Capitalism Cannot Exist Without Unequal Opportunity For Wealth Attainment
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.
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:
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.
POINT ONE: CAPITALISM REQUIRES THE EXPLOITATION OF AT LEAST SOME WORKERS, I.E. THE PURCHASE OF THEIR LABOR RATHER THAN THEIR GOOD OR SERVICE BY THE BUSINESS- OWNERS.
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.
POINT TWO: AS LONG AS BUSINESS-OWNERS ARE MAKING PROFIT, AND HAVE PEOPLE WORKING UNDER THEM, THOSE WORKING UNDER THEM ALWAYS EARN LESS MONEY PER PRODUCT OR SERVICE THAN DO THE BUSINESS- OWNERS.
Taking both of those points into consideration, considering "wealthy" is a relative term, and in conclusion, I say that
NOT ONLY IS THERE UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH IN CAPITALISM, THERE IS UNEQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL TO BECOME WEALTHY.
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
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.
I thank my opponent for an excellent rebuttal.
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.
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
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