Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Airs January 14, 2018, at 6 p.m. Do conservative or liberal philosophies lead to more just outcomes? Opposing moral philosophies have long fueled debate about America’s policy goals and national identity. In today’s divisive political arena, which side best embodies the nation’s most cherished virtues? Morally speaking, is the left right? The debaters are Howard Dean, David Brooks, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Robert George.

Airs Sunday, November 12, 2017, at 6 p.m. College sports is a big-money business, with football and basketball programs generating millions of dollars in revenue every year. While coaches and athletic directors in Division I programs routinely score seven-figure contracts, student-athletes are currently prohibited from sharing in the profits. Is it time to allow athletes their fair share of the profits? Or would providing monetary incentives -- above and beyond existing scholarships and career supports -- spoil the sport?

Airs Sunday, November 5, 2017, at 6 p.m. Do populist and nationalist uprisings signal Western democracy’s certain decline? Or can recent events be seen as part of a healthy and regenerative antidote to policies that have challenged liberal institutions and marginalized the middle class? Some predict that a resilient liberal world order will rally to triumph over fear, xenophobia and fractured political parties – others say that support for autocratic alternatives is on the rise. Four leading thinkers debate the future of Western democracy.

Airs Sunday, October 23, 2017, at 6 p.m. Criticized by patients, providers, and politicians alike, the United States healthcare system is hardly a crowd-pleaser. Is the most expensive health care system in the world beyond repair? The debaters are Shannon Brownlee, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Dr. Robert Pearl, and Dr. David T. Feinberg.

Airs Sunday, June 11, 2017, at 6 p.m. Walmart has long been a target for critics of corporate expansion, but does the company really deserve the scrutiny? Some say that the big-box retailer devastates small communities by pushing out locally-owned businesses, mistreats its workers through low pay and restrictive work hours, and forces American companies to use cheap foreign labor to produce goods at low cost. Others point to the fact that Walmart provides countless jobs to low-skilled American workers, sells affordable goods, has increasingly become a leader in sustainability, and attracts new consumers and businesses to its neighborhoods. Has Walmart been good for America? Our debaters are, for the motion: John Tierney, Contributing Editor for City Journal; Richard K. Vedder, Economist & Author of The Wal-Mart Revolution.  Arguring against the motion Nelson Lichtenstein, Professor, at UC Santa Barbara & Author of The Retail Revolution; and Amy Traub Associate Director of Policy and Research for Demos.

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