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Author Topic: Controversy work: Economic In/justice  (Read 4859 times)
kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« on: April 08, 2012, 11:05:54 PM »

A group of us is starting on a controversy paper dealing with "reductions in economic inequality in the US."  If you have insights or comments, feel free to email me or share them here.  If you'd like to help with the effort, we would be much appreciative.  Contact me with your interest.

We realize this overlaps with previous topic papers (notably tax reform and financial regulation) and are reaching out to those paper authors to seek collaboration and suggestions.

It is a big area and we will have to work hard to keep it somewhat contained and maintain the central core.  With that in mind, it would be ideal if we could avoid too much overlap with other controversy papers.  If you are working on something in the economic arena, particularly controversies involving wealth disparity, economic justice, income inequality, fair wages, employment, taxation, or other related topics, let's combine efforts--we'll put our work within your paper or vice-versa, whatever makes sense.

The bottom line is that it is time to debate the state of the US economy and the growing separation between the super-haves and the rest.  Let's make this happen--if you have reservations, express them so we can adjust/adapt/respond.

Thanks,

Kevin
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dstanfield
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Posts: 9


« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 05:02:50 PM »

A topic dealing with income (in)equality seems exceptionally timely.  Considering we will be debating during an election year and with the Supreme Court set to hear "Citizens United 2.0" in early 2013 the time seems right for the community to debate this.

This article outlines "Citizens United 2.0".
http://www.policymic.com/articles/6681/citizens-united-2-0-expected-to-hit-the-supreme-court-in-early-2013-will-result-in-similar-outcome
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SCOTUS
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Posts: 33


« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 06:04:57 PM »

I *love* this idea. Do we have a facebook group yet?
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Whit
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Posts: 79


« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 06:44:34 PM »

Everyone with High School experience, except seniors/fifth-year seniors, will have debated the social services topic. So, you may want to not use that mechanism when writing topic wordings in an effort to avoid redundancy for the debaters. I remember this being a concern for one of the immigration wordings.
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kevin kuswa
Sr. Member
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Posts: 345


« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 08:58:03 PM »

Thanks, Whit.  That topic is on our list of related ones--it's really the main overlapping topic during the last decade.  We'll work on both justifying the overlap and trying to avoid too much repetition.  Interesting that the word "economy" has not entered many resolutions at all and when "economic" is used it has been as a tool of foreign policy (economic sanctions, economic aid, economic pressure).  I do think social service debates have changed quite a bit in the last few years with the entitlement/austerity fixation and that these expenditures are part of reducing economic inequality, but I wouldn't want that to be the only aff mechanism or written in the way the high school poverty topic was.  This will be discussed in the paper for sure, though.
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Malgor
Full Member
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Posts: 220


« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 11:48:25 AM »

as i told kevin, this is an awesome idea. I will *probably* re-submit and augment the tax paper from last year, though the whole topic process is easily one of the most depressing times of the year.

i think everyone's complaint is going to be "lack of unifying mechanism."  hell i ought to make this its own thread, but i'll keep it here. 

the need for a unifying mechanism has been repeated for about 8 years now, and it has failed us repeatedly.  I plead with the community to enact come critical thinking skills and understand that maybe repeating the same mantra over and over each year is not the solution.  Perhaps we should start looking at resolutions with more than one mechanism.


it seems to me the only result of a "unified stable mechanism" or whatever euphemism you want to use has been the following:

1) the mechanism is stable, but usually divorced from the heart of the literature on the controversy at hand (see:  immigration, arab spring, and even a couple of initial proposals this year)

2) a product of (1), the mechanism is usually incredibly small- see:  ag subsidies, nuclear weapons, immigration, arab spring (ok this doesn't really fit, the mechanism could have been big, but was made small by nature of the countries it was applied to), courts

3) the topic, inevitably, becomes incredibly small, with few affs, and some pretty laughable innovation in argument as the season goes on.  how many jabronies were trying to defend that giving some money to a fractured, powerless, overwhelmed, war-torn opposition in Syria would somehow de-escalate the conflict at the ndt?  AT THE NDT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD?  MONTHS AFTER WE ALL KNEW SUCH NOTIONS WERE A HILL OF DUNG.

4) when are debaters going to stop living in fear?  I really think all the nuclear war and environmental apocalypse scenarios are creating a culture of anxiety and insecurity.  Everyone recognizes that we pick small topics that have some real fatal flaws, and they don't like those flaws, but people keep going small because the fear of a big topic is overwhelming.  why?  the neg has so many arguments, there is so much information out there, and once you learn how to *debate things* it actually requires the other team to have really good evidence to support their wanky affs, so GASP you won't have to worry about tiny affs with no advantages.  Of course I'm using a lot of hyperbole here, especially in blaming it on the debaters.  Judging and debating are always inextricably linked. 

anyway, mah point is that we should not be afraid to discuss bidirectional resolutions or resolutions with more than one mechanism available. 

if there is one takeaway idea from this post, it's that Gordon has geared the process to rely on controversies.  Everyone seems to be generally ok with this approach, so I have a new criterion for resolution creation.  It's not "unified mechanism", "does the states cp loom over our heads", "the neg needs all the ground", or even "the aff has to have great solvency cards". 

the criterion should be:  what does the literature say are the best ways to fix the damn problem.  let's stop having controversies be the center of the process, then shifting gears at the topic meeting and saying "let's get to the heart of the matter insofar as one mechanism with one guaranteed DA will get us"

food for thought.
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kevin kuswa
Sr. Member
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Posts: 345


« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 12:38:32 PM »

Hi all,

The group's work is coming along well--one approach that will be included in the paper (to "manage" a big topic if we need to) is to include a broad series of mechanisms that can be "peeled off" or otherwise modified to narrow the scope.

We do have an area or two that could use a bit more work over the next few days--just a few pages on some sub-areas.  If you are interested, let me know.  Thanks!

kevin
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