The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Capitalism Cannot Exist Without Unequal Opportunity For Wealth Attainment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/27/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,060 times Debate No: 65931
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




I would like to debate in regards to capitalism and equal opportunity for becoming wealthy.

Pro (me) will attempt to prove that capitalism cannot exist without wealth inequality, and also lack of opportunity for some people to become wealthy.

Con will attempt to prove that capitalism is compatible with wealth equality and equal opportunity for all to become wealthy.

It is assumed by both sides in this argument that the capitalism detailed in the argument is capitalism with more than one employee (in other words, with an owner and employee/employees) in each business.

Round 1- Acceptance
Round 2- Arguments
Round 3- Rebuttals
Round 4- Further Rebuttals
Round 5- Conclusions/ Closing Arguments

No semantics or trolling, please. This is meant to be a serious debate and I trust in good faith that my opponent will agree to these terms. I also trust that my opponent will agree to the following definitions, from the Oxford Pocket Dictionary of English:

Wealth: (noun) An abundance of valuable possessions or money.

Capitalism: (noun) An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Unequal: (adjective) Not equal in quantity, size, or value.

Opportunity: (noun) A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.

I look forward to a good debate.


I accept this debate. It will be a challenge but I think I can make a good argument against your topic. I look forward to your opening argument.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to my opponent for accepting this debate. I will now make my opening arguments.

Capitalism is characterized by the existence of businesses that want to make profit. In fact, profit attainment is the priority of these businesses. Whenever these businesses have the opportunity to increase their profits without inciting a reaction that might endanger the operation of their enterprises (and in turn threaten their profits) they seize that opportunity.

As both I and my opponent agree that, in the form of capitalism we are debating about, with employees rather than just business- owners in some businesses, we both agree that some businesses must have, as an effect of employment, wages being paid to the employees. Employment is, by definition:




        1. the condition of having paid work.

As capitalism necessitates labor, so does it necessitate profit. One of three things can be happening to a business at any time during its existence:

1. The business is losing more capital than it is gaining

2. The business is losing as much capital as it is gaining

3. The business is gaining more capital than it is losing, and thus making profit.

As ALL business owners are vying for profit (capital losses and/or no capital gains are considered inadequate), it naturally follows that they will use a system in which they will receive profit.

Because businesses of the type we are discussing require wage-labor, and are trying to receive profit, the cost of the hired labor must be less than the market value of the good or service in order for the business-owner to receive profit. Thus, instead of the good or service being produced by workers being purchased in its complete form from the workers by the business- owner, the business-owner purchases the workers' labor from them in order to produce a good or service that will be sold for more, generating profit for the business-owner.

Already the shadow of inequality looms over the equation.

Consider this: If all of the workers decided to work for themselves, without exploitation by others, or become business-owners, exploiting others, would capitalism still exist?

Of course not. The existing business- owners would have no more business! Their workers would be included in the "all" that decided not to work under anyone else, and the existing business-owners would be forced to work for themselves in order to survive.


The workers' wages' stance must always be, in comparison to the stance of those of the business owners, less, in order for the business-owners to make profit. Profit can be represented by the following equation:

"Profit is greater than capital spent"

Capital being all of the non-human resources used in production, including money, some capital is spent on resources that indirectly contribute to production as well as those that directly contribute to production. Some capital, in the form of money, must be expended in order to purchase the human labor that is required for production. Thus,
the total capital expended in production must be lower in value than that of the value for which the good of service that is produced is sold.

In accordance with the statement above, it also follows that the total amount of money earned by the workers for producing a good or service must be less than the total amount of money earned by the business owner for selling the good or service.


Taking both of those points into consideration, considering "wealthy" is a relative term,
and in conclusion, I say that


If there were, the economic system in use would surely not be capitalism.

Oxford Pocket Dictionary of English

I now hand the argument over to my opponent. I thank them again for accepting.


I will show that Capitalism does work with with out unequal distribution of wealth. I will show real world examples of profit making companies that have equal pay for all workers and owners. That my opponent is using a cum hoc ergo propter hoc agrument.

Cum hoc ergo propter hoc: Correlation does not imply causation

Debate Round No. 2


Extend all above arguments.

Since my opponent brought up the instance of a cum hoc ergo propter hoc argument being used in this debate, and claimed that I am the one using such an argument, I beg my opponent's pardon because I'm a little confused here. Is not my opponent using such an argument? It seems as if my opponent implies that just because SOME capitalists buy labor as a commodity for less than what they gain for selling a product or service, that still does not mean that in capitalism in general (with employees) prevents all people from having equal opportunity to become wealthy.

This is not the case. I am not committing a logical fallacy by claiming that employment in a privately-owned business eliminates the possibility of unequal distribution of wealth, for the reasons given above- those reasons that claim that since the workers are being paid wages, and the business owners are trying to make profit, the workers CANNOT receive pay that would negate profit and thus cannot be earning more or as much than the business-owners are. My opponent seems to instead have cited the instance of shareholders who each hold an equal part of a company.

I thank my opponent once more and look forward to their next argument.



My opponent has locked them self in to a logical problem. That capitalism prevents a business owner from sharing the profits equally with there employees because most don't that they can not do it. The only thing preventing all people from becoming equal in capitalism is human greed not the economic system it self. My opponent as shown very well that capitalism allows someone greed to create an unequal economic system. They have not shown any evidence of how capitalism cannot exist without wealth inequality, and also lack of opportunity for some people to become wealthy. Only that most business owners greed prevents them from taking less money to pay them selves and there workers equally.

All I have to show in my argument is that capitalism is compatible with wealth equality and equal opportunity for all to become wealthy. If no other change was made other that business owners giving workers the same pay as them selves it does not change it from being capitalism, or from the company having turned a profit. The only change is what was done with the profit. Capitalism does not dictate what is to be done with a profit. Only that the profit motive drives business.

I was going to show some example of how some business owner have elected to give away profits equally with there workers by the use of equal share holdings but my opponent has elected to admit this happens. What my opponent fails to realize is that these are not stock options sold on the stock market. That each stock is worth a portion of the profits the company has made and not the profit of stock market sales. It is used this way to make it fair and equal with a persons labor contribution. People that put in more labor get more stock. The profits in the companies are saved in a trust fund every year. When a worker cashes in there stock they get the profit that there labor has produced. This works completely differently that how stock works on the stock market. The stock in employee owned companies are partnership agreements done in a fair way. If every employee was just made a partner then new employees that have not given as much labor would get a share of profits equal to someone that as worked for decades. That would make there labor more valuable and have an uneual distribution of wealth. These companies are still considered capitalist companies under the definitions that my opponent has given. Unlike co-ops were the goal is not to make a profit.

Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for an excellent rebuttal.

I'm very interested in something my opponent mentioned- that "the profit motive drives business". I do not dispute this, and I realize that while it's highly unlikely that a business-owner will distribute his profits among all workers who work for him, according to how much they have produced, such a thing could, in fact, still happen.

Do not interpret this as a concession, however.

Though it seems as though my argument would be defeated by the technicality that "capitalism does not dictate what is done with a profit", a business- owner effectively giving back the product produced by the labor he has hired amounts to the workers receiving the full value of the good or service that they produce. Keep in mind that such an attempt to "pay" workers in this fashion would not be an act of random philanthropy designed to benefit some workers; this would amount to, through the end result, the workers working for themselves rather than for a business-owner, through the "earning back" of their lost product or service. For the workers (or employees) to actually be employed, by the definition of "employed" I gave above, they have to be earning wages. What if their wages were to be effectively augmented, through gifts- to the point where the workers were earning back the exact value of what they produced? In a purely technical sense, this would be considered philanthropy. However, the end result is the same and the intentions are the same, and the execution of these intentions is deliberate- that the workers will end up with the final worth of their product. At the end of the day,the full worth of the good or service produced by each worker is going back to each worker in the form of money. Thus, in the end, wages are of no consequence, profit to a business owner is of no consequence, and the private ownership of businesses is of no consequence, and thus, in the end, the system is not capitalism. Each part of capitalism, each purpose of that part, has been negated. If one worker is not, in the end, receiving the whole value of their product, then their labor has been purchased as a commodity. This is not the case in my opponent's proposed system.

In the beginning of this debate, both I and my opponent agreed that the capitalism being debated over would attribute to each company at least one employer and one employee. If these employees are, in the end, receiving the full worth of the resources they provide, then their wages mean nothing, the "employer" effectively acts only as a means to regain the product or service provided, and the worker(s), rather than the employer, becomes the owner of the business. The cessation of the existence of an employer in a company would go against the resolution made in the beginning of this debate; that is what happens, in practice, in the system my opponent has proposed.

My opponent cited the use of employee stock ownership plans in which employees are allowed to own a portion of the company. The key words here are "employee" and "company".

No matter how many employees own stocks in companies, they are still employees, and are still earning wages. This implies that they are merely being paid for their labor rather than good or service, as owners as still purchasing their labor, this is an incentive to work rather than a mechanism for ensuring equal wealth-attainment opportunity.

The workers' co-ops that my opponent has cited are completely owned by workers, rather than by majority or in part. Thus, they are not companies, and in fact more like if not effectively identical to the type of organizations whose practices were described in my opponent's previous argument. My opponent does not dispute that workers' collectives are not companies.

In conclusion, the end result of the "philanthropic" system that my opponent proposed that was supposed to defeat my supposed my logical fallacy- would defeat the purpose of capitalism (to make profit for the owner from the selling of the good), as the profits would be gained but would be given back to the workers, in a very deliberate way, in full, to ensure the workers are being paid for the goods they produce rather than their labor. This would be more akin to a form of socialism than anything else, as such a system would not only act as a way to distribute the value of the workers' products back to them, which is most important, but would also negate the "driving force of business" that my opponent mentioned- the profit motive.

To say nothing of the fact that, if all business- owners used this practice, they would be forced to labor for themselves, rather than exploiting anyone, in order to survive. This, of course, would be a direct result of their giving back any money made from the business to their "employees". If one "business-owner" (quotation marks are on purpose) were to not give back all product-value back to the workers, then equal opportunity for wealth attainment would not exist.

This system would be communism stripped to its barest essence, rather than capitalism... in its final effects. Namely, the workers would effectively own the means of production, and everyone working would sell their product rather than their labor. Consider the "business-owner" in this system as just the worker who acts as the intermediary between the consumers (also workers) and the workers who produced the product sold. The "business-owner" would also be forced to work for himself, attaining, in the workforce, the same position as those he "employs" (but not really those he employs, as he is paying the workers for their goods or services rather than their labor, or just "relaying" the money from the consumers to his fellow workers). It's certainly an interesting model, but not a capitalist one.

I remind my opponent of the definition of "employment":
"The condition of having paid work."

I thank my opponent and turn the debate over to them.


Oxford Pocket Dictionary of English



While writting my rebuttal I relised that in any monetary based economic system without unequal weathlth attainment the daily inflation rate would be massive. It is just impossible to have equal opportunity for wealth attainment.
Debate Round No. 4


Extend all arguments. It's been a good debate! Vote Pro!


Man I had a really good argument to. I wrote up the terms you messed up on. How the profit motive could be used to make Capitalism better. How consumer greed plays a role and how it does. Then went to make a hypothetical if greed was evolved out of us or if the was an alien race without greed how capitalism would work. Got 3/4 done with the hypothetical and it dawned on me if everyone could afford everything what would prices be like. Just kept thinking of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams. In that book people are using leaves as money so a hair cut costs a whole forest. I was like darn it that 4 pages I typed for nothing. lol
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by debate_power 2 years ago
I know this may seem like a "duh" debate, but there are some who disagree with the title. I know because I have talked to them on this site.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
In a society free from government intrusion it is always up to the individual to achieve his dream. Only when that person does what is necessary to achieve it does it become a reality. You cannot sit in a chair daydreaming all day and expect it to fall in your lap.Almost all of the time opportunity comes in the form of hard work. That is what the socialist-communist does not like about individual freedom.They want others to pick up the slack when they are either too lazy or gutless to see things through to success.
Posted by Mike_10-4 2 years ago
Capital is the means of production. Therefore, all social systems are capitalistic, the difference is, ownership of the capital.

The means of production works best in free-market systems.
Posted by jmanuola 2 years ago
I agree...there is no point to the debate. It's a purely "so what" type of debate. Show me the alternative...government gets to decide who gets wealthy and who doesn't? Please don't try to suggest there is actually a system where NO ONE gets wealthy.
Posted by Cosgrover 2 years ago
I do agree, that this is the case, not that it is entirely fair!
The Illuminati Elites have held this theory for many years (I can see you use a well known Illuminati symbolism as your picture) and believe that for the Human population to sustain itself we either need to eliminate non-elites (people deemed to be of lesser value) to reduce the population to a manageable level, or all start living on peasant status. All though this seems inhumane it is in fact true.
So in short, no it cannot exist with fair wealth attainment.
Posted by Kaynex 2 years ago
I agree with you, and I say "duh". Part of the point of Capitalism is wealth inequality, a large middle-wealth population guided by the competing wealthy.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Gabe1e 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: ...What was Con's argument...? I didn't understand him some things...