The Instigator
GlenB
Pro (for)
The Contender
DaveQ
Con (against)

Business should be nationalised to ensure people get paid more fairly

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 537 times Debate No: 99404
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

GlenB

Pro

About the debate:
I would like to begin by asking my opponent to use good English, explain their arguments clearly, not repeat or paraphrase arguments and to avoid presenting arguments with emotional elements. Most of all, let's not let things get too heated - debates can be fun. If either of us does not understand an argument of our opponent, ask them in the comments section to avoid wasting rounds.

My proposed system:
People are paid unfairly currently. That's undeniable. The fact that someone such as a banker is able to work similarly hard to a cleaner and earn 100s times their salary is unfair.

Therefore, I propose a system whereby all business is nationalised so that the government can subsidise the salaries of the lower paid with the unnecessary surplus income of the higher paid.

One noteworty thing is that I do not propose pay be exactly equal. This is unfortunate, but pay must be made a little bit unequal to provide incentive for "skilled" labourers to only do skilled jobs as they are the only people who can. Therefore, there would be a small pay gap, but nothing close to what we have at the moment - we've got a long way to go.

To preempt some counter arguments:
Yes, it could be argued that a banker has more responsibility for risk taking than a cleaner, but the only reason the banker's salary is so high is because they are more happy about firing him because he's already set for life. However this is only because he gets paid so highly on the first place. Thus the "accountability" argument is void.

Also, it is oftentimes thought that capitalism pushes down prices of products because of competition, but capitalism does not reduce the profit margin to do this. Instead it encourages cost-cutting and the unfair lowering of worker salaries.

In addition, many would say that "what you're proposing there son, sounds alot like communism to me". Maybe it does - I'm not sure what you'd call it, but the name affects the validity of the argument in no way whatsoever. (Most people don't need this made clear, you probably already understood this yourself, but not everyone does, so I thought I'd explain it just in case).

Finally, yes some jobs are harder than others. So there would be a little bit of leeway in the system for extremely different job difficulties, but generally it would be the same.

Thank you for your time and thought.
I await an interesting debate :)
DaveQ

Con

Firstly, I agree that that many people are paid unfairly. However, you state that "a banker is able to work similarly hard to a cleaner". While this my be true in some cases you are leaving out that fact that a banker, or any highly paid worker for that matter, will most likely have a college degree. They will spend at least four years studying to earn a degree while accruing thousands of dollars in debt from paying tuition. Furthermore, most people after they graduate still have to go into further study or take more test after college to come anywhere near earn that kind of money. These people dedicate their lives to their profession and should be compensated adequately for this.

In addition I'm also going to take your statement of "a system whereby all business is nationalised" literally. Truthfully, I could never see a system like this working. The cost alone of setting it up would be exorbitant. Think of all the extra staff that would have to be hired to accomplish this. Agencies would have to set up to insure that the correct wages where being paid. This system also seem to be highly susceptible to corruption. The reins of power are held by to few people. You talk about how the government could raise wages to create an incentive. What's to stop the government from manipulating this to aid themselves or those around them.

Finally, I would like to add some points on the danger of nationalising all business. In doing so you remove all motivation to create profit. While this may seem insignificant it can destroy economies. Profit motive is the sole reason for a business to invest in research and development. By nationalising all business you stifle innovation. You need only look at the economies of the USA and the USSR towards the end of the Cold War. While the USSR, who had a state controlled economy, was producing shoes, the USA where leading the way in electronics in Silicon Valley.

Similarly, by putting industries under direct government control you drastically reduce efficiency. Instead of have experts in their field running business you will have inexperienced government bureaucrats. These people, more than likely, won't seize opportunities to aid their respective industries the same way an expert would.

There is also the the moral argument that taking businesses directly under state control from people is effectively stealing, however, I feel this doesn't necessarily contribute to the debate we're having.
Debate Round No. 1
GlenB

Pro

I would first like to thank you for accepting the debate and for your excellent conduct and open mindedness.

I would propose university tuition fees be paid for by taxes as well. This may sound like an ad hoc hypothesis but my main focus is considering ways to improve this system, more than proving a point.

You're right that setting up this system would be expensive and somewhat complicated, but we already have some of it organised - minimum wage is already checked across the UK. It's not necessarily going to be more work just because the minimum wage would be a lot higher as it would still be the same number of people being regulated. But getting people to part with their money would be tricky. And I suppose it would take a lot of work to get it up and running. But in the long term, I think it would be worth the money, time and manpower for the benefit to future society.

I see what you mean about corruption possibility though. I guess you'd just have to vet your political party really strongly from the get go. But even then, you're right that bad ones will get in. However, it would be super hard to explain away such biased pay to the public with them being as cautious of this system as they are.

I hear a lot that there would be no motivation to make profit or invest in research & development, but the current system actually reduces R&D even more as look at medical patents for instance: they only last 20 years before expiring so as to prevent monopoly, but this means that no company is willing to invest in developing new medicines because it won't be profitable. The need for profit actually pushes down attempts at scientific development. But if you take profit out of the picture and have the government run altruistic R&D then it gets done. And you mention the USSR, but they were broke to begin with.

You mention that the possibility of making a profit motivates efficiency improvements, but this is only true to a small degree. For the most part, costs just get cut by reducing salaries and increasing workloads of employees.

You have made some interesting points and I await your next argument
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by dc0404 1 year ago
dc0404
GlenB,

There are levels I will never attain, and I am a small business owner. So you are correct, but I can, just like you, and everyone else can improve their situation. It looks like we agree on this, and you certainly offered no counter argument that we can all improve our situation. There is nothing that says we have to attain what billionaires have attained from a wealth perspective... we do not need to attain that much, we only need to pursue a better life, if that is we desire.

"Obviously the rich will pay higher taxes, so as to create equality" ... well, yes this is what has been setup to create equality, it is counterproductive to growth. I think you know what I meant by a bloated government. As the government gets involved in more aspects of our lives, just look at healthcare and education over the past 30-40 years and how it has infiltrated those areas with subsidies and created an education bubble. The government has become inefficient, expensive, and employs too many people, and offers very little in return for the sectors it enters. I did mean it as derogatory.

You agree that someone can improve their situation by becoming more skilled yet that same person is forced to stay at their job? That doesn't make a lot of sense. No one is forced to stay where they are. If they are happy, they should stay. If they are unhappy, they should do something about it.

Well, I disagree that it is unfair if I spend more than you if I earn more income. I don't think this can be proven either way, you just have a distorted view on reality. You spend more then someone that makes far less than you.

Cutting wages is a talking point, in my experience, that is not always a reality. Mostly, good companies cannot do this or they will lose good workers, they have to figure out how to work smarter and create efficiency and value. Companies compete for workers and workers compete for jobs. That is healthy.

And, sorry... competition does create efficiency and innov
Posted by GlenB 1 year ago
GlenB
Dear dc0404,
You claimed that "(low-paid workers) can look to increase their skills, knowledge, and search for other employment".
However, it is clear not everyone has the academic ability to be a computer scientist or a doctor. I would agree that you can become more skilled by going back to education later in life, but there is an obvious level at which some people will simply never attain. The second part implied here is that people can just go to another job of they are unhappy with their current pay, but what if all the businesses don't want to pay their workers very much (because it's not in their interest)? And if your counter argument is that there would be outraged people who would try to bring it to an end, then consider me one of those outraged people.

"government subsidized programs result in higher taxes and bloated government".
Obviously the rich will pay higher taxes, so as to create equality. Also, I don't really see what you mean by "bloated government". It just sounds like a vague, derogatory term to uphold capitalism without logical reason.

"No one is forcing them to stay at their job"
Sure there is! The inevitable result of capitalism that companies will forever lower salaries.

And on the topic of the rich: "Granted, they make more expensive purchasing decisions that align with their higher wages".
Totally.

"but this is not wrong"
Wait, what? Were you listening? They get to spend more money on a higher quality of life with no fair reason while others cannot. This is inequality which is wrong. Do explain.

And when companies want to reduce costs, they can cut wages or "The other option is to increase efficiency".
It is true that increasing efficiency is in their interest, but cutting wages is more in their interest because it does the same thing but they don't have to hire experts to figure out how to increase efficiency this way.

"Competition creates innovation".
No. Government is by definition more altruistic than profit-
Posted by dc0404 1 year ago
dc0404
"People are paid unfairly currently."

The cleaner does not have to remain being a cleaner or a trashman must remain that. However, based on their skills/efforts, they have an appropriate job for them and they are employed and making a living and should not complain. They are not forced to stay at their job, if they are not happy in their job, they can look to increase their skills, knowledge, and search for other employment. There is nothing unfair about it, sorry.

"Therefore, I propose a system whereby all business is nationalised"

All government subsidized programs result in higher taxes and bloated government. Unless you are into that sort of thing, it is a bad idea.

"pay must be made a little bit unequal to provide incentive for "skilled" labourers..."

By redistributing, which is what you are proposing, you will remove incentive for the biggest job creators to stop investing and creating. The incentive already exists anyway for these things. Again, they can pursue other employment. No one is forcing them to stay at their job. It may require some sacrifice, oh no!

"but the only reason the banker's salary is so high is because they are more happy about firing him because he's already set for life."

No, this is not the case. Someone making hundreds of thousands per year is NOT set for life. Granted, they made more expensive purchasing decisions that align with their higher wages, but this is not wrong. They have to keep right on paying their bills in their more complicated life and if they lose their job, they are by no means set. This is a outlandish claim in my view.

"capitalism pushes down prices of products because of competition"

True.

"capitalism does not reduce the profit margin to do this. Instead it encourages cost-cutting and the unfair lowering of worker salaries"

Not always and it does not have to. The other option is to increase efficiency. Competition creates innovation and efficiency as well.
Posted by brian.bors7 1 year ago
brian.bors7
"People are paid unfairly currently. That's undeniable. The fact that someone such as a banker is able to work similarly hard to a cleaner and earn 100s times their salary is unfair."

I would not see that as "unfair". So I don't see the statement "People are paid unfairly currently" as undeniable. Somebody is paying that salary. That person has the right to do with their money as they see fit. That is fair and just.

Would you still be interested in debating even though I disagree with the axiom you stated in your opening statement?
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