The Instigator
A.WitherspoonVI
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
philosurfer
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Capitalism is Immoral

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
philosurfer
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/11/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,109 times Debate No: 45654
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

A.WitherspoonVI

Pro

Greetings.

Here are the rules:

~Serious arguments only
~1st Round for acceptance
~No semantics
~Burden of Proof is shared

Definitions for this debate:

Capitalism
:Economic system in which most of the means of production are privately owned, and production is guided and income distributed largely through the operation of markets.

Immoral: Not morally good or right, morally evil or wrong.


Good Luck, looking forward ot this!

philosurfer

Con

Hello!

I accept your debate and challenge!

Let's have fun!

Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
A.WitherspoonVI

Pro



1. Capitalism destroys the environment.
Capitalism is without a doubt the most productive economic system ever created. Capitalism, throughout history, has required an ever increasing level of natural resources to sustain itself. To quote Abramsky, Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Science, Technology and Society: " The current worldwide system of production is based on endless growth and expansion, which is simply incompatible with a long term reduction in emissions and energy consumption. Despite the fact that localized and punctual moments of reduction may well still occur, the overall energy consumption and emissions of the system as a whole can only increase[1]."

Thus Capitalism is unable to break free from the status quo of industrialization and environmental pollution. In fact it has only to contribute to the crisis. So what then are the impacts of status quo "worldwide system of production" on the environment?

A. Climate change at this point has considerable evidence to support Anthropogenic involvement. Indeed one can no longer claim, with any basis in scientific fact, that climate change is a purely natural event, outside of human agency. The following chart is provided by the OSS Foundation:


The impacts of climate change on biodiversity are unparalleled by any other disaster in recorded history. A wide variety of projections have been made by experts on the topic: The Nature Conservancy claims as much as 1/4 of ALL species on earth are at risk for extinction[2]. Depending on the projection used these figures range as high as 80/70% and as low as >10%. Regardless of the model used, I challenge Con and the voters to find a model supported by mainstream science that which concludes biodiversity is affected by climate change.

B. further evidence of the negative impact of the industrialized capitalist era can be found in deforestation trends. E.O. Wilson, Harvard sociobiologist, in The Future of life posits that a sharp increase in Global deforestation occurred around 1852(during the industrialization of Capitalist Europe and America in the 1800's). By his estimates, 80% of All old growth forests will be wiped out. This is without a doubt human agency and the data supports that the capitalist system has deeply worsened this trend. I doubt severely that tribal collectivists and other groups outside of the capitalist system were responsible for this sharp change. Here is a chart that shows US old growth forests from the "Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States":



Unless Con wishes to contest that this was indeed not the result of Capitalism in America, but rather natural phenomena or the actions of tribal Native Americans then we must conclude that rapid global deforestation is the result of the Capitalist system.

Why the destruction of the environment is a moral matter is simple. In fact it can be rendered morally repugnant in numerous models of morality, I will outline 2.

~Species rights: Genocide, the intentional wiping out of ethnic groups is outlawed by international law and near universally condemned. What then gives the right, nor the ethical reasoning to intentionally exploit and wipe out the rest of the animal kingdom? This is totally unacceptable. Does one not treat ethically their pets? Yet on what grounds can we advocate for the intentional genocide on thousands of species. The degree to which Capitalism has exploited and wiped out plants/animals indicates a system of true moral repugnance.

~"Stewards of Creation" To those voters who posses morality based on the Abrahamic religions and believe in a god given superiority of animals, I would like to point out that nature is creation. Therefor the destruction of the natural world for profit, is the very apex of Man's arrogance to God. Thus you must vote in accord with Capitalism as an immoral economic system.


2. Capitalism exploits Workers
Exploitation: The action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.
All born into this world are free, yet most of us grew up in chains, as the Jacobin once posited.

All property(with few exceptions) is owned by either a nation state or private individual in the Capitalist system. Meaning that all resources are owned, as well as the means in which to produce them. Those who have private control over the means of production, are in a naturally exploitative relationship over those who lack it. Consider I played the capitalist game right and now I - along with others like me- own the vast majority of the wealth(capital) and property. Now Con is born into this world, he graduates high school and is now a member of the working class. Now he gets to enter the world of the voluntary free market! He really has two choices: work for a private corporation -like mine- or be without the ability to produce(mooch, vagabond, starvation). If all the property is owned and all the resources within them, and additionally the means to produce material goods(factories, farms, bakeries, etc) then how may Con opt out?

He really cannot, this is where the exploitation really begins. But lets zoom out, as those of us in WEIRD (Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic) nations do not do much of the producing. Therefor the conditions of labor in which he is subjected to, which are still exploitative is nothing near what the capitalist system does to labor involved in production.



CIA World Factbook 2006 via Stephen Morley Green=Industry Blue=Service.
I want to point out that all nation states with the exception of Laos, Cuba and arguably North Korea operate within the confines of a capitalist market economy.
Let us consider the following thought experiment, based on the "Original Position" of Oxford Fellow John Rawls. The purpose of this thought experiment is to determine what in a society is just and what is unjust:

We have been tasked with determining a new society for humanity to live in and then we shall be born into this new world. But there is a catch: You will not get to choose your gender, economic standing, ethnicity or kin. You may be anyone.

You would naturally want, at least for yourself, guarantee of adequate living conditions and the access to earn a living wage. If one posits that they would like to be born into a society with the two aforementioned attributes then Capitalism is most definitely the system you do not wish to pursue.

To quote Professor James Davies "Income inequality has been rising for the past 20 to 25 years and we think that is true for inequality in the distribution of wealth.[3]"
Additionally the same article yields:" the richest 1 percent of adults - most of whom live in Europe or the United States - owned 40 percent of global assets."
Meaning that the world capitalist system is one of massive, and polarizing inequity.

To frame this another way, under the social contract of Capitalism, you may be born into a family-not to mention region- with little capital and thus forced to labor and produce for society. Others in this socio-economic system inherit the means of production and a far greater level of capital. They can and will profit of your labor.

J. Greene of Harvard found in a study that human beings make moral choices via cost-benefit analysis[4].
Capitalism bears billions into this world with minute capital and the few profit off these impoverished masses.
The benefit off the few are outweighed by the suffering of the many.
Capitalism is immoral.


Now I shall turn it over to Con, I await his opening statement with anticipation.
~Alex




1. "Kolya, Sparking a Worldwide Energy Revolution: Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World" Pg. 7-9
2. http://www.nature.org...
3. http://www.denverpost.com...
4.http://www.npr.org...
philosurfer

Con

Well said! I like the ideas and the graphics! Nice work!

The reason I accepted this debate is precisely because there is a hidden premise lurking here -- and you have presented it in your arguments in grandiose fashion! I think this should be a great discussion!

The hidden premise you have put forward is this: Capitalism itself is inherently immoral -- or, at the very least, is an economic system which automatically leads to the inevitable consequences of 1) destroying the environment and 2) mistreating a working class -- which is simply not true. It is false.

The historical narrative is invaluable here for perspective. For example, in his Two Treatises of Government, John Locke (considered to be one of the founding architects of modern Capitalism) outlined "rules" for being capitalistic, specifically "limits to accumulation". Also important was the concept of securing and setting value and how property should be defined.

Locke rightly recognized that the human element of greed could transform Capitalism into an economic system which could be abused or misused to extreme excess. A "check and balance" set of ideas was put forward. Locke is very clear that even in a natural state of plenty:

1) There must be enough for others
2) One can use natural resources as long as it isn't stolen or taken from others
3) Natural resources can be used as long as what is taken, is replaced and doesn't spoil
[Second Treatise, Sec. 85]

Do we follow guidelines like these today? No, absolutely not. There is a strident difference between John Locke's fundamental "rules" for being capitalistic -- producing goods and creating property and wealth -- compared to what is currently practiced in the US and abroad, what we know as Capitalism today.

But then the conversation changes very quickly. We can then ask if there are different ways of being economically capitalistic? And indeed there are. Does human greed, consumerism, imperialism, overpopulation, rapid industrialization, and the institutionalization of currency and money-lending effect our brand of Capitalism and how we have chosen to be economic? And the answer is unquestionably and emphatically YES!

So the problem isn't Capitalism. Capitalism itself as a system can be broken down to a few basic components that are not automatically immoral when combined. The problem is how we have chosen to be capitalistic or use Capitalism -- combine that with many other factors like gross-excess consumerism and overpopulation, etc., and you get what we have today.

Your idealistic "beef" with Capitalism is a good one. But I recon its like saying, "money is evil," when others might say that it depends how money is used. Your putting blame in the wrong place. This has nothing to do with semantics but is very much a categorization mistake -- and I want to make that clear before we go further.

Having said that, I'm not sure how useful it is to talk about the eradication of peoples, species or environments only due to Capitalism -- because there are different factors of colonization and imperialistic practices to consider -- and what you have casually done is inadvertently "fuse" these other factors to Capitalism -- or likened them to each other, or basically suggested "this-from-that."

Capitalism is not a very good reason to suggest as an explanation as to why some cultures may conquer others. It's way more complicated than that. Dr. Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel is probably the best working thesis to explain why a culture may conquer another culture. In fact, it has nothing to do with Capitalism.

"Only people have responsibilities" -- Milton Friedman

Your idea of Capitalism I believe has been stigmatized by the mess the Baby-boomer-generation created -- who are responsible for the "consume-to-excess" brand of capitalistic practices in modern times. "He who dies with the most toys wins" type of consumer attitudes are no longer acceptable and are changing [The Success of Capitalism, documentary].

What if I told you there are capitalists who are also minimalist? Or Communist-capitalist? Or Socialist-capitalist? Hippie-capitalist? The ideas and practice of Capitalism are changing:

There are what are known as "B" Corporations (Benefit Corps.). "Benefit corporations differ from traditional corporations in regards to their purpose, accountability and transparency. The purpose of a benefit corporation is to create general public benefit, which is defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment. A benefit corporation's directors operate the business with the same authority as in a traditional corporation, but where in a traditional corporation shareholders with proper standing judge the company's financial performance, here they judge qualitative performance based on the benefit corporation's stated goals to the community and environment" [wiki-benefit corps].

Companies have decided to "go green" because they recognize it's beneficial to the environment and doing so is actually good for business and Capitalism long-term now. Consumers are speaking up and demanding more "green" products and only supporting green companies, boycotting others.

"In 2010, the number of American businesses with formal "green" programs in place increased 54 percent over the previous year according to new research from Buck Consultants (a subsidiary of Xerox). Of about 120 businesses surveyed "including hardware and other technology firms, government offices, consultancies, non-profits, hospitals, and the makers of consumer packaged goods" 69 percent said they took deliberate measures to improve their environmental and social impact" [http://techcrunch.com...].

Companies that put these environmental programs and projects in place lead off with these achievements in their quarterly and annual reports!

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) was established in 1970, during the height of American industrialism, precisely because we started to recognize gross-excess use of resources and the effects on the environment, which prior to this we didn't quite understand, say, Co2 emissions, or what acid rain was [http://www.epa.gov...].

History starts to reflect this very soon after:

The CCAA (Comprehensive Clean Air Act) passes in 1970.
Earth Day started in March of 1970.
Clean Water Act passes in 1971.
DDT get banned in 1972.
Endangered Species Act passes in 1972.
The Catalytic Converter in 1973.
Unleaded gas is made widely available in 1973.
United States banned the use of CFCs such as Freon in aerosol cans in 1978.
Production of CFCs was almost completely phased out by 1994.

Civilization is now reacting to a new perspective and trying to understand and find it's environmental equilibrium while maintaining it's livelihood.

"A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business" -- Henry Ford

I think it's also interesting to note that the top philanthropist in the world responsible for the most charitable donations have recently become your American Capitalist tycoons [Forbes.com]:

1) Bill Gates
2) Warren Buffett
3) Mark Zuckerberg
4) Waltons
etc.

I will address the working class and utilitarianism in the next rounds.

References:

[1] Second Treatise, Sec. 85, John Locke
[2] The Success of Capitalism, a documentary
[3] wiki-benefit corps
[4] http://techcrunch.com...
[5] http://www.epa.gov...
[6] Forbes.com
Debate Round No. 2
A.WitherspoonVI

Pro

Thank you for the thoughtful reply Philosurfer.

I like the lay out and how concise you kept it.

I shall reply in the same manner, for the sake of both the voters and the impending windstorm.

I shall reply to three arguments my opponent has set forth in the order he arranged them:


1. Capitalism is not inherently bad

2. Green Capitalism

3. Philanthropy


Capitalism is not inherently bad

Con quotes Locke, an enlightenment philosopher who would indeed-as con pointed out- influence the birth of capitalist liberal democracy. Locke though lived under feudalism and was drawing up the theoretical scaffolding for a future society. Locke’s ideal “rules”, which Con posits Capitalism today shows strident differences. But Con is right to affirm the principles that Locke outlined in the quoted passage. However the results of Capitalism are the black knight to white bishop when we compare them with Locke’s notions.


Lets put this in perspective with another political thinker’s theoretical scaffolding and the society we find today, North Korea.


The ideology of North Korea is Juche. The idea was borne in the mind of Kim Il Sung, and the Korean State website puts it as follows:

“The Juche idea is based on the philosophical principle that man is the master of everything and decides everything. It is the man-centred world outlook and also a political philosophy to materialize the independence of the popular masses, namely, a philosophy which elucidates the theoretical basis of politics that leads the development of society along the right path.[1]”


There is nothing fundamentally immoral with this statement, the immorality of the North Korean system is presently clearly in the actions of the state: leadership of the party has passed one generation to the next, over 200,000 in prison camps, an UN report of disturbing human rights violations[2]. My point is that the morality of system cannot be judged on the ideals of it’s founders.


Secondly I challenge Con to provide a historical example of Capitalism devoid of “human greed, consumerism, imperialism, overpopulation, rapid industrialization, and the institutionalization of currency and money-lending.” My “beef” with Capitalism is very much so rooted in the modern capitalist system, the moral repugnance of this model is grounded in the modern realities not theoretical possibilities.


I can claim to my girlfriend that I will not cheat on her and that will be the foundation of our relationship. If we both proceed to do cheat, then can our relationship be judged as one of moral strength? Of course not, nor can we judge the moral strength of Capitalism based on the writings of it’s founders.


Green Capitalism

To quote MIT lecturer Frank Ackerman:

"The apparent progress on emission reductions in rich countries has occurred at a time of widespread outsourcing of manufacturing to China and other developing countries. In the process, we have effectively outsourced our carbon emissions as well. If consumers are responsible for the emissions from making the consumer goods they buy, then we have not solved the problem.[3]"


The EPA has made these steps to appease the public. They inability to stop the destructive forces of our modern system is staggering. There is another event you ought to add to your timetable: trade with China. China is now the great industrial producer and soon to be the world’s largest economy. In Beijing the air so bad that even a Chinese Government report found the capital “barely suitable” for human life[4].

May I remind the voters that Capitalism is is a system of blatant inequity. Those responsible for producing commodities necessary to our society live in incredible suffering.


Philanthropy

If Corporate philanthropy was enough then why does the previously cited global inequity deepen? It is true that is all of those with massive accumulation of capital spent it on humanitarian efforts for the poor that our present crisis would be far softened, possibly even solved. This most certainly is not the case, unless Con can introduce data that supports the contrary.


I will now turn it over to Con.







1.http://www.korea-dpr.com...


2.http://www.telegraph.co.uk...


3.http://www.huffingtonpost.com...


4.http://www.theguardian.com...
philosurfer

Con

Alex, nice work!
I like the counterpoint ideas.
The discussion is shaping up!

Historical Narrative:

Again, the historical narrative is invaluable here for perspective -- but let's go a little further back this time and then fast-forward to Marx:

In a natural state plants and animals are inherent "consumers" -- requiring energy and resources. It is the biological and ecological - Tao - way things are. We are governed by the Laws of Thermodynamics and there is no way of escaping this. We have to consume life of some kind (plant or animal, vice-versa) to survive. We need to build shelter(s). We need to stay warm. We need to secure resources to do these things.


I wish it were different. I wish the environment and the species in it were 100% safe -- and the world and every living being lived in a happy utopia -- safe from me when I need to eat or shelter my body from the elements -- but I'm sorry -- I will destroy a tree in order to build a shelter or make a fire while out foraging for some endangered species to eat so I don't starve! HA! And I'm sure you would do the same!

You could decide to eat nothing but some berries maybe in the hopes of minimizing the suffering of the little creatures, but, since meat has a higher caloric-value, in a survival situation, I wouldn't be mad at ya if you did eat the little forest dwellers, which are busy consuming to survive as we are. It's the Circle of Life my friend [Lion King, Disney].


--Least I point out you are still consuming the berries and effecting the environment and rest of the ecosystem!

Now, besides being somewhat off-point and silly, the reason I bring up these ideas is because even Marx recognized this. Humans are social animals who often benefit from performing these basic survival functions together -- coming up with better and more efficient ways -- requiring less energy and resources to secure more, etc. As you pointed out in your first argument, "Capitalism is without a doubt the most productive economic system ever created."

Marx, whose orientation was largely materialist and historicist (influenced by conditions and inherent processes beyond the control of humans), framed his analysis around four central points: 1) the physical reality of people, 2) the organization of social relations, 3) the value of the historical context of development, and 4) the human nature of continuous praxis [anthropology.ua.edu/cultures/cultures] (Marx had to study history to locate an original accumulation as an external starting point of capital -- which is an interesting point I hope we will have time to get back to in later rounds).

But let me ask you a series of questions for contrast and to elucidate a point further: Did communist groups throughout history ever cut down trees in excess and accumulate a resource-surplus? Did communists ever destroy environments or species to secure these resources? Do you think communists ever produced undesirable pollutants that were expelled in the environment in order to manufacture goods or products, regardless of how they held class systems or distributed and created wealth or prosperity?

If the answer is YES to these questions, you might want to consider Capitalism, as a system, is equally used by people -- like other systems even though different -- capable of being misused, abandoned, and abused to excess. Your N. Korea example is to this point; as is the spousal-cheating example. We can agree to whatever, BUT if we don't stick to the original agreement then we have violated what it was we originally agreed to. You said: "My “beef” with Capitalism is very much so rooted in the modern capitalist system, the moral repugnance of this model is grounded in the modern realities not theoretical possibilities." So we actually agree.

But, again, it's like when folks say, "money is evil," when someone else might disagree and point out that it depends how money is actually used. Again, the problem isn't Capitalism.The problem is how we have chosen to be capitalistic or use Capitalism.

According to what you're saying, I should then judge Marxism or Communism only by the fall of the Soviet Union! Or should I still consider variations of Marxism or Communism that might still be successful?

Historic Challenge Rebuttal -- provide a historical example of Capitalism devoid of “human greed, consumerism, imperialism, overpopulation, rapid industrialization, and the institutionalization of currency and money-lending. I can't speak of the greed in one's heart but here are a couple of good examples:

1) "A strong market economy was a very important aspect of Meoamerican cultures. Although much of our information about the market economy in Mesoamerica comes primarily from the Aztec/Mexica world during the Late Postclassic, there is clear evidence that markets played a major role throughout Mesoamerica in the diffusion of goods at least as recently as the Classic period. Beginning during the Classic Period (AD 250-800/900), merchants supported urban specialists with raw materials and finished goods to convert into luxury goods and exportable items for trade" [http://archaeology.about.com...].

2) "One interesting feature of Native American money is how something which seems to have relatively little value beyond the context of Native American life and culture can in the end become quite valuable. For instance, many Indians in North America used wampum for Native American money. Wampum consists of clam shells and was initially used by coastal tribes, until the use of wampum spread throughout the continent and was store by the Iroquois, which was one of the most prosperous and powerful tribes. Although many settlers scoffed at Native American currency in the beginning, wampum was later used by many colonists as a form of currency. For instance, Peter Stuyvesant paid his workers in wampum when they constructed the New York citadel. The island of Manhattan was purchased for wampum. Wampum was used as the main form of Native American Money because it had value as a decorative item, and many Native Americans pierced holes at the top of their wampum and wore them in a belt rather than carrying wampum in a bag" [indians.org/articles/native-american-money].

Green Capitalism & China Rebuttal:

Bear in mind "going green" is a relatively new occurrence -- even in the US! It's going to take some time. Sure, with globalization there are other countries jumping on the bandwagon, wanting to produce and manufacture goods and create wealth in the same kind of ways the US did -- unfortunately following in many of our same footsteps and making some of the same mistakes. And for them the pros might out-weight the cons financially -- though you and I would both agree not environmentally.

But it's interesting to note that this week in national news:

1) John Kerry in China -- “A unique co-operative effort” with China on the issue of combating climate change" [theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/15/john-kerry-china].

2) "John Kerry Calls Climate Change a 'Weapon of Mass Destruction" [http://abcnews.go.com...].

Note the most capitalistic nation's Secretary of State is visiting China and working on these issues. Again, Civilization is now reacting to a new perspective and trying to understand and find it's environmental equilibrium while maintaining it's livelihood.

Philanthropy Rebuttal:

Con never asserted Corporate philanthropy is "enough" -- but will in later rounds demonstrate capitalistic societies have and do "give" more when presenting utility and addressing the Working Class.

Source References:

[1] [Lion King, Disney]
[2] [http://anthropology.ua.edu...]
[3] [http://archaeology.about.com...]
[4] [indians.org/articles/native-american-money]
[5] [theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/15/john-kerry-china]
[6] [http://abcnews.go.com...]
Debate Round No. 3
A.WitherspoonVI

Pro

Thanks for the thoughtful rebuttal, I shall reply point to point

Historical Narrative

Firstly, the following points are indeed true:
All living things consume.Consumption effects nature.We must consume to survive.There is no reason to conclude however that this makes Capitalism moral.
I will remind the voters that Capitalism is not an universal to all of history and is not the defacto system of life.
Civilization itself is only several thousand years old,[1] and "Hunting and gathering was humanity's first and most successful adaptation, occupying at least 90 percent of human history'[2]. This indeed involved our specsis relying off nature and thus altering nature. In this 90% of human history there were no trans-national corportions, anthropogenic climate change, rapid deforestation, nor tozxicization of the air. Capitalism is not inherant in the humanity nor are in it's abhorent results. One cannot render Capitalism as moral even it occupied 99% of human history, simply because a model is popular does not make it anyless morally repugnant. Fortunetly Capitalism has not even done that.

Marx and Communism
Marxian thought is introduced by my opponent and he goes on to pose the following questions to me:
"Did communist groups throughout history ever cut down trees in excess and accumulate a resource-surplus? Did communists ever destroy environments or species to secure these resources? Do you think communists ever produced undesirable pollutants that were expelled in the environment in order to manufacture goods or products, regardless of how they held class systems or distributed and created wealth or prosperity?"
While I may infact be a Socialist these questions are wholly untopical. The resolution is capitalism immoral rather then: Communism is more moral Capitalism. I have no obligation in this debate to provide an alternative economic system with a higher rate of morality. Yes to the final question though, judge Communism of it's historical accomplishments, not theoretical framework. Before I adress the rest, lets all refresh ourselves on the definition for Capitalism to be used for this debate: "Economic system in which most of the means of production are privately owned, and production is guided and income distributed largely through the operation of markets."

This debate is meant to demonstrate to the voters the morality of the system in question. The consequent ideology in which it is founded upon or invisioned to operate under are as detacted from reality as the Jihadist's phantasm. Thus the voters ought not to base their decision in this realm of discourse but rather the very real cost and benefits. As I pointed out in Round 2, moral decisions are based in cost-benefit analysis, how may test that which does not exist? Yet alone make moral decisions.


Capitalism With a Human Face

1. To provide a counter I shall qoute Craig Hanson, a Meso-American Archeologist whom has authored over twenty papers on the region: "it is possible to hypothesize apre-capitalistworld-system" (Schneider 1977:25) in which core areas accumulated precious materialswhile exporting manufactures and peripheral areas exported materials against an inflow of finishedgoods. Thispre-capitalistworld-system created the relationships that, uponEuropeancolonization, evolved into a facet of historical capitalism in Mesoamerica[3]." Hanson here is arguing for the existence of a pre-capitalist "world system", his prime example of a pre-capitalist society is Meso-America. Meso-American society only evolved into "historical capitalism" after European colonization, contray to the about.com article. The full paper will be linked in cited sources.

2. This article does posit that currency existed in some Pre-Columbian tribes. This article does not posit the existence of Capitalism in America amongst indigeonus tribes.

Thus I will affirm to the voters that both examples are insufficent to provide a historical example of Capitalism that is devoid of “human greed, consumerism, imperialism, overpopulation, rapid industrialization, and the institutionalization of currency and money-lending.” The reason I make this affirmation is due to the fact that neither are actual examples of Capitalism.

China, The Enviorment, and Philanthropy

"the most capitalistic nation's Secretary of State is visiting China and working on these issues. Again, Civilization is now reacting to a new perspective and trying to understand and find it's environmental equilibrium while maintaining it's livelihood."

Both nations are talking and manuevering on the issue of climate change, but the articles do not put forth evidence that Civilization is finding an equilibriam between enviormental conservation and prosperity.

This was already addressed in my qoute from Abramsky from round one which i shall reiterate:
"The current worldwide system of production is based on endless growth and expansion, which is simply incompatible with a long term reduction in emissions and energy consumption. Despite the fact that localized and punctual moments of reduction may well still occur, the overall energy consumption and emissions of the system as a whole can only increase."

Regardless of the current postering that the two powerful nation states are undertaking, the world system of capitalism is unable to stop the energy consumption at the heart of the crisis. Capitalism is, as we speak, still on the present trajectory of enviormental annihiltion.


I anticipate Con's rebuttal to the "Expliotation of Workers" in the next round and consequenstly his reasoning for how Capitalism is infact moral.

I now turn it over to Con without ant further ado.


Cited Sources
1.http://www.bbc.co.uk...
2.Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers
3.http://www.academia.edu...
philosurfer

Con

Oh no Alex, I'm not suggesting Marxism or Communism as more moral!

The ideas were points suggested in the form of rhetorical questions:

1) If communists also use natural resources & pollute the environment - then - obviously - Capitalism is not the only economic system which does.

And I in no way suggested that Capitalism is "universal" & humans' inherent need to consume automatically leads to it.

2) The point here was that we observe all of nature consuming resources - even humans within a completely different economic system like Communism. Therefore, Capitalism cannot be automatically immoral strictly because of the environment - as we see the same environmental issues within completely different economic systems.

Environmental Crux:

Is there a more moral, more ethical, more environmentally friendly way to be capitalistic? If the answer is YES -- then my points in previous rounds are indeed valid, despite Pro's efforts to mitigate, as I have shown Capitalism to actually be "amoral" - as it is a system used by people which is unconcerned with neither rightness or wrongness.

Alex, your "repugnance" is because of how we have chosen to use/be capitalistic. You neglect and obfuscate many other factors like gross-excess consumerism & overpopulation - also seen in other economic systems, etc.

Is civilization now reacting to a new perspective & trying to understand & find it's environmental equilibrium while maintaining it's livelihood and is there evidence of this?

Since we brought up China, let's look at just two of the most populace/industrial nations in Asia incorporating capitalistic principles in their economies[1]:

China
Air Pollution Control Act 1995
Animal Epidemic Prevention Law 1997
Environmental Protection Law 1989
Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China (For Trial Implementation) 1979
Fisheries Law (2004 Revision)
Fisheries Law 1986
Flood Control Law 1997
Forestry Law 1985
Forestry Law of the People's Republic of China (1998)
Grassland Law 1985
Law on Desert Prevention and Transformation 2001
Law on Marine Environment Protection 1983
Law on Mineral Resources 1986
Law on Prevention and control of atmospheric pollution 2000
Law on Prevention and Control of Water Pollution 1996
Law on Promoting Clean Production 2002
Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Noise Pollution 1997
Law on the Protection of Wildlife (2004 Revision)
Law on the Protection of Wildlife 1989
Marine Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China (1983)
Water Law 1988
Water Law 2002 (the modified edition)

India
Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
Biological Diversity Act, 2002
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
Forest Conservation Act, 1980
Indian Forest Act, 1927
National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act of 2001
Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution), 1974
Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002
Wildlife Protection Act of 1972

(A long lists can be compiled for almost every industrialized nation in the world after 1970)

Historic Challenge:

"Capitalism: Economic system in which most of the means of production are privately owned, and production is guided and income distributed largely through the operation of markets."

Therefore, the Meoamerican example qualifies because 1) free market principles 2) privately owned & funded investment of capital and 3) conversion of goods into profit. The second example added simply shows Wampum used as currency in similar ways by Native American groups in the early part of US history.

Pro's Use of Semantics:

The motion of the debate is: Capitalism Is Immoral - NOT: Capitalism Is Moral. Burden of proof is to be shared on the topic: Capitalism Is Immoral. Alex, you are Pro of: Capitalism Is Immoral - while I am Con also of: Capitalism Is Immoral - I only need to demonstrate that Capitalism is not immoral - I do not need to necessarily prove that Capitalism is moral. Rather, I hold the position that Capitalism is amoral and will demonstrate utility:

Overview of the Utility of Capitalism:

Third world countries & poverty:

Third World:
1. the underdeveloped nations of the world, especially those with widespread poverty.
2. the group of developing nations, especially of Asia and Africa, that do not align themselves with the policies of either the U.S. or the former Soviet Union [2].

"The term Third World was originally coined in times of the Cold War to distinguish those nations that are neither aligned with the West (NATO) nor with the East, the Communist bloc. Today the term is often used to describe the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.
Many poorer nations adopted the term to describe themselves" [5].

Poverty:
1. the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor. Synonyms: privation, neediness, destitution, indigence, pauperism, penury. Antonyms: riches, wealth, plenty.
2. deficiency of necessary or desirable ingredients, qualities, etc.: poverty of the soil. Synonyms: thinness, poorness, insufficiency.
3. scantiness; insufficiency: Their efforts to stamp out disease were hampered by a poverty of medical supplies. Synonyms: meagerness, inadequacy, sparseness, shortage, paucity [3].

Third World Countries in Terms of their Gross National Income (GNI) [7]:

Countries with the least gross national income based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) per capita in int'l Dollars.
Simplified the GNI PPP is the average annual income earned by a citizen of a country.
That means for example, a citizen of Malawi can spend $ 1.6 a day to make a living,
a citizen of Eritrea $ 2.5, the average US citizen spends $ 114 daily.

Below are countries with an average yearly income per capita and year under $ 1000, poorest nations first:
1 Timor-Leste
2 Malawi
3 Somalia
4 Congo
5 Tanzania
6 Yemen
7 Burundi
8 Afghanistan
9 Guinea-Bissau
10 Ethiopia
11 Niger
12 Liberia
13 Sierra Leone
14 Madagascar
15 Zambia
16 Eritrea

The new 2014 federal poverty level guidelines have been released for the United States. The federal poverty level for individuals living in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia is now $11,670, and $23,850 for a family of four - even higher in Hawaii and Alaska [6].

The Fact of Property:
1) The right to property is a moral right
2) The right to property legitimizes Capitalism in principle if markets are kept free

Adam Smith (the primary father of Capitalism) argued in his The Wealth of Nations that when people are left to pursue their own interests, they will produce the greatest good for maximizing happiness and human flourishing.

1) The consumer decides free market trends and prices (supply & demand), not a king, dictator, corporations or manufactures
2) Because markets are free, Capitalism is a way of being "democratically" economic

Capitalism is not a Caste System:
1) Anyone can participate
2) Wealth can be generated in less than a life-time
3) Hard work and developed skills are rewarded

Free Markets spur education, innovation & technologies which improve life:
The Human Development Index (HDI) published annually by the UN measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development:
1) Life Expectancy Index (LEI) 2) Education Index (EI) and 3) Income Index Per capita income (PPP $) [5].

Cited Source References:


[1] [wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_environmental_laws_by_country]
[2] [http://dictionary.reference.com...]
[3] [http://dictionary.reference.com...]
[4] [http://www.slideshare.net...]
[5] [http://www.nationsonline.org...]
[6] [http://www.familiesusa.org...
Debate Round No. 4
A.WitherspoonVI

Pro

A well written reply.

Now it has come to closing statement. I will introduce no new evidence as I feel is proper for Round 5. Con is in no way obligated to follow suit. It will be concise and name reasons for to vote Pro.

Closing Statement

It has been quite a debate however there are numerous reasons on which Pro has carried the day. These are outlined below:


Firstly I would like to cite the lack of Con demonstrating the morality of Capitalism. In round 2 I explained in detail that morality is determined via cost benefit analysis. I went on to use data which supports that Capitalism has a greater cost than benefit and therefore must be rendered immoral. Con never introduced a method to determining morality nor did he apply the data he found to an expressed moral system. Even if one assumes Con operates under the cost-benefit model which I articulated, he never once named it or explained how his points can be found as amoral or moral through cost-benefit analysis. Beyond that he claims that all he has to do is show that capitalism is amoral rather than immoral to win the debate. This is true, but Con fails to do so, he introduces data and fails to provide analysis. On these facts alone I believe you, the voters, ought to vote pro.


Secondly my opponent dropped my contention on exploitation of workers, while he says he would address it in later rounds he has yet to do so. Therefore in the lack of a rebuttal one ought to vote Pro as I have fielded arguments.


Thirdly there is the matter of sources, In the arguments for the resolution academics are frequently cited and reputable sources can be found in at the of my arguments in rounds 2, 3, and 4. Con on the other hand has cited wikipedia, about.com, and slideshare. Thus I urge you to vote pro as you may put more faith in the accuracy of the sources.



Fourthly and finally one ought to vote Pro on topicality. Con strayed from the resolution and forwarded arguments in regard to communism. The arguments for Pro always link back to the resolution and only target points actually made by Con. Con on the other hand constructed a few red herrings and on more than one occasion veered from the resolution. I urge all voters to read the arguments carefully and if one discovers this assertion to be true then they must vote Pro.


Thank you for the debate and thank you for voting

~Alex




philosurfer

Con

Alex, it's been a pleasure!
Well done fine Sir!
Thank you for the debate, I enjoyed it!

I was saving Round 5 to address the the Working Class directly - however - I don't think it would be fair as Pro would be unable to respond.

Honestly, we simply ran out of time to give it a good once over - and I felt addressing the environment, amorality and utility were more important first, which leads to addressing the Working Class.


Alex, I will touch on the Working Class just so we can say we did - however, voters can disregard.

Pro' Closing Statement Concerns:

Issue of the Morality of Capitalism

The argument often used for the morality of Capitalism is Utility!

However, I don't think it prudent to clearly demonstrate Capitalism as amoral - in which the system itself (Capitalism) cannot be concerned with rightness or wrongness as it is a system used by people - but then use the argument of Utility to try and argue Capitalism as moral - that would be philosophically illogical as it would be a contradiction.

In Round 4 Pro "baited" Con and invited "his reasoning for how Capitalism is infact moral."

The motion of the debate is: Capitalism Is Immoral - NOT: Capitalism Is Moral.

Con did not need to necessarily prove that Capitalism is moral. Rather, Con maintained and demonstrated the position that Capitalism (as an economic system) is amoral - thus not immoral.

To which Pro concluded in his Closing Statement, "
This is true, but Con fails to do so, he introduces data and fails to provide analysis."

If it has been demonstrated that Capitalism itself as an economic system is amoral - then - the objective has been achieved as Capitalism is not automatically immoral.

Issue of Sources

This one is funny.

Let's put this in perspective; Con uses at least 6 cites & sources in every cited round with a total 18. Pro only uses 3 or 4 in the same rounds with a total of 11 - A DIFFERENCE OF 7! - and then Pro asks the voting populace to only critic Con's cited sources.


It's true, the quality of the source is important - BUT - if two cites were deducted from Con for each cited round, Con would still finish with more cites/sources of equal quality - still.

Let's keep in mind cites are not just for source references when presenting a thesis but also to protect intellectual property and to prevent plagiarisms.

Issue of Communist Arguments

There was no endorsement or argument made for/of Communism or Marxism whatsoever! Communism and Marxism was only mentioned for contrast of economic systems and to illustrate points regarding Capitalism and the environment!


The contrast of economic systems was needed to show Pro that the reasons he gave for the immorality of Capitalism are also observed in "other" economies and, thusly, simply weren't good enough reasons for his case.

Working Class (voters may disregard)

Capitalism lifts general populations out of poverty. So, though we can talk about Class Warfare, child-labour in the past, and social-economic injustices, in general, the greater population is served (world wide), which was demonstrated through Utility.


This is why data(s) for global Gross National Incomes (GNI) and the Human Development Index (HDI) were introduced by Con.

Simply put, the individual worker is part of a system which benefits the whole.

CONCLUSION:

Like an inanimate object - Capitalism is not "conscious" of it's morality or not. Capitalism is an economic system - which is used by people - in which the system itself is incapable of being immoral or moral. Rather, it depends how it is used by the people using it. Hence, Capitalism as an economic system is AMORAL - and as such cannot be immoral.

Con will not try to appeal or try to sway the voting populace in final remarks but simply requests that Debate.org's voting guidelines be followed.

Many thanks!



Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by philosurfer 2 years ago
philosurfer
Note in this video that the most capitalistic societies in the West are currently marching for Climate change!

https://www.youtube.com...
Posted by philosurfer 3 years ago
philosurfer
How did you insert the graphics?
Posted by A.WitherspoonVI 3 years ago
A.WitherspoonVI
Pictures uploaded wrong, very very wrong.

http://www.debate.org...
OSS Model

http://www.debate.org...
Old growth forests in USA.

Sorry for the mix up.
Posted by Jonbonbon 3 years ago
Jonbonbon
Serious arguments only? That's no fun.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by WhizKid 3 years ago
WhizKid
A.WitherspoonVIphilosurferTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: tie Spelling: tie More Convincing: Pro at the start but Con showed a case that turned out to be lacking for a clear assertion as Capitalism immoral. Sources: Tie
Vote Placed by MasterOfTheUniverse 3 years ago
MasterOfTheUniverse
A.WitherspoonVIphilosurferTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Great debate! I'm in awe and kinda blown away by some of the ideas. I thought Capitalism was an evil entity and a terrible economic system in many ways that Pro highlighted. However, Con was very convincing and unpacked everything Pro suggested. I can away from this debate feeling a little better about Capitalism. Pro used more consistent sources but Con used just as many sources that were good when the others that weren't so good were adjusted for by at least 1 by my count.
Vote Placed by AdamKG 3 years ago
AdamKG
A.WitherspoonVIphilosurferTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This was an amazing debate; probably one of the best I have ever voted on. I congratulate both pro and con for a fine and interesting debate. I have always believed in a working hybrid of socialism and capitalism with perhaps more capitalism. I delved into this debate with an open mind and I came out with new ideas, but I still do not prefer one system over the other. I did notice that pro did have better sources and he made the case in his closing statement. I slightly preferred con's arguments. Con made the true point that capitalism is not inherently immoral and if a society's system is immoral it is the fault of the people managing it. A charity is generally a moral organization, but it can easily be made immoral if the people managing it is corrupt. I could say the same thing about socialism being immoral if you look at oppressive dictatorships like the DPRK and Cuba that practice socialism. Again, that does not mean socialism is inherently immoral either.