The Instigator
JoeYYC
Pro (for)
The Contender
Capitalistslave
Con (against)

Capitalism vs Socialism (Capitalism > Socialsim / Capitalism is superior).

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 439 times Debate No: 97838
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

JoeYYC

Pro

Looking for an honest, open debate. Arguments can vary from economic to moral, past examples (good and bad), neither side has the burden of proof or the need to "prove" their position more so than the other.

Any other debate details or formalities feel free to mention. I am totally new to the website so please advise if there are any important rules on etiquette or convention I should be aware of.

Cheers,
Capitalistslave

Con

This may put me at a disadvantage, but I'll straight up say that I will concede that Capitalism produces more capital and profits. It's named after that for a reason. So you won't get any argument from me if you argue that capitalism produces more capital. Rather, I'll be arguing that Socialism is morally superior and that this outweighs the fact that capitalism produces more capital and profits.

I figured I'd say that now so you don't have to argue that point in your first argument.

At any rate, I accept your debate and will start my first argument in round 2.
Debate Round No. 1
JoeYYC

Pro

I'll start off by formulating what I consider the best/most valid way to compare the two systems. In my opinion I think it's important to at least minimize as much as practical a debate based on value judgments. Obviously at a fundamental level all of morality is arguably "relative" so I'll set out my criteria and basis for evaluating and arguing in favor of one system over the other. My arguments are based on a comparison of the two systems based on very distinct criteria.

1. Which system maximizes or increases the standard of living for the most people, thereby reducing the amount of poverty (where poverty has ALWAYS been associated and directly linked to starvation, bad health/sickness, malnutrition, pain and suffering, lack or at least reduced education - the list goes on. ALL significant improvements in standard of living are a result of or by their nature are measured by increasing per capita GDP. While in recent times there have been some arguments in favor of using other metrics (i.e GINI), historically per capita GDP has been and continues to be the best measure amd it's also a critical fact that these other metrics being advocated for, like GINI to measure equality are ALL predicated on an already established/high per capita GDP. Don't try to argue for a moment that ANY country with a poverty-level, third world per capita GDP (i.e, $1000 per annum) has a better standard of living, lifestyle - call it what you like - for the masses of people just because they may have near perfect eqaulity. An equal distribution of wealth/income doesn't do you very good if the whole country is poor/starving - may not even have fresh water or electricity.

In some ways it's perverse what we now in the developed world define as "living in poverty" and how it compares to the "real" poor people in third world countries or even the first world countries of just 100 years ago. This is an argument not often made and often dismissed out of hand but it's a valid point that should not be completely ignored. This is NOT me saying that those living in poverty in Canada/US aren't struggling and don't have very real challenges but some perspective is BADLY needed. It's just not a politically correct thing to say, and it sure doesn't win you any votes but it's simply true. Our "poor" people today have BY FAR the highest standard of living, and the best and most comfortable lives of any other "poor" people (least suffering in particular) and importantly have the most opportunity for improvement. Public education, access to medical care (varies in quality and by country but still much improved), simple public library with access to the INTERNET! - Literally a world of information and knowledge at your fingertips, huge institutional financial and social aid to education programs ranging from trade/technical schools, vocational colleges all the way to undergraduate and post graduate university degrees. Subsidized housing, free/discounted food, free/nearly free and donated clothing and household goods, the list goes on. The help available is extensive and I also know this FIRST HAND, from good friends recently in dire financial need, relying on social support and also from my own life (single parent home) living in low rent housing, the tightest budget imaginable - I'm talking we were only supposed to use 1-2 squares of toilet paper (unless extraordinary circumstances), plastic ziploc lunch bags brought home each day to re-use, bread made at home, huge pots of soup made at home, no cable, no nintendo, no hockey (too expensive), played soccer, the list goes on. But truthfully I didn't really know that I was missing anything. Sure as I got older I saw my friends houses were nicer, parents had nicer cars, but it really didn't make a difference to my upbringing, if anything it made me a better man today.

As the very libertarian/free market advocate I am today I learned to work hard, I had to pay my way through university working, started my own real estate brokerage shortly after school and over the last seven years built it into a company with over a million dollars in annual revenue, with 4 full time employees and a salary for myself that puts me in the top 1%. I also pay my top employees well over $100,000, though I couple probably find people for $75,000/yr, and no one makes less than $50,000 per year. I could pay everyone a lot less and keep more but I'd have less loyal staff with potentially more turnover and less happy clients. Frankly I like being able to go to several NFL games and to Vegas each year and KNOW the business is taken care of. ALL of this is 100% tied to having a capitalist/free market system, one that first allowed me to get an excellent education and next the existence of a society with a sufficiently strong economy AND equally importantly an economy that was NOT too over regulated that I was permitted to set up my own company. Make no mistake the second feature is NOT a common or normal thing around the world, there's NO way I could have done this in a Greece or a France - heck even if I was born in another part of Canada like a Montreal I may have been unable to set up my own business (with the biker and mafia influences). So make no mistake, my very high standard of living BUT ALSO the (not as high but still very good) standard of living of my employees would simply NOT exist in a non capitalist, free market system. So it's not just having high per capita GDP, you also need a "truly" free market system, one that permits competition. If there were only a handful of real estate brokerages selling and managing real estate and competition was restricted, GUARANTEED those companies would not be paying my same employees these higher than needed wages. This is just one of many beneficial traits seen when comparing small companies to large multi-national. One of the biggest criticisms of the current capitalist system (which is NOT) a true, free market system, is the growing number of these huge multi national, too big to fail corporations who do treat their employees poorly. This is NOT a fair criticism of capitalism and free markets, this is a criticism of a perverse crony capitalist system which has manipulated an equally perverse and too big government which has enabled these companies to become monopolies by restricting competition, by aligning w politicians, etc. It's this EXACT reason that the greatest free market advocates, like the Milton Friedman's, are so anti big govt, they knew that big companies would always figure out ways to take advantage of the growth in government. This is to be expected, every company if they can get away with it will manipulate the system. This is not a flaw of capitalism, this is a result of basic human nature and self interest. The reason the problem doesn't go away, and is actually GETTING WORSE is because the progressive left can't see that it's the very growth in government and regulation which stifles competition and allows these corporations to become so big, and screw all these people over (or destroy the environment if it's that's in their economic interest), and so on.. The solution to this problem has always been less government overall and especially less CENTRALIZED government involvement in the economy, as these problems are never as bad at the civic level (they still occur but simply not to the same severity).

It's pure naivety that these problems would be reduced in a socialist system. Problems like like rent seeking, neglecting worker/consumer rights, wealth being concentrated in the hands of the few, even environmental degradation, all serious problems but all by far mostly symptoms of too much government regulation/intervention in the economy not of too little.

There's one thing you can never change and that is the nature of the conflict between idealists - realists / socialists -capitalists, that is HUMAN NATURE/GREED.

Any economic system which would deny the very nature of our being is doomed.
Capitalistslave

Con

I just realized, we never did agree upon definitions of capitalism and socialism, so I will use the common definitions of them as provided by wikipedia:
"Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit." [1]
"Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production" [2]
As long as you have no objections to those definitions, I will continue.

Now, I shall post my argument why I believe capitalism to be immoral and socialism to be moral, first, and then point out that socialism can be as successful, if note more successful than capitalism.

First, I wish to point out that capitalism is inherently hierarchical. The reason I say this is because it is the private ownership of the means of production, and what this means is that it puts one or a few people in charge of a business. Capitalism pretty much always leads to some people owning businesses while others work underneath those business owners. While there may not be anything inherently wrong with this set-up, I consider it to be wrong because it has an unnecessary position who takes money away from the people who could be earning that money. This unnecessary position is the business owner.

The business owner is unnecessary because the workers can invest in the business themselves and can vote on business decisions. In fact, businesses that are set up this way are known as cooperatives, and many people consider cooperatives to be the socialist model of business, because it is a form of a democratic ownership of the means of production. The fact there are successful cooperatives such as Mondragon Corporation, the largest cooperative in the world,[3] suggests that a business owner is entirely unnecessary.

Since the business owner is unnecessary, they are essentially taking profit away from the workers who could be splitting up the business owner's salary among themselves.

Additionally, capitalism is set up in such a way where only a few have power: and that's the business owners. It's essentially an oligarchy of sorts. Most people would agree that an oligarchy is an immoral system of government, and would agree that a republic or a democracy is more moral because it gives consent to the governed. Socialism makes the economy into a republican or democratic form. However, for whatever reason, most people make capitalism an exception to this rule.

I suppose most people think capitalism is different because they believe the worker is consenting to be governed by a business owner because they choose which business owner to go to, but are they really consenting? In a capitalist society, to survive you need to work under someone or make other people work under you, or else profitability goes down which increasing profits is a key goal of capitalism. If you decide not to do either of these two things, you may eventually get taken over. For example, one could choose to live in nature and not participate in the capitalist society, however a business could come along and kick you off that land if they legally buy it. They can do that since you didn't buy it since you're not participating in the capitalist world. One could say you could self-employ, but not everyone can do that, and plus that's not as profitable as having workers underneath you or being a worker yourself.

Not everyone can be a business owner under capitalism, since if everyone was, there would be no businesses as there would be no one to work under the business owners. Thus some people are forced to only be workers.

However, under socialism, everyone can be a business owner since the workers themselves are the business owners.

Capitalism generally puts profit above people. Business owners have an incentive to pay their employees the least amount possible so that they can take a higher pay themselves. In some cases, this leads to paying them nothing as slavery exists even to this day in some countries. In addition, working conditions tended to be terrible under capitalism prior to regulations. One just needs to look at history in the 1800s to see how it was: people had to work long hours, people worked for small wages, people had dangers to health in the workplace, etc. The business owner is generally not motivated to fix these problems because it costs money to do so.

Socialism fixes this because the workers are the ones in charge of the company, and they would usually not subject themselves to long hours, low pay, and terrible working conditions.

To recap: Capitalism is immoral because it has unnecessary positions which take money from other people who could be doing that job, and that unnecessary position is the business owner; Capitalism leads to terrible work conditions. Socialism fixes all of these problems.

Next, I shall point out that socialism can benefit people through examples. I will not be arguing from a moral standpoint here now, but rather I will be showing that socialism can be successful if implemented properly.

There is one example of a socialist nation that, by all means, was a socialist success. This nation was Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito. They had the highest standard of living of any Eastern European nation, a GDP growth of greater than 5% for most of the years it was socialist, and poverty also declined significantly[4]. Yugoslavia did not see this kind of growth under Capitalism. While it is true Yugoslavia fell eventually anyways, this was in large due to NATO and Reagan inciting a silent revolution in Yugoslavia to introduce and pressure them into taking a market economy.[4] [5] In fact "There is evidence that the US administration in liason with its allies took the decision in the early 1980s to destabilise and dismantle Yugoslavia." [5]

In addition, there is Bolivia. Since having voted in a socialist party in 2006 and which has become more socialist since, Bolivia has had it's GDP soar from $8 billion to $33 billion[6] and has the fastest growing economy in Latin America. In addition, the extreme poverty levels went down from 38.2%, just before the socialists were elected, to 18.8%[7] and the general poverty rate went from 68.4% to 38.6%[6]. While Bolivia is still a poor nation, it is improving widely under socialism. Bolivia did not see this kind of growth under capitalism.

A third nation that did better under socialism than under capitalism, was Spain. In the Spanish Civil war, Revolutionary Catalonia had the standard of living of the average worker go up significantly after implementing socialist ideas [8]. I can't find anything else about other indicators of economic improvement for Catalonia unfortunately. This is likely because they existed for such a short period of time, as they were eventually taken over by the Fascists and Franco.

What these three countries seem to indicate is that socialism can improve the situation of countries more than capitalism in some instances. Bolivia did far worse under capitalism than under socialism, as GDP growth was tiny beforehand, and poverty levels were ridiculously high. Yugoslavia fared better under socialism as well, and so did Spain.

I wish I had more characters remaining to argue more, but I suppose I will in my next round. I'll also directly rebut the points made by my opponent, since I couldn't do so this round as I ran out of room.

Sources:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...dragon_Corporation (I've had trouble with this link in the past, if it doesn't work, simply go to wikipedia and type in "Mondragon Corporation")
[4] https://www.youtube.com...
[5] http://www.globalresearch.ca...
[6] http://data.worldbank.org...
[7] https://www.youtube.com...
[8] econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/spain.htm
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
Ok, in that case, I'll just use round 1 for acceptance since I've not gathered all of my arguments together yet.
Posted by JoeYYC 1 year ago
JoeYYC
Whichever you prefer. I'm working on my next post as we speak. We could agree to use around 3 to refute and make counter points, and Round 4 to make final arguments,and summarize positions?
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
Do you want me to start my argument in round 1, or just use round 1 for acceptance?
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