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Cooperative individualism(pro) versus your choice of economics(con)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 599 times Debate No: 100106
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (0)




Rules of debate:
1) No ad hominem, insults, or personal attacks
2) The total number of rounds minus one should be used for debate, since I am not using round 1 for debate.
3) The first round that is used for debate should just be your main arguments: no rebuttals to your opponent's first round of argument.
4) The last round used for debate should only be rebuttals or conclusion, no new arguments allowed in this round. New facts can be brought up, but only in rebuttal to your opponent's arguments
5) Burden of proof is shared equally since we are both taking an affirmative stance.

My position:
Cooperative individualism would be better morally, productively, and democratically than your choice of economics
My opponent's position:
Their choice of economics(whether it be laissez-faire capitalism, state capitalism, feudalism, or whatever) is better than cooperative individualism.

Definition of terms:
Cooperative individualism: A type of cooperative economics that favors workers' cooperative societies. [1]
Cooperative economics: a field of economics that incorporates socialist economics, co-operative studies, and political economy toward the study and management of co-operatives. [1]
Workers' cooperative: a cooperative owned and self-managed by its workers [2]
Cooperative: an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled business. [3]

Con should offer their own definition of their choice of economics in the first round.



I accept the debate. I would like to clarify just a few things here at the beginning as I'd rather be informed during the debate instead of blindly arguing my point.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but from your definitions of cooperative individualism are in theory and practice are as follows:
"I am myself, an individual, part of a whole. This whole I am separate to, but I work for the better of the whole."
To me this seems to be much like my preferred economic structure, "socialism-capitalism".

Socialism-capitalism is a blend of the values of capitalism and socialism as its name implies.

Socialism- a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Capitalism- 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.

The True definition of a "socialism-capitalism" economy is a Social Market Economy. Many economies today are related to this economy though many are still very capitalistic.

Social Market Economy- Social Market Economy (SOME) (German: Soziale Marktwirtschaft) (also called Rhine capitalism) is a socioeconomic model combining a free market capitalist economic system alongside social policies which establish both fair competition within the market and a welfare state.

This means the economy though driven by the capitalist motives of profit and competition is also designed to regulate these big businesses and to establish socialist welfare and socioeconomic systems.

I'm quite enthused to see where this debate goes and what new information we may both learn. Good luck and let the debate begin.

Debate Round No. 1


Be sure to read what I wrote in my comments. I wrote it there as I want the debate rounds to be focued on debate rather than clarifying definitions and terms. The comments will be used for that

Moving onto my arguments:
I am going to use this round plus the next round for my main arguments, and later rounds to rebut my opponent's arguments. This round will focus on worker cooperatives, as that is a vital part of what I am arguing for. The next round will focus on cooperative individualism in general. In the interest of making this debate fast, I am going to copy and paste previous arguments about worker cooperatives that I have made before, but my next round will be all new arguments. I will still compare worker co-ops with traditional businesses, as part of my opponent's argument would include traditional businesses since they still advocate (I think) the private ownership of the means of production, the difference being that they would advocate regulations on big business " establish socialist welfare and socioeconomic systems" as my opponent put it. Let me know if I am misinterpreting anything you said.

Productivity of worker cooperatives compared to conventional/traditional businesses.
It has been found in a study conducted by Ben Craig, of the federal reserve bank of Cleveland, and John Pencavel, of Standford University, that worker cooperatives within the plywood industry are more materially productive than traditional firms[4, pg 124]. The reasons they believe for this are because:

1) "A co-op mitigates the agency cost associated with a corporation's division between ownership and control". Since co-ops are owned by the workers, they are much more likely to be informed about the business decisions than if they weren't owners, thus there is no need to spend extra time from business owners to educate them on this matter.[4, pgs 124-125)

2) Worker co-ops eliminate "the separation of interests between workers and owners."[4 pg 125] As one can imagine, there are many instances in which a conventional firm would be presented with opportunities where they can make a decision that more benefits them and harms the workers. The workers would be opposed to this, and normally what happens in a conventional firm, is that bargaining goes on and this takes up precious time that could be devoted to work. In a co-op, this bargaining would not take place, since worker-owners would likely choose what benefits the majority of the workers, whereas in a traditional business, the owner would choose what only benefits themselves.

3) Workers are able to monitor each other better than in traditional businesses where the monitor is a single manager [4, pgs 125-126]. This makes sense as well, since in co-ops, the workers are the ones who make the decisions of the company, and would be involved in hiring and firing other workers. Co-workers are more often among their co-workers than a manager is, so they would be able to monitor their co-workers more effectively than a manager. This provides incentive for each worker to provide their best work and not laze around.

Now, to play part of my opponent, it could be argued that worker co-ops would take longer to make ordinary business decisions and this would negatively impact productivity. I would argue to the contrary, however. Since multiple people are involved in the decision process rather than just one, two, or a few business owners, it means the decision is more likely to be beneficial to the company as a whole, so while it may take longer, it will be a higher quality policy. The evidence I present later in this round will also support this idea, such as how coops are more likely to survive the first 5 years of being in business than traditional firms. Additionally, when a rich person is in charge of the decisions of a business, they are more likely to be dissociated with the majority of people(who are poor and middle class) and so they may make decisions for the business that would only help the minority of people(rich) when a good business would try to appeal to majority of people in order to survive

It should be noted that in the study, it was found that labor productivity of traditional firms is higher than in coops, however material productivity is usually higher in coops.[4, pg 141] In other words, traditional firms produce more at a lower quality than coops. I would argue that quality should be preferred to quanitity. If you can buy a product that is of higher quality, it will last longer, and over all, you spend less because you don't have to spend on transportation to the stores as much as you would for a lower quality product.

How do co-ops and traditional businesses compare for success?
Cooperatives are actually, in many ways, more successful than traditional business models. For example, 80% of cooperatives survive the first 5 years of being in business, compared to 41% of the traditional business model. [5, pg 8] This makes sense for the same reasons I said in the previous topic in the second to last paragraph where I said "additionally, when a rich person..."

In a comparative study performed by Gabriel Burdin and Andres Dean, where they looked into how cooperatives performed in the Uruguayan economic crisis between 1999-2001, it was found that "average employment and wages in WCs[worker cooperatives] tend to be greater than in CFs[capitalist firms]." [6, pg. 522] The wage being higher definitely makes sense, since in a worker-cooperative, there is no person at the top taking a percentage of the business profits as their own, personal, income. Instead, this income is spread across the workers, which would mean their wages would be higher.

It is also the case that capitalist businesses do not have a monopoly on being the only business type that has multi-billion profit turnover. Mondragon Corporation is the largest cooperative in the world and "is the tenth-largest Spanish company in terms of asset turnover and the leading business group in the Basque Country" where, in 2015, they had a revenue of 12.11 billion euros[7]

Now, there are many more capitalist firms which have more profit than the world's largest cooperative, this is true, but as I will point out later, there is reason why capitalist businesses are the majority in the world, and this would also mean they will likely have more businesses who are much more succesful than the best worker-coop.

Morality of cooperative businesses versus traditional businesses
Traditional businesses are immoral because they have an unncessary position which takes money away from people who could be earning it instead. The business owner is an unnecessary position and they take a percentage of the profits based on what the workers do. That profit could be distributed amongst the workers if the business owner was not there and the employees owned the business. The fact that cooperatives do exist, show that a business owner is not necessary. While someone could argue that since there are so few cooperatives, this shows that a business owner is necessary in order to have success in a company, this is proven false with the facts I showed about cooperatives above. Essentially, a cooperative gives a level of consent not seen in traditional businesses. A person has to work in order to survive, so the fact that business owners know this mean they can have outrageuous demands on the workers, since they may not have any other option. It often takes many applications to jobs to finally get one, so a person is desperate enough to make a living that they will be forced to put up with a tyrannical business owner. However, if all of the businesses were cooperatives, the worker would have a say in business rules, decisions, etc. Similar to how governments that don't give a consent to the governed are immoral, so are traditional businesses for the same reason.

Potential argument against cooperatives:
"If cooperatives were so much better than traditional businesses, then we should see cooperatives out-competing traditional businesses, but traditional businesses are still the vast majority"
While cooperatives are so few and far between, the primary reason is because the system is constructed in such a way that favors capitalist companies. For one, banks rarely loan out to cooperatives[8](despite the fact that the ones that do exist are generally more successful than their capitalist counterparts as established above), most governments only ever bail out traditional businesses and almost never cooperatives, cooperatives are not generally set-up to out-compete other companies either[8], and finally cooperatives are at a disadvantage since the vast majority(89%) of people can't even define what a cooperative is[9], I personally didn't even know what a cooperative was until I was 20, but I could give you a basic idea of what a capitalist business was before I was 10. I think I can safely assume that a vast majority of people have heard of and can define what a traditional/capitalist business is like, so most people shop at those and people looking to create a business probably never thought about making it a cooperative instead of a traditional business since most don't even know what one is. I would also argue that, for those seeking to become business owners if they do know what a coop is, they don't want to make it a coop because they are selfish and don't want to share the business with the workers of that business.

[7] Wikipedia, "Mondragon Corporation".


The Necessity of the Social Market Economy and its Practicality in Theory and Practicum

I would like to state that my opening statement was not very well constructed and I regrettably did not explain my position very well. I support a socialist socioeconomic system, but this is not a perfect world and thus I must argue from a different point of view. I will argue not the superiority of my system as that would be futile and neither of us would have a chance to make a truly constructive discussion, but rather I shall debate the reality of our system and the practicality of a Social Market Economy or mixed economy.

Without further ado, the Social Market Economy is in no way perfect and neither is any other system for the matter. It is merely a better choice and superior system to the currently capitalist market economies. Its practicality stems from its unique blend of socialist beliefs and capitalist free trade. It is a transitory socioeconomic system that would allow for a later implementation of a socialist system such as a cooperative individualist economy.

This transitory stage is completely necessary and likely the most important stage to an economic reform. Our society has grown up around capitalist ideals in a capitalist society with an emphasis on capitalist narratives of socioeconomics. To transition from this capitalist free market to a cooperative individualist economy would surely be hard and foolish. In lieu of a complete switch a Social Market Economy should be implemented first. This would allow for the acclimation to socialist economic reforms and to give a still familiar sense of capitalist trade. After years of a Social Market Economy, I believe, many more people would be open and welcoming of a new socialistic socioeconomic structure.

It is not a question as to whether each of our systems, but which is more practically implemented into our day and age.

Business Education in Emerging Market Economies: Perspectives and Best Practices
Debate Round No. 2


Thinking about it, I think many of my arguments in the previous round would apply to cooperative individualism in general, since cooperative individualism literally is just worker coops being the majority type of business in society. I'll add some more arguments now however:

A cooperative economy would provide more jobs
As you can see here, the average number of positions or employees a worker co-op has is 10[10] and comparing it to the average for the traditional business, it is greater, where the traditional business has an average of around 5-6[11]. Since worker-cooperatives generally do what is in best interest of the workers, they always try to offer more jobs than traditional businesses would. Traditional businesses would employ the minimum amount of people necessary to get the job done, while worker co-ops, on the otherhand, would have more interest in employing people for the sake of employing them. This, in turn, would increase the amount of jobs if worker co-ops were to be the majority in a society.

Cooperative economics could help alleviate or end poverty, especially among the working class
Surprisingly, there are still people in America which live in poverty, yet work full-time. 3% of full-time workers are living in poverty, while 16% of part-time workers live in poverty[12]. As was established in the previous round, worker cooperatives can employ more individuals as well as pay the individuals a higher wage. Since worker cooperatives have the interests of the worker at heart, they are generally more likely to hire more workers to help people, which can be seen with how worker coops tend to have more employees than the average traditional business. If there were more co-ops, there would be more jobs, and this would help the unemployed come out of poverty. The fact that the workers do earn more under a worker co-op than in a traditional business also means the poverty rate among the working class would decrease if we had more worker co-ops.

Rebuttals to my opponent's main argument:
It seems my opponent doesn't have a direct objection to cooperative individualism, and in fact states that their preferred economic system is a "transitory stage" to a better economy. I would argue that such a transitory stage that my opponent argues for is not necessary, at least not for going to a cooperative individualist society. The transition to a cooperative individualist society that is needed would literally deal with slowly expanding how many worker co-ops there are in the society. One way this could be done by is though educating people on worker co-ops(as I brought up, a vast majority of people do not even know what a cooperative is, let alone a worker cooperative).

A second means of promoting worker co-ops could be to end the many government regulations on businesses. This would likely result in people seeking an alternative(since the regulations are there to prevent the evils of capitalism). I mean, the regulations are there because capitalists wouldn't make their company safe for the workers to begin with(as everyone should know since we were taught about working conditions in the 1800s, where wages were terrible, conditions terrible, and worker safety wasn't a concern for capitalists). Thus, if we go back to how it was in the 1800s, we would likely get people to seek for an alternative, and the alternative could be worker cooperatives.

A third means of promoting worker co-ops is for the government to stop bailing out "too big too fail" traditional businesses. If the people see traditional businesses fail as much as they are supposed to, they may want to have a safer alternative that doesn't fail as much, such as worker cooperatives. As established before, worker cooperatives fail at almost half the rate of traditional businesses.

And finally, this one I'm a little reluctant to fully support, but nonetheless it would help: we could make it that the federal reserve could give incentives to banks for loaning out to worker cooperatives. As mentioned before, banks rarely lend to worker co-ops, which is part of the problem. If more banks loaned to them, we would get more worker co-ops.

All of this could be done in order to transition to this economy. I don't see the need for the economy my opponent suggests.



The Success of the Social Market Economy

The Social Market Economy is most likely the most successful economy employed today. Only being first implemented, in Germany, at the end of WWII and the fall of the Third Reich it has seen rapid success and stability. Of the top economies in 2016 at least 5 of the top ten were based on the Social Market Economy. These countries include Germany (4), Japan (3), China (2), United Kingdom (5), and France (6).

Core Beliefs of the Social Market Economy

1)The private property ownership, free foreign trade, exchange of goods, and free formation of prices.
2)In lieu of laissez-faire, the government will maintain an active role in the economy and making sure everyone receives what they need. This includes elements such as pension insurance, universal health care, and unemployment insurance along with state funded education, housing if necessary, and a state incorporated redistribution of wealth.

"The "social market economy" is the socially anchored law for the industrial economy, according to which the achievements of free and able individuals are integrated into a system that produces the highest level of economic benefit and social justice for all. This system is created by freedom and responsibility, which find expression in the "social market economy" through genuine performance-based competition and the independent control of monopolies. Genuine performance-based competition exists when the rules of competition ensure that, under conditions of fair competition and equal opportunity, the better performance is rewarded. Market-driven prices regulate the interaction between all market participants."
-Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of the ruling Christian Democratic Union

This system allows for competitive markets as well as fair and equal opportunities. It is a a system of no man left behind.

It is not that a Social Market Economy is my preferred system or that it's superior, I simply believe it is more practical to implement in our capitalistic society. And the slow transition mentioned as the route you would take would eventually result in a Social Market Economy before advancing further.

As to your argument on implementation:
"A second means of promoting worker co-ops could be to end the many government regulations on businesses... regulations are there to prevent the evils of capitalism... 1800's, where wages were terrible, conditions terrible, and worker safety wasn't a concern for capitalists..."
The deregulation of these businesses wouldn't just have adverse effects on the people of nowadays. The effects would be felt centuries into the future, many of these regulations include environmental protection laws and as we know capitalist aren't to concerned about the environment. They manage to destroy even with all of our laws. Deregulating businesses that have little regard for the environment would cause irreparable damage to our already polluted world. There would be mass deforestation and extinction and habit destruction. Earth would never be the same, and that's just the tip of the iceberg (if hadn't yet melted that is). Air pollution would cause cancers and respiratory diseases. People would fall ill, but to make things much worse these businesses already have extreme control over the government. The top 1% of Americans have about 43% of the nations wealth and the next 4% control another 29%. Deregulation would give them so much power that the government would become ineffective and corrupted. This would be mitigated by the redistribution of wealth before a transition to any other form of government. With out the wealthy having their monetary based power they would have no control over the government.

Now the "too big to fail" is a serious issue I agree fully with you on, but the businesses unfortunately can't fail. Our economies are based on their success, but we can regulate them and redistribute the wealth. We can slowly edge our economies dependency on them away. Once done then there can be more implementation of social welfare systems.

Debate Round No. 3


I agree that the form of economy that my opponent is talking about is the most successful one that has ever been attempted. But that's just it: not all economic theories have been attempted. Cooperative individualism could be so much better, but we don't know for sure since it's never been attempted. Based on the facts of worker cooperatives that I brought up previously, it wouldn't be illogical to conclude it would be better though since worker cooperatives are better quality, can help bring people out of poverty, and seem to be morally superior as I argued before, than traditional businesses which would still exist in the form of economy you argue for.

Defense against opponent's rebuttals:

In regards to how the earth would be severely damaged environmentally, I'm not so sure it would be. Perhaps this would happen, but it could be possible that people would realize what is going on and start giving business only to businesses that are environmentally friendly. If this doesn't happen, I suppose we could maintain the environmental regulations and just scrap the other regulations. That would probably still be sufficient for convinving other people to form worker cooperatives and possibly put traditional businesses out of business. So yes, I agree the environmental impacts, if they were to happen, would be too detrimental, and we might need to keep at least the environmental regulations.

As for the too big to fail businesses, I still think we should let them fail. As a society, we are the ones to blame for capitalism. We need to feel the consequences of letting such a system exist, that way we learn that we need to go to another system. Sure, we may have a deep depression happen, but I believe this is necessary for people to finally wake up and realize we need socialism through cooperative individualism.


I agree the it would be worth while to try new economic theories and am in no way opposed to worker co-ops. I only believe in our modern society that it is more practical to incorporate (pun intended) a Social Market Economy.

I would like to address the "too big to fail" issue again. If these corporations were to fail it would not just be a economic depression. IT would be a world wide trade collapse. Governments would crumble, or at least be severely crippled. Many nations, no all nations rely on this international trade facilitated by these large capitalist companies. Nations would starve, literally. Nations like Britain, small and isolated with large populations, and third world nations need international trade to support the nutrition requirements of their peoples. Many of these countries themselves struggle even with international support.

The alternative is to increase regulations on these corporations, do not allow them to fall, but instead make them reach down to the level of the "little guys". They need to have their wealth distributed into public programs and humanitarian relief efforts. Their extreme wealth and power could be used to better the world, where if they fall so does the world trade.
Debate Round No. 4


Alright, fair enough. I think it could still be pracitical to incorporate a cooperative individualist soiety though. It really only takes educating people about worker co-ops, giving incentives to banks to loan to worker co-ops, among other things.

As for the too big to fail issue, I'm not sure that the consequences would be as large as you say. Could you provide some evidence suggesting that allowing this businesses to fail would result in government's crumbling or being crippled, as well as everything else you claimed? I don't feel like those businesses are that huge. If they are that huge, perhaps a combination of what you're saying and what I am saying could be implemented. We could put regulations on those businesses making them a little smaller, but not so small that if they failed it wouldn't be felt by the people. I believe there still needs to be significant consequences for those businesses to fail in order for people to wake up and realize we need an alternative to those businesses.

So, if my opponent could provide some sort of study on too big to fail businesses and the exact consequences they would have on governments and that it would be as severe as they said, that would be great.


Again to the "Too Big To Fail" issue. I would like to address that most of my economic collapse argument was based on inferences I made on the Great Depression and the market failure of 2008. I looked at how the world had been affected by the Great Depression, mainly the starvation and malnutrition, but its effects on other nations. I believe that since the world is so much more interconnected now, that these same effects would be greatly magnified across all countries with economic ties to these businesses. So unlike most of my other evidences, and I wish I could back it up better, I cannot find a study that shows the exact consequences of these TBTF businesses.

As I have no more to say on in this debate, I would like to thank my opponent for his time and energy in this lovely and educational debate. He has been incredibly informative and well-mannered. Thank you to all who will no doubtedly vote for one of us in the upcoming voting period. It was my pleasure to research, brainstorm, and put my ideas and thoughts on socioeconomics into this debate. With out further ado, let the voting begin. I'm excited to see the outcome and votes no matter the results. Thank you and good luck to you, capistalistslave.
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Plexon_Warrior 1 year ago
I'm just posting to update the debate.
Posted by Plexon_Warrior 1 year ago
That's okay. Thanks for informing me of this. It's much appreciated
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Note to Plexon_Warrior:
Due to that I don't have much time currently to complete my next round of debate, I may do so within the next 24 hours. There's a chance I may not even have it done in the next 24 hours, but I should definitely in the next 48. I don't see anything preventing me from doing so in the next 48 hours, just keep in mind it might be as much as 48 hours until I do post my argument for round 3.

I will probably start on this round now, but I don't think I will be able to finish it within an hour, before I will be sleeping.
Posted by PhilosophicalUmbreon 1 year ago
Fair enough, I'd be happy to debate you sometime.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
I should clarify that there is nothing morally wrong about what you said, I would still prefer a society full of worker co-ops as I believe it would also be more productive and produce higher quality products over all.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
PhilosophicalUmbreon: I suppose there would be nothing wrong with that, I just consider it wrong now because we have almost no other option but to work under a business owner. I suppose wouldn't have a problem with a society that has a mixture of worker co-ops and traditional businesses(if both are about equally prevalent in a society), provided that all of the workers and business owners are completely happy with the voluntary exchange.
Posted by PhilosophicalUmbreon 1 year ago
I have a general question for Capitalistslave.

In a free-society what is morally wrong with a business owner? You favour worker cooperatives which in a free-society I'd be in support of if that's what you want to do but what is wrong with traditional businesses? I mean if workers voluntarily work for a business owner that is completely moral as no force is involved, right?
Posted by Plexon_Warrior 1 year ago
Yeah I prefer fully socialist, but I I'm arguing for a Social Market Economy as it seems to be a decent system. This debate will be fun!
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
The difference between what I am arguing for and what you are, is that what I am arguing for is fully socialist, and what you seem to argue for is a mixture of capitalism and socialism. I hope you don't mind that I dub what you're arguing for as a "mixed economy" as that would be what the official term for what you're arguing for is called. At least, I think what you're arguing for would be a mixed economy. You can read about that here to determine if this accurately describes what you mean:

Now, I would personally define socialism as the democratic control and social ownership of the means of production. This is a littler broader definition than what you provided saying that it's regulated by the community as a whole. I would also define capitalism as the private ownership of the means of production as opposed to state ownership, democratic, or cooperative ownership of the means or production.

What I am arguing for is a type of decentralized socialism. It's not regulation of the economy by the community as a whole(that is why I consider your definition of socialism to be too specific, as it would exclude this type of socialism) but rather each individual mode of production(company/factory/etc) is regulated by the workers of said company. Worker cooperatives are regulated and owned by the workers of that company.

What I argue for is a type of libertarian socialism, as libertarian socialism is a decentralized version of socialism.
Posted by PhilosophicalUmbreon 1 year ago
Damn I would have loved to accept this. Good luck to both participants!
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