The Instigator
MysteriumRevelatum
Pro (for)
The Contender
Overhead
Con (against)

Capitalism is the best economic system.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/29/2016 Category: Economics
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 610 times Debate No: 95047
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (0)

 

MysteriumRevelatum

Pro

Full Resolution: Capitalism, while imperfect and flawed, is the best major economic system.

Rules:
1. First round is for acceptance. Second is for opening arguments. Third for rebuttals and conclusions.

2. By accepting the debate, Con agrees to the following definitions:
Capitalism- the economic system based on private ownership of the means of production, and their operation for profit.
Best- creating the best quality of life for the most people
Major- consistently included in academic discussion and debate of various economic systems (Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Mercantilism, Feudalism).

3. Burden of Proof is shared. Pro must show that there is no major economic system better than capitalism, under the agreed-upon definitions, and Con must show that there is a major economic system which is better.

4. No trolling, semantics, etc...

I hope someone accepts, and look forward to debating!
Overhead

Con

Thanks for making the debate. As BoP is shared and there is no format for rounds, I will get right into it.

OBJECTIVE COMPARISON

Hypotheticals are hard to study objectively. The socialism that almost every socialist in Western countries would like to implement is far different from the authoritarian style implemented in China and the former USSR. However, even using this backwards form of socialism we can see that they are better at delivering greater quality of life.

To do this, we must make a comparison between nations. Such a thing is hard to do as to accurately make a comparison, countries should ideally be identical in every way except for their economic ideology - with similar populations, GDPs, levels of educations, levels of technology, endowments of natural resources, etc. Hence many examples, like comparing the USA to the USSR is like comparing a 20 year old American to a 90 year old in Russian speed and acting like when they win it's down to nationality rather than age.

Thankfully in his work Hunger and Public Action[1], Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner Professor Amartya Sen made the point that India and China make excellent tools for comparison - so similar were they at the point where they each took a divergent ideological path. As he points out, even compared to the autocratic path China took India is far worse in terms of the indicators looked at such as excess mortality. Indeed when we look at the UN's human development index[2] (Which measures quality of life, we can see that despite their original equal starting point China has overtaken India and has become a country with high human development while India has only reached medium human development.

In one of the only actual solid examples we have available to measure different ideologies, even one of the worse examples of Socialism comes out ahead of Capitalism. Therefore Capitalism is not the best economic system.

CAPITALISM IS INHERENTLY MURDEROUS

The cost that often isn't counted in Capitalism is the inherent death, with millions of people needlessly dying each year.

Unicef, for instance, gives the figure of six mill ion children who die from causes which are not only preventable but preventable at low cost[3]. The World Food Programme cites 3 million children dying each year from malnutrition[4] even though the world currently produces enough food to keep everyone fed[5].

The issue is that the goods available are not allocated in an optimised way. It's no conspiracy, it's just a result of Capitalist forces driving people towards anti-societal goals. Why should a medical research company spend money developing drugs for poor people who can only buy a pittance when they can spend the time and effort developing baldness cures for rich people? Why do food companies spend time and money selling a 38th different variety of chocolate cookie in the USA when there are people starving in Ethiopia? It's not hatred or malice or racism. Their job and their duty to their investors demands that they go with the most profitable option. The Capitalist system sets up a series of inventives and drives which direct companies to produce and allocate good in a fashion which cause millions upon millions of children (not even counting adults) to needlessly die.

While any nation under any ideology can fall prey to a strongman dictator, it is in Capitalism where this is an inherent part of the system. Capitalism has never managed to go a single hour without the inherent nature of the system killing people en masse. It is immoral and causes massive needless suffering due to its defining feature of pursuing the profit motive. it is therefore not the best economic system.

Indeed, pre-empting an arguement from PRO I will point out that Chomsky's analysis of the situation shows that the norm for Capitalism is worse than the worst aspects of the Soviet and Chinese regimes in terms of death and killing.[6]

INEQUALITY

Looking historically, we're pretty much at record levels of inequality and while it's possible that inequality might be starting to decline - if this is occurring to will actually due to the disproportionate effect one particular non-Capitalist nation (China's) rising equality has on the overall world level[7].

Marginal utility describes the use that people get from commodities and how this decreases with the more commodities they have. Put simply, a billionaire who already has 10 homes gets less benefit and utility from an extra house than a homeless person does with their house. [8]

Capitalism is a system where people's wealth and income is not tightly regulated or limited. there may be some constraints, but for the profit motive central to it to work these must out of necessity be fairly loose. Capitalism therefore distributes wealth in an inefficient way which does not maximise utility compared to economic systems like socialism that do take this into account.

Best in this topic is defined by "creating the best quality of life for the most people". A high inequality, which Capitalism has delivered in record levels, provides the worst quality of life for the most people. By the stated definition, Capitalism cannot in any way shape or form be considered the best economic system.

THE ALTERNATIVE

While it isn't necessarily my favourite version of socialism, probably the conceptually easiest to understand and one that is superior to capitalism without being scary and requiring anything very revolutionary is market socialism[9]. Under market socialism, businesses are still competitive corporations ruin for profit. The difference is that the owners are the workers rather than investors.

While this has some of the same downsides of Capitalism in some areas such as relying heavily on the profit motive and therefore optimising production based on what makes the most money rather than what brings the largest societal gain. However, it's flaws are smaller. As dividends go to workers, they receive a higher income. This equalises income to a large extent and lessens the problems with marginal utility. Additionally as this would apply to workers in developing nations, it also helps with the allocation of goods and reducing needless mortality as it gives poor workers in poor nations greater purchasing power.

[1] http://www.polsci.ucsb.edu...
[2] http://hdr.undp.org...
[3] http://www.unicef.org...
[4] https://www.wfp.org...
[5] http://www.worldhunger.org...
[6] http://www.spectrezine.org...
[7] http://documents.worldbank.org...
[8] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[9] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
MysteriumRevelatum

Pro

Thanks for accepting Con. Since you've already posted your main argument, I'm going to go ahead and post my rebuttals, and your 2nd round post can just be a repost of your arguments, or nothing. Let's get started with the rebuttals.

"OBJECTIVE COMPARISON":
I find it odd that you use China as an example of the ways in which socialism improves the quality of life in countries in which it's employed, when in fact, implementing more capitalistic policies and mandating more protections for private property are what's boosted China's economy and boosted the standard of living there. So it was capitalism, not their failed socialistic policies, which "fast-tracked China into the 21st century".

"CAPITALISM IS INHERENTLY MURDEROUS":
The ironic and oft-overlooked point is that all the commodities and goods and food which are in abundance in certain countries are only in abundance because of the efficiency and development of their free market economies. Without capitalism, there wouldn't be an abundance of goods and food. It should also be noted that while Con does make some good points regarding the short-term nature of investment and corporate direction, these are problems which can be fixed within a capitalistic economy, with government regulation and subsidies. In short, Con tries to argue that some potential shortcomings of capitalism can only be fixed by implementing detrimental socialist policies, when in reality, relatively simple government intervention in a capitalist free market could be the answer. Besides, the overall benefits of capitalism outweigh any potential shortcomings.
It is capitalism, not socialism or communism, which ultimately produces the most wealth and the greatest standard of living for the most people. And the free market allows for non-profit and charitable organizations to help those less developed economic areas on the global stage. Con is trying to argue that we should upend the entire system of capitalism, to implement systems which are ultimately built on the wealth and fruitfulness which was generated by capitalism in the first place! With all due respect, that is madness!

"INEQUALITY":
First of all, as I pointed out before, China's economy at this point, is not non-capitalist. The reforms and policies they've implemented have effectively rendered their economy a heavily regulated capitalist state. If anything, China is evidence for the resolution. If anything, China is evidence that by implementing capitalism in a country, infinitely more wealth and better living is created for everyone than could ever be under socialism or communism. China is proof that governments can regulate capitalism in such a way to add a degree of fairness and long-term benefits for a country, while maintaining the system which drives continued innovation and better standards of living: capitalism! Ultimately, capitalism is the only real answer to issues with the quality of life in a country. They only have their amazing-performing economy, because of their implementation of capitalism and private property rights! I think Winston Churchill said it best, when he said "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. That of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

This concludes my rebuttals.
Overhead

Con

As mentioned in the comments, I didn't spot the mention about R1 being acceptance only. therefore to keep things fair I will repost my R1 statement in full before adding anything new so as not to accrue an unfair advantage. I apologise for this mistake.

Thanks for making the debate. As BoP is shared and there is no format for rounds, I will get right into it.

OBJECTIVE COMPARISON

Hypotheticals are hard to study objectively. The socialism that almost every socialist in Western countries would like to implement is far different from the authoritarian style implemented in China and the former USSR. However, even using this backwards form of socialism we can see that they are better at delivering greater quality of life.

To do this, we must make a comparison between nations. Such a thing is hard to do as to accurately make a comparison, countries should ideally be identical in every way except for their economic ideology - with similar populations, GDPs, levels of educations, levels of technology, endowments of natural resources, etc. Hence many examples, like comparing the USA to the USSR is like comparing a 20 year old American to a 90 year old in Russian speed and acting like when they win it's down to nationality rather than age.

Thankfully in his work Hunger and Public Action[1], Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner Professor Amartya Sen made the point that India and China make excellent tools for comparison - so similar were they at the point where they each took a divergent ideological path. As he points out, even compared to the autocratic path China took India is far worse in terms of the indicators looked at such as excess mortality. Indeed when we look at the UN's human development index[2] (Which measures quality of life, we can see that despite their original equal starting point China has overtaken India and has become a country with high human development while India has only reached medium human development.

In one of the only actual solid examples we have available to measure different ideologies, even one of the worse examples of Socialism comes out ahead of Capitalism. Therefore Capitalism is not the best economic system.

CAPITALISM IS INHERENTLY MURDEROUS

The cost that often isn't counted in Capitalism is the inherent death, with millions of people needlessly dying each year.

Unicef, for instance, gives the figure of six mill ion children who die from causes which are not only preventable but preventable at low cost[3]. The World Food Programme cites 3 million children dying each year from malnutrition[4] even though the world currently produces enough food to keep everyone fed[5].

The issue is that the goods available are not allocated in an optimised way. It's no conspiracy, it's just a result of Capitalist forces driving people towards anti-societal goals. Why should a medical research company spend money developing drugs for poor people who can only buy a pittance when they can spend the time and effort developing baldness cures for rich people? Why do food companies spend time and money selling a 38th different variety of chocolate cookie in the USA when there are people starving in Ethiopia? It's not hatred or malice or racism. Their job and their duty to their investors demands that they go with the most profitable option. The Capitalist system sets up a series of inventives and drives which direct companies to produce and allocate good in a fashion which cause millions upon millions of children (not even counting adults) to needlessly die.

While any nation under any ideology can fall prey to a strongman dictator, it is in Capitalism where this is an inherent part of the system. Capitalism has never managed to go a single hour without the inherent nature of the system killing people en masse. It is immoral and causes massive needless suffering due to its defining feature of pursuing the profit motive. it is therefore not the best economic system.

Indeed, pre-empting an arguement from PRO I will point out that Chomsky's analysis of the situation shows that the norm for Capitalism is worse than the worst aspects of the Soviet and Chinese regimes in terms of death and killing.[6]

INEQUALITY

Looking historically, we're pretty much at record levels of inequality and while it's possible that inequality might be starting to decline - if this is occurring to will actually due to the disproportionate effect one particular non-Capitalist nation (China's) rising equality has on the overall world level[7].

Marginal utility describes the use that people get from commodities and how this decreases with the more commodities they have. Put simply, a billionaire who already has 10 homes gets less benefit and utility from an extra house than a homeless person does with their house. [8]

Capitalism is a system where people's wealth and income is not tightly regulated or limited. there may be some constraints, but for the profit motive central to it to work these must out of necessity be fairly loose. Capitalism therefore distributes wealth in an inefficient way which does not maximise utility compared to economic systems like socialism that do take this into account.

Best in this topic is defined by "creating the best quality of life for the most people". A high inequality, which Capitalism has delivered in record levels, provides the worst quality of life for the most people. By the stated definition, Capitalism cannot in any way shape or form be considered the best economic system.

THE ALTERNATIVE

While it isn't necessarily my favourite version of socialism, probably the conceptually easiest to understand and one that is superior to capitalism without being scary and requiring anything very revolutionary is market socialism[9]. Under market socialism, businesses are still competitive corporations ruin for profit. The difference is that the owners are the workers rather than investors.

While this has some of the same downsides of Capitalism in some areas such as relying heavily on the profit motive and therefore optimising production based on what makes the most money rather than what brings the largest societal gain. However, it's flaws are smaller. As dividends go to workers, they receive a higher income. This equalises income to a large extent and lessens the problems with marginal utility. Additionally as this would apply to workers in developing nations, it also helps with the allocation of goods and reducing needless mortality as it gives poor workers in poor nations greater purchasing power.

REBUTTAL (NEW but brief, more in R3)

The biggest problem with PRO's argument is the complete lack of evidence to support his claims. He cites no sources and offers no explanations, merely making unsupported claims. On this alone I feel my argument clearly puts me ahead. However to poke some holes in his argument in case he does later provide proof:

- PRO makes the (unsupported) claim that China's growth increased because it went more Capitalist. In this case Ha Joon Chang, Professor of Economics at Cambridge, pointing out that the growth of a multitude of Capitalist countries slowed dramatically as they became more Capitalist from the 80's onwards[10] is much much stronger proof that Capitalism is ineffective and not the best system as it is sourced and looks at a host of countries rather than cherypicking one.

- PRO makes the (unsupported) claim that Capitalism could suddenly start not causing the deaths of millions of people each year. The things he thinks will stop this (regulation and charities) are things that have existed consistently since the creation of Capitalism and have consistently failed to stop these needless deaths for even a single day. There is no reason tobelieve they will start.

[1] http://goo.gl...
[2] http://goo.gl...
[3] http://goo.gl...
[4] http://goo.gl...
[5] http://goo.gl...
[6] http://goo.gl...
[7] http://goo.gl...
[8] http://goo.gl...
[9] http://goo.gl...
[10] 23 Thing they don't tell you about Capitalism, p142-144
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by domfincrag 5 months ago
domfincrag
I can't vote but if I can I would probably vote for con but I may be a bit bias being that I'm a democratic socialist.
Posted by MysteriumRevelatum 5 months ago
MysteriumRevelatum
Yeah, you're fine. Don't worry about it
Posted by Overhead 5 months ago
Overhead
I was unsure about adding rebuttals as the 3rd round is meant to be for rebuttals, but as your R2 was all rebuttals and no opening statement of your own position I thought I might as well and made sense.

Apologies again for messing it up in the first place!
Posted by MysteriumRevelatum 5 months ago
MysteriumRevelatum
Sources and citations coming.
Posted by MysteriumRevelatum 5 months ago
MysteriumRevelatum
I'll just go ahead and post my rebuttals to your argument, I guess.
Posted by MysteriumRevelatum 5 months ago
MysteriumRevelatum
Yep, that sounds fine.
Posted by Overhead 5 months ago
Overhead
Yes, I missed it. I'm happy for Pro to ignore what I posted and I will mostly just repost it in R2
Posted by warren42 5 months ago
warren42
To Con:
There was a round structure introduced by Pro. I'd urge you to waive the final round in order to make this a fair debate.
Posted by MysteriumRevelatum 5 months ago
MysteriumRevelatum
Done. I've changed the definition of best to "creating the best quality of life for the most people". Looking forward to debating.
Posted by Silly_Billy 5 months ago
Silly_Billy
It seems to me that you also need a more defined definition of what type of capitalism you are referring to as European Capitalism for instance is totally differend from American Capitalism while Americans would not even consider the European type of Capitalism as Capitalism even though it does have a capitalist foundation.
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