Instigator / Con

Resolved: A space race between China and the U.S. would cause more benefits than harm


All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
Sources points
Spelling and grammar points
Conduct points

With 3 votes and 12 points ahead, the winner is ...

More details
Publication date
Last update date
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Characters per argument
Contender / Pro
~ 1,602 / 5,000

BoP shared.
Pro: As the title says
Con: A space race between the US and China would cause more harm than benefits(or equal amounts of both)

This is intended to formulate an IRL debate tournament, as a result, semantical K's are discouraged and if I use it feel free to take conduct off of me. You obviously understand what the title means.

For those who do not understand:

Space Race: An international cold(non-frontal) conflict that involves at least two parties competing about either which party has better technology dealing with the zone outside the Earth and its atmosphere(extraterrestrial zone), or which party has better or more control over said extraterrestrial zone, or even both.

China: The nation that currently occupies the land prescribed in this image ( Taiwan is also counted towards the idea of "China" in this debate.

U.S.: The nation that currently occupies the land prescribed in this image ( Overseas territories, despite not shown explicitly, are also counted towards the idea of "U.S." in this debate.


China and the US are not limited to competing over extraterrestrial areas, so what else the space race might bring is also something to bring up in this debate.

US=United States=America=U.S.
China=People's Republic of China

The nations' powers are to be considered initially to be its present form(2021??). Speculation about the future is allowed but is never as authentic as existing statistics.

Round 1
Facing reality: Cold war

The last time the top two nations battled in space in technology, it is labeled a cold war[1]. This cold war polarized the world into two opposing sides, the Western Bloc(lead by the USA) and the Eastern Bloc(lead by the Soviet U). Most nations were supportive of either one of the two sides. The world was literally broken apart so their alpha pack leaders could make better weapons. Diplomatic relationships were, quite literally, cold and maybe even war-like. This would not be a desirable situation for now, especially since China and the US aren't exactly the closest of allies, if not even rivals at this moment already.

And, do we really want to suffer the same consequences the world suffered back in the 70s to the 90s? First off, Both the US and the Soviet U have lost huge sums of money because they have invested tremendous funding onto essentially useful metal scraps above us[2], a lot of time even for bragging rights(for example, the Soviets build 7 space stations and launched them into space, instead of just adding modules to the first one like we did in the ISS; and the US made real PEOPLE go to the moon for so many times to do tasks either already repeated or is possible to be done by mechanical agents such as robots, which is definitely possible and probably easier than sending grown men who were used to earth gravity there). Well, national reputation may not be avoided, and a nation that launched 7 moon-crafts would probably be seen to be grander than a nation that only went there once, despite that the workload in quality is probably the same, and the later moon landings, well, were still majorly for bragging rights[3], and they only put reflective pads and threw feathers to show, yes, this is what the moon is like, something that doesn't need to be shown 6 times in a row. In the end, for reputation and bragging rights, both sides put much more investments into what seems like nearly meaningless goals now than what they need, and only one space station is already enough to show that they can make space stations, and one moon landing is sufficient to convey their skill of landing people on the moon, not 6 or 7.

Well, the brains of people today may be less radicalized by purely beating the other side and more towards space exploration and technological progression, but remember it is still a space conflict we are talking about, and the two sides are still trying to one-upping each other, instead of cooperating towards a uni-goal. For example, the Paris agreement? Conflict no. The cold war? Conflict yes. When it is a space conflict, cooperation would be limited and energy would be wasted on trying to defeat the other team instead of spending it on cooperation of space exploration, no matter how little energy is lost on that.

In the end, a space conflict is certainly not optimal, as it wastes energy on competition instead of problem-solving. It also makes both sides lose huge sums of money(and in turn decrease the quality of normal lives of people, just look at what happened to the Soviets!), as well as that their diplomatic relationship would be cold for a while, if not an eternity. It would possibly also draw polarization to the world, make the world fight itself in two separate factions, instead of working together. Like the slave-freer guy said, A divided house doesn't stand. I am for China and the US cooperating and helping the world against potential threats(asteroids, for example), but not when they turned their back against each other and refuse to help each other, that would be a huge opportunity lost, less benefit achieved by the same amount of cost.

It is also something to bring up that the cold war consists of the space race and many other conflicts, including that even the Vietnam war was affected due to the cold war going on and the Socialists and the westerners are at war with each other. If there is a full-on space race between the two top nations in the world, we can't be sure that other conflicts won't follow down on earth, and the people wouldn't feel safe even if the UN council will work day and night to stop any hot affiliated conflicts on earth.

What about...Technological advancement in general!

Let's first talk about the present situation here. China and the US are both sending scrap metal into space --- indeed, but their purpose is more that they are solving problems for the world(for example, GPS satellites) and proofs of merely that they can do something, and NOT that they can do something in space better than someone else(for example, China sent a useful mars rover in the previous year[4], something the US can do for decades now, and China is not trying to one-up the US, but merely proving that they can do something). The situation here isn't a space race yet, because it is not exclusively focused on competition with each other, but just in general.
An international cold(non-frontal) conflict that involves at least two parties competing about either which party has better technology dealing with the zone outside the Earth and its atmosphere(extraterrestrial zone), or which party has better or more control over said extraterrestrial zone, or even both.
"I am better than you at sending people to space" is an act of "space race", "I can send people to space too(no address given)" is not.

When the action is a full-on "space race", it would be solely that China is working against the US and cooperation would be limited to the minimum, if not outright nonexistent altogether. Both China and the US would work in secret(Well, they are competing after all, and sharing knowledge would be beneficial to the opposing side as well!), and the free flow of knowledge would be undesirable in such a conflict. Judging from that in a space race we are not trying to solve a problem but merely trying to better, and that we can send nukes in space, we have a potential possibility of the world to be destroyed.

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(either it is impossible and is built for condemning the other group, or it would be undesirable to do so by the government, judging from that China and the US is against each other). The technological advancement would, therefore, be of nearly no meaning of saving the world.

  • A space race would definitely have huge losses regarding national fundings and worsen international relationships.
  • A space race would polarize the world into two groups and further divide it, since there are two strong nations competing, not weak ones.
  • A space race could potentially bring about other conflicts on Earth and make people tremble in fear because the situation is getting dangerous.
  • The tech advancement that could be brought about by the space race may not be used in a cooperative method that could benefit the world in a whole, especially since a space race is strictly a competition between two groups, that isn't trying to solve anything, as how it is defined here.
  • In the end, by now, a space race between the US and China would bring about more harms than benefits, vote CON.

Onto Pro.
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,[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. 

Round 2
"Pro" has misinterpreted his side and have argued the same side with me. "Pro" has only strengthened my side by replacing not-that-reliable sources with more reliable ones. Extend.
Round 3
Pro has not provided any arguments favoring his case. I, as Con, with arguments, thus extend.

Profoundly sorry for the late response. I've been out of touch for the past week in the remote high country - no internet service, so I've just now realized on my return that I have totally blown this debate. Yes, I zoned out that, as instigator, you were Con. The high majority of debates has Pro as instigator [about 92%], and I just missed it. Even you track the same percentage of Pro instigations, also 92% of all your debates, so it appears to be typical.
No excuse; I blew it. Having blown away round two because of my trip, and incorrectly post R1, I will concede the debate to you.

Round 4
Pro has conceded. I hereby declare, in the last round of the debate, that it is just to vote Con.
I concur. Vote for Con