It’s Nick from Debate Academy and today we’re going to learn how to do impact calculus. This is one of the largest deciding factors in novice level debates. Doing this is usually the difference between winning and losing the round.
Impact calculus is explaining why your problem or impact is a bigger problem than the other side’s impact. It starts in the 2ac and should continue throughout the debate for both the aff and neg.
There are four parts of impact calculus or a comparison of impacts.
- Magnitude: your impact is larger than their impact
- Timeframe: your impact is faster or will happen sooner than their impact.
- Probability: your impact is more likely to happen than their impact.
- Turns: your impact causes their impact to happen.
Let’s work with a real example from a debate round. Imagine my impact is poverty and the other side’s impact is a US-Russia war. Let me show you how I would do impact calculus.
- Magnitude: poverty kills millions of people every year through starvation, dehydration, disease spread, and lack of medical care. A US-Russia war would be limited because other countries would step in.
- Timeframe: poverty takes lives every single day. Malaria, dysentery, and malnutrition is killing people right as we speak. It could take years for any war to escalate between Russia and the US
- Probability: poverty is certainty since it is structural. We know it will happen because it has been happening daily. There are disagreements with Russia and the US all the time, but they don’t go to war.
- Turn: poverty causes a US-Russia war through desperation between the two countries. As each nation becomes destroyed by disease, hunger, and thirst, tensions will rise and the countries will fight each other.
So to recap: impact calc is arguing that your impact is more important than your opponent’s impact. Impact calc includes magnitude or size, timeframe or speed, probability or likelihood, and turns or causing your opponent’s impact.
That’s all for this lesson. Congratulations on taking the next step to become a successful policy debater. I’ll see you in the next episode.