Argument Tier List Aff: NCFCA LD

We’re hitting major competitive season, and it’s time to take a look at the state of the metagame for the NCFCA LD Resolution:

When in conflict, governments should to value fair trade above free trade.

Below is an incomplete list of popular arguments and case patterns for NCFCA LD Affirmatives, along with my thoughts on their competitive potential.

This is a great tool for prep, but it can’t predict what will happen in a live round. Take every opponent seriously. An excellent rating does not guarantee victory, and a weak rating does not guarantee defeat.

If your case or arguments are given a poor rating here, critically evaluate the feedback. Decide if you agree that my concerns apply to your specific case. Maybe you have a specific spin that makes the argument unique. Don’t throw out your case just because it got a low rating in this article. Instead, use the feedback to find specific ways to strengthen your case.


Morality Frameworks

Running a moral value like Human Rights forces your opponent to debate on your terms. Instead of trying to compete with free trade’s economic benefits, your framework says that matters like ethical treatment have to be considered first. This shuts down your opponent’s applications and forces negative teams to face morality head-on.

Fair Trade Stops Cheaters

This argument stems from definitions that say the goal of fair trade is to counter unfair trading practices. For example, fair trade could break up monopolies or put a put a ban on preferential government handouts. Fair trade keeps the playing field open for everyone: since no one likes cheaters.


Fair Trade Improves Job Quality

This argument says that fair trade forces companies to abide by worker safety standards and pay workers a living wage. This might create a new financial strain on the company, but we should be okay paying an extra 10 cents on our groceries if it means that workers can clock into their jobs without facing abusive conditions. In fact, you can even argue that when workers are placed in better working conditions they actually perform better work and create more value for the firm.

This argument hits on a sensitive issue with clear support. It can be run with a variety of values.

Protects Baby Nations

Fair Trade protects the little guy. Struggling nations need certain trade barriers to survive, without them they’ll be outpaced by their more experienced competition. How is a developing nation supposed to feed its people if it’s always squashed by powerful corporations?

These applications can carry significant weight, especially since so billions of people live in developing nations around the world. This argument is intuitive and carries tons of strong evidence. Expect to see more of it in April/May.


Buffer Values (like general welfare)

Unless you’re willing to argue that fair trade is good for the greatest number of people, avoid using broad values that open the debate to a numbers game. Fair trade is typically implemented to help marginalized groups (workers, baby nations, etc) because the maximization of freedom eventually hurts someone.

Shuts Down Evil Businesses

Some affirmatives are going for extra gusto by arguing that fair trade kills evil businesses (ones that abuse their workers). While this works if the judge really hates the corporation in your application, it risks a lot of economic harm to suggest that we just burn major companies to the ground. It’s generally going to be stronger to focus on the workers themselves; how they can be helped and made safe.


General Protectionism

Protectionism sets up trade regulations to give one nation’s economy the edge over another. Defending it generally means that you support nations setting up tariffs and other barriers because they help you. However, protectionism in the long run tends to harm both countries (due to the brutal cuts in efficiency it makes to both sides). It’s getting easier and easier for negatives to simply point at the wealth of data demonstrating that protectionism is a bad move.

My Side is Morally Perfect

Some affirmatives are trying to win purely by arguing that fair trade means morally perfect fairness. So voting affirmative just means that you like when things are fair. This is extremely shallow, since fair trade means more than just “having some fairness in trade”. Also, why should we assume that “fairness” equals “what the affirmative considers fair”? Governments have their own interpretation of fairness, so it doesn’t make sense for the opponent to wade in and assume that voting for fair trade means that we create a utopia.


Fair Trade Leads to Free Trade

Voting affirmative means that we support the resolution, and the resolution assigns a higher importance to fair trade. Arguing that the best part about your side is that it gets to the opponent’s is a glaring mistake, and a sure-fire way to bury your chances of victory.

Next up is an argument tier for negative. (Stoa LD, your tiers are coming too!)