The Instigator
geothermal
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Domr
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Capitalism is dying

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Domr
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/13/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 795 times Debate No: 61650
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

geothermal

Pro

Capitalism as we know it is dying.
1st Round is acceptance.
Pro will argue that capitalism is dying.
Con will argue that capitalism is not dying.

Capitalism Definition (Investopedia)
A system of economics based on the private ownership of capital and production inputs, and on the production of goods and services for profit. The production of goods and services is based on supply and demand in the general market (market economy), rather than through central planning (planned economy). Capitalism is generally characterized by competition between producers. Other facets, such as the participation of government in production and regulation, vary across models of capitalism.

Good luck to the opponent.


Domr

Con

I accept.

As Con, I will be refuting my opponents argument of "Capitalism is Dying".

Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
geothermal

Pro

Thank you Domr for accepting the challenge.

Within the last century, capitalism has transformed most of the world into an industrial economy and has indeed successfully increased our production and technological innovation. Though, capitalism, in the traditional sense, is now gradually withering to an end. To prove my argument, I will first walk through and explain the current events and trends.
But first let me briefly identify what I mean by capitalism in the “traditional sense":

1. Top-down structure of corporations, institutions, and establishments
2. Competition (me vs. them)
3. Individualistic, autonomous, and self-interest driven
4. Acquisition of property is the measuring stick of success
5. Profit is priority

In the past, every society and civilization’s economic success depended around three major components: a form of energy, communication, and mobility. These 3 major components ultimately determined the structure and complexity of a society. For instance, in the 1st Industrial Revolution (18th/19th century), coal and steam power were the form of energy, the printing press/telegraph were the form of communication, and locomotive was the form of mobility. During the 2nd Industrial Revolution (19th/20th century), oil and centralized electricity became the major the form of energy, radio and television were the form of communication, and the internal-combustion engine became the form of mobility.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and we’re now at the onset of a “3rd Industrial Revolution” where a new shift in the 3 major economic components is occurring. In the last decade, the Internet has become the new way of communication. Millions of people are now communicating on their mobile devices through social network sites such as Skype, Twitter and Facebook. The form of energy is transitioning into renewable energy. Finally our mobility is transitioning into electric and fuel-celled cars, along with autonomous vehicles and drones for logistics.

How are these new shifts in communication, energy, and mobility affecting capitalism?
Simply put, the main disrupting force is technology. Let me explain.
There is a great paradox embedded at the root of the capitalist system, which previously has been responsible for its remarkable success within the last century, is now leading itself to an end. This paradox is what’s called “marginal cost”. In capitalism, the goal of every business is to decrease their marginal cost so that they can maximize their profit, put out cheaper products for customers, and become more competitive against other businesses. With the advent of the Internet along with exponential growth of computing, marginal costs have been reduced to near zero. Since the Internet, people have started to share information with each other such as in Wikipedia, music/videos through Youtube and file sharing sites, ebooks, news through blogs and other social media sites nearly for free. This has caused many industries to go out of business such as newspapers, book publishing, music, etc. This phenomenon is what’s called ‘zero marginal cost’, a term coined by Jeremy Rifkin who is the author of the book “Zero Marginal Cost Society” among other several books.

The Internet has allowed people to become prosumers instead of just consumers. They only have to pay for the initial fixed cost to put up a website, but the marginal cost thereafter is very small and sometimes zero. Additionally, because of the exponential growth of computers, fixed costs are also quickly decreasing. Information is essentially becoming free and anybody can learn almost anything online, which has also started to shake traditional educational institutions. It has been transforming what used to be a top-down structure of capitalism into a laterally-distributed, collaborative network platform. For the most part, the Internet has essentially become a shared-collaborative economy and is only growing. So how can businesses compete with all these free information goods? But it doesn’t stop there.

Energy
More people will be transitioning to renewable energy over the next decade. Renewable energy such as solar is following a similar exponential trend as the computer chips; it’s quickly becoming cheaper and more efficient. Additionally, renewable energy has zero marginal cost. After putting up the initial fixed cost of a solar panel, all of the energy it collects from the sun is 100% free. Every home and building will become a mini power plant producing its own green electricity and sharing the excess back into the grid. EU countries such as Germany and Denmark, as well as China have already been making a significant transition to clean renewable sources and laying out their infrastructure. Centralized power utility companies, especially in Germany are currently facing an existential threat and have been scrambling for new ways to keep profits alive.

Mobility
Electric and autonomous vehicles will soon become more common in the next decade. Currently, an electric car company called Tesla Motors has already begun leading the way with its Model S electric sedan, which has simply shocked the automobile industry. It has already gained many accolades such as the highest NHTSA safety rating of any car, as well as achieving a near perfect score in the Consumer Reports, claiming it’s the “best car we’ve ever tested”, and has become the best-selling luxury car in its first year. Yes they’re expensive for now, but in a few years a 3rd Gen model will be in the range of $35k USD which would completely change the game. Just as Apple’s iPhone revolutionized the mobile industry, Tesla is revolutionizing the automobile industry and is setting a whole new standard for other car companies to soon follow. This just shows the potential of electric cars and where transportation is ultimately heading.

Internet of Things
Over the next decade, this ‘zero marginal cost’ phenomenon will take over not just information goods, but soon physical goods and energy as well. The Internet is now expanding to what will soon become known as “the Internet of Things”, where almost every physical thing will be have a microchip and become connected to the network, feeding data. Again this is becoming possible with the exponential growth and price decline of computer chips. The Internet of Things is the hammer that will eventually nail capitalism to its coffin. It won’t happen overnight, but gradually over the next few decades. This Internet of things will ultimately converge the 3 major components altogether, the communication internet converging with the energy and transportation/logistics into one self-sustaining distributed interconnected platform. Our communication and transportation will be powered by the near-free energy from our renewable sources. Just as we are sharing information goods on the information Internet, we will be able to share our excess energy with each other through the energy Internet. Since the sun is not always shining and the wind is not always blowing, one part of the world where there’s plenty of sun during the day could share its excess energy to another part where it is night time and so on. Furthermore, an emerging technology called 3D printing is changing the manufacturing industry. In the near future, people will share and download the blueprint files of physical goods over the Internet, and “print” most of the items at home using their own 3D printer. 3D printers will allow the marginal cost of producing physical goods to drop to possibly near zero, especially now with 3D printers capable of using recycled materials.

Automation and Unemployment
The majority of jobs are going to be phased out in the next few decades due to automation. This trend has already been happening such as in car factories, self-checkouts in stores, etc. As technology progresses, eventually almost everything that can, will be automated by a machine or a computer software. So what does this mean for purchasing power???...

Sorry, ran out of space...

Domr

Con

First, I would like to point out my opponent has not used any sources to show data regarding the fall of jobs, the increase in solar panel usage and its benefits, and breakdowns of the next decade of the "Fall of capitalism".

Now to quickly respond to any jobs lost over the recent years, those were mostly do to the Recession and the Industry Crisis from 2008-2010. This was not a result of technology impeding into the workplace to replace human labor.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

My opponent claims you can learn "anything" on the computer. Therefore formal training is seemingly useless and unneccesary. Therefore, almost anyone with a computer has a chance to make millions of dollars, for the simple fixed start-up cost of a computer (300-800 USD) an Internet connection 50-100 USD per month, and the cost of a website domain name.

No other goods, services, or education is necessary because you can teach yourself online and sell your product/idea for millions.

This is clearly not the case.

What I also fail to understand...

My opponent is arguing that a Zero Marginal Cost is going to be the end of capitalism. However, Pro stated:

" In capitalism, the goal of every business is to decrease their marginal cost so that they can maximize their profit, put out cheaper products for customers, and become more competitive against other businesses."

Now, if the goal of business operating in a capitalistic economy, is trying to reduce their marginal cost (ideally near or at zero $), then how would their success in decreasing this marginal cost be the end of capitalism.

Any "jo-shmo" with a computer does not have the resources to compete with business using more funded, better technology to produce their good/service.

So while my opponent believe capitalism is dying, the reality is the companies in this capitalistic economy are shifting. Computer/Software companies are on the rise. While some companies may one day be able to operate solely on technology, and solar panels may help people save money, the people who sell and operate this technology are the new businesses.

Apple, HP, Samsung, Google, et al. are the new "automobile industries. Back when cars were first becoming popular, sales for cars went through the roof, and car makers were the kings of business.

Now the Internet, smart phones, computers are becoming the newest must-have and very needed product in today's society. New companies are at the top of the food chain producing the products needed in today's society.

Capitalism is not dying, it is merely changing to a different standard of businesses that rely heavily on the use of the most up-to-date technology.

Debate Round No. 2
geothermal

Pro

I ran out of space last time so here are sources:

http://www.technologyreview.com...

http://bigthink.com...

Remember don’t look in the short-term (few years); I’m talking about long-term (several decades).

My opponent is clearly unaware of what’s happening around the world with regards to renewable energy. European countries are currently far ahead of the game when it comes to renewable energy, not so much in the United States. Here’s a fact to give you an idea how countries outside of U.S. are doing with renewable energy.Take Germany for example. On May 11, 2014, almost 75% of the country’s total energy came from renewables in one day. http://cleantechnica.com...


“My opponent claims you can learn ‘anything’ on the computer.”
Actually, I said “almost anything” and I’m talking mainly about information knowledge. Of course nobody can learn how to be a mechanic, doctor, or engineer just by reading text or watching videos online. They would still need to go through physical practice/training that require tools and a special environment. But there are many subjects that don’t need formal physical training which you can learn purely online such as History, English, Math, Biology, even computer programming, etc. It’s called Google, Youtube, KhanAcademy, edX, Coursera, MIT OpenCourseWare, just to name a few. Additionally, online classrooms and forums are growing where people discuss, interact and help each other with problems, homeworks, etc.


“Therefore, almost anyone with a computer has a chance to make millions of dollars, for the simple fixed start-up cost of a computer (300-800 USD) an Internet connection 50-100 USD per month, and the cost of a website domain name.”
Yes. Mark Zuckerberg (Billionaire) was one; he started Facebook in his dorm room. Well of course one would need to know programming, but nowadays you can learn almost any programming language online and from free ebooks. Also, many people have made millions creating their own apps. http://www.entrepreneur.com...
Also look at Youtube. Many people have made millions on youtube just by posting a video or creating their own channel of videos. All they need are a video cam (fixed), computer (fixed), and Internet (marginal cost).http://www.theatlantic.com...

“Now, if the goal of business operating in a capitalistic economy, is trying to reduce their marginal cost (ideally near or at zero $), then how would their success in decreasing this marginal cost be the end of capitalism.”
Good question. This is the paradox of capitalism. As the the marginal cost approaches zero, it will eventually reach a point where goods essentially become free, abundant, and nearly everyone will have access to that good or service, and no longer subject to market forces. This is what the Internet has been continuously doing to information and knowledge.
This lateral-distributed platform of the Internet has been creating an open source environment where people are increasingly bypassing commercial products and services.
Businesses can’t compete with free or nearly-free shared information. Look what happened to the newspaper, encyclopedia, and book publishing industries, and it’s only the beginning. The Internet is democratizing power back to the people. With 3D printers and near-free renewable energy emerging, the same will start happening to physical goods.

“Any "jo-shmo" with a computer does not have the resources to compete with business using more funded, better technology to produce their good/service.”
You’re right, Jo-schmo cannot compete against the Apple or Googles of the world; Obviously it’s impossible. You’re missing the point. The power comes from numbers. When a distributed network platform like the Internet allows millions of individuals to collaborate at near zero marginal cost, together they can create/design products or softwares that can be competitive with larger companies. Some great examples are Linux, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Couchsurfing, etc. More and more people are increasingly joining the collaborative social commons where they’re goal is not to compete, but to share. Additionally, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are becoming increasingly popular with sites such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, bypassing conventional work and financing. Many large traditional companies are now finding themselves trying to compete with these growing collaborative peer-to-peer communities and startups, instead of the other way around. Networks are gradually replacing hierarchies, and we’re moving away from market capital towards social capital. Today this growing “collaborative commons” makes up a significant part of the economy, but it's completely ignored in the national GDP.

“So while my opponent believe capitalism is dying, the reality is the companies in this capitalistic economy are shifting. Computer/Software companies are on the rise. While some companies may one day be able to operate solely on technology, and solar panels may help people save money, the people who sell and operate this technology are the new businesses.”
Yes companies are shifting. But again you’re only thinking short term. Make no mistake, the transition to this Internet of Things economy over the next several decades will indeed create many new jobs and businesses in the process (mostly tech businesses). But once these new infrastructures of renewable energy, automation, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and other advancing technologies have been established and settled, it will be an endgame for most profits. People will quickly gravitate towards a sharing, collaborative economy not because they’re forced to, but because our technology will be so abundant, cheap, and efficient, that it would make no sense to sell each other products and profit off each other anymore, making capitalism obsolete. It sounds farfetched, but it’s simply technology’s productivity defeating capitalism in its own game in the long run.
Most people can’t seem to grasp the power of exponential growth. It’s the reason why many of our electronic gadgets has become so cheap and ubiquitous. The same thing is happening with renewables, particularly solar panels. Just like cellphones, almost everyone will have solar panels on their homes, providing them with free energy to power their 3D printers, electric cars, etc.
How can a capitalist system continue if people are generating their own energy for free and sharing the excess, making and sharing their own physical goods and information, and collaborating? It will be a totally new paradigm and a shift of consciousness. Profit motives will simply subside and capitalism will outgrow itself. However, it’s not a shift from capitalism to socialism, rather we’re shifting to an economy that actually shares the best of both worlds, a decentralized-distributed-network economy where energy/technological abundance and automation will liberate people from repetitive work. People will have the time to do the things they’re passionate about and live a more purposeful life, rather than a life focused on material/wealth accumulation. This is the point where the majority of humanity will start to explore and discover.
Is it Utopia? No, nothing is perfect in this world. 50 years ago people would’ve thought and felt the same way about our present state of technology and level of comfort.
Domr

Con

MY opponent has listed Mark Zuckerberg, and an article listing 5 entrepeneurs, and an artcle of ONE Youtube "star" (The Youtube star making $1000 a month. Much less than the average monthly income $3,700 per month).
http://work.chron.com...


7 people, of 7 billion, is certainly not enough to make a viable case for people themselves destroying capitalism through entrepeneurship.


My opponent makes bland statements about "goods becoming free"

"As the the marginal cost approaches zero, it will eventually reach a point where goods essentially become free, abundant, and nearly everyone will have access to that good or service, and no longer subject to market forces."

What goods are you referring to? This seems very quizzical. Computer chips are free? The very foundation you are staking the fall of capitalism will never be free.

Here is some information on App Developers / Programmers(The job that you are arguingfor to destroy capitalism)
-60% of App developers lose money
-12% of Apps make $50,000 or more. (Not individuals, usually bigger groups/corporations making these successful apps)
-80% do not make enough money to be a standalone business.

http://venturebeat.com...



My opponent argues only 3 companies that have become viable to fight against the Top Brand Software/internet Firms. Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc.

The fact is, these sites no exist. Making more of the same sites is redundant.

My opponent has stated 3 of the essential points of capitalism.

Energy - Most on the rise for the argument against capitalism - Solar Energy
Mobility - Electric Cars
Communication - Internet

Solar energy may be popular in Europe, but this is only one of the many Capitalistic Countries. This would perhaps kill of Capitlaism in Germany, but Capitalism is not in one country, nor does Germany ahve an effect on the US, Japan, UK, Sweden, Canada, Columbia, and more. Solar energy panels will also need to keep being produced. Therefore the cost is only seemingly fixed. Repairs, replacements, maintenence are going to keep coming about.

Regardless of how much information you can get online, eletric cars will always need to be manufactured, and car companies will remain a large of part of Capitalism. Repairs will be needed.

Communication - The Internet is not the only way people communicate, and it always will be. Social networks will be vying for the top companies. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instgram, Vine, Etc.
Phones will always have ccompetition and need to be manufactured. Apple, Samsung, HTC, Etc.



So As I have previously argued, Capitlaism is shifting its course to new forms of energy, mobility, and communication.

There is not proof, or even a trend that Capitalism is dying.



"This is the point where the majority of humanity will start to explore and discover.
Is it Utopia? No, nothing is perfect in this world. 50 years ago people would’ve thought and felt the same way about our present state of technology and level of comfort."


My opponent claims people would have though this exact way 50 years ago. In 50 years, Capitalism has not gone down in any way, it has merely shifted. Which is my claim not, that Capitalism is shifting to different forms of Energy, Mobility, and Communication. None of these changes will be the downfall of capitalism, but merely it will keep shifting.

Debate Round No. 3
geothermal

Pro

geothermal forfeited this round.
Domr

Con

My opponent has forfeited the final round.

I would like to thank them for a good debate. It was very informative.

I believe I ended everything nicely in my last round, as I have no other argument to refute, I shall end here.

Thanks for reading.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by geothermal 2 years ago
geothermal
Dayum I forgot about to post my argument for the final round today. I was too busy with my engineering engineering classes. oh well
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
And every communist system always ends with firing squads.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
All capitalism is the free movement of capital ( money) for goods or services between two or more people that have agreed on a price.That is really all it is.Communism is government setting the price which all parties are forced to accept.And that should have died out a long time ago. But every generation of the wizards of smart communists think that the other failed systems just were not managed by people as smart as they are.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
geothermalDomrTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.