[eDebate] Agriculture topic-- it's awesome
Mon Apr 21 02:23:11 CDT 2008
If you haven't already, I would like to urge everyone to read
through the agriculture topic paper and see what you think. I
personally think agriculture would be the best topic area and would
easily provide a full year of interesting and deep debates. Here
are some points I'd like to highlight that the paper goes into more
1. It's time for another domestic topic.
People going into their senior year of debate will have had 3
foreign policy topics in college if foreign policy is voted again
this year. Their single domestic topic will have been the courts
topic. The courts topic. Look, I actually liked the courts topic
(maybe 1 of 10 debaters nation-wide that did), but it seems a shame
that some debaters will have never gotten the chance to have a big
domestic topic in their entire college careers. Agriculture is an
immensely important domestic controversy that has a deep literature
base and lots of implications for policies right here in the states.
2. It's actually really interesting.
An immediate reaction to seeing "agriculture" might be that it just
sounds kinda boring. Admittedly, that's what I thought when I
first had the idea thrown to me. While it may not immediately
sound as explosive as the Russia topic, the advantages affs can
access on the agricultural topic are pretty sweet. It's a domestic
topic, but it has huge global ramifications and you get all your
sweet impacts. Domestically, affs can access all sorts of
environmental scenarios, both land-based (like deforestation,
hotspots and such), and oceanic (such as dead-zones, overfishing,
etc.) Agriculture would access a lot of awesome international
advantages as well. Agriculture is pretty much the reason why WTO
talks can't proceed, and also a reason why the US has degrading
relations with many developing countries. Not to mention the
massive trade advantages affs could get to- either through
revitalizing the WTO or straight up increases in free trade due to
removing trade barriers. Agriculture also accesses advantages
regarding global poverty, the intense wealth disparity between
global south/north, and economies abroad. These affs have plenty
of solvency advocates and lots of literature discussing the need to
reform ag in specific proposals.
The neg gets a lot of cool stuff too. The economy-based disads
would be awesome. Everyone agrees that ag reform would do
something drastic to food prices (probably rise), but the effects
of that are highly debated in the literature. That's just food
prices though-- the neg would have tons of super specific state
economy disads (e.g. Iowa, etc.), actual good biz-con disads,
disads about trade credibility and competitiveness, etc. The case
negs are deep as well- there is no need on this topic to rely on a
states CP every round (in fact, a states CP would probably be
impossible since most subsidies have to be removed at the federal
level). Negs could actually run a lot of good case args and
3. Good critical ground.
I was never really a K debater, but I think have a diversity of
good critical ground is important. Agriculture has frankly the
best K ground of any topic. Not only are there lots of Ks, but
there are Ks from every point in the ideological spectrum to run on
both the aff and the neg. On the aff, you can either go hard right
and read libertarian/free trade arguments or go left and read
arguments regarding the effect our ag policy has on the developing
world. There's a ton of good lit out there on how our subsidies
have devastated the global south, creating massive poverty. On the
neg, there's a substantial debate to be had on how our attempts to
develop parts of the world is a form of imperialism in itself that
creates cycles of dependency. There's a huge free trade debate,
with very good neg arguments about the effects of opening trade in
the developing world. Also, every environmental advantage is
subject to environmental Ks as outlined in the paper.
4. Ground is stable.
Subsidies aren't being cut, not anytime soon. Especially with the
elections this year. Affs won't have to worry about drastically
changing their strategies after the election or anything. Negs
will have stable uniqueness throughout the year. No problems like
the ones we had with the Afghanistan area of the topic last year.
Ground will be pretty predictable and stable all year.
5. Elections disads will be sweet.
We shouldn't evaluate a topic based on how we think the politics
debate is going to end up, but I do think it's worth noting that
these disads would be particularly awesome on this topic.
Especially since elections disads are inevitable, no matter the
topic, this year. Some of the best elections cards are written on
this topic. Touching subsidies is a huge political issue, probably
the biggest of any of the topics except maybe health care.
6. We've never debated agriculture.
Not a single NDT topic has been devoted solely to reforming
agriculture. As the topic paper points out, agriculture has been
labeled America's most important industry. It has huge
implications both here and abroad, and is an ongoing controversy.
It seems crazy that we've never had a topic solely devoted to it.
I understand agriculture was a component of the Europe topic, but
there were 20 other components that year as well. How many
agriculture debates actually happened? The only people that would
have debated that year would be fifth years this upcoming season as
Basically, in my opinion agriculture would be the best topic for
next year's season. It's a domestic topic, but it still gets to
all the sweet impacts and global scenarios (something that I think
distinguishes it from the other domestic topic choices). It's not
highly susceptible to the states CP, has good critical ground, lots
of specific solvency advocates, and is a topic we've never debated
in the history of the NDT. Vote agriculture.
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