Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Airs Sunday, April 12, at 6 p.m. In 2014, the European Union’s Court of Justice determined that individuals have a right to be forgotten, “the right—under certain conditions—to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them.” Largely seen as a victory in Europe, in the U.S., the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative. Was this ruling a blow to free speech and public information, or a win for privacy and human dignity? The debaters are Paul Nemitz, Andrew McLaughlin, Eric Posner, and Jonathan Zittrain.

Airs Sunday, April 5, at 6 p.m. In late 2014, Amazon and the publishing house Hachette settled a months-long dispute over who should set the price for e-books. In Amazon’s view, lower prices mean more sales and more readers, and that benefits everyone. But for publishers, the price of an e-book must reflect the investment made, from the author’s advance to a book’s production. The conflict has only raised more questions about Amazon’s business practices, and the role of publishers.

Airs Sunday, March 29 at 6 p.m. Genetically modified (GM) foods have been around for decades, and they are developed for a number of different reasons—to fight disease, enhance flavor, resist pests, improve nutrition, survive drought. Across the country and around the world, communities are fighting the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. Are they safe? How do they impact the environment? Can they improve food security? Is the world better off with or without GM food? The debaters are Robert Fraley, Charles Benbrook, Alison Van Eenennaam, and Margaret Mellon.

Airs Sunday, January 11 at 6 p.m. Income inequality has been on the rise for decades. In the last 30 years, the wages of the top 1% have grown by 154%, while the bottom 90% has seen growth of only 17%. As the rungs of the economic ladder move further and further apart, conventional wisdom says that it will become much more difficult to climb them. Opportunities for upward mobility—the American dream—will disappear as the deck becomes stacked against the middle class and the poor. But others see inequality as a positive, a sign of a dynamic and robust economy that, in the end, helps everyone. And contrary to public opinion, mobility has remained stable over the past few decades. If the American dream is dying, is it the result of income inequality? Or is disparity in income a red herring where more complex issues are at play?

Arguing for the motion: Arguing for the motion: Elise Gould, Senior Economist and Director of Health Policy Research at the Economic Policy Institute; and Nick Hanauer, Entrepreneur & Venture Capitalist.

Arguing against the motion: Edward Conard, Visiting Scholar with AEI & Former Partner with Bain Capital; and Scott Winship, Fellow with the Manhattan Institute.

Airs Sunday, November 23 at 6 p.m. The disintegration of Iraq, Syria’s ongoing civil war, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the promise and peril of the Arab Spring...  What role should America play in the Middle East? For some America’s restraint has been a sign of disciplined leadership. But for others, it has been a sign of diminished strength and influence.  Are we simply recognizing the limitations of our power, or does this embattled region require a bolder, more muscular, American presence?