Does Socialism Work?
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Debate Rounds (3)
Con uses the example of Denmark as a socialist society, however does Denmark fit the above definition of socialism? Denmark in fact is known as a social democracy rather than a socialist state. Denmark has a market economy in which the means of productions is privately held. As a social democracy, Denmark has a high level of state welfare or social services provided in exchange for tax rates higher than those in the United States but I would ask my opponent to explain how Denmark fits the above accepted definition of socialism.
Bernie Sanders advocated a social democracy approach to political policy in the United States during his campaign. Many people call his brand of politics "democratic socialism" but it is not classic socialism per the accepted definition.
Please define what type of exact political theory you are against so I may effectively refute those claims.
Socialism has been proven not to work. In fact by your definition of socialism, we see that it is a watered down younger cousin of communism. Socialism involves taking a majority of someone's income taxed by the government and putting it into a "pile" of money which is equally divided up among everyone who has put in to the pile. Sounds fair, but it doesn't work like that because people don't play by the rules. Humans cheat and steal and lie and sometimes kill each other. It is human nature, so many people see socialism as a way to cheat; If I don't work and pay income taxes at least I know someone else out there will pay for me. One person out of a country of 300 million isn't much, but what happens is more and more people don't work because someone else will pay for their expenses. Socialism gives many people no reason whatsoever to work because they are being covered, the government will pay for everything. So less and less people work and taxes go up for the people that still play it fair, and now they have less and less money and they become poorer because the others in society are lazy. Socialism goes against human nature and it is all too easy to cheat and to be cheated in a society where there is an incentive not to work. The Foundation for Economic Education of FEE proves this in this article.
Socialism doesn't work for a nation of 300 million people because there are too many people that cheat the system. In a small community you aren't going to cheat everyone else because you know them and they know you. People barter and help out each other and that's fine, but it simply doesn't work in a large society like the United States. Socialism thrived in the former Soviet Union and people flooded out by the thousands, so the government built a wall so no one could get out. We've seen from history mistakes NOT to make, socialism is one of them. We can learn from prior mistakes so we don't have to learn them again.
Communism denies the nature of man I would agree by denying the basic nature of one to be selfish in the state of nature. That is why we have social democracies or modern socialism as a workable idea. In Thesis on Feuerbach (1845), Marx indeed arguments against the individualist view of human nature. (1) Social democracy or modern socialism as practiced now in history harnesses the self interested nature of man and also levels the playing field through action of the state. Socialists argue that the individualist nature of man is exactly why state intervention is needed at some level.
I would ask con to point to any existing state that is entirely libertarian and laissez faire in operation.
Essentially there are two ways of looking at this:
1) Humans are brutish and selfish and the state perpetuates this by having a group of people exercise power furthering corruption. -or-
2) Humans are brutish and selfish and we recognize this fact so we smartly organize the state to implement basic order and fairness.
"I argue that that the second premise is more likely. Thomas Hobbes rightly recognized this now generally accepted theory on human nature and the formation of the state. In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." (2)
The only way that human kind can flourish and prosper is though mutual recognition of our nature and organization in to groups for the purpose of protecting each other. Any for of this would be considered a form of the state. Aristotle, recognized that man is a political or social animal and as a social animal needs social organization for survival. (3) These are the reasons socialism and social democratic organizations are the best and most workable way to organize humans and protect order.
(1) Marx, Carl "Theses on Feuerbach" 1888
(2) Hobbes, Thomas "Chapter XIII.: Of the Natural Condition of Mankind As Concerning Their Felicity, and Misery." Leviathan.
(3) Aristotle, Politics, Book 1, section 1253a
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