Debate Rounds (3)
First round is acceptance, second is arguments, third is rebuttals.
Just to clarify before we start, I will be arguing for British Capitalism, that is, the form of capitalism currently in place in the UK. This is to say that I support basic capitalism so long as economic endeavours are contained within what is morally right to do; this excludes wage-exploitation, profiteering from immoral things, etcetera...
I also support a welfare state for those at the bottom of society as well as free healthcare at the point of delivery.
To summarise then, I am arguing for the moderate capitalism that is in place in the United Kingdom (my country of origin) in 2014.
Capitalism is defined as "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state." Using this information, we can already tell that capitalism is a hierarchical system, even though no state or central government is involved. Capitalism is based on three things at its roots: wage labor, that is working for a set income; private ownership of property and the workplace (farms, factories, offices, etc.), and the production for exchange and profit. Those who own property have capital, and usually inherit currency and/or receive large sums of it for low amounts of labor. Those who do not have to sell their ability to work in order to survive, or else scrape by on benefits.
The first group of people mentioned is the capitalist class, or the "bourgeoisie" in Marxist jargon, and the second group is the "proletariat." "Capitalism is based on a simple process: money is invested to generate more money. When money functions like this, it functions as capital. As capital increases (or the economy expands), this is called 'capital accumulation', and it's the driving force of the economy," as stated by www.libcom.org's pamphlet "Capitalism: An Introduction."
Those who accumulate capital do so better when they can shift costs onto others. If companies and private owners can cut costs by not protecting the environment, or by paying sweatshop wages, they will. The problem presents itself. Sweatshop wages are wages that are exceptionally low for the work being done. They are also commonly associated with sweatshop conditions in which the workplace is dirty and otherwise unsanitary. These conditions commonly are the source for the spread of disease, injuries, and even death.
In order to accumulate capital, the boss must have competition. This competition is other bosses for other companies. Without this competition, the boss will lose capital, therefore losing ground with their rivals, lose money, go bust, get taken over, and ultimately cease to be boss. That being said, bosses are not even control of Capitalism, capital itself is. This means that companies will take any measures to undercut their competition, including laying off workers and depriving many people of jobs to survive.
Capitalism is also based on the fact that you must allow yourself to be exploited in order to survive. This means that if you actively work against Capitalism, you will die. When that is made clear, is not the face of Capitalism revealed? Furthermore, a Capitalist society cannot function without a state. The main function of the state is to maintain Capitalism and aid the accumulation of capital. The "ideal" state for Capitalism is currently liberal democratic, though it is seen under Constitutional Monarchy in the U.K. The state best benefits Capitalism when it passes laws that prevent strikes, demonstrations, etc.
A major contradiction of Capitalism is supply and demand. At first, this sounds like a regular function of Capitalism, but this is a major contradiction. This is contradictory because it causes a fluctuating economy. With a fluctuating economy, there are market crashes that nearly destroy the economy. There is also inflation, which is a major contradiction. If you have too little money, your economy is failing, but if you have too much, your economy is failing. It's essentially the Goldilocks situation.
To conclude: Capitalism has only existed as the dominant economic system on the planet for a little over 200 years. Compared to the half a million years that humans have existed, it has existed for a picosecond, and therefore it would be naive to think that it will last for ever. It relies on us, the working class, whose work it exploits. Therefore, it will only last as long as we let it last.
I would like to thank www.libcom.org for my material.
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