the actual points PRO was making and address those directly.

I think this was a little bit of an outlier for you. Normally you do this kind of thing really well. It felt like you were just off your game this time.
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A great judgment as well. I agree with everything stated, except I feel the burden of the debate was to prove that free trade does more harm than good. PRO never argued or showed a situation without free trade as an example. Therefore CON just had to keep his head above water. Interesting perspective for sure.
Posted 2020-04-23 18:33:52
2020-04-23 22:24:31
deb8erJudge: deb8er
Win awarded to: Chasm
An interesting debate for sure! Both PRO and CON presented many valid arguments but seemed to lose focus within the cross-examinations. However, I believe PRO should win as nearly every point argued by CON was clearly rebutted by PRO while CON seemed to avoid properly rebutting PRO’s arguments.

Both debaters got too focused on the definition when they clearly had the same idea! With such a limited character count, once the definition has been argued once in one round, don’t keep discussing it. It takes characters away from developing full debate and rebutting every point mentioned.

CON- you can’t just rebut an argument by saying “this is an argument for another time.” You could have easily found one source or brought up one thread to disagree with PRO, but you didn’t. Hence I believe you lost marks in your cross-examination and rebuttal which you could have got if you included more arguments.

PRO- Please ensure you are providing citations for all of your quotations or references. Hyperlink or otherwise within the main body of the text as not all judges are going to read the comments! Don’t make it extra work for your opposition- play nice.

Both debaters encountered issues with sources and citations but I believe that can be easily solved!

I also agree with the other judges that are mentioning your formatting as it does pose an issue to read. It is long-winded. Your arguments would be made more effectively if you could signpost more and have some clearer threads in debate. See how CON had separate sections for each of his arguments- it was really effective to read. So even if his arguments weren’t always the best, at least they were very easy to read!
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2020-04-29 16:43:45
Bugsy460Judge: Bugsy460    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Chasm
Both debaters did phenomenal, but there was a couple issues within the debate. First, a lot of issues were dropped throughout the debate that didn't make it to the end, and those don't end up mattering if they're not carried throughout the debate. Another issue is there isn't a whole lot of comparing the points. Both sides bring up the benefits of their side, but they don't ever directly say why there's outweighs the other sides. This makes it where a judge has to decide themselves which side matters more, which is personal interpretation, rather than it being based on argumentation. Now, on to the ending arguments:

Worker rights and treatment: Chasm brought up this argument workers are treated poorly because of the free trade system, and dpowell shows that it happened in the past, but the question that ends up mattering to me is did free trade make it worse? This isn't answered by either side, but since Chasm has logical reasons for why free trade causes bad worker treatment, it makes me feel like he's right.

Exploitation of poor nations: This was another point brought up by Chasm. The argument has two round about answers from dpowell which don't serve to well. First, dpowell says that poor nations economies benefit, but that was answered by Chasm, and I'll get into that later. The other one was this curveball thrown at the end saying free trade is optional by nations. I personally didn't evaluate this claim because it felt like a definition change in the final speech of the debate, which is extremely abusive, so it's unfair to hold against Chasm. I didn't think it was a round losing infraction of fairness, but it definitely lost you the argument.

GDP VS people: The debate came down to two questions; 1. Does the a good economy help people? 2. Is the economy more important than people? These were the deciding factors for the debate because they impact if it does more harm than good. Dpowell answers the first one by saying good economy equals people in a good position, but Chasm sufficiently answered this by showing that homeless still exist in rich nations and that workers can be exploited for the bottom line. There is no logical answer given for the other direction by dpowell, so Chasm wins that part, but we then get the follow up, is the economy more important than people. Only Chasm answered this by saying no. He comments on worker safety and unemployment and how those are the most important issues in the whole round. Dpowell continues to hold onto the econ helps people, but with that being unproven, Chasm wins the comparison, causing him to win the debate.

Both: Make sure you are saying why your points outweigh the others points so the judge doesn't have to make a gut call. If you tell me why yours matters more every speech and the other debater doesn't, you'll win always. Also, keep winning points throughout the entire debate. Don't drop something unless you think it is a lost cause.

Chasm: Your first speech did a great job of throwing out all your points at the get go so you can build off of them, but you didn't keep the momentum going. You dropped your environmental point, when it was still to early to tell if you could win on it. Overall, great job.

Dpowell: You say your opponent seemed like a conspiracy theorist, but he logically developed each point. Making comment on his lack of evidence is fair, but stating ideas with logical basis is fine. Develop the evidence>logic argument. You never tell me why all your economic benefits matter more than his more social and moral ones, so I don't have reason to believe it does less harm than good because you don't tell me it does. Lastly, at the end of the round, your free trade is optional argument feels like it came out of left field as a definition change. Since it was perceived to be the last speech, Chasm has no chance to answer this and is left unfairly treated. Don't tack new things onto the definition without at least one speech for the opponent to answer.
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Just a heads up. I did explain how free trade doesn't affect workers rights.
Posted 2020-04-30 08:04:28
2020-04-30 05:08:06
Postuma601Judge: Postuma601
Win awarded to: dpowell3543
I would say that he won because of the facts that he used and how he tore down his opponents case.
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