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Bloomberg Television and Intelligence Squared U.S. Announce Lineup for Debut “That’s Debatable” Episode, Premiering on on Friday, October 9 at 7:00 PM

- Debating the Motion “It’s Time to Redistribute the Wealth”: Robert Reich & Yanis Varoufakis vs. Allison Schrager & Larry Summers
- Audiences can join the conversation by submitting their arguments at through September 21
Sep 18, 2020

On Friday, October 9 at 7:00 PM ET Bloomberg Television will debut the new limited series “That’s Debatable,” presented in partnership with Intelligence Squared U.S. and sponsored exclusively by IBM, with an episode debating the motion “It’s Time to Redistribute the Wealth.” As nations around the world face a reckoning on racial and social justice and work to combat the economic impacts of the pandemic, should we address growing economic inequality by overhauling our tax system, expanding our social safety nets, and investing more in public initiatives like universal health care, education, and infrastructure? Or would a wealth transfer unduly punish the economic elite, destroy the promise of a meritocracy, and inevitably lead to excessive government intervention in our social and economic lives?

Arguing in favor of the motion “It’s Time to Redistribute the Wealth” are former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and former Greece finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. Arguing against the motion are former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Allison Schrager.

Filmed in front of a live virtual audience, “That’s Debatable” will be conducted in the traditional Oxford-style format with two teams of two subject matter experts debating over four rounds, moderated by veteran Intelligence Squared U.S. moderator John Donvan. The live audience will select a winner via mobile, to be announced at the conclusion of the program.

The show will also be one of the first AI-aided debates, designed to demonstrate how AI can be used to bring a larger, more diverse range of voices and opinions to the public square. From now through September 21, audiences can join in the discussion by submitting a short argument for or against the motion at During the debate, IBM Watson plans to use Key Point Analysis, a new capability in Natural Language Processing (NLP) developed by the same IBM Research team that created Project Debater, which is designed to analyze viewer submitted arguments and provide insight into the global public opinion on each episode’s debate topic.


 * Robert Reich: Former Secretary of Labor

Robert Reich is a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and senior fellow at the Blum Center. A former secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and cofounder of Inequality Media, he is also the author of 18 books, including his latest “The System: Who Rigged It, How to Fix It.”

* Yanis Varoufakis: Former Finance Minister, Greece

Yanis Varoufakis, a former finance minister of Greece, is secretary-general of the MeRA25 party and professor of economics at the University of Athens. He is the author of many books, including, “Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Past,” which considers how to create a more fair and equal society.


* Allison Schrager: Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Allison Schrager is an American economist, author, and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where she studies tax and monetary policy. Schrager has worked in finance and policy and was a regular contributor to the Economist, Reuters, and Bloomberg Businessweek. She is also the author of “An Economist Walks into a Brothel.”

* Lawrence Summers: Former Secretary of the Treasury

Lawrence Summers has held several senior policy positions, including secretary of the Treasury under the Clinton administration and director of the National Economic Council for the Obama administration. He has also served as vice president of development economics and chief economist of the World Bank. Summers is a professor and president emeritus of Harvard University.

About Bloomberg Media:

Bloomberg Media is a leading, global, multi-platform brand that provides decision-makers with timely news, analysis and intelligence on business, finance, technology, climate change, politics and more. Powered by a newsroom of over 2,700 journalists and analysts, it reaches influential audiences worldwide across every platform including digital, social, TV, radio, print and live events. Bloomberg Media is a division of Bloomberg LP. Visit for more information.

About Intelligence Squared U.S.:

A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches millions of viewers and listeners through multi-platform distribution, including public radio, podcasts, live streaming, newsletters, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps including Roku and Apple TV. With over 180 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to "think twice" on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008.

About IBM Watson:

Watson is IBM’s AI technology for business, helping organizations to better predict and shape future outcomes, automate complex processes, and optimize employees’ time. Watson has evolved from an IBM Research project, to experimentation, to a scaled set of products that run anywhere. With more than 30,000 client engagements, Watson is being applied by leading global brands across a variety of industries to transform how people work. To learn more, visit:

To learn more about Natural Language Processing and how new capabilities like Key Point Analysis are designed to analyze and generate insights from thousands of arguments on any topic, visit:

For more information on Intelligence Squared U.S., please contact Ray Padgett ( or Mark Satlof ( at Shore Fire Media.

IBM Contact

Sarah Murphy
IBM Media Relations



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