A Libertarian Socialist society would be more free than an Anarcho Capitalist society.
Debate Rounds (5)
1. Anarcho Capitalism - (from Investopedia) A term coined by Austrian-school economist Murray Rothbard to describe a market-based society with no government. Instead of government, all goods and services would be provided by private businesses.
2. Libertarian Socialism - (from All words.com) Any of a group of political philosophy, philosophies dedicated to opposing coercive forms of authority and social hierarchy: prominent examples being capitalism and the State; especially one that encourages the direct seizure by the people of the means of production with the aim of moving toward the creation of a radical direct democracy.
3. More - on balance, there is more freedom.
4. Free - enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another.
Value - this debate will be a value debate. The value is freedom, so whichever side can show that the system said side advocates has more freedom will win the debate.
Since the idea of libertarian socialism is fairly foreign to most people, I should elaborate on precisely what it is - thereby clearly setting the terms of the debate. In fact, I will not make any of my contentions in this round, and it would be good if my opponent also waits till the second round to make arguments.
Libertarian Socialism is Anarchism, in fact the first anarchists - Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, and others were socialists. The first time the word libertarian was used politically (it had been used previously in a philosophical context during the enlightenment) was in 1857, by Joseph DeJaques - a socialist. Despite the left wing roots of libertarianism, the word libertarian has been taken so far from its roots, by people from Rothbard to Ron Paul, that many see libertarian socialism as an inherent contradiction.
It really isn't. The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR) used a few misleading words. 1. The USSR was not a union of Republics, and 2. they were not remotely socialist. Socialism is the abolition of as much hierarchy as possible, whether this is a hierarchical class system or hierarchical nation states. This is why "State Centered Socialism" is the inherent contradiction; this is also why libertarian socialism makes perfect sense. Mao, Stalin, Castro, and others may have been on the totalitarian left (and Castro still is) but the totalitarian left is not socialist; the libertarian left is. Socialism is worker ownership and control over the land and means of production. How is this done without a central government? Well, there are many examples of this being done without government - worker owned cooperatives, Kibbutz (until fairly recently), Revolutionary Spain during the 30s, and scores of indigenous (though, not industrial) societies which are free of government bureaucracy and which communally own and share land. A worker owned cooperative is a business which has worker owners who have all of the profits, and who democratically control the business. Larger cooperatives do at times need management, but worker's councils representing workers help run those cooperatives.
If the world was to become anarchist, there would no longer be any nation states; there would be a fairly loose Global Confederation, a cooperative of worker owned cooperatives. The only function of this Confederation would be to facilitate economic cooperation among worker owned cooperatives throughout the world. There would also be directly democratic municipal government, all the people in a town or (in larger cities) neighborhood, can make local decisions, and these assemblies would work together at a global level in a different global confederation. Anarchy is complete self government, rules without rulers, and the abolition of the nation state/use of coercive force. As the coops become more widespread, and replace corporations, society becomes more socialist, without help from any nation state. But how does this democracy get stopped from becoming the type of mob rule which threatens the rights of the individual? Well, there would be free association, so if an individual wants to leave a cooperative or a commune, that individual would be free to do so. Capitalist business models (corporations) would never be banned by an act of law, but, as working people choose to start new worker owned cooperatives and also buy traditional businesses and farms and make them into worker owned cooperatives, society will become more egalitarian and more socialist, and more free at the same time. This greater freedom will be explored in greater depth during round 2, when both the Affirmation and the Negation will bring up contentions. Again, it would be nice if the negation only uses round 1 to accept the challenge, and perhaps address any definitions if they need to be addressed.
Contention 1: Traditional Anarchism and libertarianism has been a form of socialism. Though the word libertarian goes back to the Enlightenment, it was only used in a philosophical context before 1857. During the Enlightenment, some philosophers called themselves libertarians because they believed in free will rather than determinism. However, the first time the word libertarian was used as a political adjective was in 1857 by a anarcho communist named Joseph Dejaques. He used the word in a letter to Proudhon - a socialist who was the first person to call himself an anarchist. Libertarianism and anarchism are understood to be forms of socialism in most countries outside of the United States. In fact, the man who coined the term Anarcho Capitalism - Murray Rothbard said,"that we are not anarchists, and those who call us anarchists are not on firm etymological ground, and are being completely unhistorical." Rothbard explained that, "all" anarchists have "socialistic elements in their doctrines...posses socialistic economic doctrines in common." Libertarianism/Anarchism is an anti authoritarian ideology which promotes freedom, and our understanding of the roots of Libertarianism/Anarchism is very important in any debate about freedom and liberty.
Contention 2: Wage Slavery: We may own cars, we may rent cars, but human beings should never be owned or rented. Chattle Slavery is the ownership of labor, the ownership of human beings. Under a modern Capitalist system, human beings are not owned - humans are rented. Wage slavery is quasi voluntary. Yes, people do choose to work (on the behalf of employers) but they can either rent themselves for wages, or starve. It isn't much of a choice. Secondly, we have a paternal system of bosses and managers, who tell people how to work. How do corporations make large concentrated profits? Why is it profitable to hire people? It is profitable to hire people because there is a surplus, in other words, the work people do is worth more than the wages they are paid. If people are fully compensated for the profits generated thanks to their work, then Capital Gains wouldn't exist. Corporations are structured to extract money earned by wage slaves. Furthermore, the income people take in from work is very stratified. The average American CEO makes 350 times his or her lowest paid employee.
Now, it wasn't always this way. Farmers, and artisans under the putting out system controlled how much they worked - they had no bosses. They also enjoyed the fruits of their labor, in other words, money was earned through hard work - not "made" through capital gains. During the Industrial Revolution, many workers who had in their lifetime, seen this transition from cottage industries to factories, realized that they were indeed wage slaves. So there was a time when wage slavery was seen as reality by a). the wage slaves themselves, b). Northwestern farmers who wanted to avoid wage slavery, c). Southern defenders of chattle slavery, and d). Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party. Nearly everyone in 19th century America recognized the fact that owning labor was one form of slavery (chattle slavery) and renting labor was another form of slavery (wage slavery). Now this isn't necessary, because in a socialist economy, workers own the means of production (the land and the factories and shops as well) and therefore they control their own work, and are fully compensated for their work. This is precisely what happens in worker cooperatives.
Contention 3: Capitalism and the State: Capitalism as we know it is propped up by the State. Research done at public Universities is used by big business. Billions of dollars are spent by the government on Corporate Welfare. Private property ownership over the means of production is protected by the State. The State is a fundamentally Capitalist institution which many Capitalists use. Now, many Libertarian Capitalists are minarchists - they want the police to continue protecting private property ownership over the means of production. In a sense, Capitalism needs the State. Anarcho Capitalists realize that the police state is used to protect private property, which is why they say that without a state, there should be private defense armies. These armies could be used to suppress strikes. Now, Max Weber defines the State as a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Now while Anarcho Capitalists want to get rid of the government, they are okay with private defense forces which have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. So in a sense, they are okay with a privatized version of the State, and this new form of State will not have any check on its power. You can protest about a new suppressive Pinkerton Army all you want, but it won't matter because there is a market for Pinkerton Armies - some wealthy people and corporations are willing to pay other people and corporations to violently break up strikes. There would not be any (somewhat) representative governmental body to prevent these new privatized states from being tyrannical. So, not only will wage slavery be allowed, not only would there be a lack of a minimum wage (minimum wages are antithetical to a free market), not only would worker's safety standards enforced by OSHA be discarded, not only that, but Unions and Strikes could be violently suppressed. No worker's rights. Child labor (wage slavery for children) still exists in many places around the world, and many multinationals exploit children in third world countries. (Nestle, and Coca Cola, for instance. Coca Cola doesn't only use child labor, Coca Cola has also been accused of using paramilitary forces in Columbia, to intimidate unions. In a Capitalist economy without any government, what will stop multinationals like Coca Cola?
Contention 4: Freedom of Speech: First of all, even under an anarcho Capitalist system, people do not really have freedom of speech when they are at work. People cannot say whatever they want to their boss without being afraid of getting fired. In a truly anarchist system, in a libertarian socialist system, this is not a problem. In democratically controlled cooperatives, especially the coops which do not have bosses, there is far more freedom of speech. Furthermore, in those coops, working people exercise more control over how they work, how long they work, and how they are compensated. Generally speaking, there is more freedom in a worker owned cooperative. Specifically though, back to the issue of free speech, Corporations do not only threaten free speech during the workday. Many Corporations use libel laws to silence their critics - even when criticism is warranted. A good example of this would be the McLibel case. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLibel_case Now this was in Britain where they have stronger libel laws. That being said, even here in the U.S., Corporations have succeeded in passing "veggie libel" laws which arguably threaten our first amendment rights.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_libel_laws. Now, granted, in an anarchocapitalist society there would not be any libel laws. However, it is not inconceivable for hired thugs to use force in order to silence critics (private defense armies). Freedom of speech would be threatened in and outside of the workplace. This would not be the case if there is economic democracy, i.e.Libertarian Socialism. This is because economic democracy decentralizes economic power. Nobody would have their own private army. Nobody would be exploited. Everyone would be free.
At least state socialism - terribly flawed as this ideology is - attempts a solution to the problem of economic calculation. Anarcho-socialism, or syndicalism, or libertarian-socialism does not. What you would have is absolute chaos, anarchy in the pejorative sense. On the market, consumer demand informs entrepreneurs through price signals exactly how much of what is needed wear. If people start eating more ham sandwhiches, then the price of pigs, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mustard etc. goes up and entrepreneurs can make profits by bringing these things to market. Likewise with anything else. But how exactly are these anarcho-syndicalists council's supposed to determine how much of what to produce, or where to send it after it's been produced, without a price system derived from market activities to inform their actions? It would be total guess work and the economic system as a whole would quickly collapse.
Weber's definition of the state as a monopoly on force within a given geographic area is apt. I would be tempted to amend it to include a monopoly on arbitrage as well and I must also confess that I have a soft spot for Oppenheimer's definition of the state as the organization of the political means. There are two ways to obtain wealth. The first is the economic means, that is production, exchange or anything that occurs voluntarily on the market. The second is to forgo the trouble of production and simply take what another has produced - the political means. This is why anarcho-capitalists hate the state. The state does not prop up capitalism. It is the complete opposite of capitalism. For all the pejoratives hurled it's way, capitalism is really nothing more than a series of mutually beneficial trades between individuals. Far from protecting private property, the state with it's never ending taxes, regulations and confiscations is the greatest enemy of private property and the most steady encroacher thereupon.
It's important to understand that no one knows what form a truly voluntary society would take. Nock posits that any increase in state power (that is, when the government expands it's scope and takes over or monopolizes a new area or industry) comes with a corresponding decrease in social power. The inverse is also true. As we eliminate the state society will step in to do the things which the state was doing that we all want to continue. Yes, there would be police and courts, of some form, although exactly what form is impossible to say. But the very point is that they would not be a MONOPOLY on force but a market on force. Different police forces would be a check on each other, to ensure that rampant criminality did not get unpunished and to allow consumers to boycott if they feel their rights are being violated by one particular agency.
Freedom of speech, like all rights, is derived from property. I do not have the right to go into your house and lecture you about capitalism. All I have is the freedom to use my body in any way I please. The notion that an inferior would be free to speak their mind to a superior in your system is ludicrous. When the state - and what you in fact agitate for is a state, you just want to call it a worker's council instead - controls everything then those who have power within the bureaucracy are all powerful. One wrong word and then you will not be able to draw from the common store, you will be labelled a subversive, accused of hoarding or some other bogus crime and put to death. When you own nothing, control nothing, you are utterly at the whim of those who control everything. One merely has to examine the history of all societies in which goods were communally owned in order to see this occurring. My opponent wants to tell you that this time will be different, that those were not really examples of socialism, that what he promises is utopia but the reality is there is only economic freedom and when that is taken away you are simply a slave to those who wield power over you.
"What would the slaves who worked sixteen hours in cotton fields, being whipped mercilessly and watching their women get raped think when you equate your lot in life, that is working at Starbucks serving cafe au lait to pretentious yuppies with theirs? " First, there is this pesky use of personal pronouns, and by using such pronouns, my opponent is assuming that I am complaining about MY lot in life. I'm not a wage slave, and I'm not complaining. Second, there is another assumption, which is that I am equating wage slavery with chattle slavery. I am not doing anything of the kind. These are two different types of slavery. Third, there is the red herring, that this is about a guy in Starbucks serving cafe au lait to pretentious yuppies. What about the migrant farm laborers who are paid below minimum wage? What about the people in meatpacking factories who cannot go to the restroom? When we're talking about Capitalism, the economy is so globalized that it is important to look at exploitation on a global scale. So for instance, the people in other countries who still work in sweat shops, the children in Pakistan who are forced to work in order to pay off debts (Nike is involved in the exploitation of those children) the estimated millions of people who are still chattle slaves. "Even though slavery is now outlawed in all countries,the number of slaves today remains as high as 12 to 27 million,." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery. And those are just the chattle slaves, the people who are forced to work for those who own them. Millions of human beings are still owned, and billions of people are rented. This is a degrading system - though it doesn't have to be this way.
Next, my opponent goes into all the ways wage slavery is voluntary. "You can go on welfare, steal, go to jail, work for yourself, live off savings." Well, first of all, there are work requirements for welfare, and second, social welfare would not exist in an anarcho capitalist society. Even with welfare, private charity does not solve the problem of poverty, which causes 1 in 6 AMERICANS to go hungry. Steal - well that's a good point. When you live in a society where you can either go hungry, or rent yourself as a wage slave, or steal, there will be plenty of crime. Go to jail, again, that's great - either starve, lose freedom as a wage slave, or lose freedom behind bars. Live off savings - if you have savings to live off of. Typically, poor people DO NOT HAVE MONEY. Employ yourself, well that's a good point, in a libertarian socialist society, people can employ themselves in worker owned cooperatives. That is the way people can, working together, choose to liberate themselves. (In a Capitalist system, some have the skills and capital necessary to employ themselves, but this isn't an option for everyone. In a Libertarian Socialist system, people can work together and employ themselves.)
"And all of this leaves aside the fact that there is no socio economic system in which one CANNOT work or starve. Does my opponent imagine that the collective would allow me to freeload, to mock them all day and eat from the common store without working?" Let me be clear. My opponent is right. Work or starve, on some level, is a necessary choice. At some point, coercing people into working is a necessary evil - otherwise, society would cease to function. Take a Kibbutz. In order to join a Kibbutz, people have to work for the Kibbutz. The thing that is unnecessary, is work for an employer and rent oneself at a wage which is lower than the value of your own labor whilst you surrender your freedom to those who manage you - or starve. Is work necessary? Yes. Is wage slavery necessary? No.
"At least state socialism - terribly flawed as this ideology is - attempts a solution to the problem of economic calculation. Anarcho-socialism, or syndicalism, or libertarian socialism does not. What you would have is absolute chaos, anarchy in the pejorative sense. On the market, consumer demand informs entrepreneurs through price signals exactly how much of what is needed wear." *where
Now, this is just silly. First of all, during the evolutionary phase from Capitalism to Syndicalism, Worker owned coops and syndicates do respond to the market. In Revolutionary Spain, Syndicalism was very effective - economically speaking. In fact, in some cases, productivity went up 25%! Now, say you have a completely Libertarian Socialist society, and there is no longer any such thing as money. Well, the thing my opponent is forgetting is just how democratic this society will be. People can be in assemblies and say what they need, and the workers councils will take that into account. This coordination is not top down, it is bottom up, and therefore, it will be better suited to meet all of our needs. Now, free market Capitalism creates demand with slick advertizing. When people are placed above profits, and when people directly control the society they live in, demand will be organic, in the sense that people will know what they need, and what the worker coops should produce. The worker councils and coops will be aware of this.
"The state does not prop up capitalism. It is the complete opposite of capitalism." So, Corporate welfare doesn't exist. Public Universities don't exist. The enforcement of contracts do not exist. The police does not exist. Bailouts - the socialization of losses and the privatization of profits, do not exist. This is an alternative universe. When speaking about modern, neoliberal Capitalism as we know it, we have to acknowledge the vital role the state plays in propping up big business. Now, Anarcho Capitalists typically make the distinction between "Crony Capitalism" and "free market Capitalism". It appears that my opponent is not even making this distinction. In response to my point about private defense forces, my opponent says, "But the very point is that they would not be a MONOPOLY on force but a market on force. Different police forces would be a check on each other, to ensure that rampant criminality did not get unpunished and to allow consumers to boycott if they feel their rights are being violated by one particular agency." Well, there might be different private police forces, but they will be controlled by the same socioeconomic class - the people who can afford their own private armies. And there will be a market, for violent, suppressive "defense" forces which cannot be held accountable - there are already examples of this. The Pinkerton army was used to violently break up strikes. Paramilitary groups in Central America are still being used to do this today. What will prevent this, the market? So long as there are people or companies willing to hire thugs, there will be a market for the use of violence against the powerless - the economcially powerless, for instance -- those who do not have the means to hire thugs.
Contention 4: Freedom of speech
"Freedom of speech, like all rights, is derived from property. I do not have the right to go into your house and lecture you about capitalism."
Sigh. My opponent is conflating private property rights over the means of production (factories and shops, for instance) with personal property rights. I do not believe in private property rights over the means of production, since this leads to wage slavery. I do strongly believe in personal property rights, over one's own home, family heirlooms, etc. No one has the right to take another person's home, but workers should have the right to collectively control and own a factory. Otherwise, they are not free.
"The notion that an inferior would be free to speak their mind to a superior in your system is ludicrous." The notion that there would be an inferior or a superior in my system is ludicrous. In small shops, worker's councils will consist of every worker. In larger businesses, representatives could be recalled at any time.
What about migrant workers, who, horrors! work for less than the minimum wage. Well what about them? Why is it that people break the law, take tremendous risk to our own lives in order to work these ostensibly terrible jobs? The reality is, they're not terrible jobs, not by the standards of people who live in nations where laissez-faire capitalism never had the chance to take hold. These horrible demeaning jobs that you would no doubt like to legislate out of existence are in fact a tremendous opportunity for people to earn money, to send money back home to take care of poor relatives, people who are poor not by the absurd standards of western society where owning your own house and car and having air conditioning is "poor" but where you don't have food, or clothes or soap poor. The real crime isn't that employers hire these people but instead the minimum wage itself which doesn't increase wages but mandates unemployment specifically for those who are low skilled and generally poor. This is of course well understood in economics but my opponent, like all of his ilk, does not understand the first thing about economics yet feels qualified to lecture all day on economic topics.
As far as SOCIAL welfare, it absolutely would exist in an anarcho-capitalist society. It is STATE welfare which would be abolished. Social welfare, unlike state welfare, is personal and not a right, it is targeted and can easily be withdrawn if it is being abused. As for the work requirements for welfare, that's a joke.
Money is one of the most important inventions of mankind. If you eliminate it you are back to barter for trade, and of course the problem with barter is the double coincidence of wants. Presumably your answer is to have all goods put into the common store, but then there are insoluble problems here, as was discovered in soviet russia, in the early experiments in communism implemented by the Christian millienialists, in Cuba and everywhere else. Who exactly deserves what? Inevitably the people who are in power, the people who are in charge of the common store get whatever they want and there is little left over for anyone else. Why anyone believes this foolish nonsense despite the absolute disaster it has always been when it is implemented is beyond me.
Advertising doesn't create demand. It does serve the very important task of letting consumers know what is on the market. You can advertise a crappy product all you want and you won't sell much. Entrepreneurs make profits by bringing things to consumers that they want and can use.
The distinction between 'personal property' and private property is a very convenient fiction for communists who suddenly realize how absolutely critical private property is and need some way to smuggle it back into their system. You can summarize it by saying private property is everything owned by everyone else, personal property is everything owned by me. And that is the core of this philosophy - what is yours is mine and what is mine is mine. Just loot what other people have, because we want it, and we can take it, and who gives a damn about how hard they worked to create it. It's easier to rob than it is to work.
Let's go down the flow.
Contention 1: should be extended yet again.
"Clearly, you are equating chattel slavery with wage slavery. That's why you use the word slavery. Of course such a position is idiotic and you are wise to run away from it". There have been many systems of slavery throughout history, and to equate any of those systems with each other is often a bad idea. Now remember, this is a type of slavery which nearly everyone in 19th Century America talked about, from the farmers and artisans who wanted to avoid it, the slave owners who wanted to feel better about chattel slavery, the wage slaves themselves, and Abraham Lincoln. I am not running away from the word because there is something wrong with people renting themselves for wages. My opponent has yet to demonstrate why it is not demeaning for people to rent themselves for wages. He has yet to show you that these wages are equivalent to the work people put in. He has yet to show you why a paternalistic system of "scientific management" is necessary. He has not, because he cannot. All my opponent tries to do is call it an insult to the chattel slaves who picked cotton. Cars may be owned or rented, but why should human beings?
"What about migrant workers, who, horrors! work for less than the minimum wage. Well what about them? Why is it that people break the law, take tremendous risk to our own lives in order to work these ostensibly terrible jobs? "
Why? Because NAFTA forced Mexican farmers to compete with subsidized American food. (But the State doesn't prop up Capitalism!) Free trade in action, displacing people as we speak. The fact is, that 1 in 6 people in America's workforce are food supply workers. Here are some quick facts about people who work in the food supply: 79% of these workers do not have a paid sick day,(43% of all Americans don't have a paid sick day) and 58% of them do not have health insurance. 10% work more than 10 hours a day, the majority works 60 hours a week, 81% never got a promotion, 52% didn't get safety or health training, and wages are lower for minorities and women than they are for white males. Speaking of low wages, 86% of the people in the food supply live in poverty and face high levels of food insecurity. Imagine, handling food all day without being sure if you can eat. www.triplepundit.com/2012/06/new-report-poor-working-conditions-among-food-workers/. The reason why the "horror stories" aren't worse is because Unions have, since the 19th Century, been making working conditions better than they once were. People have had to struggle, and the struggle clearly isn't finished.
12.5 to 27 million people work as chattel slaves,(in 2013) and over 6 billion people work as wage slaves. www.hermes-press.com/new_slavery.htm
Contention 3: Under tyrannical "anarcho" Capitalism, police forces, and whole armies will be privately controlled and could oppress the masses. Not only has this been done in the past by the Pinkerton Army, but it is still being done in Central America by paramilitary groups which have been hired by the highest bidder.
Contention 4: There is far more freedom of speech in a cooperative than there is in a corporation. In a cooperative, people work together, democratically manage their workplace, and are more free. My opponent compared anarcho syndicalism to Soviet Communism! There is not a connection between the two systems. Corporations, in their odd way, resemble the Soviet government. There is a CEO (the Premier or Party Chairman) the board of directors (the Central committee), and a long line of bosses and bosses of bosses. The trouble with Soviet Communism, and the problem with Capitalism as well, is that there is way too much hierarchy. Hierarchy leads to a society and workplace which is less democratic, and less free. There is far more freedom of speech,and freedom to be creative, in a system where people manage themselves.
"The real crime isn't that employers hire these people but instead the minimum wage itself which doesn't increase wages but mandates unemployment specifically for those who are low skilled and generally poor."
Arguably, unemployment serves a function in a Capitalist economy, giving employers more leverage over their employees. Furthermore, there are ways of reducing unemployment without reducing wages. This is irrelevant, in any case, because minimum wage laws won't be needed in a society where working people own the means of production.
"Presumably your answer is to have all goods put into the common store, but then there are insoluble problems here, as was discovered in soviet russia, in the early experiments in communism implemented by the Christian millienialists, in Cuba and everywhere else."
For many decades, the Kibbutz in Israel was a place where there wasn't any money, and it worked quite well for a long time. Now, let me clarify. As there is more Libertarian Socialism, more people may choose to live in communes without money. Others may choose to work in worker owned coops for money. Now, there would still be markets, but instead of having corporations in these markets, there would be worker owned cooperatives. The key difference between Anarcho syndicalism/Libertarian Socialism and Capitalism is that workers would own and control the means of production. Life would be more democratic and more free. Capitalism is rule from the top. People are managed and controlled, and they are rented for wages which do not fully compensate their work. Soviet Communism is rule from the top. A central government would have the keys to the store - so to speak. Anarcho Syndicalism/Libertarian Socialism is rule from the bottom up, 1 person, 1 vote. True economic democracy.
"The distinction between 'personal property' and private property is a very convenient fiction for communists who suddenly realize how absolutely critical private property is and need some way to smuggle it back into their system." a. I am not in favor of communism. b. There is a difference between a house and a factory. You live in your house. People work in your factory. You can either democratically control the place you work in, or you will be controlled.
"Just loot what other people have, because we want it, and we can take it, and who gives a damn about how hard they worked to create it."
Is my opponent describing Capitalism? Under Capitalism, people may work very hard, but they still see money which they earned wind up in a wise investors pocket.
Now what of this claim that private armies and police forces could oppress the masses. Of course where there is any sort of power structure there is the potential for abuse - this is precisely why we advocate for power to be decentralized and diffused across different groups instead of concentrated in the hands of one organization. How easy it is - and we have seen time and time again in virtually every country in the world - for one or two bad apples to seize control of the state apparatus and to inflict their insanity upon an entire nation. This is EXACTLY why we want competing courts and competing police forces, so that if one is tyrannical you can ignore it and go to the competition, so that there is an inherent check in the form of consumers, acting in their own self interest in the market place, to ensure that these abuses don't occur. Of course they could occur - anarcho capitalism is not utopia - but the potential for abuse is much lesser when you have decentralized power and multiple competing defense agencies, courts and police instead of when all the power is concentrated in one organization your "municipal government in the form of assemblies".
Under capitalism people get paid roughly what they contribute to the production process. It is through the state that one can simply take, by force, what another has created and this is EXACTLY what my opponent plans to do. Every factory that was ever built, every rail road, every mill, these were all created by individuals who risked their capital and managed to triumph and create great prosperity. Now, instead of honouring all the jobs they created, all the wealth they produced and how they built the incredible society we see all around us, my opponent and his ragtag band of hippie supporters want to use violence to rob these men of their property. It's sickening.
The reality is, that libertarian socialism, if enacted, would be an absolute hell hole, where people would toil for sixteen hours a day simply to scrounge a living out of the dirt. Without money, the division of labour society, without capitalism or private ownership of the means of production our society would decline dramatically and almost immediately. Within a generation all of the capital and wealth that was created by capitalism would be used up by the looters (those who are closest to the revolution consuming the bulk of that wealth) and we would be left to hopelessly scrounge for a meager subsistence. My opponent wants to do away with capitalism but neglects to realize that capitalism is the reason why we have computers, automobiles, air conditioning, big screen televisions, comfortable beds, even public transportation or ipods. It's incredible really, even something as simple as a ham sandwich requires the cooperation of people from virtually every country around the world, and the only way to coordinate the dizzyingly complex array of various factors of production is through the price system. My opponents ideal society would indeed be anarchy in the pejorative, a brutal, lawless decaying society in which might and political clout triumph and everyone is left to languish in abject poverty and misery.
Now, not only would there be local self government, but all institutions will be controlled by the people who participate in them (hence, the worker's councils). Now, the worker's councils would democratically control the workplace - town councils would make decisions within the community. Indigenous tribes which were basically anarchistic did at times need to make group decisions. Anarchy means without rulers, it does not mean without rules - hence, no police, no Presidents, Governors, Mayors, CEOs. People would collaborate. Libertarian Socialists are okay with local self government without the state. On the other hand, Anarcho Capitalists are okay with states without government.
Anarcho Capitalists are okay with private defense companies because they say, "they defend people, and not areas." But of course, people live in areas, and their property has a geographical location i.e. area. Every piece of property protected by a private defense company is an area where someone has a monopoly over the legitimate use of force. Therefore, Anarcho Capitalists want thousands of states controlled exclusively by a class of people which can afford its own armies. The average consumer of defense services may have a home alarm system, but people who can afford their own army will act as despots. We're talking about real Neo Feudalism in the 21st century - tyranny from the top down, not freedom from the bottom up. My opponent mentioned private police, private courts. I assume the prisons will be private. Well, when your making a profit by keeping people in Jail, bad things tend to occur; bribed judges, and extraordinarily long sentences. For instance, look at this: www.inquisitr.com/211740/u-s-judges-admit-to-jailing-children-for-money/
Now, my first contention is about the origins of anarchism and Libertarianism. The first people to describe themselves as anarchists, or to (politically) describe themselves as Libertarians were in fact socialists. Murray Rothbard, the man who coined the term "Anarcho Capitalism" said, "that we are not anarchists, and those who call us anarchists are not on firm etymological ground, and are being completely unhistorical." He explained that "all" anarchists have "socialistic elements in their doctrines." Now, my opponent has had 4 rounds to refute this point, but he has not because he could not. It is highly relevant, because if Anarcho Capitalists cannot be described as anarchists or libertarians, than how can they claim to bring about more liberty then those who are, in Rothbards words,"on firm etymological grounds?" My opponent would have needed to argue that anarchism and libertarianism are somehow authoritarian, and he has not made any such argument, because he knows that such an argument would sound ridiculous.
My second contention is about wage slavery. At first, my opponent claimed that I was being insensitive to people who have been chattel slaves by equating chattel slavery with wage slavery. I did nothing of the sort. I pointed out that there have been numerous slave systems throughout history, and to equate any one of those systems to another system would be silly. I also pointed out that while chattel slaves are owned, and sold into slavery, wage slaves are rented, by the hour. My opponent could only talk about how insulting this was; he was not able to show you why or how someone could be free while that person is being rented by the hour, and being managed to boot.
"Under capitalism people get paid roughly what they contribute to the production process." No, that isn't how a profit is made. Profit is made by "buying cheap and selling dear." That doesn't just refer to goods. That refers to the way labor is rented under a wage system. If input was equal to ouput, middlemen wouldn't be making fortunes due to capital gains and ridiculously unequal salaries.
Now, I've already addressed my third contention (Capitalism and the State) in great detail. Clearly, Anarcho Capitalists are the statists, and Libertarian Socialists are against any state.
"It is through the state that one can simply take, by force, what another has created and this is EXACTLY what my opponent plans to do." What is this, a conspiracy theory? I don't want to use the state to take anything by force. I want evolution. I want the market to evolve, and for worker owned cooperatives to gradually replace Corporations. Some more radical libertarian socialists favor worker takeovers, or expropriation. In my view, expropriation of an existing business is only warranted if that business is closing down. In Argentina, workers who otherwise would have lost their livelihoods due to the closing of factories, occupied, resisted, and expropriated these factories, and turned them into coops. I have no objection to that, because these factories would have closed. Expropriation itself is different from nationalization, because the means and ends are direct rather than indirect. In other words, workers act on their own, without any help from the state, and take over something which otherwise, mind you, would have been shut down. Now, other than that, I do not favor taking anything, I favor slowly evolving away from Capitalism, towards Libertarian Socialism. This entails starting up worker coops, and, if rather than shutting down a business, owners decide to put a business on sale, workers can put their money together, fundraise, and buy the business. That is what I favor. My opponent can put words in my mouth, he can argue against a straw man, but that doesn't mean a thing.
"The reality is, that libertarian socialism, if enacted, would be an absolute hell hole, where people would toil for sixteen hours a day simply to scrounge a living out of the dirt."
My opponent has been making this claim throughout the whole debate. He has not substantiated this claim with any examples of Libertarian Socialism being a hell hole. There is a good reason for this. The historical evidence suggests that Libertarian Socialism has been successful in the past. My opponent, for good reason, did not spend a moment talking about the Kibbutz, or about the Spanish Revolution.(Though the Fascists won the Spanish Civil War, Libertarian Socialism was widespread during the revolution and the economy did quite well).
Contention 4: Freedom of speech. In a top down organization or society, there is less freedom of speech. This is especially true when you consider my third contention - rule by private armies could suppress free speech in and outside of the workplace. And to reiterate, though there will be voluntary self government and free association in a Libertarian Socialist society, there will be privately controlled states in a Anarcho Capitaist society. It isn't just freedom of speech; perhaps the greatest measure of freedom is one's control over work.
When you put the state in charge of every aspect of society, tyranny is the inevitable result. The only freedom that matters, the only freedom that really exists, is economic freedom. When the state can take from me my income, my livelihood, my property - essentially, my life - then I am completely at the whim of some bureaucrat and that power will certainly be lorded over me, as people are apt to do. Perhaps you relish letting some body of men have total domination over you but that is not my wish. I want only freedom, the ability to own property and to contract voluntarily with others, to be able to trade with others. That's all.
Monopoly means single seller. That is clearly what we have today - a single "seller" of police services. But what I am proposing is to have a free market in policing. Many sellers. A competitive market in policing. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? By not granting absolute dominion over society, by having competing police and by strictly limiting police powers to nothing in excess of ordinary citizens, that is how we will watch the watchers. Unlike in the modern system and your world, there is no state to pay for each prisoner, so it is unlikely that particular abuse would occur as there is no guaranteed stream of income for each prisoner. Now what is the record of communist nations on locking people up? The slave state in Soviet Russia had a lot of people thrown in gulags so don't talk to me about a social system which will see too many people incarcerated. And by eliminating all victimless crimes we will greatly reduce the number of people who are punished by the legal system. My opponent wants to go in the other direction and criminalize vast amounts of non criminal action (i.e. every aspect of voluntary interaction on the market place)! As if we didn't have too many laws and too many "criminals" created by the state so that it can crack down on them and justify it's monstrous existence already.
I agree with you that claiming working for an employer is anything like being owned and savagely abused by another is stupid, insensitive and outrageous so it only perplexes me why you and your ilk continue to do it constantly.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.