Released: Filed Under: NCFCA Lincoln-Douglas
About "Philosophies to the Resolution"
“Economics,” intones the beginning of Thomas Sowell’s voluminous magnum opus, “is the study of scarce resources which have alternative uses.” If resources were infinite, the economics as a discipline would be superfluous. After all, in such a situation, everyone could personally possess every conceivable thing in the universe. Yet, as Sowell astutely observes, resources are not just finite, but scarce. Some people have more, others less. As a result, society is clearly demarcated into the haves and the have-nots.
Since Adam Smith pioneered the discipline in the eighteenth century, economists have calculated and catalogued the laws governing the perpetual distribution of such resources. Algorithm upon algorithm, formula after formula, economists have produced a series of mechanical descriptions so sterile that the nineteenth-century British historian Thomas Carlyle dubbed the discipline “the dismal science.” In light of this, many economists have concluded that “their science [is] value-free,” according to the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Science.
In this valueless vacuum, economists purportedly measure, quantify, and delineate descriptive—not prescriptive or normative—principles.
Is this enough? When we survey the globe and see millions languishing in abject poverty because their governments hoard scarce resources or trafficked by those who seek to transform human beings into mere resources, ought we to describe mechanically how the inexorable dictates of supply and demand result in such situations?
Of course not. Economics needs philosophy. To grapple with the crucial issues of the NCFCA LD resolution this year, you need to transcend the typical conception of economics and infuse it with philosophical understanding. This article equips you to do just that.
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Joel consistently won tournaments or advanced deep into elimination rounds in NCFCA speech and Lincoln-Douglas debate. As a collegiate forensics competitor, he has enjoyed similar success with parliamentary debate and mock trial. Currently, Joel studies philosophy at Wheaton College and coaches debate for multiple organizations.