The Instigator
funwiththoughts
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
InVinoVeritas
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Anarcho-capitalism can work

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
InVinoVeritas
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/30/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,654 times Debate No: 36143
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

funwiththoughts

Con

The debate here is whether or not anarcho-capitalism is a viable system. First round is simply to accept. No forfeits. I will be arguing why I believe anarcho-capitalism cannot work as a system, and my opponent will argue why he/she believes it can or does. Anarcho-capitalism in this case refers to a society with no government where what is or is not a crime is based on whether or not it interferes with other's property rights. Burden of proof is on me to prove it doesn't work.
InVinoVeritas

Pro

Resolution: Anarcho-capitalism can work.

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Anarcho-capitalism:
"[The system that] advocates anarchy in the sense of the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market." [1]

Work: To successfully reach a given end. In this case, the end would be a functioning society. (I will later discuss this further in my argument.)

Just to clarify, I will not be arguing why I "believe it can or does [work as a system]." I am not going to defend why I believe in anything, because that is clearly divergent from the resolution. Rather, I will argue that an anarcho-capitalist society would "work."

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With these conditions established, I accept the debate. Any further discussion of the conditions should be conducted in the comments section. As my opponent clearly stated, the burden of proof is solely on him.

Thank you, and I look forward to responding to funwiththoughts' arguments.

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[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 1
funwiththoughts

Con

"I am not going to defend why I believe in anything, because that is clearly divergent from the resolution."

That's a rather confusing statement. Of course you will argue that an anarcho-capitalist society would "work". I don't understand the distinction.

Anyways, I will grant for now a morality based on whether or not something infringes on other's property rights. With this in mind, I would like to talk about the prospect of criminal justice. How does one, in an anarcho-capitalist system, punish crime without infringing on other's property rights? While one might advocate that crime would be punished via returning the stolen property, this is not possible in many cases (i. e., it is impossible to return someone's life). While one might argue that "an eye for an eye" is acceptable, I believe that in a system where laws are based only on property rights, the only person who would have the right to do that would be the victim, which is not always actually possible. Some might suggest having corporation-run police and courts. While I do believe that would still be infringing on property rights, it also allows crimes committed against those too poor to afford legal counsel to go unpunished, as well as makes it easier for corporations to get away with crimes. A possible rebuttal would be that having a government allows the government to go unpunished. This is not entirely true, however unless my opponent requests it I will not detail why here, as the debate is about anarcho-capitalism, not the merits of government.
InVinoVeritas

Pro

A CLARIFICATION

My opponent finds one of my clarifications to be "confusing," so I will explain further: There is a difference between justifying a given proposal and justifying believing in a given proposal. The latter is a much more philosophical question, centered mostly on epistemology. The former is what we want to be discussing, if I'm not mistaken; we want to evaluate the stance itself rather than one's decision to believe in it, correct?

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WHAT DOES "(TO) WORK" MEAN?

As promised in the prior round, I will first elaborate on the crucial idea of "(to) work" in the context of this debate:

When something "works," it is able to act as a means to its intended end. For example, when one says that a lawn mower "works," one would likely mean that it can be used as an effective means of achieving the desired end (i.e., mowing the lawn.) With this in mind, what do we mean when we say that anarcho-capitalism does (or does not) work? More specifically, what is the end that ought to be reached in order to deem it "working" or not?

FRAMEWORKS

Well, we can go about answering the question above in a number of ways. From an economic standpoint, we could say that the end is efficiency, a use of resources that promotes the maximization of limited goods and services [1]. From a Smithian standpoint, we could say that the end is general human utility within the system [2]. And we could also divide political systems into categories and use them to define the desired ends; for example, the end of an authoritarian government would be to maintain the control of the ruling class, so an effective authoritarian that does just that would be "working" (based on this semantic approach.) And lastly, an underlying end would be for the system to be able to exist at all.

THE OPPONENT'S BURDEN

Because my opponent has chosen to take on full burden of proof, he has to prove that anarcho-capitalism CANNOT "work" under any practical circumstance. Because there are myriad ways of evaluating the "working" of the system after it has been implemented--some of which I have described in the last paragraph, the opponent has the option of doing one (or both) of the following to meet his burden of proof:

I. Prove that an existing system of anarcho-capitalism cannot work UNDER ANY CONDITION and WITHIN ANY FRAMEWORK (such as those described in the last paragraph), and/or

II. Prove that the system of anarcho-capitalism CANNOT EXIST, UNDER ANY CONDITION, in the first place.

(Though they are very heavy burdens, the latter would probably be easier to meet.)

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POINT-BY-POINT RESPONSE

"While one might advocate that crime would be punished via returning the stolen property, this is not possible in many cases (i. e., it is impossible to return someone's life.)"

Yes, this is certainly true... though someone's life is not property, by standard definition.

"While one might argue that 'an eye for an eye' is acceptable, I believe that in a system where laws are based only on property rights, the only person who would have the right to do that would be the victim, which is not always actually possible."

Well, in criminal court all crimes are charged as crimes against the state rather than against the victim. In an anarcho-capitalist society, crimes would be solely conducted as crimes against the victim, and private police and courts would only act on the infringement of the victim's rights rather than the breaking of state rules.

"Some might suggest having corporation-run police and courts. While I do believe that would still be infringing on property rights, it also allows crimes committed against those too poor to afford legal counsel to go unpunished, as well as makes it easier for corporations to get away with crimes."

The opponent would have to elaborate on the definition of the term "property rights," as he is using it, before I respond to the first critique in this statement. And the crimes against the poor would not go unpunished and corporations would not get away with more crimes; unfortunately, the opponent has not elaborated on these claims, so I do not know on what grounds he makes them.

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RESPONSE

As it stands, the government has a monopoly on violence, so there is no incentive to produce good results. In an anarcho-capitalist system, there would be a competition for producing good crime-solving results. Courts and police would be evaluated based on fairness by private "inspection" companies, which, in turn, would compete for the public's approval of its inspection results. In this way, people would be assured a more quality-driven system of justice.

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CONCLUSION

Again, let us remember that the FULL BURDEN OF PROOF rests on the opponent. The opponent has indubitably failed to:

I. Prove that an existing system of anarcho-capitalism cannot work UNDER ANY CONDITION and WITHIN ANY FRAMEWORK (such as those described in the last paragraph), and/or

II. Prove that the system of anarcho-capitalism CANNOT EXIST, UNDER ANY CONDITION, in the first place.

So far, the opponent has (very vaguely) critiqued the FAIRNESS of an anarcho-capitalist system of justice. However, in order for this to support his argument, it has to be built on the premise that anarcho-capitalism is intended to be a means to an end of "fairness" (see my lengthy discussion regarding "(to) work.") Is it a necessary end for every framework? This has not been proven by the opponent, failing to meet option I. And option II. is not met, because a critique of fairness does not challenge the system's capacity to exist.

With this considered, I would like to ask to vote for Pro.

Thank you, and I look forward to my opponent's rebuttal.

---

SOURCES

[1] http://cowles.econ.yale.edu...
[2] http://www.csus.edu...

Debate Round No. 2
funwiththoughts

Con

Thank you for your clarification. Now, onto your rebuttal.

"Yes, this is is certainly true... though someone's life is not property, by standard definition."

Well, given that I said in the first place that an anarcho-capitalism is here defined as a system where laws are solely based on property rights, this would mean that killing would be acceptable in an anarcho-capitalist society, which does not really help your case. I am using a broad definition of "property", in which anything that belongs to a person (including non-standard or metaphysical things such as life or free will) is counted as property. But in the standard sense of property and the definitions that I outlined, you are correct, that in an anarcho-capitalist society murder (as well as rape, slavery, etc.) would not be a crime.

"private police and courts would only act on the infringement of the victim's rights rather than the breaking of state rules."

Correct. However, this does not change that it's still a violation of the criminal's rights.

"The opponent would have to elaborate on the definition of the term "property rights", as he is using it, before I respond to the first critique in this statement."

See above.

"And the crimes against the poor would not go unpunished and corporations would not get away with more crimes."

In a corporation-run system, one would have to pay for an investigation, and those who are too poor to afford it would not be able to... well... afford it. As for corporations, I said that because if corporations are the ones doing the investigating, they have the power to prevent themselves from coming under fire if accused.

"So far, the opponent has (very vaguely) critiqued the FAIRNESS of an anarcho-capitalist system of justice"

I am not just questioning the fairness, but also the POSSIBILITY of an anarcho-capitalist system of justice.

"However, in order for this to support his argument, it has to be built on the premise that anarcho-capitalism is intended to be a means to an end of "fairness" (see my lengthy discussion regarding "(to) work.")"

Oh, I don't think it is. However, I do believe that the purpose of anarcho-capitalism is to protect private property rights, as that is what an anarcho-capitalist society is based around. I am arguing that it cannot do that, thereby not reaching its intended end.

Now, I would also like to add something. Government regulations can often correct things that a true free market cannot. The best examples are in health care regulations, such as enforcing credentialing for physicians so they are not some nut in a lab coat pretending, making sure pharmaceuticals have the ingredients they say they do, and work, and are relatively safe, and ERs being required to treat people regardless of their ability to pay.

With all this considered, I would like to ask you to vote for con.
InVinoVeritas

Pro

I'll just devote this round to responses.

"Well, given that I said in the first place that an anarcho-capitalism is here defined as a system where laws are solely based on property rights, this would mean that killing would be acceptable in an anarcho-capitalist society, which does not really help your case."

No. The "law" would be determined by the free market, whether it be regarding life or property. Killing would not be acceptable as long as individuals continue to have a demand to not be killed in the free market. There would be no government to uphold property laws, either; you seem to not understand what anarcho-capitalism is, I'm sorry to say.

"Correct. However, this does not change that it's still a violation of the criminal's rights."

It would be less of a violation of the criminal's rights than what exists now. The government has a monopoly on violence against "criminals." In a free market, private enterprises would compete to stop crime.

"In a corporation-run system, one would have to pay for an investigation, and those who are too poor to afford it would not be able to... well... afford it."

In our society, poor people can afford to buy a copy of Consumer Reports and read reviews of products. In an anarcho-capitalist society, reviewers would have a bigger niche, because the government wouldn't take taxpayer money to make its own inefficient determinations about business matters through regulation.

"I do believe that the purpose of anarcho-capitalism is to protect private property rights, as that is what an anarcho-capitalist society is based around."

Well, in an anarcho-capitalist society, all property would be private, by default. What is now considered "public" would be owned by individuals or groups. The protection of rights to property would be a matter of security, which would be up to property owners. I disagree, however, that the purpose of an anarcho-capitalist society is to protect private property; the idea of self-ownership is certainly the core of a free market model, but the protection of such an ideal is up to the individual.

"Government regulations can often correct things that a true free market cannot. The best examples are in health care regulations, such as enforcing credentialing for physicians so they are not some nut in a lab coat[...]"

Private regulation would arguably be far more efficient. As it stands, there is a health care crisis under the US' regulatory practices. This can be partly attributed to the undersupply of affordable doctors, due to the artificial restrictions on entry into the profession. Hospitals should compete with each other by hiring the finest physicians, and each physician (as well as the hospitals' results) would be judged by competing reviewers.

---

The opponent has not met his burden of proof.

Vote Pro.



Debate Round No. 3
funwiththoughts

Con

"No. The "law" would be determined by the free market, whether it be regarding life or property. Killing would not be acceptable as long as individuals continue to have a demand to not be killed in the free market. There would be no government to uphold property laws, either; you seem to not understand what anarcho-capitalism is, I'm sorry to say. "

I clarified the definition that would be used for this debate in the first entry. If you did not agree with my definitions, you shouldn't have accepted my challenge.

"It would be less of a violation of the criminal's rights than what exists now. The government has a monopoly on violence against "criminals." In a free market, private enterprises would compete to stop crime."

"What exists now" is not relevant. Besides, law today is not exclusively based on people's rights. At any rate, this is not about the merits of government, so this is irrelevant.

"In our society, poor people can afford to buy a copy of Consumer Reports and read reviews of products."

I cannot argue with that.

"In an anarcho-capitalist society, reviewers would have a bigger niche, because the government wouldn't take taxpayer money to make its own inefficient determinations about business matters through regulation."

True, however, this does not address the point, which was not about reviews.

"Well, in an anarcho-capitalist society, all property would be private, by default. What is now considered "public" would be owned by individuals or groups."

Agreed.

"I disagree, however, that the purpose of an anarcho-capitalist society is to protect private property; the idea of self-ownership is certainly the core of a free market model, but the protection of such an ideal is up to the individual."

True. Perhaps a better phrasing would be that it is intended to protect people's right to choice.

"Private regulation would arguably be far more efficient. As it stands, there is a health care crisis under the US' regulatory practices. This can be partly attributed to the undersupply of affordable doctors, due to the artificial restrictions on entry into the profession. Hospitals should compete with each other by hiring the finest physicians, and each physician (as well as the hospitals' results) would be judged by competing reviewers."

I have no rebuttal at the moment.
InVinoVeritas

Pro

"I clarified the definition that would be used for this debate in the first entry. If you did not agree with my definitions, you shouldn't have accepted my challenge."

Here is the definition you put in place: "Anarcho-capitalism in this case refers to a society with no government where what is or is not a crime is based on whether or not it interferes with other's [sic] property rights." (from Round 1)

Let me clarify. I am not contradicting this definition; I'm just trying to extend it. In the instance that crime is, indeed, based on the matter of property rights (as you have described here), how would such a system come to be in an anarcho-capitalist society? Indeed, the free market would have driven it. People's demands for security would be reflected in the system of justice, unlike it is now under a government monopoly of force.

"'What exists now' is not relevant. Besides, law today is not exclusively based on people's rights. At any rate, this is not about the merits of government, so this is irrelevant."

What exists now is relevant, because we need something to compare anarcho-capitalism to in order to deem it successful or not. And part of anarcho-capitalism is the absence of government, so whether or not the existence of government "has its merits" is central to the debate, if anything.

"I cannot argue with that."

The opponent drops his argument about privatized regulation.

---

And I don't think there's anything to respond to besides the above.

As an aside, I respectfully recommend that the opponent read into what anarcho-capitalism is, at his leisure. As it stands, many of his arguments are verging on Strawman attacks. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org...)

Lastly, the opponent has not met his burden of proof. Let us remember that the opponent took on the FULL burden of proof, meaning that he has to put forward arguments for the stance that anarcho-capitalism CANNOT work (under any circumstances and/or through whatever framework of the word "work.") This burden of proof has not been met.

---

Thank you. I respectfully ask for a Vote for Pro.


Debate Round No. 4
funwiththoughts

Con

Your claim was that "someone's life is not "property", by standard definition." If this is true, then "In the instance that crime is based on the matter of property rights", then murder would be acceptable.

As far as criminal justice being a violation of property rights, there is still a difference, in that in "what exists now", the law is not exclusively based on people's rights.
InVinoVeritas

Pro

I'm apologize for the frankness of this response, but what my opponent is talking about has very, very little (if anything) to do with anarcho-capitalism. I recommend he do some research on the topic before trying to dismantle it.

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Supercooper1988 3 years ago
Supercooper1988
True anarcho-capitalism wouldn't even be punishing for crimes against personal property. That's why it's an implausible system of life. Only governing bodies have the right to enforce rights, and anarchy has no governing bodies. Even inalienable rights have to be granted in order to be both attained and retained.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
If someone takes it, you have a chance to argue it again. If no one takes it (doubtful), than you have someone you can challenge.

Overall it's ability to work, probably largely depends on the scale.
Posted by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
@ Classic Robert: Well, considering the voting period ends in under a week, that seems like an impractical time to set.
Posted by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
So tempted. If you still want to do this in a week, let's do it.
Posted by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
Damn. You already took Con.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DudeWithoutTheE 3 years ago
DudeWithoutTheE
funwiththoughtsInVinoVeritasTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: While Pro failed to really make the case for why it would work, which is what I was hoping to read and would find interesting, instead hiding behind BoP and push debating, no-one made CON take on the burden of proof, and he indisputably doesn't meet it.
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 3 years ago
Lordknukle
funwiththoughtsInVinoVeritasTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited all of his arguments towards the end.