I will first present arguments, then rebuttals to Pro’s round 1. Glad to be debating you again, Intel. I enjoyed our recent debate, but I felt a lingering advantage to my side one that one. We are far more evenly matched, I think, on this topic. I look forward to a good, friendly debate. Good luck.
1. Argument: Competition increases cost over cooperation
a. There’s an old posit that competition among companies lowers cost to consumers. While there is a mound of evidence to support this posit, as specifically stated, the posit includes a condition not readily apparent with a space race. In fact, that condition is virtually non-existent. Considering the long view on the space race experienced between the U.S. and the Soviet Union [hereafter USSR] in the latter half of the 20thcentury, as well as the short view as that proposed by my opponent between China and the U.S., we are presented with an enterprise that lacks something integral to typical for-profit enterprise.
i. The lacking element in a space race is direct consumers of the competition. Sure, a normal running race is not nearly as interesting if the stadium hosting the race is not filled with spectators. During the initial phase of the Covid pandemic, once sports events began again, the stands were filled with cardboard cut-outs with recorded cheers, not cheering, live fans.[i]
ii. But in a space race? Who are the direct consumers, and what price reduction do they enjoy by the competition? I remember as a kid attending LA Dodger baseball games for a few dollars a ticket, a price, as a kid, I could afford. It’s significant money now, and I can watch on a big flat screen for the cost of turning it on, about the same cost as a flipping a wall switch for a light bulb. And I’ve never had another means of watching a space race but by television. Again, I have a minor cost, but no tangible benefit from the race, itself. The tech that race may spawn; that’s another story, and I’m sure Pro will engage it, but a cooperative effort will also spawn those same benefits, so, what is the net increase in benefit from tech, alone, by a race, that Pro needs to support his BoP?
b. In the case of lack of a direct consumer-base [not including TV spectators, who do not directly benefit, anyway], the fact is, competition is a loss leader in a consumerless enterprise – a losing financial benefit to the competitors. Cooperation, rather, has the consumer benefit of at least the resulting technical advance, and at a lower price to each nation in cost of production.[ii]
c. Quite simply, in a consumerless enterprise, such as a space race, while it is being conducted,
essential components to factor in, are that:[iii]
i. There is no product a consumer can purchase and use.
ii. There is no pricing strategy performed by a enterprise feeding the consumer to establish what retail purchase price should be.
iii. There is not marketing or sales strategy due to lack of product.
iv. There is no warranty program developed that would first perform stress-testing of a product to determine reliability over time.
d. Therefore, no consumer benefit is realized by a current space race, whereas, in a cooperative multinational endeavor will potentially bring products derived from the space program to market sooner, and less expensively, thanwould a space race.[iv]
2. Argument: China is not what the USSR was. Frankly, neither is the U.S.
a. This is not a repeat of the cold war the US had with the USSR in the latter 20thcentury; it’s a new set of circumstances even though an apparent repeat of a space race proposal.
b. The U.S. and the USSR were not only military adversaries, but, in many ways, political, and economic adversaries, as well. While China and the U.S. are not military adversaries in open conflict, which, fortunately, the U.S. and USSR also avoided, there are other factors.
c. With China, the US is not only a military adversary, though not in open conflict, but also political, and economic foes. Add cultural conflict not necessariy had with the USSR.
d. It is clear both nations have both history and desire for future exploration of space. I contend, however, that the means by which both nations would prosecute policy and action toward their respective goals in space are vastly different. Those differences may have significant impact on the rest of the world, let alone China and the U.S.
e. Neither nation, nor the rest of the world, can, on balance, enjoy more benefit than harm by a race to space beyond the laps the various nations of earth have run to date.
f. A space race would be detrimental to both nations, and the world.
i. Any consumerless competition naturally increases costs, as noted above, in 1. The idea of a cooperative effort in space is far more appealing economically, commercially, scientifically, culturally, politically, and peacefully. Competition would combat all these factors.
ii. A space race between China and the US would exacerbate these factors, not advantage them, simply because that is the nature of such a race.[v]
The referenced video is a televised debate on this very subject, conducted by knowledgeable, credentialed people in and associated with the space industry. I will present more argument based on this debate in round 2.
3. Rebuttal: Pro’s R1, US and USSR Cold War “lost huge sums of money”
a. Pro’s argument that the C od War/Space Race [treated as concurrent national activities] is supported by source Weebly.com,[vi]
which has no academic standing in space science and technology, or zany science in particular related to the Topic, but, rather, is primarily a site offering web-building proficiency, on which two people [credentials unknown] produced a “Senior Division Thesis Statement” and background subject detail on the “Space Race.”
b. The “Thesis” article written by the two identified in 3.a lacks any sourcing whatsoever for their various claims of successes and failures in the US/USSR space race, which, therefore, offers no supporting academic criteria to support Pro’s BoP.
c. What lacks here, besides a weak argument, is a scholastic peer review to lend credence to the opinion. One can find such argument support on Wiki, but that source is not exactly kind to even itself, declaring its own data to be unreliable.[vii]
On the basis of this source and Pro’s generalized arguments, Pro’s Topic fails.
d. Pro’s additional source in this argument, The Institute of World Politics,[viii].
claims being the only graduate school in existence to offer graduate degrees in “Statecraft,” not Spacecraft, the one essential equipment in support of any manned space endeavor, by competition, or by cooperation. Opinions held by students and faculty of statecraft may hold some interest, but, are these the best sources to support a BoP that a China/US space race would be more beneficial than harmful? Would a political graduate school program offer relevant or dependable opinion on your neighbor’s lawsuit against you for your dog’s repeated encroachment on his property to deposit doggy daily, stinking gifts?
e. See the rebuttal of sourcing in 3.c, above. It also applies here. On the basis of this source and Pro’s generalized arguments, Pro’s Topic fails.
4. Rebuttal: Pro’s R1, Technological advances
a. Pro argues, using the example of China’a recent Mars rover, a first for China, acknowledging that the US has been sending rovers to Mars “for decades,” and that “China is not trying to one-up the US, but merely proving that they can do something.” Isn’t a space race’s prime objective to “one-up” the competitor? This is not a solid foundation for a Pro Topic that a space race is beneficial.
b. "I am better than you at sending people to space"Pro argues, completely reversing the argument I cited just above, 4.a. Neither is this a solid foundation for a Pro Topic that a space race is beneficial, because the quote cited in this paragraph is obviously confrontational, but is it, therefore, more beneficial than a cooperative space exploration effort? I think not; therefore, the Topic fails.
c. Pro then argues that in a space race, “the free-flow of knowledge would be undesirable in such a conflict,” and, “…cooperation would be limited to the minimum, if not outright nonexistent.” This argument is supposed to give us warm fuzzies of benefit? I don’t think so. Even the verbiage used lends credence to my BoP that it is a cooperative effort, not a space race, that will allow the free exchange of ideas in technical advance. It’s the classic “two heads are better than one” extended to two cooperative nations, or more, are better than one each on opposing sides.
d. Pro kills his BoP, saying, “Tech built from a space race would be purely be for benefit one's side. While it is indeed tech, chances are that such tech would not be used for cooperative reasons…” How is this beneficial? It exemplifies shared detriment. Therefore, Pro’s Topic fails.
I conclude that:
1. A multinational cooperative space program will bring useful, technically advanced product to market sooner, and at lower cost, than a space race.
2. A China/US space race is not a repeat of the US/USSR space race of the late 20thcentury, and will not have the same results.
I turn round 2 to Pro.