The Instigator
thedebater99
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
n7
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points

Communism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
n7
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/19/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 524 times Debate No: 94849
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

thedebater99

Con

I passionately disagree with Communism and if you disagree with me, let's debate! This is a topic that I love to debate.

Definition: Communism- a theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs. - google definition

Here are all of my sources that will reinforce my stats and facts that I will be using during the debate.

http://fhwordsmith.com...

http://listverse.com...

http://personalitycafe.com...

http://www.insidermonkey.com...

Good Luck!
n7

Pro

I accept. The specific school of communist thought I will be defending is anarcho-communism. Expanding on the definition of Con, anarcho-communism "advocates the abolition of the state, capitalism, wage labour, and private property (while retaining respect for personal property),and in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy, and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with production and consumption based on the guiding principle: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need".[1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
thedebater99

Con

Thanks for accepting.

I specifically set up this debate to debate an actual "Communist". Given the title of this debate and the sources that I provided against "Communism". I am not familiar familiar with "Anarcho-Communism", but since you accepted,I will have to debate and do my research.

First of all let"s look at Anarcho-Communism at a societal and philosophical perspective. The Anarcho-Communists philosophy is not consistent with human needs and morals. Anarcho-Communism holds an immense hatred for individual excellence and intellectual superiority. As all forms of communism do. For example Anarcho-Communism drives to abolish individual property and wage labour as you put in your definition. Which goes against human needs and the need to be rewarded after contributing. This in turn leads to the laziness and failure.

Economically speaking, Anarcho-Communism is ludicrous. The Anarcho-Communist seeks to abolish money, prices, and employment, and proposes to conduct a modern economy purely by the automatic registry of "needs" in some central data bank. No one who has the slightest understanding of economics can trifle with this theory for a single second. One example is the the Russians. After trying an approach to the communist moneyless economy in their "War Communism" shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, reacted in horror as they saw the Russian economy heading to disaster. Even Stalin never tried to revive it, and since World War II the East European countries have seen a total abandonment of this communist ideal and a rapid move toward free markets, a free price system, profit-and-loss tests, and a promotion of consumer affluence. This is one significant example of an Anarcho-Communism failure. The basic communist principal "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" that you laid out has simply never worked. The reality is that the people that work more and receive the same as other people get lazy because they see the outcome. This also leads to societal failure and laziness. This type of communism has never worked and will never be implemented.

Thanks for accepting.
n7

Pro

Thanks Con.

A few words about the parameters of the debate, as Con seems to be suggesting I’m not an actual communist. Communism is actually naturally anarchistic. Communism is basically a stateless (anarchistic), classless, and moneyless system. Anarcho-communism completely fits Con’s definition. The disagreement with some Marxists and anarchists is how to establish it. Anarchists reject authoritarian systems like the USSR which are supposed to transition into communism. Anarchists prefer the transition to either already be extremely close to communism in the stateless and classless sense. Or reject the transition all together and jump right in. If your arguments are against the system of communism, then they would also apply to anarchist communism. If an argument against communism doesn’t apply to anarcho-communism, then you are likely attacking not communism, but Marxist-Leninism or some other form of Marxism.

Incentives

Con presents two arguments. One says without wage labour, people will have no incentive to work and everyone will get lazy. And another attacking a moneyless economy.

However, he has provided zero evidence to show that people need a monetary incentive to work. Research into motivation proves his assumption to be false. Intrinsic motivation is a stronger key to predicting job performance than external factors [1]. In fact, monetary incentive can actually decrease motivation to work.

“The more people focus on their salaries, the less they will focus on satisfying their intellectual curiosity, learning new skills, or having fun, and those are the very things that make people perform best. The fact that there is little evidence to show that money motivates us, and a great deal of evidence to suggest that it actually demotivates us, supports the idea that that there may be hidden costs associated with rewards.” [1]


Work in a communist society will be very different in a capitalist society. In capitalism, work is a means to an end. It is compartmentalized when possible, the value in work is just so you may consume products. However, under communism work is an end unto itself. There is the natural incentive to master a skill, produce the whole of a product and see the fruits of your labour without dealing with the stresses of a boss or the alienation of compartmentalized labour. Afterall, don’t many people already work in some ways for these intrinsic motivations? The cooking of a complex meal, when a simple meal will satisfy, hunting, knitting, ect all demonstrate the natural incentive to produce. The goal of communism would be to make labour as similar to our leisure work as possible.

Furthermore, believing there would be no consequences to being lazy is clearly wrong. Being lazy isn’t a nice thing to be labeled, under any society. The social consequences of being lazy would be enough motivation. Even if the social consequences aren’t enough, the person who becomes lazy would become shunned by the community. Socially, he will be an outcast. If by some reason this isn’t enough and everyone becomes lazy, then nobody will benefit from mutual aid and therefore all would either starve or work.

Lastly, this ignores all of the examples of wageless mutual aid. The Semai and Mbuti cultures are all based on mutual aid. Housing, food, and the like is all freely given to those who need it. The Jewish Kibbutz societies were set up in a “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” fashion and work was a value “ in and of itself, the concept of the dignity of labor elevating the most menial job, with no special status, material or otherwise, attached to any task” [4]. Yet still, these people have created thriving societies [4].

Squatting culture is yet another example of people working for nothing else but the good of their communities. Eyewitness of the squatting movements Peter Gelderloos writes:

“In the total absence of wages or managers, they carry on a great deal of work, but at their own pace and logic. The logic is one of mutual aid. Besides fixing up their own houses, they also direct their energies towards working for their neighborhoods and enriching their communities. They provide for many of their collective needs besides housing. Some social centers host bicycle repair workshops, enabling people to repair or build their own bicycles, using old parts. Others offer carpentry workshops, self-defense and yoga workshops, natural healing workshops, libraries, gardens, communal meals, art and theater groups, language classes, alternative media and counterinformation, music shows, movies, computer labs where people can use the internet .... Nearly all of these services are provided absolutely free. There is no exchange — one group organizes to provide a service to everyone, and the entire social network benefits.”

Mutual aid is hardwired into us. Being altruistic and kind in turn makes us happier [6]. Therefore, a society based on mutual aid isn't a steach from natural human tendencies and would make us happier overall.

Money

He next critiques a moneyless economy. He somehow gets the idea that a centralized bank would decide the needs of people. I never claimed this and such an idea is anti-anarchistic. Anarchism rejects hierarchies of this nature. He claims
“War Communism” failed and since that policy tried to implement a moneyless economy, no moneyless system will ever work. One, this is hardly a failure of anarcho-communism because the USSR wasn’t anarchistic.

Second, Con is committing a single cause fallacy. War communism was much much more than *just* a moneyless economy. Extreme economic centralization, authoritarian state control, and centralized distribution were also central. The coercion without benefit led Lenin to abandon it for the NEP [7]. It discouraged producing more than what you need, as the state would forcibly take it. It was coercive, whereas in anarchist-communism trade is done by free association. He states anarcho-communist economics are ludicrous, but I think citing the failure of a centralized authoritarian economics as demonstrating the failure of decentralized, horizontally structured, non-authoritarian economics is ludicrous.

On the contrary, when capitalism failed the argentinians, they switched to a moneyless barter system in order to survive [8][9]. It worked so well that even though the economic crisis is over, barter clubs are still very active [8].

Furthermore, anarcho-communist systems are already in place in free shops. You give what you can and take as you wish [10]. Gelderloos writes [11]:

Many accustomed to a capitalist economy who come into a free store are perplexed by how it could possibly work….they assume that since people profit by taking stuff and do not profit by donating, a free store would quickly empty out. However this is rarely the case. Countless free stores operate sustainably, and most are overflowing with goods. From Harrisonburg, Virginia, to Barcelona, Catalunya, hundreds of free stores defy capitalist logic on a daily basis.

The systems of a gift economy and barter system are based on mutual aid, which I have demonstrated exist in the previous section. Along with the current evidence presented, it isn’t difficult to imagine a moneyless system of exchange working.

Why Communism

Communism takes the rights to life seriously. As well as freedom. You don’t have to live only by your wages. Your right to life is unconditional and wholly separate from if you make enough money. You don’t have the chains of wage-labour, in which you must sell yourself to a private business owner or starve.

You have a say in your workplace, as the means of production are collectively owned and ruled via direct democracy. You also have a direct say in the decisions in your area.

It is a system based on mutual aid, which is proven to increase well being (as argued for earlier in the debate).

Sorry for this incredibly brief argument, as I’m out of space.


[1] http://www.debate.org...

Debate Round No. 2
thedebater99

Con

Incentives: Incentives"such as higher pay for doctors"are necessary to give people the energy they need to work hard in a difficult job.
When there are no extra incentives available"such as in a Communist state, where all reap an equal share in what some have worked harder to sow" the people in difficult jobs quickly lose their motivation. For example, workers would stop caring about how thoroughly they inspect the cars on the assembly lines, since it makes no difference to them either way. Or chefs won"t care about how nicely they cook the food because they get the same out of it either way! They are also likely to grow bitter at the government for failing to give them recognition when they do a good job. Revolts become a distinct liability; many Communist states have fallen because of this problem of reduced incentives. This is common logic. You stated that monetary incentives can actually decrease the motivation to work, while history has proven that wrong. In Russia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, , etc.. You say intrinsic motivation leads to better job performance, that"s true. But there is no intrinsic motivation without monetary motivation. Because in an Communist society you will have no motivation whatsoever because no matter how much effort you put into what you are doing, you will get the same outcome. What is the logic in putting in a lot of input but getting the same output as someone that has put in minimal input. Yes some people do jobs that pay less because they love it. But that job still pays. If there were no money involved whatsoever their would be no motivation whatsoever.History shows this. And this is why Capitalist society"s succeed. You can"t say that monetary incentive doesn"t work because it works in every capitalist country in the world. The fact that Communism has never succeeded and never will is because it is devoid of monetary incentive! Imagine two people, Person A and B. Person A works hard. B slacks off, skips days, and chats at the water fountain. To no one's surprise, A is much more productive than B. As a result, A is given more work, since A can finish the work faster. Since they both receive the same compensation regardless of their work, A ends up getting screwed. Ultimately this does not encourage effort.

https://whistlinginthewind.org...

This is a quote that you cited without any given source. "The more people focus on their salaries, the less they will focus on satisfying their intellectual curiosity, learning new skills, or having fun, and those are the very things that make people perform best. The fact that there is little evidence to show that money motivates us, and a great deal of evidence to suggest that it actually demotivates us, supports the idea that that there may be hidden costs associated with rewards." [1]

This quote is irrelevant because either way. All forms of Communism are known to induce almost 0 intellectual curiosity. It diminishes the geniuses and the innovation that they create. This is linked with incentives and my other examples of it. Geniuses and businessmen and women would not feel the slightest bit encouraged to create when they wouldn't get profit or wouldn't even get rewarded!

Money: Fifty years ago, Ludwig von Mises exposed the total inability of a planned, moneyless economy to operate above the most primitive level. For he showed that money-prices are indispensable for the rational allocation of all of our scarce resources " labor, land, and capital goods " to the fields and the areas where they are most desired by the consumers and where they could operate with greatest efficiency. The socialists conceded the correctness of Mises challenge, and set about " in vain " to find a way to have a rational, market price system within the context of a socialist planned economy. Example-

You say that "War Communism" wasn't just a moneyless economy. The reality is that extreme economic centralization, authoritarian state control, and centralized distribution always ensues with any form of Communism. That is why any form of Communism has never worked and will never work. It looks good in theory but isn"t good when implemented.

You also cited a quote that represented the failing of communism in Argentina in capitalism when this was not real capitalism. That we, in the U.S. have implemented.

Things looked a little brighter more than 10 years ago, when President Carlos Menem took office. He aligned his government with the U.S. free-market philosophy and executed an aggressive economic liberalization plan. He privatized state-owned enterprises, discarded price controls, deregulated the banking system and removed restrictions on foreign investment. These steps brought high economic growth and helped cut the number of families living below the poverty line from 38 percent in 1989 to 13 percent in 1994.

But these reforms alone, good as they were, could never have created an adequate environment for capitalism to flourish in Argentina. To achieve prosperity on a long-term basis, Menem's government should have reduced, first, the cost of doing business in Argentina. Argentina's stubborn 18 percent unemployment rate is deeply rooted in the rigidity of its labor market. Every thing that in the United States is a negotiable benefit -- vacations, health coverage, bonuses -- is a legal mandate in Argentina. In addition, all businesses, from large corporations to the street-side booths that sell ties, face high taxes and burdensome regulations. And by keeping trade barriers high, Argentina supports a few inefficient local industries at the expense of consumers.

http://www.heritage.org...

1) The Idea Itself is Silly and Divorced From Reality.
A lot of people say "Communism is great on paper, but it doesn't work in reality!" I don't think it is even a good idea on paper. Every place that has tried to implement communism on a large scale has resulted in one or more of the following A) Dictatorship, B) Mass Murder, C) Abject Poverty. Every single one has resulted in at least one of these three things.

Now before you start with the "Well that isn't true communism!" I agree with you. Nowhere does Marx advocate these things. I agree completely. But at what point do we stop supporting the idea? When do we say "Well maybe it isn't the implementation of the idea, but the idea itself that is stupid?" For example, if I convince a hundred people to drive with their feet, they could try it. And what would the result be? A lot of car accidents and a lot of needless injuries and deaths. Now, that wasn't my intention. I just wanted people to free their hands up, not kill people. But any rational person is going to see that my idea was stupid. They would see why X caused Y. Yet for some reason, despite the countless attempts to implement communism, people are still not putting any blame on the idea. Just on those who try and implement it.

Besides that, the idea itself is completely divorced from reality. I could start a system called "Rainbowism" where we all live on rainbows and nobody has to work because the magical leprechauns feed us Lucky Charms all day, but of course this could never exist in reality. And if somebody tried to implement it, it would be a disaster. Then a hundred years later people would be arguing "Well that wasn't true Rainbowism! True Rainbowism would be great!"

2) Human Greed/Incentives.
The incentives simply aren't there. This doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out. If I'm a college professor and I tell my students that each one will get an average C no matter what, how many do you think are going to take the course seriously and do their work? Not that many. People need incentives. This is well documented. Every book on psychology, economics, leadership, business, etc. will tell you the same thing, as will common sense.
n7

Pro

Incentives

My opponent more or less repeats himself here. Ignoring a lot of my arguments, such as the proven examples of incentives existing sans wages such as in Mbuti, Semai, squatting, and Kibbutz culture. Along with ignoring the social and societal consequences of slacking. He claims communist states fell for this reason. Disregarding the fact that neither of these nations had communism, none of these states actually fell due to lack of incentives. The Soviet Union fell due to Gorbachev's reforms [1], Cuba still hasn’t fallen [2], and Czech fell due to a revolution [3]. There is also the fact that all of these nations had/have currency [4][5][6] and therefore monetary incentives would’ve also existed.

Con tries to refute my argument from intrinsic motivation by claiming you can’t have intrinsic motivations without having external motivations. His only justification for this is that all will get the same outcome and become demotivated. First, this doesn’t justify Con’s assertion. He states intrinsic motivation is linked to monetary motivation, yet his justification assumes people work mainly for external motivations (the very thing he’s trying to prove). Second, his claim is wrong. Food and shelter aren’t the only outputs in existence. Production, job satisfaction, altruism, personal mastery, social aspects, ect would all increase the harder one works. For example if a chef started to lack pride in his cooking, he won't have the satisfaction of mastering the culinary arts. So too would he lack seeing the full product and potential of his work. He would be acting less altruistic and therefore making him less happy (as demonstrated in my previous round). The social aspect of people hating his food would also be in place. A chef who works hard and one who slacks off don’t produce the same output.

Furthermore, how is this different under capitalism? Under capitalism the boss decides how much you make. If you do the bare minimum, you get paid the same rate. If you work hard, you still get the same rate.

As I stated last round, if there is a necessary link between intrinsic and monetary motivation, how is it possible that we do work for no money at all? Such as volunteer work along with leisure work such as hunting, fishing, hiking, ect.

He states my study showing the superiority of intrinsic motivations over external is unsourced. Unless I’m hallucinating, you can clearly get to the source by clicking on the first link in my sources section, last round. His argument is a tu quoque fallacy, as he basically states it would do nothing for communism ignoring the fact that it was an attack his conception of motivation. Although his critique is circular reasoning. He asserts communism reduces intellectual capacity because it lacks incentive, even though this assumes the very thing the cited study disproves.

Ultimately, my opponent here ignores a majority of my arguments. He believes people work for only monetary means, which is completely false. He ignores the several proven examples of societies based on wageless motivation. He also misconstrues unimportant contentions such as the history of Marxist Leninist nations (which have no relevance because I’m defending anarchist communism). I remain unconvinced by Con’s contention. It ignores history and the science of motivation.

Money

My opponent presents (or rather plagiarizes) an argument that claims Mises proved a moneyless economy doesn't work. It’s not really an argument because he never actually presents it. All he does is state that Mises has an argument which he thinks refutes moneyless economics. Nonetheless, I believe he is speaking of the calculation argument. The calculation argument only applies to a planned economy (as my opponent quotes), yet there is no centralization or government to “plan” the economy under libertarian communism.

He then states that all implementations of communism necessitate centralization to defend against my rebuttal. However, Con never states why this is the case. Especially since I am advocating for anarcho-communism. This is also proven wrong by the revolution in Spain. The socialistic implementation in order to transition to communism during the Spanish revolution was self-managed, without centralization [7]. Even then, some regions of Aragon went completely communistic [7].

Con then claims that Argentina isn’t like the US in terms of capitalism. This completely strawmans the point of bringing up Argentina. The point was to demonstrate a moneyless system can work. He also ignores the functioning of free shops.

Con yet again fails to attack the main points of my rebuttal here. He confuses my Argentina point for an attack on capitalism. He doesn’t understand the difference between Marxist-Leninism and communism. In other points he just claims there are arguments that refute moneyless systems of economics without presenting them.

Both of Con’s arguments fail. He ignores a majority of my points and seems to rely word for word on other people’s comments about communism instead of engaging in the context of the debate. However he presents two other arguments (technically only one because his other one is just the incentive argument again).

Failed Implementation entails Failure of the Idea


My opponent copied and pasted an argument presented in a forum link from the first round. It is basically arguing that since a collection of implementations of communism have ended up with horrible consequences, therefore the idea itself must be in error.

The problem is that said implementation of an idea is wholly separate from the idea itself. If I attempt to implement capitalism in a socialist economy by murdering babies and trying to trademark their organs, this doesn’t critique the ideology of capitalism itself.

It also assumes the only possible way to implement communism is via a Marxist-Leninist dictatorship. Which is completely false and Con (or rather Con’s forum page) never attempts to demonstrate why communism is somehow bound to ML. Communism like any other system of change can be implemented in a variety of ways. Such as methods of direct action (use of strikes and demonstrations) and syndicalism which uses unions as a force for change. These methods have been tested to bring about social change, specifically in anarchist Spain [8].

He then brings up the incentive argument again for some reason.


Plagiarism

My opponent has outright plagerized from the mises.org article called “The Death Wish of the Anarcho-Communists”. As he uses its arguments word for word in the moneyless section of both of his rounds without citing it.

https://mises.org...

And technically since my opponent fails to use quotations for much of his quotes (such as in the last section), he has also committed what’s known as “Mosaic Plagiarism” [9].

Why Communism


Con never attempts to address any of the arguments in this section. They are therefore conceded.

Conclusion

All in all, my opponent fails to present a strong case against communism. He constantly ignores my rebuttals and ignores my main arguments. It appears he is mostly copying and pasting arguments instead of engaging in a debate itself.


Sources


[1] http://www.debate.org...


Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by n7 3 months ago
n7
Literally a million billion ppl get killed every day bc of cammunism.
Posted by Phenenas 3 months ago
Phenenas
@wetmoistdamp "Beyond you"? How about the fact that every attempt to put communism in practice has ended in colossal failure, political corruption, and occasionally the deaths of millions of people?
Posted by wetmoistdamp 3 months ago
wetmoistdamp
It's beyond me how you can oppose communism.
Posted by thedebater99 3 months ago
thedebater99
Yeah
Posted by Phenenas 3 months ago
Phenenas
I agree with you wholeheartedly, yet I'm considering playing Devil's Advocate and debating you anyway. There are plenty of actual communists on this site though, so I'll give them a chance to accept for a while.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 3 months ago
dsjpk5
thedebater99n7Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro because Con plagiarized in the last round. Arguments to Pro because he was the only one who's every argument was original. Sources to Pro because he posted the plagiarized source.
Vote Placed by Hayd 3 months ago
Hayd
thedebater99n7Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con argues that anarchcommunism (or ancom) is not consistent with the human need for property and wage for labor, which will lead to laziness. Con also explains that Russia tried ancom and it was a huge failure, and has never worked in the past. Pro responds by showing that wage for labor actually increases laziness and a lazy person would be shunned by the community, thus deterring laziness. Pro also explains that the USSR wasn't anarchist and thus isn't a good comparison. Con restates his arguments that citizens need monetary reward whilst ignoring Pro's argument that already proved that they don't. The rest of Con's arguments are a straw man of communism since Pro is advocating anarcho, thus making Con's arguments irrelevent. All of Con's arguments were rebutted by Pro and COn failed to rebut Pro's arguments so Pro wins. Conduct to Pro since Con plagarized