SER events: Yale Debate - US vs European Social Model
Adam Chilton is currently finishing a joint Bachelor's and Master's degree in Political Science. This year, Adam has won all eight tournaments he has attended in America, and is yet to lose a debate round. This includes becoming the only debater to win North America's largest tournament, the Harvard Invitational, twice. Internationally, Adam won the Oxford IV this year and narrowly lost the Cambridge IV to his teammates. In the process, Adam became the first debater to be the top individual speaker at both tournaments.
Dylan Gadek is completing his last semester for a degree in Philosophy. Throughout his career, Dylan has maintained a consistently high level of success at all of the major tournaments he has attended. As a result, Dylan is the only debater in the world to have broken at the Oxford, Cambridge, and World Championships the last two years in a row. On top of breaking at all three tournaments this year, Dylan won the Cambridge IV while debating with Josh. Recently, Dylan won the 2007 North American Debate Championships.
Josh Bone is pursuing a degree in History, focusing on American political history. During his first two years of collegiate debate, Josh was more successful than any other Yale debater in recent memory. Last year, Josh was the highest ranked underclassman debater in America and reached the Grand Final of the World Universities Debating Championship in his first year attending the tournament. This year, Josh won the Cambridge IV with Dylan, and by placing third, was the top American speaker at the World Championships.
We're still finalising the impressive biographies of our speakers. The preliminary information:
Edward Gaffney (JS TSM Economics/Mathematics student) Hon. Secretary of the Phil.
Séin Ó Muineacháin (PhD Politics student, and former BESS economics and politics student). Won best speaker award at Oxford debate.
Christopher Kissane (Captain) (JS History student). Runner-up in best individual speaker category in recent Irish Times intervarsity debates.
The support team
Gilbert Pooley (assistant non-speaking captain) is completing his Master's degree in Economics. This year, Gilbert has maintained a clean sheet in every debate he has participated in, and is yet to lose a debate round. This includes (only) an emphatic victory over Oxford in the auspicious S.E.R. annual event, hosted by Trinity College. In his long and illustrious career, Gilbert has also won many arguments against his Mom, classmates, and occasionally his (now ex) girlfriends. However, regardless of the result, these debates have often ended badly. Gilbert looks forward to watching Trinity dispense with the over lauded Yale team.
Michal Kolesar (technical support) is currently pursuing a degree in Mathematics and Economics. Since he started debating, Michal has won all (i.e. nought) tournaments he has attended, and is yet to lose a debate round. Unfortunately, since Michal will be in Cologne, Germany during the debate, he will not (as usual) participate. He is looking forward, however, to putting up yet another audio record of Trinity's victory on the SER website.
The DebateThe arrival of Ivy League Yale generated huge anticipation amongst everyone involved in the SER. Yale are renowned as having some of the top debating teams in the world. Indeed, it would have been difficult for the Trinity trio not to be intimidated by their impressive debating credentials. The prospect of top-class debating was enough to ensure another full-house in the GMB.
Again an experienced group of guests was secured to judge the result of what was sure to be a titanic tussle. Áine Lawlor from RTÉ’s Morning Ireland was appointed chair of the adjudicators. Joe Young, Chief Economist with the American Embassy and former SER member Tom Lyons, Business Editor with Newstalk, completed the panel. Professor Alan Matthews undertook to chair the debate.
The motion was,
House prefers the European Social
Model to the American Dream, and
it was Edward Gaffney who fired the
opening shots for the proposing team,
Trinity. He alluded to the fact that
income inequality is much more acute
in the U.S. than Europe and that the
apparent reluctance to help the poor
denied them a chance of a prosperous
future. He argued that America’s
satisfactory employment rates are aided significantly by their high
incarceration rates and that the money spent on prisons would be better spent
of attempting to integrate people.
The anticipation was finally over as the crowd welcomed Yale’s first speaker, Josh Bone, to the podium. He outlined the case that the European model is simply solving the problem it is creating. He argued that government intervention creates tremendous economic inefficiencies and leads to structural unemployment as high taxes result in fewer individuals being hired. He referred to Bono’s tax-flight and reasoned that high-tax economies will result in the middle classes subsidizing the lower class.
Trinity’s second speaker Chris Kissane began by claiming that while Josh’s points hold true in a textbook, reality portrays a different story. He postulated that 80% of America’s bottom 20% never makes the step to middle income. He proposed that the reason for this was the lack of equality of opportunity in the States. He pointed out that every E.U. student in the room was entitled to free fees in Irish universities and this along with other factors such as free health care meant European’s have a better chance in life.
Dylan Gadek was next to the podium for Yale as the impetus vacillated between the two impressive teams. He argued that in the U.S. they have avoided the inefficiencies of higher taxes and managed to secure opportunities for all. He pointed out that in America private people pool together to provide people with financial aid thus ruling out the need for the state. He illustrated his position by explaining that he and Adam pay no fees for their education at Yale because of private endowment. He contended that the U.S. leads the way in innovation due to the substantial rewards possible through the structure of the economy, he hypothesized that Europeans were piggybacking on this innovation and if the U.S. was to the same modern advancement would cease.
The penultimate speaker of the night was Séin Ó Muineacháin. He said the crux of the argument boiled down to the tradeoff between GDP and quality of life. He questioned the principles of a country where you need to be dying before the state will intervene to help you. He summed up Trinity’s argument by declaring that they agree that those who embrace the economy deserve their just desserts but those who don’t should not have to live in the gutter. The final speaker of the epic contest was Adam Chilton. He immediately contended that Ireland’s Celtic Tiger was fostered by its low corporate and personal taxes that increased competitiveness and reduced the need for social services, as people with more money need less state intervention. He attempted to rebut Trinity by maintaining that those who work the most in the U.S. earn the most; bankers, lawyers and doctors work double the average working week. He insisted that Trinity had not provided any theoretical response to their arguments and as such they should be declared winners.
The judges retired to consider their decision and on return Áine Lawlor took to the podium. She briefly discussed some of the interesting issues raised and then announced that Adam Chilton had distinguished himself as best speaker but that Trinity had edged out their transatlantic rivals.