Q&A: September/October Topic

Q: When having some practice debates at my school I run into a lot of Negative Teams running the argument of gentrification.  The argument is that sports stadiums are now located in downtown areas, and as a result it raises income of houses which results in people of low socioeconomic classes being pushed out.  I really like this argument, but when running against it, on the AFF, I do not know what to say.

A:

On this argument I think there are a few modes of attack:
1. Do they provide evidence of gentrification or just talk about it as a possible impact? Force the con to provide concrete examples in order to win the argument.
2. Outweigh with larger benefits to the community. Though gentrification is not good, if there are bigger or more probable positive to the benefits to the community you can outweigh.
3. Argue that the PRO side helps the whole community economically and therefore benefits everyone. What affects everyone should be prioritized in the judge’s decision.

I like the gentrification argument for Con (a post on this in the coming week) but I do think Pro’s best strategy is outweighing.

 

Q: On the pro side, we are arguing how stadiums generate social capital, and discuss the benefits of that, whereas the con is mostly arguing economic harms. Do you have an advice on weighing social vs economic, because I am finding social benefits difficult to measure because you can’t exactly place a number on them.

 

A:

You can argue the social benefits link to more concrete things (ie happiness, better self esteem, social cohesion) and expand on why these are good for the community. In general economics should not automatically trump qualitative arguments – explain that to the judge and say that sometimes what matters most to a community isn’t “cost – effective” or produces an economic return. I think these qualitative arguments works best in a framework that acknowledges that both qualitative and quantitative impacts matter.

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