The Penn State Economics Association will host its annual Great Debate tonight at 7 p.m. in Eisenhower Auditorium, where teams of three students will argue the pros and cons of free trade in the global economy.
The event is the Association’s biggest of the year, and it pits two teams of students against each other to debate a relevant economic topic. The teams each get a few minutes per person to give their opening statements, then the two sides engage in a back-and-forth discussion, followed by audience questions and closing statements. A professor from the economics department leads each team, helping the students develop their arguments and research the topic. This year’s professors Dr. Austin Boyle and Dr. Wayne Geerling will lead the two teams. Both professors teach Econ 102, and Geerling also teaches international economics, a class with a strong emphasis on international free trade.
The event is free to attend and normally draws a fairly large crowd– the event’s Facebook page says they are expecting over 2,500 spectators to come see the sides argue their points. Students can pick up tickets at the door.
Last year, students debated whether or not to raise the minimum wage, and in 2011, teams discussed lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18. While this year’s debate may not be as polarizing, the topic still has the potential to create an truly interesting discussion.