The Instigator
AlexRich
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
DucoNihilum
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

Capitalism Is Bad

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/5/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,827 times Debate No: 3096
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (24)
Votes (8)

 

AlexRich

Pro

There are many problems with a totally free market economy, and i will admit that "communism" as a political practice has failed. But many countries, such as the U.S.S.R. and China, the "communist" party was communist in name only. A true communist country would not fail in the way that capitalism has failed.

The main problem of capitalism is that there is no incentive to honor the inherent value of human life. This is because there is no distribution of wealth among the vast majority of workers. The majority of wealth (capital) lies in the hands of a view who become wealthy off of the work of the proletariat. Such an exploitative system should not be advocated by the majority of people. The rich bourgeois are the only ones whom the system benefits, while the middle class and proletariat are taken advantage of.

This basic thesis is bolstered by the example of health care. In places like Sub-Saharan Africa, industrialized China, and other countries driven by capital many people are exploited by capitalists, that contention has been well documented. Sub-Saharan Africa's problems can all be traced to the forces of capitalism. It started during the colonial period where the European powers stole Africa's resources. When the massive amounts of health-related problems began to surface the capitalist powers had no incentive to help out, so not much was done. The only incentive that capitalist powers have to help out the sick and poor is to make sure that they are just well enough to work for them. Thus, health care is used as a tool of the capitalist powers to enslave the people of Africa. This one example can be seen throughout the world in all places where economies are driven by capitalism.

Such a cheapening of human life is what we have to deal with in a capitalist system. So what the alternative? A more regulated economy that respects the environment, human life, and the advancement of civilization through the abandonment of capitalist structures.
DucoNihilum

Con

You chose an interesting debate topic. I noticed an odd peculiarity in your rhetoric. You use the near archaic terms Proletarian and bourgeoisie, words I don't remember hearing since my last reading of The Communist Manifesto or Das Kapital. I have a feeling this is going to be a debate with a lot of Marxian theory, which should be fun.

You make the bold claim that the poor can not benefit from the system of capitalism, and that only the rich can benefit from such a sytem. I beleive this to be absolutely untrue. In fact, everybody benefits from any true system of capitalism- just in different ways. While the rich may enjoy luxuries, so do the poor. In all of the countries I can think of that have at least had some extended period of capitalism (and still have some capitalism left) the poor are afforded great luxuries that the rich of previous years might not even have had. Microwaves, TV's, VCRs, vehicles. The poor are no longer living on the farm worrying about them dying next winter, or understanding that their child will more than likely not live into adulthood, they are in apartments, living quite well than they ever had before.

You bring up that there is no reason to value life in the capitalist system. That is not necessarily true, and is somewhat a loaded question. You could say that just because the poor do not live in mansions, their lives are not valued. In fact, it's a very emotional argument rather than a logical one- which reminds me of a lot of what Marxian rhetoric is- appeals to emotion rather than reason. The poor do have the ability to better themselves, which is not capable in any realistic socialist or communist system, in which everybody is essentially the same- dirt poor. In capitalism you have the opportunity to advance, prosper- you might live, at some times, comparatively bad, but if you try hard enough you will win out in the end. In socialism or communism, you do not have this opportunity. The only opportunity you have is sameness, poverty, and despair.

I question whether or not the examples you have given me of the PRC or Africa are examples of true capitalism. When I think of Capitalism, I think of the only true form of Capitalism- the free market system. The PRC is opening up free trade and other such things, but outside of hong kong, they are not a free market.

An ideal form of capitalist healthcare allows the poor to provide for their own care if they need to. Capitalist care. There is definitely capitalist incentive to heal the poor- a monetary incentive.

When you spoke of communism you mentioned something to the effect of no true communist country would fail in the way that a capitalist country would. That is outright fallacious. Please look up the no true Scotsman fallacy. When compared to other systems, Capitalism is very good. Capitalism allows you to prosper- while communism and socialism allow you to rot.
Debate Round No. 1
AlexRich

Pro

In your second paragraph you state that the poor benefit from capitalism just ask much as the rich. You also state that the poor live considerable well given their economic state. This is simply not true. Take a trip into the inner city, to the slums where the poorest people live in awful conditions. Do these people live a comfortable life? Or take people in Africa, China, and rural industrialized countries. There lives certainly are not any better because of capitalism. In these places where the only jobs available are minimum wage industrial jobs we see capitalism once again taking advantage of the working class.

The value of human life comes into question when dealing with how those at the top look at the working class. The ones who are getting rich off of the labors of these people are the ones that devalue the lives of the working class because they know that if one worker should die another will take their place, thus there is no incentive to help out those workers with issues such as health care, better education, and better working conditions. In a true socialist setting people are not dirt poor. Instead all of humanity would live in affluence. Maybe not the extremes seen in the modern world, but all as comfortable as another. And socialism and communism still allow workers to rise through the ranks of any organization only without the corruption of capital. The incentive would come from each man wanting to make humanity and himself better by working hard.

You say with communism "The only opportunity you have is sameness, poverty, and despair." This is not true at all. In Marxist philosophy is extremely optimistic. Without capital we would all have the value replaced in our lives making our lives about living to the fullest instead of a constant rat race to gain as much money as fast as one can. In a socialist system there would be no more poverty or despair because the root cause of those issues, the exploitation of the worker, would be gone.

Everyone knows that the PRC is communist in name only. They rank among the worst nations for exploitation of the working class by western powers. They refuse to allow for labor organizations that have always campaigned for the worker and an end to poverty. They have allowed Western countries to come into their country and exploit there people who then become victims of the free market system.

Once again there is no incentive to help the poor when it comes to healthcare. Capitalists do not want you to get better, rather they would have you keep paying more the free market healthcare companies and then just get well enough to continue to work. And if you do get truly sick the capitalists can cut you off from that source of help and allow you to die because they will just get another to take you place.

Capitalism is not a good system. The argument that is allows people to prosper is inherently false. Granted it allows some to prosper, but the vast majority of people ranging from the middle class to the extremely poor are enslaved within the system. You do not rot within socialism of communism, but rather you are free to cast your own lot in life just like everyone else and you are not subjected to the constant poverty, suffering, and rape of the environment that a free market system has offered to the world.
DucoNihilum

Con

In the second round, you shoot down many straw men, even in your first paragraph. Firstly, you state that I made the claim that the poor benefit just as much as the rich from capitalism. I never made this claim, I said that the poor and rich both benefited from capitalism, just in different capacities. The poor are generally better off than they would be without capitalism, and the rich benefit greatly.

You also misunderstood exactly what I meant in regards to the poor living well. The poor do live well compared to how they would live under pre-industrial situations. Compared to the very wealthy, the poor might not live well. The poor share many luxuries in the US- including housing, food, heat, microwaves, TV's, books (if they please) music players, and other such entertainment / non necessary devises. Indeed, take a trip into the inner city of say- Saint Louis. I have. Then take a trip into the areas where the free market hasn't realized itself yet, or is outright denied. Take a trip to North Korea, many African nations, look around at the PRC, go back in time to Pre-Industrial France, or check out the starving masses of the USSR.

None of the examples I gave are examples of free market capitalism. While the PRC is moving toward more capitalistic tendencies, they still have many systems of command style regulation. They have more than 100 regulative ministries, and still try to control their economy though both direct and indirect ways. African nations have yet to realize free market capitalism. Pre-Industrial France was mostly lords and serfs, and the USSR was socialist.

In countries moving into industrialization it is true that sometimes capitalist industry moves into the countries. This is not a negative thing. Sure, in comparison to the wages we receive right now the wages do seem low. In fact, these wages are often higher than market value in that nation. Even if they are not receiving above market value for such, they went into a mutual agreement. They are not taking advantage of them, you assume that all people besides the evil, elite capitalists are stupid. While not everybody makes rational decisions, people should have the right to make decisions as to what they see is right. If they would like to work for minimum wage then they can do that if that is what they wish. If they would like to advance themselves, they must go to a country where capitalism has succeeded and then go into a more skilled occupation, one not everybody can do.

I notice you bring up the idea of 'the capitalists' 'helping out' the 'poor' with issues of health care, education, etc. I think this very idea of 'helping out' to be wrong. What happened to hard work? Why is it the duty of the rich to help out the poor and not the duty of the poor to try to help themselves? We live in a world of infinite desires with finite resources. The only fair way to allocate these resources would be capitalism. Capitalism allows people to succeed or fail based on their own merit. Socialism allows everybody to fail, regardless of how hard they try. There is no incentive for actual hard labor, why try when everybody is the same? What is there to strive for? Your socialism is an idea and nothing more. You use the no true Scotsman fallacy again, saying that no true socialist nation would..... That is how things work out in the real world, outside of your idealistic fantasies. In the real world, communist nations and socialist nations failed to hold up to the optimistic Marxist philosophy, proving Marxist philosophy wrong again and again. I am close to some people that work for jobs with no real profit motive. The job is a job where you will make the same amount of money, little money. The greatest incentive is to work the least possible, just to get by. He does not enjoy working for the simple sake of knowing his fellow man has the ability to enjoy a clean building. This problem could easily be solved with a simple management solution. This problem can not be solved in socialism or communism, as work like this is the standard of both systems.

To expand on healthcare. Capitalists very much want you to get better. Why is this? Because we are all Capitalists in a real capitalist country. We all are acting in order to better ourselves in the best way possible. The invisible hand of the market drives this. Some prosper, some prosper less than others. You have your own rational self interest in mind regarding healthcare. While you can not expect a handout, you can earn enough money to help yourself. Please do not bring up the example of the uninsured in the US, because the vast majority of US helathcare is NOT an example of capitalist healthcare- in fact, it's quite the opposite. I agree that capitalism does not allow all people to prosper. No system can allow all people to prosper given unlimited wants and limited resources. Capitalism, however, allows some people to prosper, and a great deal of people to prosper at different levels (There's a large middle class in the US. They have prospered just as the rich have, just to a lesser extent) Socialism does not allow this progression. In socialism, everybody is the same. You are only free to stay the same as your neighbor in socialism. In capitalism, you are free to do anything you please so long as you are able to do them. People who are unable to do those things are unable to do whatever they want, but that's simply because they can't do them. Socialism doesn't allow for the prosperity you might see in the upper class, or even most of the middle class. Socialism allows you to remain same. Socialism has no incentive to work, outside of theoretical incentives that do not transcend into the real world. Socialism is anti-freedom, you do not have the freedom or the means to make what you want of yourself, you have the 'freedom' to be your neigbour.
Debate Round No. 2
AlexRich

Pro

AlexRich forfeited this round.
DucoNihilum

Con

My opponent conceded his closing argument to me, as I have little to go on I will simply list some benefits of capitalism.

* Carried us out of subsistence farming.

* Allows us to become more and more populated, which has not been a problem in reality.
* Improve
d all of our lives. Compared the average GDP per capita of the USA vs the PRC or other communist countries

* Allocates all of our resources in the most efficient way possible.

* Is natural, greed and desire to gain wealth are a natural human element. The best way to achieve this is though free market capitalism, in which nobody unfairly gets ahead of anybody else and people have the ability to change

* When in comparison to the other systems, capitalism is clearly better. All real communist or socialist countries have failed or are failing due to problems with their own ideology. The only way a socialist country can survive and prosper is trying to allow the free market, capitalism, in.
Debate Round No. 3
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Shorack 9 years ago
Shorack
You are very selective in what you mention.
During communism, everything was owned by a small manipulative group (the party leaders) who did leave their countrymen with only the very basics.

The individuals grasping huge parts during the fall isn't free market, it is part of a bad transition. Other countries from the former USSR made that transition at a more moderate speed with better planning and didn't have those scenario's.

O and you also forget to mention all those people who left EVERYTHING and RISKED THEIR LIVES to reach the capitalist west.
It wasn't the west that kept its own people prisonner behind a wall.

Furthermore, not far from everything that was created had to come from other individuals. Music, Blueprints, Management, Education...
Those things aren't taken from others, the are shaped, created by people out of nothing. And fyi, services are getting more and more important.

Also in a free market you don't get things from people at the expense of them. Since you can't force people in a free market (quite the opposite of what the USSR could...) to give you something, you have to reach an agreement in which both parties believe they'll benefit from it. If one party believes that the return isn't at least equal to what he has to bring in, he won't participate.

And sure, some people deserve millions. If they contribute greatly to society, they deserve likeswise compensation.
Take the owners of Coca-Cola. Why do they make millions? Because an inbelievable amount of people want coca-cola. Since they provide them with coca-cola, they get compensated for that.

And 100 years from now, i hope we have a totally free society. Free market can't force anyone to do anything.
Maybe look back 100 years (or more/less) instead, you'll see that the most free nations of their time were the most prosperous ones.

ps: if we were in the former USSR, i wouldn't have been able to write this without risking a forced 'move' to Siberia... ;)
Posted by snook 9 years ago
snook
The fall of the USSR is causing unimaginable suffering in the newly independent and 'free' countries. Why? Because the move to the open market of democracy has allowed manipulative singlular entities to run off with all the money, leaving their countrymen without. Where is the fairness in that? You could come back with 'well hey, they did it so others can too' or, 'now anyone has their chance' but the fact is that no one is printing more money to go around and the money that was there is GONE. What is made by any individual has to come from some other individual and in capitalism, it is at the expense of the latter. Does ANY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL 'deserve' to make a billion dollars a year while others starve/can't get heat/are homeless/work for $5.90 an hour (Alberta, Canada)? No. The mathematics of it are enough. It simply doesn't work and it is OBSCENE that it is allowed to exist.

Where is the end point 100 years from now? It is likely that less than 10% of the population of the entire world will own you all. They will own all the corporations that own all the businesses you work for. They will tell you what to do, where to live, what to wear, what to eat. If you try to start your own business, you will be broken and destroyed. Money is destroying freedom and the only people who can say otherwise are those that are safe - those with the money. You may think that it could be you, if you can just make it to a few measely million, but even that won't be enough then - you will be nothing but middle class, you still be owned and you allowed it to happen.

To any of you who believe capitalism is good and can still manage free thought on the subject, then read the following before commenting further:
http://www.g-r-e-e-d.com...
Posted by Shorack 9 years ago
Shorack
Euhm, i can't imagine cuba not being that bad.
until recent, many electric devices (ricecookers for example :p) were simply prohibited by government over there...
Posted by justlikeclockwrk 9 years ago
justlikeclockwrk
Yes I know what PPP is. 4,500 is crap, what expenses do they have?
Posted by DucoNihilum 9 years ago
DucoNihilum
Your friend is wrong.

Do you know what PPP is? Do you know how HORRIBLE a PPP of 4500 is?!
Posted by justlikeclockwrk 9 years ago
justlikeclockwrk
Don't let the numbers fool you. Have you ever been to cuba? I got a close friend who has been all over, he was even interrogated by the government because he took a picture of an air conditioner and emailed it. He has seen the worst of cuba and he says it is no where near as bad as here. BTW the PPP is 4,500 for cuba.
Posted by DucoNihilum 9 years ago
DucoNihilum
The estimated PPP of Cuba is 3000-4000 (I don't think Cuba actually releases their numbers, it was difficult to find), whereas the US has a PPP of 40,000..... Meaning, the AVERAGE Cuban makes 4000 dollars a year, wheras the AVERAGE american makes 40,000.
Posted by justlikeclockwrk 9 years ago
justlikeclockwrk
How come the poorest person in cuba has a higher living standard than the poorest person in the U.S.?
Posted by Shorack 9 years ago
Shorack
watched the series.
almost done with the book :)
Posted by EricW1001 9 years ago
EricW1001
btw there is no "cure" for the common cold. bad example...

if it has been "proven" as you say that a cure would be easy but no one makes it because there is more money in treatment is ridiculous. Why did we cure polio? or small pox? I can imagine there is a billions more in treatment of those diseases than cure. Grow the hell up.

If this capitalistic society which has provided you with absolutely EVERYTHING you could possible need, then be my guest and move somwhere else as you are being a burden on our resources.
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