The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
17 Points

America should become a Social Democracy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/16/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,897 times Debate No: 30318
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (5)




Social Democracy - a country that democratically achieves socialist goals within a Capitalist framework through a strong welfare state and the regulation of private industry.
Should - ought to
become - I define this contextually
America - The United States of America
Let me clarify a few points. Firstly, socialism has been given a bad name by the USSR. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics wasn't just socialist, it was a communist country. While all communists are also socialists, not all socialists are communists. Social Democracy is a moderate ideology, between Capitalism on the right, and Communism on the left. It's ends and means are democratic, gradual, and economically feasible. If people want it they can give birth to it at the ballot box, and if it eventually no longer suits them, they can kill it at the ballot box.

A Social Democracy guarantees access to certain basic necessities of modern life. For instance, a Social Democracy guarantees universal health care, dental care, education, social insurance, welfare, old age pension, and equal rights to all of it's citizens. Naturally, there is higher taxation in order to pay for this. People in Social Democracies are free - they still have all their civil liberties, and the right to vote. They additionally are given freedom by their greater financial security. This brings me to my first contention.
Contention 1: Americans will be more free in a Social Democracy
While the Declaration of Independence was an eloquent document, it did not win over as many common people as Thomas Paine's pamphlet, published in the same year - Common Sense. Thomas Paine was influenced by Enlightenment thinking. He believed in liberty. Once the American Revolutionary War had ended, Paine believed we weren't doing enough for freedom. Many, including Jefferson, still had slaves. Paine wanted to abolish slavery. He later went even further than this, in 1795, when he wrote Agrarian Justice. He wrote that the unequal distribution of property was essentially theft. He wrote that every 21 year old should be given a sum of money (15 British pounds, which would have been more than enough for subsistence) and that all people over 50 should be given 10 British pounds a year, "not as charity, but as social justice." That sounds fairly socialist by today's standards. Here was a man who wanted society to be more democratic, more fair, and more free at the same time. This in a nutshell, is the society a social democracy would create.
Contention 2: Social Democracy works.
Sweden recovered from the recession faster than we did. Canada (which is relatively more socially democratic than the U.S) had already finished recovering in 2009. Norway has the greatest GDP per Capita, in the World. According to an OECD study, Finland has the best education system, in the world. Denmark has the most social mobiltiy in the world. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, but we are 10th in social mobility. This is because societies which are more rigidly laissez faire tend to create socioeconomic conditions which make social mobility more difficult. This is a list of the top 10 socially mobile countries:1. Denmark, 2. Australia, 3. Norway, 4. Finland, 5. Canada, 6. Sweden, 7. Germany, 8. Spain, 9. France, and 10. USA
All the countries ahead of us are at least slightly more socialist than we are. And by slightly I mean that they all have universal health care coverage. Obamacare is a solution which works within the private sector, (and the plan was based on a similar plan from the Heritage Foundation, a plan more conservative than Nixon's) and even once it is completely implemented, there will not be universal healthcare. While we are on the subject of healthcare, I should note that many people claim that the U.S. healthcare system is the best in the world. However, the World Health Organization ranked the U.S. 38th in health care, in the world. 38! America shouldn't settle for 38. Especially when America is number 1 in health care expenditures. When profits are put over people, healthcare becomes more expensive, less effective, and less readily available.

Contention 3: Happiness
One of the most important questions in this debate is whether living in a Social Democracy, or living in a Capitalist system would make people happier. In my view, the best metric to use when judging a system is whether or not it is conducive to, or detrimental to the happiness of people living within that system. I understand that happiness is subjective. It should be noted however, that OECD did an international survey which measured happiness around the world. These were the 10 top happiest countries on earth: 1. Norway, 2. Denmark, 3. Australia, 4. New Zealand, 5. Sweden, 6. Canada, 7. Finland, 8. Switzerland, 9. The Netherlands, and 10. USA
Note that this list is nearly identical to the one on social mobility. Once again, all of the countries happier than the US are also more socialist than the U.S. The amount of socialism varies country to country, but again, all of these countries have universal healthcare.
Contention 4: Greater socioeconomic equality isn't only better for society, it is also better for economic stability
Let's say that there are 600 cars for sale. Let's say that there is a large middle class - 590 people can afford one car per person, and one very rich guy can afford 10. 590 cars will probably get sold. The rich guy will buy anything between 1 and 10 cars, and that's fine.
Let's say, on the other hand, that your selling cars in a very stratified society. 200 middle class folks can afford 1 car each. The other 390 people can't afford a car. The rich guy can afford 400 cars. 200 cars will definitely get sold. While the rich guy can afford 400 cars, he'll still only buy 1-10. Okay, McCain has 13. But still, the rich guy will not be buying a fleet of 400 cars.
Socioeconomic inequality is the root cause of our buisness cycle. Over the last 30 years, as the gap between rich and poor has grown, the following has happened: Nearly all economic growth went to the top. Middle and lower income wages have stagnated, even as productivity skyrocketed. When we produce more than we can sell, that hurts our economy. This is the root cause of boom and bust. (In addition to weak regulations which allowed Wall Street to go crazy). Furthermore, governments which do more to directly employ people in times of recession are better at countering the business cycle. Democratic Socialism, or Social Democracy, enabled countries like Sweden and Canada and Germany to recover far more quickly than the U.S.

Should we settle for a society which is increasingly stratified and unequal? A society wherein 46 million people are living below the poverty line? Should we accept the fact that our educational and health systems are lagging behind other industrialized countries? Or should we forge a better society, and a better country. Let's alleviate poverty. Let's strengthen the middle and working classes. Let's make sure that nobody has to hit rock bottom - that certain basic necessities are available to anyone down on their luck. It's the right thing to do morally speaking. It makes economic sense. And it fullfills the American Dream. Some say that freedom from want isn't really an American freedom. The truth is that you don't have to look any further than the Statue of Libery: Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.


1. Freedom

My opponent has showed many faults with the current government system, namely our support for slavery in the early years. But this is not a good argument until we can compare that progress with other social democracies; we cannot have a bad unless we can show a good. There were no social democracies in that time period so we cannot conclude the democracies would have abolished slavery faster.

2. Happiness and money

Social democracy would hardly have a free market, as my opponent’s definition even includes a highly regulated market! If this is true, then most of the happiest countries are not social democracies.

(a) Denmark: Denmark has a freer market than the US according to the Heritage Free Market Index. With low spending, high property rights, and almost perfect business freedom (I.e. little regulation) it is hard to say they have adopted a social democracy in their business system [1].

(b) Canada: Canada also has low corruption and high property rights ratings, as well as stable fiscal spending and monetary policies. Based on the definition of a social democracies economic freedom, Canada is also not a social democracy [2].

(c) New Zealand: New Zealand has a 99.9 business freedom rating; hardly heavily regulated. They have little corruption and stable monetary policies. Again, it seems social democracies don’t adopt what my opponent says they do [3].

(d) Norway: Although America is not really what the founding fathers meant it to be, we are becoming socialists, we still are “mostly free” according to the heritage index. Norway scores only slightly under the US on their ratings [4]. It seems as though their happiness comes from factors other than economics or their rights given to them by their system.

Citing Europe and calling them social democracies is faulty, the only true social democracy in Europe would be Sweden. Most of Europe is embracing free market reforms, not socialistic/democratic ones. They are cutting safety nets, cutting taxes, and decreasing regulation while increasing free trade [5]. This makes my opponents C 1 and 2 invalid, as most of these countries do not adopt social democratic economic reforms, and as they stay free the people stay happy.

C: The ideas proposed by Social Democrats always fail

Social Democracies were popular in Europe until their economic collapse in the Eurozone, caused by liberal spending, taxation, and regulation policies. As stated, the vast majority of these countries quickly enacted economic reforms that would increase economic freedom expanding entrepreneur profit and cut social safety nets.

But we can get to that in a minute. The Eurozone crisis is a social democracies Waterloo, their once admired policies sent them into continent wide recession, with only countries like Germany, who refrained from first enacting social-democratic economic principles for recovery, standing. Greece, Spain, and Italy went with more social-democratic reforms to their system. Now, the countries that implemented pro-market reforms essentially fund these failing countries. When studying the European crisis, R. R. Reno writes “Both Keynesian and monetary policies have effects similar to regulation, subsidy, and taxation. They mute and distort market signals. … Many commentators have pointed out that exactly these distorted market signals led many Americans to over-invest in the housing market, pushing up prices and creating the bubble that eventually burst. What goes unnoticed is the far greater and far more important effects of this distortion, which as I’ve argued in intrinsic to social democracy.” The writer also noted that although the middle class, under these systems, have economic stability, the wealthy do not and their economic performance hindered in the long haul [6].

Back to regulation. The regulations in America are already harming our business. The National Association of Manufacturers notes they cannot produce due to American regulation, and imagine how much worse that would be under the quasi-socialist system my opponent is proposing. The NAM notes, “As our nation’s economy has stalled and much uncertainty remains, manufacturers are telling Congress overregulation is hurtful to job creation and economic growth. Manufacturers continue to face burdensome regulation after regulation from Washington. … “Currently, it is 20 percent more expensive for manufacturers to do business in the United States compared to nine of our major trading partners,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Unnecessary and burdensome regulations are driving up costs, making it difficult for manufacturers to hire. With slower job growth last month, it is clear that manufacturers need Washington to step up and cut the regulatory burden stifling growth.”[7] My opponent essentially wants us to make our current problem worse.

Social democracy is also large on tax increases and limiting entrepreneurial growth [8]. The CATO institute notes how economic growth caused by Reagans tax cuts versus Carters tax increases show the market loves to keep it’s money [9]. It makes sense! Would you rather have 10% of what you make, or 99%? 20%, or 90%? Keeping money in people’s pockets encourages business to grow and investments to rise, its simple logic. Taking away people’s money makes them invest less because they can’t afford it.

Before and after WWII serves a good comparison. Fascism does not implement the social policy of social democrats, but does support similar economic reforms since both come from socialist ideas. After WWII as pro-market reforms of tax cuts, lowering inflation, and de-regulation caused “large productivity gains”[10].

Now, only two true social democracies exist: France and Sweden [11]. America, again not what it should be, is still not there yet. We are only a medium welfare state, compared to their large welfare states. However, we outperform them in long-term growth and income. Obviously, we need to account for other factors! A CATO Study looked into other factors, and concluded it was social democratic welfare ideas that kept them from surpassing us, indicating we should either stay the same or even become more free market [12][13].


It is hard to see how my opponent won this debate mostly using weak comparisons ignoring the fact social democracy does not exist in those countries, and the countries that are true social democoracies are failing.













Debate Round No. 1


First, I'll address my opponents arguments.
1. Freedom
My opponent was missing the point. I wasn't saying that social democracies would have ended slavery any faster. All I was pointing out was that Thomas Paine, a man who arguably was one of our founding fathers, was ahead of his time. Not only did he believe in civil liberties, not only did he believe in more liberty (he wanted to abolish slavery) but he also believed that financial security was conducive, rather than detrimental to liberty. I was also pointing out that Paine's dream for America had many elements of a social democracy.
2. Happiness and money
My opponent makes some interesting concessions and claims. First, he essentially concedes that Denmark and Canada could be societal and economic models. Then he claims that they aren't socially democratic.
Both countries are more socially democratic than we are because they both have universal healthcare. But that's not all.
Denmark's Prime Minister is Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and she's a Social Democrat. Moreover, the Social Democrats have held power for most of the previous century.
Secondly, the official website of Denmark has this to say about its welfare state:
The basic principle of the Danish welfare system, often referred to as the Scandinavian welfare model, is that all citizens have equal rights to social security. Within the Danish welfare system, a number of services are available to citizens, free of charge. This means that for instance the Danish health and educational systems are free. The Danish welfare model is subsidised by the state, and as a result Denmark has one of the highest taxation levels in the world.
My opponent points out that the Danes have deregulated their economy, in recent years. One example of this deregulation is flexicurity. Denmark had regulations which made it harder for businesses to hire and fire people. Denmark got rid of those regulations, that's the flexi part in flexisecurity. But what was the security? While they made it easier to fire people, they also strengthened unemployment benefits. Denmark is 1st in social mobility.
Norway has been politically dominated by it's Labour Party for years. Labour is a socially democratic party. Norway has universal healthcare, and we don't. Norway is 1st in GDP per capita.
New Zealand: Not only does New Zealand have universal healthcare, social security, family benefits and benefits for single parents, but they also have state owned housing which helps many people who might otherwise be homeless. We should be taking notes.
"Citing Europe and calling them social democracies is faulty, the only true social democracy in Europe would be Sweden. Most of Europe is embracing free market reforms, not socialistic/democratic ones. They are cutting safety nets, cutting taxes, and decreasing regulation while increasing free trade [5]. " Again, these countries have many features of social democracy which we simply don't have. They might be cutting taxes, and benefits, but their taxes are stil higher, and their benefits are still more generous.
Furthermore, I don't mind defending Sweden, which is far from a failure. The country collapsing in the Eurozone is Greece, and that's because they tried socialism with low taxes. That wasn't going to work.
Sweden has free health care, free dental care, benefits for families with children, an educational allowance which allows every kid to either get a higher education, or go to vocational school, without getting into debt. They also have Social Security, and Elderly care.
The list goes on and on. Their top marginal tax rate is 60%, and people are still happy. Stefan Perrson lives in Sweden, pays that rate, and he's still the 17th richest man in the world.
Social Mobility is hgher in Sweden than it is in America. Their wealth is also more evenly distributed. While the top 20% of Americans have 8 times more money than the bottom 20% of Americans, the top 20% of Swedes have 4 times more than the bottom 20% of Swedes. The smaller gap between rich and poor, and the security of the Swedish welfare state, creates socioeconomic conditons which allow for more social mobility. Sweden is 6th in social mobility, America is 10th. The already rich may not be able to get as rich, but poor and middle class Swedes have a better chance of getting wealthy. Sweden is also the 5th happiest country in the world, and we're 10th. Note that the Swedes are happier than we are, even though they have very little sunlight for half the year.
Many opponents of social democracy claim that social democratic reforms reduce innovation and hurt the economy. My opponent used several Cato and Heritage foundation studies to make this point. Yet Stockholm, Sweden, is a major hub for European startups. If anything, financial security helps foster innovation because poor people have more time and money to come up with the next big idea.
Another false assumption is that social democracy can't be payed for. When the recession began, Sweden was in a strong fiscal position, with a budget surplus. Their surplus allowed them to spend more money, and this helped Sweden counter the recession. Sweden and Canada and Germany (Germany and Canada also have some features of social democracy including universal health care) were able to recover far faster than the U.S.
My opponent argues that regulations started the recession. The truth is that 30 years of deregulatory policies allowed Wall Street to run wild. My opponent mentions the housing bubble. This happened because there wasn't proper oversight over predatory lending. Greedy overspeculation caused the recession. Paul Krugman is a noble laureate in economics, and he explained this in an interview. Here is the link:
My opponent also argues that tax policies hurt entrepreneurial growth. The Reagan and Bush tax cuts had very little, if any trickle down effect. While most economic growth went to the top, lower and middle income wages have stagnated even as inflation decreased their buying power. These tax cuts have caused greater socioeconomic inequity, which in turn, helped foster economic instability. As I pointed out in round 1, economic inequality reduces consumption and it hurts the economy, and economic instability. This is one of the main causes of boom and bust. My opponent has not refuted this contention.
Furthermore, my opponent did mention the postwar boom. He didn't mention the fact that unions were very strong, and he didn't mention the fact that in the 1950s, our top marginal tax rate was 91%! Stronger unions and higher income taxes, and yes, stronger regulations than we have today, (Glass Steagle, for instance, was still in place) all contributed to 3 things:
1. Less disparity between rich and poor
2. A stronger middle class
3. economic stability.
In fact, from 1945-1981, tax rates never went below 70%. Furthermore, 1945-1971 was a time when our middle class was strongest, and it was also our longest period of economic stability in history. Compare that to the Reagan, and Bush presidencies. A recession in 1983, a recession in 1987, an economy which was bad enough in 1992 for Clinton to win by saying, "It's the economy stupid." One can also recall that Bush jr., who also cut taxes and regulations, was President when our current recession began.
Social Democracy will make our society more fair, more free, more happy, and more prosperous.


C1: Freedom

What is interesting is that my opponent assumes social democracies (again, socialists) would be against slavery. But since the free market promotes autonomy, slavery is one of the greatest injustices according to most libertarian theorists [1]. My opponent makes the assumption that we need social-democracy to ensure freedom, but free-market thinkers have very similar views when it comes to the issue of slavery and personal rights. If libertarianism can accomplish the same goals as social democracy, why should we adopt policies that are not beneficial to an economy? If anything, libertarians and conservatives could offer more freedom because they hold the same views of self-ownership and economic freedom -- so, if anything, social democrats have a disadvantage.

C2: Happiness

Did I concede here? Absolutely not: Canada and Denmark hold fairly conservative economic policies.

Now, the argument that social democrats hold control does not mean that the country itself is socially-democratic. The Democrats in America held congress since WWII - the mid 1990s, but America still holds center right political views [2]. So merely stating one side has held control does not mean what the country is.

Now, I am not denying Denmark has social-democratic policies enacted, indeed America has a medium welfare state. However, Denmark still has many pro-market policies in place indicating Conservative and libertarians still have some influence on the economic policy. As the Heritage Foundation writes about Denmark, "The government took small steps in 2012 to cut back on welfare state benefits and costs. ... The economy is one of the world’s most open with respect to foreign investment, and the investment code is transparent and efficiently administered."[3] Although a large welfare state remains, the fact it was cut and free trade is very strong in the country, it is hard to say it is a social democracy. Denmark also has open markets (free trade - mentioned), low regulation (opposite of social democracy), etc. If fiscal policy is removed from the equation (taxes), then Denmark is more free market than the US [4]. So no, Denmark is not a good example.

My opponent concedes they have made it easier to fire people: that is a libertarian dream, not a social democrat ideal! If this is what my opponent means by social mobility, he admits Denmark is fairly right wing!

Again, someone controlling a country does not mean the country is that ideology. Also, after looking at the stats, Norway is actually quite poor. Most of the comparisons are before taxes, when after taxes Americans have more income left in their pocket and have lower housing costs [5].

America has all of the things mentioned by my opponent: and we're not a social democracy. Also, NZ has a mixed healthcare system, not universal. They have been phasing out universal healthcare in return for more pro-market options [6]. With a lot of deregulation, fairly low tax rates, cutting tariffs, the country is very conservative. The Heritage Foundation notes, "largely deregulated the economy, which is powered mainly by agriculture but also benefits from a flourishing manufacturing sector, thriving tourism, and a strong renewable geothermal energy resource base. ... The top income tax rate is 33 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 28 percent."[7] Again, not a social democracy.

Wait wait wait... Greece collapsed due to low tax rates? Popycock. They have a 41% tax rate for those who they consider wealthy, and those making 40-60,000 Euros face a 38% tax rate [8].

You and I agree; Sweden is a social democracy. You cite many goods of the system, high wealth right? How about the fact that their productivity has fallen hugely, their income is actually less than the US's, and their former long-term growth has been reduced to a long-term stall in growth as their taxation increases. Sweden is indefensible, it is an abysmal failure [9]. From 1870 - 1970, Sweden became one of the poorest to one of the richest countries in the world. But when the government became much more socially democratic, the economy shot itself in the leg. Productivity falling, unemployment increasing, etc. Since the social democrats implemented their policy, by every measure their economy began to sink [10].

Inequality is such a weak argument. In America, the middle class's wealth has been increasing, and so has the rich. But since there is a gap, liberals claim the middle class is dirt poor, even though their conditions have improved. Watch:

Jones makes 10k a year, Smith makes 20k a year, a year later (with no inflation) Jones is making 15k and Smith 30k. Economics professor William Anderson writes, "It is clear that both Jones and Smith are better off than they had been before, although in absolute terms Smith has earned a greater increase in income than has Jones. According to the "inequality" economists, only Smith is better off. In fact, according to their logic, Jones is actually worse off after he has increased his income because the income spread between Smith and him has grown. No matter that both men are better off. Economists have declared, instead, that inequality has become greater."[11]

Since my opponent fails to take into account this statistic in America, yes, this type of thing is occurring here, yet still denies we are getting better, his point is a huge fallacy.

My opponent is using case studies of small areas, and a few hypothetical to make his point. Security does X, Y, Z... But Welfare does not mean the people are stable, it is a stupid argument. You merely move the wealth around. So yes, drunkard Bob has a nice salary, while manager Joe just lost a large amount of his income through taxation. The fact my opponent thinks high taxes help innovators is idiotic. For example, most innovation in the healthcare business has been created in countries that are fairly free-market oriented [12]. My opponent is assuming the poor create most of the ideas, to the contrary it is the wealthy, most harmed by social democracy, that create the innovations. Income inequality seldom impedes innovation [13].

Deregulation cased the housing crisis? Well, my opponent cites Paul Krugman, who by all practical purposes is wrong almost all the time. The main cause of the crisis was the housing bubble. Even liberal economists have admitted that regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the bubble, therefore regulation caused the recession [14]. George Reisman, Ph.D. economist destroys Krugman's argument. Reisman noted the regulation on Wall Street actually is stronger, not weaker, than it ever has been in the century, and that we get less Laissez Faire each day. Reisman, after proving the Carter and Clinton showing acts lead to the housing bubble, and he Federal Reserve also worsened the bubble, he concludes "What this extensive analysis of the actual causes of our financial crisis has shown is that it is government intervention, not a free market or laissez-faire capitalism, that is responsible in every essential respect."[15]

The post-war boom:

1. Effective tax rates were quite low. Although marginal tax rates were high there were so many loopholes the rich payed almost nothing.
2. Labor unions did not cause the boom. After a Bust, there is always a boom. See plucking model.
3. Funny story: in the 1970 bust, the states with the strongest labor unions (PA, for example) did worse than those with weaker unions (the south). Again, data refutes your point.

To the voters, it is very clear who has won. My opponent uses weak data, at best, and fails to account for the countries he cited are actually not social democracies. He also used dubious data for his point on the post war boom and the current recession. He also failed to cite the facts about Sweden. It is clear that I have won the debate. The National Association for Manufacturers has stated regulation is killing them, but still supports regulaiton like social democoracies. We shold definatley not switch.

Debate Round No. 2


Contention 1: Freedom
For starters, if America were to become a Social Democracy, our civil liberties will be preserved. We also, would hopefully have the additonal civil liberties of legalized gay marriage. Furthermore, on economic issues, my opponent and I are actually arguing for two different types of freedom. He argues for unfettered Capitalism, a more laissez faire economy. Now while this does guarantee more property rights for the wealthy and the most privileged, I would argue that this means more exploitation, and less freedom for the common people. Before America even did have a welfare or a regulatory state, we were more laissez faire. Sure, business had more freedom. More freedom to contaminate our water supply, exploit child laborers, suppress unions, etc. Social Democracy makes it harder to exploit. By making people free from want, Social Democracies allow people to reach for their aspirations, while free market Capitalism creates conditions which makes social mobility more difficult. Thomas Paine recognized this, which was why he wanted us to do many things which would now be components of a Social Democracy.
Contention 2: Money and Happiness
First, I'll address the Greek point. My opponent brought up the fact that Greece has higher tax rates but neglected to tell you that there fiscal mess was caused by corruption which allowed rich Greeks not to pay taxes.
The fact of the matter is, that Canada and Denmark, and all of the other countries we're debating about, are more socialist than the U.S.
"The government took small steps in 2012 to cut back on welfare state benefits and costs." Small steps. Incremental tinkering does not change the fact that Denmark still has a far stronger welfare state than we do. My point on flexicurity is that even when the Danes were reducing their regulations, they also were beefing up their welfare state. Denmark still has a strong welfare state, and high taxes. It also has more social mobility. Again, Denmark and Canada both have Universal Healthcare.
New Zealand does too. My opponent notes that New Zealand has a mixed system. This means that people have the option of private care, but the government picks up the slack giving healthcare coverage to everyone who cannot afford private care.
"The burden for the core of the healthcare system rests with government expenditure (approx. 77%)." Note that this was backed with a citation which links to the World Health Organization. So, not only is there universal healthcare in New Zealand, but the vast majority of New Zealanders get their healthcare from the government. New Zealand may not have an extremely progressive tax code, but it stil does have more universal benefits than the U.S. New Zealand has government housing and universal healthcare. The point still stands. Again, all the countries ahead of us in social mobility:
1. Denmark, 2. Australia, 3. Norway, 4. Finland, 5. Canada, 6. Sweden, 7. Germany, 8. Spain, 9. France, and 10. USA
All of these countries are at least slightly more socialist than the U.S.. all of these countries have universal health care.
The countries ahead of us in happiness are: 1. Norway, 2. Denmark, 3. Australia, 4. New Zealand, 5. Sweden, 6. Canada, 7. Finland, 8. Switzerland, 9. The Netherlands, and 10. USA
My opponent said Norway, New Zealand, Canada, and Denmark aren't really Social Democracies. I pointed out that all of these countries are at leas more socialist than the U.S. Furthermore, that still leaves 6 countries which are ahead of us, 6 countries which, at the very least have universal healthcare. Clearly, countries that are more socially democratic have people who are more socially mobile, and people who are happier.
My opponent notes economic growth in Sweden from the period 1870-1970. He omits the fact that this was the period when Sweden became a Social Democracy! By the 1930s, many people were praising Swedish Social Democracy for becoming the "middle way" between communist command economies and free market economies.
When comparing average income between Sweden and the U.S., my opponent is comparing apples and oranges. We simply have the largest economy in the world. Even when wealth isn't distributed fairly, the average American does worse than the average Swede. Curiously, Swedish wealth is distributed so fairly, that even though they have a much smaller economy, lower income Swedes, all the way up to the 45 percentile, make more than their American counterparts. We have more GDP per Capita than Sweden, which means that if our wealth is more evenly distributed, the standard of living of lower and middle income Americans (even those who currently are better off than Swedes) would go up. The fact of the matter is that when wealth is more evenly distributed, there is greater consumption to match productivity. My opponent never addressed the consumption point. He did try to paint a rosy picture of American income inequality with the whole Smith vs. Jones comparison. However, the middle class has been shrinking, and experiencing hardship. In fact, middle class Americans have just gone through their worst decade in a long time. The middle class has it's lowest share of the national income that it's had at any time since WWII.
Looking at how our income, rather than how our wealth, is distributed makes things seem more egalitarian than they trully are. The reality is that the bottom 80% of Americans have 6-7% of the nation's wealth. Furthermore, while productivity has gone up by 46%. Median income per household has only gone up 15%. The other 31% of growth due to greater productivity went to the rich. This means that wealth that would have gone to the average American flowed upwards to the top 1%. Not only is this unfair to the people achieved greater productivity, but this is bad for the economy. When productivity goes up 46%, there are 46% more goods and services on the market. When 31% of the resulting wealth goes to the top, most of that money will go to bank accounts. Again, there's the car analogy. By the way, Henry Ford paid his workers well precisely because he realized that they would buy his cars. This, in a nutshell, is why redistributing wealth will help the economy. The pie should be sliced more evenly in order to insure that the pie can grow at a stable rate.
On the recession point, I cited Paul Krugma, a Nobel Prize winning economist. My opponent asserted that Krugman was wrong about everything. In order to back this assertion, he cited Reisman, an economist who never won a nobel prize. The truth is that we were both playing a game of cherry picking an economist who backed our views, so I guess that point was a draw. (Although Krugman has the edge because again, he did win a nobel prize.)
Contention 1:
I've shown that Social Democracy preserves civil liberties, while also guaranteeing people freedom from want. I've also impacted the importance of this freedom. My opponent argued that Capitalism insures property rights for the rich. Granted, but it also causes more exploitation and thus takes away freedom from common folks.
Contention 2:
I've shown that by limiting inequality, social democracy is good for the economy. Again, the rich guy won't buy 400 cars. My opponent also demonstrated this by praising Denmark and Canada, while praising Sweden from 1870-1970, the years Sweden became a Social Democracy.
Contention 3:
I've shown that the 9 happiest countries in the world are all at least more socialist than we are.
I've won all 3 of my contentions. Vote Pro
Social Democracy and the resulting financial security makes society more democratic, free, happy, and prosperous.


So, my opponent has claimed little regulation will lead to the exploitation of the weak – but admits it will increase personal autonomy and private property. So, the question is either which rights are more important or if such discrimination occurs at all. However, my opponent is assuming in my idea of economic utopia that there is no regulation, to the contrary there some rules Government regulation distorts the free market destroying a business by making it uncompetitive. This regulation is self-regulation. The market corrects for errors speeding up innovation which would otherwise be stifled by regulations. In a free market, the consumer can also hold the producer accountable. You see, the incentive in anything is money (which social-democracy will lessen making any economic strides harder). If the consumer stops buying products from company A, because A’s products have lead, and use company B which uses safer alternatives, A will go out of business. Or, A will change its methods so it can compete with B, and the competition will then lower prices. Under my opponents system: inefficient regulations that distort free markets slowing growth.

Murray Rothbard writes about the free market, “[t]he free competitive market also rewards and stimulates technological innovation that allows the innovator to get a head start in satisfying consumer wants in new and creative ways.” Regulations, like my opponent proposes, will hinder any innovation by making it harder to reap these incentives. Rothbard also notes, “[b]ut the critics fail to realize that in a free-market system, every person has a property right over his own person and his own labor and can make free contracts for those services.”[1] My opponent claimed slavery will be caused by a free market, but a true free market means all workers have the right to opt out of contracts preventing slavery. And, again, if company A uses slaves consumers will probably use B, so if in the small chance it does occur self-regulation will force slavery to become abolished.

No, Canada is not more socially-democratic, in economics (they are on social issues). But as stated, they have a much freer market than the US. The Heritage Foundation reiterates, “Canada has, in the last two years, surpassed the United States to become the freest country in North America. Through moves such as downsizing government and cutting its corporate tax rate, Canada has restored economic dynamism and reduced unemployment.”[2] So, saying Canada is well off proves my point. Canada went more towards traditional America, not democracy, and is extremely well off because of it.

First, America has a similar system: the ER must treat anyone and everyone who walks in for free if they have no insurance. Medicaid is provided to the poor, and Medicare provided to the rich. America is still considered a “medium” welfare state. And, as stated, New Zealand has the most Conservative regulation policies in it’s region and has low corporate tax rates. This is not a social democracy.

It depends on how you define “small” cuts to welfare. If, say hypothetically, you are spending 100 billion on welfare and you cut 1 billion, that could be described as small but by very large economically. On an economic scale, it doesn’t take much to distort/mend the market. Which is why small changes in policy cause changes in the stock market. The actual cut? 24 billion dollars in spending [3]. Was all of that in welfare? No, but spending plays a large role in the market, austerity is not a social democratic idea. Also, Denmark has implemented many tax cuts since 2001 when the conservatives took power (how come it takes 20 years for social-democrats to push massive reforms, and conservatives just a few years?) Denmark outranks us also in business freedom. Again, not much of a social democracy.

First, many social-democratic policies have been keeping social mobility ratings down. Having the highest corporate tax rate, the most complex tax code, and some of the most red tape in the world are examples. So, really, you’re saying add more of the problem and fix it. Also, I would not consider Canada more socialist than the US (at least not anymore).

Switzerland is very free market. “[the Swiss’] economy the 5th freest in the 2013 Index. … Switzerland has created a vibrant entrepreneurial environment... Foreign investment is welcome, and investors benefit from access to adequate sources of credit in the competitive financial sector.”[4] Since one of the freest, most libertarian, economies ranks in the top 10, I would say capitalism does not cause unhappiness, as my opponent claims. Also, Canada is more capitalistic than us currently. Therefore, happiness seems uncorrelated with capitalism. Also, my opponent keeps saying “look: people beat the US!” Yes, they do. But due to the fact very free-market economies rank before the US and other socialist countries, this only disproves my opponents point: this only shows free-markets have the capability to outperform their socialist counterparts and social-democratic systems fail to ensure happiness. It just proves no correlation!

Actually, in the time period my opponent cites, the Swedes still held many free market views and were in a time of peace. Their socialist changes were not really engaged until the 60s (seems social-democrats take years before they pass major legislation.) Spectators note “The payroll-tax increases, along with increasing wage demands from unions, made Swedish businesses highly uncompetitive on the global markets.” Socialist monetary manipulation caused a bubble. The government did not look at interest rates, though, so all they did was throw on regulations. Then, their interest rate manipulation collapsed, a depression occurred, they bailed out the banks, causing a depression not seen since the great depression. As we can see, social-democrat policies of interest manipulation and regulation has led to their demise, really making me wonder why we want this here [5].

Sweden’s income has not been increasing. As I argued, my opponents point is a fallacy. The rich are getting richer, and so are the poor. Both are getting better in America, just one is going faster. As stated, CATO studies have found Sweden’s income has pretty much flat lined. Therefore, in America both are technically better off, whereas in Sweden no growth is taking place. The American system is doing much better. And my opponents statistics are true! But that does not mean it is getting worse. If the rich get 10% richer, and the rest 5% richer. Both are better off—but the rich have a larger share of income. Unlike in Sweden, where they are having no growth. So I again point out the fallacy in my opponents reasoning.

My opponent merely plays an appeal to authority on Krugman. But…German Economist Antony Mueller writes, “The current financial crisis is not of a cyclical nature...expansive monetary policy has gone hand in hand with implicit and explicit bailout guarantees, and this has distorted the process of capital allocation. Under such perverted conditions, those investors will win most who cast away the restraints of prudence. It is a game that can go on for a long time — up to the point when the irrationality has become systemic.”[6]


1. I have shown social democracy does preserve some freedom, but even my opponent admitted capitalism holds better benefits and liberties in areas of property. I also refuted the capitalist myth that capitalism takes away rights.\

2. My opponent has not once proven limiting inequality is good; only that Sweden limits equality. My opponent really has not proven one aspect of social democracy was good, only that those policies exist. I, to the contrary, have cited the best data on the subject undermining the effectiveness of my opponents position.

3. I have shown 3 of the 10 countries on the list are more capitalist than the US, and 4 of the happiest are capitalistic proving more of a no-correlation.

Vote CON.

Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
Well, newish. :P
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
It's okay. You're new. :) You can PM me with questions. Arguing with a vote is alright, though.
Posted by SPF 4 years ago
my apologies for any breach of conduct in my comments. I haven't been on this website for roughly a year, and I forgot about the procedure in the comment section.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
The heritage free market index is a non-biassed source - all is does is rate them based on free market policies!

And adding on arguments in the comments section is usually seen as a breach of conduct ;P
Posted by SPF 4 years ago
darris321 does make a good point. I may have used Paul Krugman twice, and Bold Progressives once. I don't even want to count the number of times 16kadams used the Heritage Foundation, the CATO institute, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, etc. His arguments rely on a right wing think tank reality bubble. And I did refute his contentions. Sweden was became a Social Democracy from 1870-1970, and 16kadams acknowledges that this was a period of economic growth. Let's face it, all of the industrialized countries have mixed market economies, almost all of them, with the exception of the U.S., have universal healthcare. Most countries which are more laissez faire are third world countries where kids still work in factories and brick yards. Big corporations exploit children in third world countries in the same way they once exploited children in Manchester and Birmingham during the 19th Century. Unfettered Capitalism leads to exploitation and exploitation leads to misery.
Posted by SPF 4 years ago
16kadams, your still taking a leap of faith because you are assuming that people will see the correlation between their lead poisoning and the product in question. They could have handled hundreds of unlabeled products which could have given them lead poisoning, how will they know which product is responsible?
And how would anyone know if there are GMOs in their food? Without regulations requiring certain labels, there will be more secrets about the things consumers buy. If anything, this distorts the market against the well-being of consumers.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
Also, based on my opponents definition, they are not pro market. Heavily regulated, welfare state, high taxes to pay for the welfare, your vote it total drivel.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
SPF, it will get noticed when people die of lead poisoning -- and when the people find out A goes out of business because they were not transparent with the people like B.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
Pro did not refute most of my arguments, and did not use the arguments you used in the vote. Total VB.

USSR was not a topic in the debate. Again, showing your bias towards my opponent.
Posted by darris321 4 years ago
I like how you brought up Agrarian Justice. I brought that up in the debate that I just posted as well. Maybe one of you would be interested in being my opponent.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Contra 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Sources are tied. Con basically (but effectively) undermined all of Pro's assertions, which Pro did a weak job when it came to rebuttals. For example, income inequality isn't a major issue if all classes of income are rising. The fact that many of the "social democracies" that Pro mentioned are actually more economically free than America was a strong point for Con's case.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro got his a** refuted. He was simply proven wrong on everything even when he had the burden of proof. Con had much more and reliable sources.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: The Burden of Proof was on Pro, and he did not meet it. Each of Pro's contentions, such as with slavery, were soundly refuted by Con in the following round. Pro made a pretty good comeback following that, but Con's final round secured his victory. I didn't find any of Pro's arguments particularly remarkable, and some of them were just leaping to conclusions -- such as that socioeconomic inequality is poor for the economy, wrong, etc., and each of these were addressed by Con.
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Obvious vote bomb.
Vote Placed by darris321 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Regulating a market doesn't necessarily make it not a free market. Free market means the actors in the market are allowed to come and go with relative ease. Con seemed to ignore pro's definition of social democracy. One can be both "conservative" and socially democratic. The EU is set up to ensure that competition is always present. That's why it annoyed me when con kept saying "socialist" instead of social democrat. They really are different. Socialism means the state owns the means of production. There are no capitalists. Social democracy means capitalism without screwing over the little guy. Social democrats ARE pro-market, so con didn't seem to be arguing against pro, but against a straw-man. I gave sources to pro because con just used a bunch of conservative propaganda sites. Very biased to say the least.