The Instigator
socialpinko
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
ihartman2
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Anarcho-capitalism would be a more humanitarian form of social organization than Anarcho-communism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
socialpinko
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/6/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,049 times Debate No: 24595
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

socialpinko

Pro

This challenge is for ihartman2. I noticed he's a new debater to the site who has an anarcho-communist perspective and seems somewhat critical of the theoretical conditions of an anarcho-capitalist society. I hereby challenge him to defend his own conception of anarchism in a debate against anarchist capitalism.


===Definitions===


Anarcho-capitalism: a society in which the functions of the State (defense, roads, etc.) are provided on a free market with an economic system based on private property, private ownership of the means of production, and voluntary exchange.


Anarcho-communism: a society in which the State, capitalism, markets, and money are abolished and where the means of production are collectively owned (whether through worker councils, direct democracy, etc.).


Humanitarian: concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare[1].


*The first round is for acceptance only. Actual arguments will begin in round 2*


===Sources===


[1] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
ihartman2

Con

I accept all definitions and rules
Debate Round No. 1
socialpinko

Pro

Anarcho-communism = AnCom
Anarcho-capitalism = AnCap


Contention. Prices and Money.



One major difference between AnCom and AnCap is that under an AnCom system, money would be dispensed with entirely and replaced with either a gift or a communal economy. The problem with this however is that it fails to take into account the necessity of money. Money is a necessary component of any productive and efficient economic setup. The reason being that any rationally directed economy requires prices to coordinate supply and demand and money is an essential tool in price formation. Obviously the price of something refers to something that can be paid for a good or service i.e. money. The reason prices are necessary in an economy is because prices are themselves the only way to coordinate heterogeneous goods and services with labor time. Labor time and actual product goods are distinct types of goods and so if one is to coordinate their exchange in any sort of coherent manner, a mechanism which is able to compare these goods in some rational way will always be necessary. This mechanism is found in pricing[1]. Both labor time, and product goods can be easily compared by the relative costs of producing them. An economic arrangement without the use of money necessarily lacks a price mechanism and thus any way to rationally coordinate the economy.



This is the reason that under Communist regimes, we saw things like huge shortages in some areas and huge surpluses in others. The only thing that bureaucrats had to go on was either imperfect information due to a lack of an actual pricing mechanism or the political pull of those asking for products. The same principle applies to an AnCom economy. Without a working price mechanism, an AnCom society would be riddled with shortages in some areas where others dealt with surpluses (meaning that the problem isn't only productive, but coordinative). This problem would not exist in an AnCap economy considering it would be able to utilize money and prices.



Contention. Free Riders and Central Force.



Under AnCom, goods and services are generally guaranteed (in principle at least) according to need as opposed to trade as with an AnCap system. In doing so though, AnCom creates a free rider problem. If I'm guaranteed sustenance and shelter regardless of what I contribute then defecting from contribution is now incentivised. But this incentive is not unique to just a few members of society. It's the same with everyone who is guaranteed the things they need i.e. everyone. Therefore an AnCom society would be unable to fulfill the jobs necessary to actually yield goods and services. That is, without recourse to one of two things; incentives and force.



As I explained, the incentives inherent in AnCom are what causes this problem in the first place so it's not really possible to change what people are incentivised to do. Therefore the only other method to get people to actually produce goods and services in an AnCom society would be with recourse to force. But in doing so one has left the realm of anarchism entirely and entered Statism. So AnCom is left with two options. Either change the incentives inherent within the economic structure (meaning abolishing the communist structure entirely) or fall to the use of force to produce what is necessary (meaning abolishing the anarchist structure entirely). Either way, AnCom is self defeating in this sense.



===
I'll end my argument here so as to allow room for my opponent's refutation along with any positive argument he chooses to forward in favor of AnCom. I now pass on the debate back to my opponent.
===


===Sources===


[1] http://mises.org...
ihartman2

Con

Price mechanism: using consensus democracy it would possible to avoid the calculation problem, this video explains it well starting at 4:50-8:00, I'm sorry if posting videos is bad, but I can't think of clear and concise way to type that:

free rider: people do have an incentive to profit off the backs of the productive, but it would be easy enough to fix that. A community could keep a ledger of each persons production compared to what they took, by making this public a person could be made a pariah it he free rode. Their is also a social aspect to labor, in a communist society, where I send work with my friends and you do what you love, meaning that you will want to work because its social time. Also I believe that a large amount of labor could be mechanized, with machines that don't have incentives.

When the basics of society are provided people are able to provide betterment to society. How many great scientists are currently languishing in ghettos, or working a factory line.

Then their is alienation, when a worker is forced to sell his labor, he doesn't care about its value, so he produces crap. In socialism a worker builds things he loves, so he makes better products, giving everyone better goods.
Debate Round No. 2
socialpinko

Pro

===Pro Case===


Contention. Prices and Money.



For anyone who doesn't want to themselves wade through the video which my opponent provided, the argument goes that an economy could be decentralized starting with towns and moving up through the national and even international level. Members of various trade unions in a given town would elect delegates to go to the next level (the term regional is used in the video) to make requests regarding the needs of the town and so on and on up to the largest modes of societal organization.



The problem with this argument though is that it doesn't actually bypass my point. It's not the fact that people can't express their preferences in an AnCom economy, it's that there is no way for heterogenous goods like labor time and products or services to be compared. Sure you can say "We need five sheep please" but since scarcity necessarily exists, there will always arise the need to choose between two or more mutually exclusive courses of action. Without a price mechanism there is no way to rationally decide the most economical use of resources. My opponent's point has to do with communication, not calculation.



Contention. Free Riders and Central Force.



In response to my contention concerning the incentive structures inherent in an AnCom society, my opponent has offered three possible answers. I'll respond to each of them separately below.



(A) Social ostracism



I will concede that such a mechanism as social ostracism may have practical use with regards to getting people to work. The problem with my opponent's response though is that it assumes that social value would have necessarily better consequences then profit motive (remember that this debate is comparative so just showing AnCom to be possible doesn't actually disprove whether or not AnCap is preferable). The point of my criticism was not to necessarily show that AnCom could never be sustainable in any sense whatsoever. It was to show that the incentives inherent in AnCom relative to those inherent in AnCap are weaker in regards to the creation of beneficial or economically optimal consequences.



(B) Social labor



Con's point fails to take into account menial types of labor such as ditch digging or waste disposal. My opponent's point really only applies to work that one would find enjoyment in and since a large part of work is actually not very enjoyable at all, his point fails to show incentives applied to the whole of an AnCom society. Also, remember that this debate is a comparative study. When comparing the incentives which each system utilizes, it should be clear that the desire for profit would be much stronger then the haphazard nature of job enjoyment in moving people to work.



(C) Mechanized labor



While I would agree that the general economic trend of the last two hundred or so years has been towards more and more mechanization, my opponent's point fails to take into account that (A) physical labor will probably never be abandoned (in regards to upkeep, repair, and creation of labor machines) and (B) that you don't just program a robot to do everything you want. There's still the matter of knowing what the most economical course of action is for the machine which circles back to the calculation problem I brought up in my last contention.



===Con Case===



Contention. Basic Provision of Services.



The point argued here is that society is better off when everyone has everything they need to live. But I think this argument is beside the point. Con can't simply define such conditions into existence. It hasn't actually been shown that an AnCom society would lead to this. This debate is over how AnCom and AnCap respectively would PROBABLY turn out. Now certainly it could be argued that basic provision of services in society would be good. But principles are not the scope of this debate, probable outcomes are. Therefore my opponent's argument is moot.



Contention. Alienation.



My opponent's basic point here is that laborers cannot be expected to make goods in a quality manner if they are not guaranteed the actual product of their labor. But this claim is patently false. There is more to the incentives given to laborers then them actually retaining what they produce. Consider a worker who is tasked with assembling toys. Under my opponent's conception of alienation the worker would have no reason to actually care about the value of the toys, thus they would assemble crappy and low quality toys. But consider the actual use of workers to their employers. Employers do not hire just any employee for a job. The employee must actually do their job and do it correctly, otherwise the employer would not be getting a profitable return on their decision to hire the employee in the first place. So this creates another incentive to workers, the incentive to keep their job. Employers lose money in hiring non-productive workers. Thus if a worker wants to actually keep their job, they'll put some care into the quality of their work.
ihartman2

Con

Labor notes are another solution is labor note each note represents a promise of labor to be done for the person who gives them out, of course he can't be forced to do the work, but if he continues to shirk his promises his notes lose value, this is also a solution to the incentive problem.

Another solution is barter, including what is called non personal barter, where I leave a hat, and say I want some bread, someone gives bread and the mediator calls me and I take the bread.

I concede social ostracism

Community can be a stronger incentive than profit, look at the Spanish Militias, they profited little but sacrificed much for their communities, or the English Cooperatives of the early 1900s

(c) Their are people who love mechanics, no one loves digging ditches. The solution for the second part would be to divide the machines in to, one part makes basics, food clothing, ETC
the second part is idle until it is programmed for an individuals use, so say a general CD factory where the person can choose what game they want programmed, doing a better job than the price mechanism, which deals with groups not individuals.

Basics- food, shelter, education, health care. In capitalism if you can't afford a house you don't have money, in communism you just have to take land and build a house on it. Another way is shown by the I Won't Pay Moment where people are given free things by public service workers, in communism this would be how everything worked all the time.

Yes but it would be humanitarian, because they would be under the thumb of a boss, and thus not care about his product
Debate Round No. 3
socialpinko

Pro

===Pro Case===

Contention. Prices and Money.

(A) Labor notes

Labor notes have a major problems. It's not that they necessarily wouldn't be able to work, but that they are extremely close to being actual money. In fact, the only discernible difference between labor notes and actual money is what it is backed by. In the case of labor notes, they are backed by a promise to perform labor. In the case of market-based money it might be backed by gold or silver. So what is it that makes labor so categorically different from gold to make it immune to the definition of money? My opponent hasn't really explained why.

(B) Barter

The system my opponent has described using barter is basically primitive capitalism, not AnCom. The only difference between this type of economic setup and AnCap is that there is no medium of exchange. Now since this is again a comparative debate, let's look at how a barter system of trade would compare to a system of trade using a commonly accepted medium of exchange (e.g. gold, silver). The reason common mediums develop in the first place is because barter is extremely limiting. I can't trade with anyone unless they want what I have. Therefore if no one wants a goat and that's all I have, trade is impossible. But with a common medium, trade with virtually anyone is possible. Thus, one is more likely to gain by exchange then under barter. My opponent's point is not only basically capitalism, but is clearly inferior to AnCap as a facilitator of trade.

Contention. Free Riders and Central Force.

(A) Social ostracism

Conceded.

(B) Social labor

In defense of his point of social vs. economic incentives, my opponent has pointed to two examples where a relatively small society has survived for a relatively small amount of time utilizing social incentives only. But I must again remind my opponent that what he is defending in this debate is not that AnCom could survive as a system. This debate is comparative and is regarding whether or not AnCap is preferable to AnCom. All my opponent has done is show that AnCom might be able to function. He has not even attempted to show however why it would function in a better or more humanitarian manner than AnCap though. My point regarding the superiority of economic incentives to social thus still remains as it has not been rebutted by Con.

(C) Mechanized labor

Con's rebuttal hasn't really answered my criticism. My point is that no matter how mechanized labor eventually becomes, there will always be labor needed (probably proportional to the relative standard of living within society). Therefore, the point doesn't get by the social v. economic incentives contention. Will everyone want to build or keep up machines which may produce things that they will never use? I concede that some might by virtue of loyalty to the community but people do generally care primarily about their own standard of living before others. So while an AnCom society might be sustainable by recourse to such social incentives, it still remains that personal profit is still the most efficient method of motivating workers. My opponent's only real point is that social incentives might be able to make people do work. He hasn't shown why either the quality, efficiency, or usefulness of that work would be greater then under AnCap and a profit incentive.

===Con Case===

Contention. Basic Provision of Services.

My opponent has argued that under AnCom, there would somehow be unlimited land, labor time, and supplies necessary to build things like houses. This assumption is made evident by the fact that his point is that ALL you have to do is take land and build a house on it. Well yeah, that's pretty much the same under capitalism. The difference is that my opponent has merely asserted that these services would be automatically provided, without actually overcoming any of the numerous obstacles I pointed out earlier. Moreover, my opponent's plan in effect reintroduces private property for personal use. The means of production are not really collectively owned if anyone can just take whatever land they want to fit their needs. Therefore, not only has my opponent opted out of AnCom in his scenario, but he hasn't provided any argument other than the assertion that his ambiguous plan would actually provide basic services (food, clothing, shelter, medicine, etc.) to every member of society.

Contention. Alienation.

Con didn't actually respond to my refutation of his alienation point other than simply re-asserting it.

===Conclusion===

The arguments my opponent has brought (alienation and provision) have either not been defended (alienation) or have merely made unsubstantiated assertions or compromises with a capitalist system. Capitalist compromise can also be found in my opponent's points regarding labor notes and a barter system of exchange. Labor notes are in reality just money backed by labor instead of gold and barter is just a primitive form of trade (capitalism) that is made less efficient by not using a common medium of exchange. My opponent's other arguments and rebuttals rest on the presupposition that his only burden is to show that social incentives might be able to work within a society while completely ignoring the comparative nature of this debate. If my opponent is to win, then he must show why social incentives are stronger and yield more positive results then economic ones. My opponent has failed to do this as well. Therefore I urge a Pro vote.

On a side note it's nice to see another anarchist perspective on the site and I hope to be able to debate ihartman2 again sometime.
ihartman2

Con

I concede
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by ihartman2 4 years ago
ihartman2
generally communism, though I don't have a grasp of theory as well as I would like, I'm reading up on this to understand my beliefs better.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
I actually really enjoyed that debate. ihartman, what school of anarchism do you specifically subscribe to?
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
My debates aren't always based on my beliefs.
Posted by johnnyboy54 4 years ago
johnnyboy54
Social, you are difficult to figure out. Has your political ideology shifted back to ancap?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by ceruleanpolymer 4 years ago
ceruleanpolymer
socialpinkoihartman2Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: concession
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
socialpinkoihartman2Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession under the weight of Pro's arguments
Vote Placed by johnnyboy54 4 years ago
johnnyboy54
socialpinkoihartman2Tied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession. Sources points go to pro because he used them. Conduct goes to pro because con posted a video as a argument for the debate.