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A "Free Market" System is Not Sensible

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 weeks ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 181 times Debate No: 106176
Debate Rounds (5)
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Society does not necessarily always value"rational"things, and others are able to profit tremendously off of the stupidity/ignorance/ect. of the masses that support it. Examples of this are Musicians, actors, athletes, celebrities ect. ect. that in a"rational"society, are definitely not necessarily more deserving than an Engineer for instance (as our modern world is based on Science and Tech, not Rap/Justin Beiber-type Pop music, Kim Kardashian's , ect. ect).

Consider, a huge portion of the nation's wealth is being put into sectors of society that serve no real productive purpose/lack in value while areas of high value such as intellectual pursuits are dramatically underfunded and discouraged (in many respects). This is due to society at large sharing the same collective delusions and valuing trivial bullsh't over serious, productive endeavors. This will always incentivize and produce a non-rational society unless structures are fundamentally challenged/altered.

Lets take Professional athletes as the first example:

NBA- Out of 456 players in the league in 2017-18, 120 make $10,000,000 or more for one years worth of work and 389 make more than $1,000,000. The"minimum salary"for a 1st year player is over $800,000"per year. Links here:



NFL- Minimum salary for 1st year players is over $450,000 per year. 656 players make at least $1,000,000 per year or more. Links here:



MLB- 112 players make $10,000,000 or more per year. Out of 251 players total, 240 make $1,000,000 or more per year

Actors and musicians that "make it" get"huge"salaries and the ones that don't get salaries on par with other "common" jobs.

Now, contrast that to"absolutely necessary"fields such as Science & Maths, Engineering, Architecture, Construction Work, Waste Management, Medical Doctors, Teachers, Repairs, Farming, Electricians, Labor Intensive work, ect. ect."and"fields that, although not"necessary, should be prioritized/held in high esteem in a"non-superficial, deep, passionate, engaged"society (i.e. rational) such as Literature, History, Philosophy, Art, ect. ect.

Consider the process of becoming a Scientist (which, depending on the subject matter, is perhaps the chief field pushing innovation forward that makes all of our lives orders of magnitude more comfortable than our ancestors could have ever dreamed of--as well as revealing deep truths about the nature of our existence and the universe). One must first pay large sums of money to attend a school for 4-5 years, then proceed to further schooling for another 5-7 years (while attempting to live off of a stipend of $15,000-$25,000 or so per year--i.e.very poor), then must find a post-doc position for another 3-7 years or so which is typically only $20,000-$35,000 a year, by which time a person has been"nearly dirt poor for a 15 years or more"and then,"finally,"may"find a research/professorship position (however there is absolutely no guarantee since the funding is so low due to the irrationality I have discussed--thus competition is fierce)"or"they very well may end up empty handed (no Science research job and/or professorship) even after that approaching two decade long process. Here are some of the fundamental questions involved:

Why in the Hell do we treat some of the greatest minds amongst us doing work that is absolutely imperative so poorly? Why do we treat others doing necessary work (e.g. Construction Workers, sewer management, ect.) so poorly? Why are we putting people who do not contribute anything to the productivity of society and/or our expanding knowledge about ourselves/the Universe up on a pedestal (e.g. Katy Perry, Kardashians, Pro Athletes, ect. ect.)?

Do you see any problems with this, or do you believe that the Market is the best determining agent in matters such as this


Hey. I think a free market system is perfectly sensible. If I understand, your basic argument is that intellectuals such as scientists and engineers deserve a lot more than entertainers. I agree with you that a lot of consumers don't exactly have their priorities in order. However, here's what I think: you really can't judge a person's worth by his/her occupation. I mean, if somebody is an unsuccessful engineer then naturally he/she does not deserve a lot of money. I disagree with your claim that the great minds are treated poorly; I think scientists are highly revered but the question is what exactly are they supposed to get paid for? They can invent things and profit off of those, they can write books and collect royalties, and they can make TV appearances. Money is basically a trade-off: somebody gets paid to sell stuff. Entertainers/athletes get paid to sell their entertainment/sporting events, and scientists can get paid to sell their ideas. A lot of scientists are not exactly motivated by money, they just have a passion for what they do. Bottom line: no matter who you are or what your occupation is, you will only get paid if people think watching/listening to the stuff you do is more valuable than the money they have.
Debate Round No. 1


My basic argument is this:

The people doing the overwhelming bulk of the work should be quasi-proportionally related to the ones reaping the benefits (which is not at all our current model). In order to ensure this, we would still operate under a "Market" system, but simply constrain the Market by switching off of a "preference based" value to a "utility based" value structure. Practically, this would be enforced by regulatory incentives.

Your argument is basically:

"If people are stupid/ignorant and make horrible decisions as a consequence of this, then let them be stupid/ignorant and make horrible decisions. Who are you and/or the people doing the overwhelming bulk of the work that allows society to function, pushes it forward and lets us survive to voice disapproval/complain about that? Who are "they" to promote intervening with the system in order to course correct this scheme even if people's collective ignorance/stupidity and horrible decision making is objectively running humanity off of a cliff (as well as the ecosystem at large) all while oppressing the people doing all the work?" (Note: That is not a straw-man of what you are suggesting/implying)

Now, I already addressed your statement, " I disagree with your claim that the great minds are treated poorly" in my OP. See my paragraph starting, "Consider the path to becoming a Scientist..."

The final line in your argument was. "Bottom line: no matter who you are or what your occupation is, you will only get paid if people think watching/listening to the stuff you do is more valuable than the money they have." Now, this is precisely what I am objecting to (for the reasons cited in my OP and now here). The reasoning I cited is why it is more sensible to switch to a "utility based value structure" rather than the current "preference based value structure".

The entire modern Global system (all/overwhelming majority of the luxuries of modernity, as well as the dangers) is predicated on the fruits of Science and Tech. Now, I can only conclude that a person responding like this fails to understand just how precarious our situation is.

For example, there are only about 10,000 Physicists in the world (not all of which are great researchers--there is a standard distribution like in any other population). Without Physicists, we would have next to none of our modern inventions that we currently depend upon nor would we be able to push innovation forward. Therefore, the "basic" research and work of such people is extremely valuable (and there is currently hardly anyone equipped to do it). The standard/average Engineer learns enough Physics, Chem, ect. to harness what we have learned about Nature in a useful manner (however, the overwhelming bulk of this work in no way approaches the depth of understanding in Physics, Chem, ect. and they are highly limited in what they can do). If you just gathered up the one million people most eager, persistent, and qualified to do the sort of research that our modern world depends upon and removed them from the planet, we would be left with very few people (if any) capable of sustaining our current system (and one million is a very generous number). That is a huge problem, and one that is nearly never discussed (accept for in the Scientific community itself, which discusses this matter perpetually) simply because people are taught that their collective delusions in some way make sense, and are viable ideas to organize their lives around (when in reality they are non-sensical and self-destructive).

Also, others such as intensive laborers, many "Blue Collar" professions are imperative in order to keep society functioning and they are looked down upon (often are disincentivized) due to people's simple-minded prejudices. This is an inherently unstable structure as well as unjust (because the people doing the overwhelming bulk of the work are not the ones benefiting from the system).
Now, the economy already is "rigged", so all you would have to do is "rig" it in a different direction (as well as the imperative of getting people more interested in productive, creative, activities rather than frivolousness--note, rigging the economy would in it of itself shift peoples interests due to the incentive structure). That is, jobs that have high utility value (e.g. "Blue Collar" laborers, Architects, Scientists, ect.) objectively contribute far more to society than Justin Bieber (although the current system incentive structure would suggest that this is the other way around). The current Market system is based on preference value while I am arguing for a utility value system.

It would still be a market system, there would still be an abundance of greedy, self-interested people, ect. ect, However, by necessity, the work they would be doing if they wanted to increase their wealth would be productive and actually benefit society rather than frivolous--e.g. Models would not be paid much at all in such a society while being a Construction worker, many "Blue Collar" intensive labor, Scientist, Architect, ect. ect. would be paid well (just nearly flip everything on its head, roughly speaking)). This is why I said such a system is feasible in the short-term given the current climate/Zeitgeist. It would essentially be like a Social Democratic society but rather than the type of "Inverse Capitalism" that Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein/Green Party, ect. promote, it would be based on a productivity/utility incentive structure.


I'm not saying you are straw-manning my argument but I never called anybody stupid/ignorant. Watching sports does not make somebody dumb. I also don't think they are "running society off a cliff" by spending their money how they see fit. People have paid to watch sporting events and entertainers for centuries, there's no problem with that. You didn't exactly address my claim that great minds are not treated poorly, you just talked about the hard work they have to put in to get to where they are. Not giving people money does not mean you are treating them poorly. I'm not quite understanding the "preference-based" vs. "utility-based" systems you are describing, so I'd like for you to explain them more. I agree that scientists and blue-collar workers are important for society, and they already do get paid for what they do. You just want them to get paid more, right? Where would this money come from? How would you control how much somebody else gets paid?
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Surgeon 3 weeks ago
Since when has any individual had the knowledge or right to determine what people get paid? Demand and Supply get cleared at the market price, and someone"s personal feelings on what they think is "right" is neither here nor there. This planning has been tried before in history and failed ever6 single time.
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