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

Decentralized Libertarian socialism(pro) versus Democratic Capitalism(con)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/14/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 718 times Debate No: 98983
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (0)

 

Capitalistslave

Pro

I am challenging the user, Ozzie to this debate.
Rules of debate:
1) Round 1 should be used for definitions of your ideology, acceptance, and agreement upon rules. We will each go by the definition that the other person provides for their ideology. Note: if con wishes to do so, they can post their first arguments in round 1. I would suggest using a google doc(or other link to your argument) to do so if you choose to do this. The reason why is to make sure you can use 10,000 characters for the debate only. Since you need to provide a definition of your ideology, that would take up some characters and would thus be unfair to con if they chose to also use round 1 for debate, since they would be limited on characters. If con chooses to use round 1 for debate, the google doc shouldn't go over 10,000 characters, and they should waive round 5 in order to keep the debate rounds even between us.
2) Burden of proof is shared equally since we are each taking affirmative stances(and neither of us is taking only a negatory stance), where one of us is pro-libertarian socialism and the other is pro-democratic capitalism.
3) The debate structure will be as follows, where only 4 rounds are used for debate:
First round used for debate will just be main arguments. If you are second to post your main arguments, you should not rebut anything made by your opponent.
Second round used for debate can be an extension on your main arguments, a rebuttal to your opponents main arguments, or a combination of both.
Third and fourth rounds used for debate should just be rebuttal and/or defense against your opponent's rebuttals. No new arguments should be made in these two rounds.
4) No personal attacks, ad hominem, or insults.
Violation of any of the above rules means that voters should choose the point for conduct to go to the one who did not violate these rules, or who did so to a lesser extent.
If con has an objection to any of the above rules, say so in comments and we can work it out.
Definitions:
Libertarian socialism: "a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy, as well as the state itself. It criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace. Instead, it emphasizes workers' self-management of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization." [1]
Thus, when I say "decentralized" libertarian socialism, the "decentralized" part refers to the socialism itself(not the government, since libertarian socialism is already about decentralized government). As opposed to having all companies democratically controlled by every person in a society, instead, this is done on a smaller level: where the workers of a company are the ones with democratic control of their company and not other people who have nothing to do with the company.
If this is not clear, con should ask questions in the comments section, and I'll explain it another way there.


Sources:
Ozzie

Con

I agree to go by the rules, but won't argue this round.
One thing this debate lacks so far is a clear resolution or purpose. What does it mean for one ideology to be 'better'? I propose whichever benifits the populous, or at least the majority, to a higher degree is ultimately a better system. Obviously there isn't going to be one ideology completely superior to the other, otherwise this debate wouldn't be happening. As such, in this debate we will see which system makes the least significant compromises and whether it would be in a Western nation's interest to adopt either democratic-leaning Capitalism or Liberal-socialism.

The purpose of this round is to define our stance. I told my opponent I would argue for Democratic Capitalism, which, from what I understand, involves slightly more government intervention (i.e. taxation and moderate regulation) than complete free-market or Lassez-fairy capitalism but definitely not to the point where a citizen or corporation is economically constricted by the government, and the nation doesn't look like a complete welfare state. The system is based on private legal entities owning means of production for profit.
Wikipedia defines it:
"Democratic capitalism, also known as capitalist democracy, is a political, economic and social ideology that involves the combination of a democratic political system with a capitalist economic system. It is based on a tripartite arrangement of a private sector-driven market economy based predominantly on a democratic policy, economic incentives through free markets, fiscal responsibility and a liberal moral-cultural system which encourages pluralism.[1][2] This ideology supports a capitalist economy subject to control by a democratic political system that is supported by the majority. It stands in contrast to corporatism by limiting the influence of special interest groups, including corporate lobbyists, on politics."
(I'd just like to clarify, the liberal moral-cultural system is about classical liberalism, which emphasises liberty. This is quite different to modern or neo-liberalism.)
Basically, it's the type of capitalism already in place in English-speaking western nations.

Co-operative businesses can and do exist in capitalist societies and share some common features. You could look at 'libertarian-socialism' as 'collective capitalism', in a way. However, for the purpose of this debate I will argue capitalist businesses in a capitalist society and democratic government are better for a nation's populous.

I don't have a huge amount of knowledge in economics so if you spot a mistake please, please tell me I'm the comments, but otherwise I look forward to an interesting, factual and respectful debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Capitalistslave

Pro

I agree to the resolution con proposed, that whichever system " benifits the populous, or at least the majority, to a higher degree is ultimately a better system."

Anarcho-syndicalism and Revolutionary Catalonia.

Now, since libertarian socialism is a fairly wide range of economic ideas, I would argue that anarcho-syndicalism would fall under the umbrella of libertarian socialism. The reason for this is because anarcho-syndicalism is also anti-state, anti-authoritarian, just like libertarian socialism is. Both are forms of socialism as well. While anarcho-syndicalism is not the specific type I want, I would be perfectly okay with an anarcho-syndicalist society as well. Anarcho-syndicalism, as I understand it, is basically when union leaders own the means of production. These union leaders are elected by the workers, and that is how there is democratic control of the means of production, and how syndicalism is still considered a socialist ideology.

The reason why I decided to bring up anarcho-syndicalism, is because the type of libertarian socialism I argue for, has never been attempted before. However, there was one instance I know of where anarcho-syndicalism was attempted. Revolutionary Catalonia is the example of an anarcho-syndicalist society. In my research of the nation, there is not much data on how the economy of revolutionary Catalonia went, but what we do know, is that the standard of living went up significantly after implementing anarcho-syndicalism[2].

I understand that one example of the system working out well is a weak argument, however I don't know of any other country in history that implemented a form of libertarian socialism. Nonetheless, the one who did was a success, and the only reason it is not around today was because it was taken over by fascists. Losing a war more has to do with the poor military strategy or military in general, and not so much with the economy. We all know fascism does excellently well with orienting the economy towards a war economy, but that doesn't necessarily make it a superior ideology or make libertarian socialism an inferior ideology.

Workers' Cooperatives
As my opponent stated, cooperatives can exist in capitalist societies. I would also argue that capitalist companies could exist in socialist societies. What makes a society socialist or capitalist, depends on which type of business is the majority: worker coops or traditional/capitalist businesses(there are of course, other things that would make the society socialist, but for the purpose of my argument, this is what I'm arguing for since this is what I personally want). The more worker coops there are in an economy, the more socialist it becomes.

Since my opponent already seems familiar with coops, I would urge voters and readers to look it up themselves to see what a workers coop is, here's a wikipedia page on them if you want a link on here to click to: [3]

Now, while there are no countries that have a socialist economy wherein coops are the majority, I believe such an economy would be greatly beneficial to the population. I will argue this through examples and studies of coops.

1) 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. [4] This suggests that coops are likely to get what consumers want right to begin with, more often than traditional businesses. The whole point of a business is to give the consumer what they want, and coops seem to do so more successfully, and I would argue this is the case because more people are involved in the decision making of the company, instead of a single disconnected-from-the-average-person wealthy individual.

2) Additionally, In a comparative study performed by Gabriel Burden and Andres Dean, where they looked into how cooperatives performed in the Uruguayan economic crisis between 1999-2001, it was found that Workers cooperatives employment index rose, while their capitalist counterparts fell in employment. [5, pg. 520] In addition to this, average wage remained higher in worker cooperatives than in capitalist businesses. [5, pg. 523] Therefore, I believe that coops would help increase the average wealth of people in society.

3) Coops make it so that there is no business owner at the top of a company taking a percentage of the profits. Because of this, workers get to split that income amongst themselves, thus improving many more lives of people than would be done with traditional business models. There is evidence that this happens in practice, and not just in theory, as it was found that "in Italy the median capital per employee is higher in worker co-operatives" [6 pg. 17]

I believe this is all sufficient argument for having an economy of all, or mostly, cooperatives, and thus make the economy socialist in this manner.

Why limited government?
Now, since I am arguing in favor of libertarian socialism, this means I also need to argue for why small, decentralized government is best. Really, I have only one reason for this: to do the will of the people. If we have a stronger central government, what occurs is you will have millions of people in a system they do not agree with. Just look at the United States today: you have more than 50 million people who voted against the president-elect, Donald Trump, and millions also who didn't want a republican administration. Now, they(the republicans) are going to be able to impose their will, against the will of those millions. Now if you're a republican, that's great, but just remember the first few years of Obama's adminstration where the government was reversed: surely you weren't happy with what was going on there. If, instead, we had more power given to local governments, there would be fewer people who are having someone else's will imposed on them. If the president of the US had much less power, and the congress had much less power, it wouldn't matter that Donald Trump is going to be president.

How much power would I take away from the federal government and give to local governments? Well, the only powers I think the federal government should have would be: minting coin/money, control of the military, foreign relations, and interstate relations/disputes. All else should be left up to the local governments. I would cut programs like Social Security, the EPA, department of education, etc. I believe local governments can better handle all of these issues. It should be self-explanatory as to why local governments would know your, individual needs better than a federal government.

A worthwhile statistic to bring up is is that 72% of Americans trust their local(city) governments, while only 62% trust state government[7] and 19% trust the federal government[8]. I argue the reason for this is because people don't trust the federal government to get their desires met. Local governments are just better at meeting the wants and needs of the people, as is talked about in this ted talk[9]

[8] http://www.npr.org...;
[9] https://www.ted.com...
Sources:
[2] econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/spain.htm
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.uk.coop...
[5] http://disjointedthinking.jeffhughes.ca...
[6] http://www.uk.coop...
[7] hwww.gallup.com/poll/176846/americans-trust-local-government-state.aspx
[8] http://www.npr.org...;
[9] https://www.ted.com...


www.gallup.com/poll/176846/americans-trust-local-government-state.aspx
Ozzie

Con

Thanks for the challenge.

REBUTTALS
"Revolutionary Catalonia is the example of an anarcho-syndicalist society. In my research of the nation, there is not much data on how the economy of revolutionary Catalonia went, but what we do know, is that the standard of living went up significantly after implementing anarcho-syndicalism"
I'm fine with my opponent using Anarcho-Syndicalism in their argument. However, in the text they've cited doesn't seem to say anything about the standards of living in Catalonia actually improving during the Spanish Civil War, only that it was meant to happen in theory. That particular essay was on the often-overlooked atrocities committed by the anarcho-syndicalists during the war and brings little praise for the Republican faction, let alone any mention life did actually improve during that period. The article goes further to say "[the Spanish Anarchist Movement's] horrific behavior was largely the result of their incoherent view of human freedom, their unsuccessful attempt to synthesize socialism and liberty, and their uncritical and emotional way of thinking."[1] So the one time a Libertarian-Socialist system very similar to the one Pro is arguing for was actually implemented, it was a complete flop. (The facist dictator that followed was equally terrible, but that's irrelevant). The standard of living certainly didn't improve during union governance and neither did society in general.and society in general.
"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."
Yes, cooperatives, on average, do have a higher chance of surviving the first five years of business. However- in Economics, just like biology, there is natural selection. Good business models survive, and people copy or take ideas from such models to create more successful businesses. So, if co-ops are as old as the United States[2], why were only approx 0.3% (and that's a high range estimate[3]) of all businesses (in 2005) co-operative?

"This suggests that coops are likely to get what consumers want right to begin with, more often than traditional businesses. The whole point of a business is to give the consumer what they want, and coops seem to do so more successfully. I would argue this is the case because more people are involved in the decision making of the company, instead of a single disconnected-from-the-average-person wealthy individual. " This statement is very flawed. The point of a business is to benefit it's owners and/or stakeholders (i.e. employees/members in a co-op). Consumers benefit from businesses by trading some of their capital for goods that will (supposedly) improve their quality of life, but they don't owe anything to businesses and businesses don't owe anything to them. Despite our shared BoP my opponent hasn't provided any evidence that co-ops do sell what consumers want any better than other businesses, for good reason- it's hard to find a product that is completely unavailable for any average person to purchase. If there's a demand, there's a supply. Also, business owners aren't necessarily holier-then-thou snobs, and stereotyping like that is ridiculous. For example, small business owners are rarely rich but are generally very respected in the community.

"Additionally, In a comparative study performed by Gabriel Burden and Andres Dean, where they looked into how cooperatives performed in the Uruguayan economic crisis between 1999-2001, it was found that Workers cooperatives employment index rose, while their capitalist counterparts fell in employment. [5, pg. 520] In addition to this, average wage remained higher in worker cooperatives than in capitalist businesses. [5, pg. 523] Therefore, I believe that coops would help increase the average wealth of people in society. " I think my opponent has either gotten confused or cited the wrong parts of the Burden and Dean study. Where he cited "Workers cooperatives employment index rose, while their capitalist counterparts fell in employment" ([x], pg 520) there are actually two graphs, one on the relationship between Uruguayan economy and the manufacturing sector, and one on the national employment/unemployment rate. And yes, Co-ops briefly had a better employment index during the recession, just before sinking back below conventional business's during average times. The conclusion I take from that graph? Socialist businesses' job markets are worse than capitalist ones, unless in recession. I would imagine this is because idealistic businesses like these aren't really exposed to the grunt of the economy, instead focussed on communal agriculture and more tame pursuits that don't go bad in times of recession.

WHY DECENTRALISED GOVERNMENT WON'T WORK
My opponent has been fairly vague on what role 'local governments' will have, or what a local government even is. It could be anything from a council presiding over a few suburbs (what local government means in Australia) to a city government to a state government. The only thing they have specified is federal government will exclusively deal with minting, defence, foreign relations and internal relations. I assume this means most of a citizen's tax dollars will go to their local government. Local governments will inevitably have much smaller budget, meaning much, much less purchasing power than a federal government. Sure, a smaller region needs less funds to be serviced, but spending more money on something in a higher quantity means more value for money (it's like wholesale, I'm sure you understand. Words are hard for me today). It's a universal effect, so even if federal money has to be spread out more, a region would receive more value for it's tax dollars if the money comes from a larger pool (the federal government). I know that was very badly articulated, please bare with me!
CAPITALISM vs. SOCIALISM
Winston Churchill perfectly captured the spirit of socialism in this quote: "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." Although my opponent is proposing a different type of socialism, the idea is the same: complete economic equality. This sounds nice and idealistic until you think about it. If all the workers of all the businesses own their respective businesses in equal parts everyone is stuck at the same level. You eliminate poverty amoung the employed, but if no-one can own more than their equal share no-one can become wealthy. This takes all the optimism and spirit out of the economy. Mondragon, an example my opponent enthusiastically mentions, has an annual revenue of about "12 million and around 75,000 employees. If their annual revenue was truly shared evenly each employee would control exactly "162.9111454900114 a year, and much of that would be re-invested back into the company. Depressing, innit? The numbers just don't add up. In a capitalist society everyone has the right to earn as much money as they can. If you work hard enough you can live a satisfying life free from economic concerns. It's inequality, but if you work your way to the top you can really reap the benefits. Winston Churchill really was right, socialism really is all about giving up on ambition and punishing people who have it in them to be successful.
REFERENCES
Will put in comments. Sorry this has been a bit incoherent but I'm a bit comatose at the moment. If I've made any huge mistake I'll adress them in the morning.
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Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
Sure, you can challenge me if you want to for the same debate
Posted by Ozzie 1 year ago
Ozzie
Would you like to start another debate and copy and paste our arguments in?
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
Sorry that I forfeited, I had a test in my class and massive homework that I procrastinated on.
Posted by Ozzie 1 year ago
Ozzie
Sorry for some shoddy editing in the last round. When I said "each employee would control exactly 162.9111454900114" I meant if the annual revenue of Mon<x>dragon was divided evenly amoung all employees, each employee would get "162.91, and that's before considering costs and reinvestment into the company. I got those stats from the wiki page on Mon<x>dragon.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
My sources got a little messed up somehow, just ignore the reposts of source 8 and 9 above the "sources" section and the reposted link of the gallup poll at the bottom.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
Ozzie: yes, the specific form of libertarian socialism I would support would be an economy of workers' cooperatives. You can read more about workers' coops here: https://en.wikipedia.org...
The companies would be similar to how they are run today, with the only difference being that workers own the company, or else they elect the leaders of the company.
It would be difficult to make a cooperative very large, the largest workers' coop in the world currently is Mon<x>dragon Corporation in Spain. They're the 10th largest company in Spain for profit turnover. In general, cooperatives aren't set up in such a way to out-compete other companies, they're generally cooperative with other businesses.

And I don't have a preference for how the workers' coop would be run, it could be run with a representative style of democracy, as you speak of, or with direct democracy where the workers themselves directly vote on business decisions.
Posted by Ozzie 1 year ago
Ozzie
By workers, do you mean all employees, and do they own the companies? And would the companies of the developed world look fairly similar to how they do today, minus the corporate hierarchy and ownership differences? Would we still have corporate powerhouses with 100 billion plus in equity and hundreds of thousands of employees? If so, would they be operated by a union-style representative democracy?
Hope these questions make sense. Thanks in advance
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