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Re: The Meaning of Competition
- To: cdsmith@BRAIN.UCCS.EDU
- Subject: Re: The Meaning of Competition
- From: email@example.com (Domenic M Battistella)
- Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 11:31:21 PST
- References: <199705240530.BAAAA00466@m12.boston.juno.com>
On Fri, 23 May 1997 22:20:27 -0600 Chris Smith <cdsmith@BRAIN.UCCS.EDU>
>Domenic Battistella writes:
>> Whet Jeff means is that if a counterplan is mutually exclusive it
>> is not competative with the plan if the counterplan is less net
>> benificial than the plan
>Okay. Enough. After everyone on the listserv being confused by
>else's definition of the word competition, here's a thread to discuss
>that. In the context of opportunity costs such as counterplans,
>Competition: The requirement that choice is forced between two courses
>action, either by the impossibility or inadvisability of doing both.
Well right, and this means that the counterplan must be mutually exclusive with the plan (which can never exist) or net benificial to the plan or
permutation (e.g. inadvisability). I don't see what is so difficult
about this concept.
>This is the original meaning of competition, and it is one that has
>benefit to its use even in an age of net benefits comparison. And it
>doesn't involve a counterplan being superior to the plan.
Oh, yes it does.
>Several others on the list recently have used the term to mean that
>counterplan wins the debate for the negative... that is that it is
>competitive (in the real sense) and superior. But there really is
>hing lost in using the term in that manner.
>a) Less Modularized. Sorry, I'm not going to outline the five hundred
>reasons why we should modularize. In a very large number of fields,
>value of modularization has been discovered. An excellent example is
>software design (something that I have worked closely with, so I am
>prepared to testify to the importance of the idea).
>The same applies to debate theory. Instead of learning a bunch of
>enthymemes that help us win debates, our goals in the activity should
>learn effective tools of policy analysis and how they interact.
Then why do tournaments hand out trophies at the end? We should be
debating for our own intelectual fufillment.
>this goal, there is no reason to ignore a perfectly valid separate
>competition -- and merge it into the set of criteria by which a
>wins. Evaluating competition between options has plenty of uses in
>world, and it is something that we cannot afford to push out of debate
>theory by eliminating it as a separate concept.
So what is competition again. If I read your definition correctly it is
forced choice between two policies do to the impossibility or inadvisability of doing both. Since, as Jeff Percher so eloquently puts it, mutual
exclucivity can never exist then the only measuring stick for competition
is the inadvisability of choosing both. The only standard for determining inadvisability are the net benifits.
>Learn to evaluate
>competition, learn to weigh impacts, and learn how the two relate to
>an opportunity cost.
Well, weighing impacts is at laest half of what competition is all about,
the most important half.
>b) Less natural. Has anyone really thought about what they are saying
>they say that it's a "simple" question of whether the counterplan is
>than the perm *and* the plan. Notice how that sentence divides
>into two parts: is the counterplan COMPETITIVE and is the counterplan
>BENEFICIAL. They are two separate tests. Unfortunately, the fact
>form of competition is called "net benefits competition" has made a
>of people think that competitive and net beneficial are really the
Well, since mutual exclucivity is irrelivant then lumping the two
together only makes sence. By giving two seperate standards of competition, at this point, can only serve to muddle the issue and confuse
>You can invent the words to make that statement true, but it
>doesn't make sense to do so.
>c) Confuses justification for opp cost. Opportunity cost exists
>have a forced choice and because the counterplan is better. This
>justification involves competition and net benefits. Why throw away
>words and redefine competition to mean both. We just lose the
>ability to really talk about the theory.
You already know what I think about opportunity cost so I won't bother
attacking the theory. The only thing is regardless of if your cp is
based on opportunity cost or fiat, the cost of the lost opportunity,
fiated or otherwise, must outweigh the benifit of the plan at hand. The
only way you can force chouce, as stated above, is if the two options
existing in the same world are inadvisable. This means the counterplan
is better. I just don't see how your argument effectively seperates the
two issues (competition and net benifits.)
>d) Oversimplifies interaction of issues. If we look at the
>decide it "doesn't compete" because the opportunity lost doesn't
>advantages, we have forgotten about the counterplan before we realize
>solvency takeouts cause the opportunity costs to outweigh.
No, i think everything said in the round is taken into account before the
judge decides weather or not counterplan is competative.
>you can get around that by looking at the opportunity cost argument
> What about when there are mutiple opportunity costs in the round? Do
>reject one before you look at the other?
Ah, this is just another reason why opportunity cost counterplans are
unjustifyable. Don't these opportunities have to compete with each
other? I thought the opportunity cost was the best option given up by fiating the plan. I didn't know there could be multiple best options.
You counfuse yourself.
>Deciding the counterplan on
>yes/no answer to a question means that you forget it because it
>outweigh, then look at the next opp cost and decide it doesn't, but
>don't realize that both together warrant rejection of plan.
If you are basing this on the economics lit then your argument is invalid. The two opportunities given up compete with each other. You cant put
them toghther and say they outweigh the plan.
>think you can recognize that case and reject plan? What if I have two
>opportunity costs, and aff wins a perm with two thirds of one and half
>other. How do you weigh the opportunity costs remaining with a simple
>yes/no question of "competition"?
1. Flawed argument (see above.)
2. Well, doing all three in that combination seems advisable (not inadvisable) so the counterplans don't compete. It is a yes/no question.
>Sooner or later, the truth is apparent. I can keep inventing more and
>complex scenarios. The only way that rational policy analysis is
>guaranteed is to look at opportunity cost as analogous to direct cost,
>see that competition (be it MX competition or net benefits
>analogous to the link. No one can sum up a DA with the question "Does
>link and does it outweigh?" because there are plenty of complex
>interactions of DA's that require better tools of policy analysis.
>with counterplans. If we change the meaning of competition now to a
>general test of a single counterplan versus plan, sooner or later
>inventing a new word to express the analogous concept to the link of a
>direct cost. Why not keep the meaning of competition as it is now?
You confuse yourself. Step back and see the contradictory arguments in
this post and then reanalyze your origional position. BTW The meaning
of competition has evolved into a basic fight for net benifits over
time. Jeff didn't just decide on a whim to say let competition be a
debate of net benifits, and it was. Several years ago we would be
having this exact debate in round. Over time a consensus grew in the
debate community. We stoped arguing the scemantics of competition and
we started arguing ths substantive effects of plan/counterplan
interaction. I certianly like that debate better.
>e) People, it's just what the word means! Webster's (full cite upon
>request) defines competition as "the act of seeking or endeavoring to
>that for which another is also striving." Notice that winning wasn't
Yeah, but webster doesn't debate.
>Competition just means that the counterplan is
>against the plan for support of the judge.
And the only way to have the judges support is to be more net benificial than plan or permutation.
>That is, the judge must
>between plan and counterplan.
Yeah, and the negative competes with the affirmative by running a counterplan. The only thing is that if the counterplan doesn't compete with the
plan than the negative loses, even if they competed with the affirmative.
>I can compete in tennis without winning
>tennis. As long as I play the game (we don't just walk away without
>choice ever happening -- forced choice), then I have competed. I
>need to win to have competed in the game.
>Hope that makes sense,
>Woodland Park HS Debate
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