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Do Unrestrained Individual Investments Harm the Economy?

29.2% yes
70.8% no

In recent weeks, a large number of individual investors – notably Reddit users – worked together to drive up the value of GameStop and AMC Entertainment stocks, upending markets in the United States. These stocks had previously been relatively low value and stagnant, and the sudden rise in value has caused shockwaves of volatility throughout Americans’ investments in the market. This disruption pitted these individual investors against hedge funds and financial partnerships – at one point, trading companies stopped individuals’ ability to buy stocks. These developments called into question, for many, the nature of free-market economics, and have caused debates among citizens over how much of a positive impact unfettered stock trading has on the country.

Those who argue that unrestrained individual investments harm the U.S. economy claim that a lack of regulations allowed a group of investors like the individual Reddit users to falsely inflate the stock value of the companies, and throw the stock market into chaos. They argue that such volatility will negatively affect the savings of millions of Americans, with little possible government recourse. Additionally, they may argue that these investors are also usually not professional traders, and will ultimately harm their own finances by participating in risky ventures like what occurred in the past few weeks.

Those who argue that unrestrained individual investments don’t harm the U.S. economy contend that a lack of regulations actually is a benefit to Americans. It allows average citizens to invest in the market with greater ease and can help people who wouldn’t have any chances otherwise—like those in the lower and middle economic classes—to have an opportunity to take risks to accumulate wealth. They claim that our system favors wealthy Wall Street investors and companies and that only through greater free-market policies can the field truly be leveled.

So, what do you think? Do unrestrained individual investments harm the U.S. economy? Students can answer Yes, they do; No, they do not; or a nuanced answer in between!

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:      

  • Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner     
  • Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers      
  • Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors      
  • They address counterarguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner      
  • They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly   


For this question, BRI will be giving away two $25 gift cards, one to each person providing the best defense of each side of the debate. Both students will also win BRI swag. Each student winner will also be entered for a chance to win a grand prize of a $1,000 cash scholarship. Additionally, the referring teachers for both students will each win a $25 gift card and BRI swag.

Be sure to submit your answers in time to be considered for our prizes!

(For rules/regulations click HERE)


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