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Communism v. Capitalism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/14/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,575 times Debate No: 63252
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




First I would like to point out the flaws in capitalism. Capitalism is great in the short to mid term. Sadly in the long run it will lead to what Karl Marx called "The Dictatorship Of The Bourgeois" a society where the rich control everything and the working class has nothing. In the communist society that Marx envisioned was a egalitarian utopia where all men/woman/other are equal. You worked for society and society worked for you.


Marx said exactly the same thing as western European nations took control of areas like Africa and South America. Marx and later Leon and Trotsky would make similar pronouncements about “western imperialism,” the claim being the west needed to expand to expand capital and since expansion would not go on until infinity, the colonial empires of westerns nations signal the inevitable collapse of capitalism. And while wrong as an economic forecast it is true open markets and trade are vital, although then open functioned as a synonym for taken by force. Marx’s theory of the elite and wealthy using their power and influence to accumulate money is an observation that Adam Smith made in Wealth of Nations:

“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”[1]

Capitalism has problems, quite a few. All economic ideas and ideas in general are abstractions that breakdown when thrown into concrete reality. Capitalism at its worst today happens in place like the Congo, where multination mining and mineral corporations are too some degree complicit in the warfare and sectarian violence. It is irresponsible to hold capitalism accountable for all the crimes in the world. At the same time, capitalism has other less abhorrent qualities, namely its flexibility. Every western nation today, every wealthy industrialized country functions as a capitalist state—yes, even China despite the window dressing and claims of being a Communist state.

For round one then, the best argument in favor of capitalism over communism comes in the form of a question: If communism is preferable to capitalism why is and has capitalism been the dominate form of economic organization since the Industrial Revolution.* Communism at least as a historical phenomenon largely used the rhetoric of the people and nothing more. Communist regimes demonstrated certain tendencies. First, after Nicholas in Russia and Shang Kai Sheik in China, what happened? They became virtual totalitarian regimes, where dissent meant gulag or worse followed by the growth of a small cabal within the government that used the power of the state to further their own self-interest.

Thanks for the debate. I enjoy the economic arguments although I am not much on the theory part of economics. The theories get people worked up. I never take it seriously, the theorists tend to be great mathematical wizards or eloquent writers but in reality, it is mostly advertisement. And it is a rare occasion when the steak or burger on your plate looks like the photo shopped perfect piece of sizzling meat on the menu. I am a small businessman, which transformed me over time into an economic atheist—do not worship or pay homage to any economic god.

*For those who thought I lacked a sense of history I thought I should clarify on my choice of Industrial Revolution because a voter or reader might assume that capitalism did not exist in some form before. A solid and easily defendable argument might put the first international marker soon after the Black Death, when the Florentine City-States, under the helm of the Medici came to dominate the international banking and commerce. Anyway, thought the comment deserved an asterisk.

[1] Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations. Chapter IV, p. 448.

Debate Round No. 1


First I want to say thank you for your service. As for the format this is my first time using this site so Im not sure how to change it. What I am trying to say is that capitalism is good in the short to mid run. After that it can easily turn into Fascism. One of the problems with capitalism is that it relies on imperfect products for example Apple, there chargers break right around the time the warranty runs out. Now you have to run back to the store and pay $80 for a new one. A more drastic example is cancer. Why haven't we found a cure yet? It is because no doctor in there right mind wants to it is a HUGE money maker. Why cure a man in a day when you can stretch it out over a life time and charge him every step of the way.

I mean no disrespect when I say this but another problem with Capitalism is the Military-Industrial Complex. The rich start a war then arm the army with what ever they need right after they start a company for that purpose ( Im not really sure now to explain this better but George Orwell did in his book 1984 ). If I am not mistaken you are the owner of a small construction company. What happens when big business comes to town and offers service in half the time with half the cost? People like you and me go out of business.

Communism has never been tried in its right form. What Marx wanted was Capitalism-----> Socialism------> Communism what has been done in the past was Capitalism--->Revolution---> Communism. The only countries that have been close were The Paris Commune ( which only failed because it had no time to raise an army big enough to fight the French) Poland (which is doing okay last time i checked) and Sweden (which has the highest standard of living/ happiness). Think of how many brilliant peoples works are undiscovered from lack of funding. Tesla is a perfect example he was one of the smartest people on the planet and died in debt. Then you have celebrities like Brittany Spears or the Kardashians who provide little to nothing for society. P.S. sorry for the late response I was very busy yesterday.


Thank you for the debate and courteous approach a debate that often devolves. You have raised many sensible objections; however, they rely on critiques of capitalism rather than an affirmative case for communism. I will focus on rebutting examples used.

Your example of defective products suggests intentional malfeasance in the manufacture and sale of IPhone chargers. Whether or not it is intentional is less important than the larger objective: cost to consumers. Apple like could produce IPhone accessories more durable than at present. However, production costs will increase, leading to additional cost to consumers. For example, one fashionable trend in construction is retrofitting buildings for efficiency, saving on energy costs. Although the immediate cost is higher than it is without it, so consumers are unwilling to assume this cost. Apple makes similar calculations in manufacturing their products. Consumers prefer lower cost and less durability in the short-term even to higher costs and more durability. Computer based products change rapidly, so most consumers realize they will abandon the model in a year or two.

Your second example of cancer is problematic. Doctors typically have little influence the development of pharmaceuticals, although they do act as consultants and employees during research and development. Maximizing shareholder profits guide the decisions pharmaceutical companies. Patent law protections for companies is strong, especially true in pharmaceutical industries, so the first company to develop a cure have a fiduciary responsibility if possible to design, develop, and sale a cure. Many will object to the notion of “fiduciary responsibility” rather than moral responsibility, which I agree with but do not many to delve into since the debate centers on competing ideologies. It seemed worth mentioned because it is the first objection that comes to mind when you read the sentence.

Moving on to the issue of the military-industrial complex and big business let me say everything here is correct but it misses a couple of noteworthy points. For instance, the military budget is chalk full of wasteful spending. It is inefficient overall, misallocating money into misguided areas. Officials at the Pentagon have even said so in public, at least concerning some of the money used to build and maintain antiquated systems and technologies. Still this process is mutable, open through democratic checks, though likely difficult to overcome for reasons we do not have to get into here.

In the second part of paragraph two, you mentioned the destructive nature of big business. Big business operates different in say construction than in it does in retail. For example, my business operates at the local-state level and retail chains operate nationally and internationally. A lot of the difference as well as the difference in acceptable practices mentioned result not from economic adherence but accidently legal precedent. For instance, large multinational corporations incorporated in permissive states like Delaware because it allows them to duck taxes, state regulations, in addition to low taxes and little transparency. Coupled with this, multinational companies hire outside the country for a number of reasons among them cost control (labor, manufacturing, assembly). Again, public traded companies are legally obligated to increase shareholder profits, so if say Walmart did hire an executive that desired to change these practices, it would not work. First, it would not work because it would reduce short-term profitability, and second, the board would fire the CEO because of their liability to maximize shareholder profit. Such a system evolved out of the industrial revolution in the United States, with the support of business-friendly courts and lack-luster legislation.

However, a construction company caters to the local. In effect, there is a different standard for virtually everything. This means my company chartered by the state, so it follows required state regulation, and it pays the actual tax rate (rather than the statutory rate like big business). There are not really “big guys” in construction at my level, nor would the practices used by Walmart transfer into this industry. So, the reason even say an inexperienced labor around $20s an hour and electricians and site managers make even more is because that is the price for good work and attract employees. Now, other companies pay less but they attract less business. Additionally, shoddy construction at lower costs tends to open the door to lawsuits and other liability issues. Therefore, apart from a desire to avert the legal consequences, my company is a sole proprietorship not a publically traded company, so I do not have to worry about those amorphous shareholders.

So what is my point? All that goes to show that many of the differences believed to be inherent to capitalism stem less from ideology or adherence to an economic system and more arbitrary and incoherent legal development outside the economic realm.

Now, let me quickly get to the last paragraph because I need to push back on a couple of points. The two conspicuous points are the claim Poland and Sweden’s are communist—or close to it. Poland after the collapse of the Soviet Union pursued a policy of privatization.[1] Even Reason Magazine, a libertarian publication, points out Sweden is far from a socialist state (see article about privatization and business in Sweden provide in footnote).[2]

In conclusion, I’ll this illustrates that while capitalism has a number of problems, it pales in comparison to every attempted Communist regime. And I predict this will lead my opponent to rebut this by adding ‘well, communism has actually been tried, only perversions of it.’ If that is a valid argument then Con should be able to use it for capitalism. I could say, as some economist theories do that capitalism if properly transmitted from page to practice could alleviate all problems, grow the economy, and usher an era of endless peace. But the reason I am reluctant to see this as legitimate argument comes from the realization that ideas are mental constructs and cannot be transferred into a pure form but deviate once but into practice. Again, let me thank my opponent this is a fun debate.

Debate Round No. 2


Well that was unexpected XD. Im not really sure how to start round 3 so I'll just jump into it. When I was talking about the big business moving in on the construction industry I was talking about the general concept on all industries not your literal case. What I'm trying to understand from your rebuttal is that these problems have nothing to do with ideology but just general problems in society. To an extent you may be right. But not always. I know examples I gave were a little out there but they make a fair amount of sense.

My first example was Apples chargers. Now obviously my examples are just generalizations of the concept of big corporations in each industry. So what happens when Apple makes an "agreement" with other technology leaders (Google, Sony, Etc.) were they keep prices for products at the same high price and split the profits. A wise man once said " A union of the rich destroys the poor". Now bad products can happen anywhere but in a Capitalist society its some what incentivized for the rich.

With my other example of cancer I'm sorry I was unaware of the technical terms between doctors and pharmaceutical companies, but the same concept applies. Think about it how many fundraisers have you seen raising money for cancer research. When you donate to these funds your money it not going to CURING cancer it's to treating the symptoms of cancer (Even though most charities are scams). Like I said before why cure a man in a day when you can charge him every step of the way. I know a business's first duty is to make money but when do you draw the line between the well being of people and profit.

As for what you said at the end, yes it's true that no country has been truly Marxist (Besides the Paris Commune). Even in theory from a Centrist point of view Capitalism can lead to Fascism in the long run. But in the Marxist Theory from a Centrist point of view works out if done right.

I'm not sure how else I can go off of what my opponent said but by going deeper into Marxism but sadly the time restraint can not allow me to do that. This link should help . I would like to thank my opponent for a good debate that usually ends in a flame war.


Thanks to Pro, a good debate.

One overriding counterpoint introduced against capitalism as an economic system and philosophy is the potential to defect into fascism. Sheldon Wolin, a professor at Princeton, wrote an excellent book several years back on capitalism and fascism worth reading. However, even if such potential exist, historically capitalism changing into fascism is a rare event. With communism, history provides several test-case examples, all failures, and totalitarian in form and function. These cases (Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Fidel’s Cuba, Kim Jung-Un’s in North Korea, et cetera) provide clear examples of how no self-declared communist regime has proven compatible with democracy or sustained prosperity. In fact, every one relied on form of totalitarianism, control of populations, and repression beyond comparable examples under democratic government’s practices capitalism.

Communism as described in the writings of Karl Marx and in real-world application have always relied on the violent overthrow of governments. In fact, this was believed to be inevitable—violence that is. My opponent did not really address this issue, specifically the philosophical notion of violence embedded in communist texts. Whatever problems capitalism has it does not rely on violence as a prerequisite.

Capitalism admittedly has problems. Although adaptable, capable of accommodating a variety of mixed forms, so the US-version is less regulated than its European counterpart is. The European version has been molded to their political system, specifically their social welfare programs. Capitalism therefore has historically proven more beneficial and capable of adjusting as an economic philosophy.

Final Argument: Capitalism as Churchill said of Democracy: Capitalism is the worse form of economic organization, except for all the others that have been tried.

So even with a history of exploitation capitalism continues to produce products and innovations which have significantly changed the world for the better. Innovation and the ability to develop ideas in the economic marketplace is while difficult in general, it is nothing compared to individuals trying to create inventions, start business in say the Soviet Union under Stalin and in China under Mao.

Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
max.....are you by chance a product of government propaganda schools?
Posted by Max.Wallace 2 years ago
and addicted to it, what a bunch of salesmen.
Posted by Max.Wallace 2 years ago
Indebted to others idea of salvation, shy anne.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
max....... How is a person who produces a product be in debt to those who made it? They were paid what they agreed to. Now if the man did not pay the agreed upon wage, that is theft.And if the worker did not perform up to what he said he could do, that is also theft.

When someone calls me to work a job with them, we agree on a price. I do not know or care what he is making.That is between him and the person contracted to do the job.

Our original currency had the saying, " mind your business".We are " educating " nothing but a bunch of nosy busybodies. That all they know is how to run other peoples business. Could never be successful with their own.
Posted by SE2 2 years ago
We've already gone through the "dictatorship of the Bourgeois", The Gilded Age.
Posted by Max.Wallace 2 years ago
Freedom is the third party, the edge of the coin, not heads or tails, and not a matter of luck, but the truth, in the heart of a truly balanced individual, one who gives at least as much as they take, with no expectation of a return, except the honest wish of the recipient, to repay their debt, because it was not unfairly gained.
Posted by Theunkown 2 years ago
Great another one who thinks communism=dictatorship
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dexterbeagle 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Close debate but I am giving Con points based on two factors: first, con did a better job of talking about the strengths and weaknesses of capitalism but Pro did not really talk about Communism other than in generalities. Second, I am giving Con source points for the use of legitimate sources.