The Instigator
Kiroen
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
csw
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Does the capitalism prejudice the free markets?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Kiroen
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/16/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 786 times Debate No: 36728
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)

 

Kiroen

Pro

Concretions of the debate.
By capitalism I mean the legal characteristics of an economic system that allows to accumulate massive amounts of capital by individuals, as well as the personal ownership of land, natural resources and means of production (not to be confused with collectively ownership).
By free market mean an economic system in which workers and/or business compete between them to get their product sold, expecting as a result the rise of theliving standards.

Con must defend that either capitalism is overall a good thing for free markets (both as described above). I will obviously defend the opposite position.
The burden of proof recays on both pro and con, for their respective postures.
csw

Con

Capitalism is far from a prejudice of the free markets. In fact, capitalism is the greatest system there is to allow the free markets to thrive.

To begin, it is a given that capitalism seeks to allow private owners control of the trade and industry, not the government. This allows the country's business systems to be ran independently, and thus is centered around an independent philosophy in regards the competition of prices. Relating this to free markets, the ability to set the most desirable price for a product is a key factor what makes capitalism so great. The amount of freedom and independence the free market system allows in conjunction with capitalism is tremendous.

So please explain, Kiroen. How can capitalism prejudice the free markets when all they can do is help each other work in a systematic harmony?
Debate Round No. 1
Kiroen

Pro

Preamble - The purpose of Economy

The purpose of having an economic system is to supply people with goods and services. If the common people accept the free markets because its laws fulfill that purpose. However, the capitalism creates stages in which the laws of market aren't fulfilled.



The alternative

As Con 'csw' says "[...] it is a given that capitalism seeks to allow private owners control of the trade and industry, not the government. This allows the country's business systems to be ran independently in regards the competition of prices.[...]". Obviously, Con only thinks of state-owned companies as an alternative to capitalism, but for the purpose of this debate I must defend an alternative model to capitalism that allows free markets to work.

This alternative will be the productive model of Libertarian Socialism. According to Wikipedia's description: it "[...] promote[s] a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic society without private property in the means of production", thus workers have to associate through cooperatives. As any group of workers can form its own cooperative (through credit If needed), there will be competence that will follow the laws of market.

As there is an alternative to capitalism on the table, now I can start criticizing it.




The problem of the giant actors in the markets

As capitalism (or ownership over the means of production) allows individuals to get money from the work of others (exploitation of man by man), and to use that added value to become the employer of someone else (and thus get more added value), some individuals' profit increase exponentially, thus there will always appear people hugely richer than the average. These individuals can take advantage of their position to compete in terms that the laws of market don't contemplate, having as a result a worse supply of goods or services, and thus a worse economy than a free market without capitalism.

Next I will explain some of these situations.



Unaffordable loses

Corporation A monopolizes a market. Corporation A's shareholders are very rich people, they have large sums of money, yet the want to keep getting more. Some enterprising (yet not too rich) people notice that market's price is very high, and decide to compete with Corporation A to lower that product's price, they ask for a big loan create then the Company B. Since Corporation A's shareholders want to keep their earnings, they decide to kick Company B out of the market. To do so, they will make them get so many loses that they run out of capital, and they achieve it by lowering the price of their market's product so much that it isn't profitable to produce it.

They have the money, they can afford it. But Company B's entrepreneurs have to pay the loan, and their company is taken by the bank, which sells dismantles it soon after as it isn't worth it to compete with Corporation A. While Corporation A's shareholders have lost some money in this strategy, they can rise the prices again, and other entrepreneurs won't try to do it again.

The results are a)resources invested in Company B are totally wasted. Not even Corporation A will want to buy it, as to put it to work will only cause overproduction, and; b)as the product produced by Corporation A is monopolized, the price will highly increase, which will be translated into a lower capacity to be bought, and thus a lower supply than there would be without the monopoly, and without capitalism.



Big companies' lack of innovation

While there is no golden rule that says big companies can't innovate, they usually have a much closer margin to do so. This is easily by the fact that most of the biggest investors aren't close to the process of production in which production actually takes place. A big investor will often look at easily predictable factors that will increase profit, like an externalization to a lower salaries country, that's what they're used to. They are low risk. Thus in most of the big companies there are structures in which losses because of someone's innovation will get him or her fired.

Some may argue lack of innovation is not necessarily bad, as innovation does sometimes lead to losses. But it's exactly innovation what increases the living standards, it will ultimately innovation what increases the quality of a product and, according to the laws of market, to be chosen over the others by the consumers.

But once again, these don't matter at all, as big companies don't need to innovate to get the customers, they just need ads. It doesn't matter that your competitor has a better product than you If people don't know it.

You may be thinking of big companies which innovations put them to the head in their market, or at least allowed them to get some advantage. But lone examples don't make a rule - you are missing all the enormous corporations that don't innovate and simply make profit. And that can't change while they have to pledge to the big investors wishes.



I'll save more examples/arguments for the course of the debate.
csw

Con


You have written a wealth of text broken into sections so I will respond to each one by one.



Response to “The Problem of the Giant Actors in the Market”



First of all, you describe the exploitation of man by man. You are taking the employer and employee system as a form of exploitation, which couldn't be farther from the truth. No one is forced to get a job. They can start a business or be self-employed. There is no written rule that a person MUST get a job. And if they do have a job, they are being paid. It is not slavery, but it is a form of fair exchange. A person works and is rewarded for their work. The employer can be friendly and flexible with their worker, and provide a safe and friendly environment for them. How could this possibly be exploitation? It is a a win-win-win situation. The boss gets benefit from the workers efforts reasonably and fairly, the worker gets not only money but also benefits from this work and the end consumer gets a product created by the efforts of the worker. It couldn't be more fair and equal.



Second of all, you describe that “...there will always appear people hugely richer than the average. These individuals can take advantage of their position to compete in terms that the laws of market don't contemplate...”. This is a given statement. The people that work the hardest deserve the best. If you worked for 5 hours and got $15 an hour you would get $75. If you went out and spent that $75 on something that you loved and something that you really wanted, you could buy it and you would treasure it. Most importantly, you would deserve it. Your hard work translated into that item, or that service, that you received. People that save money and invest it properly deserve their riches. Likewise, if someone is born into a rich family and spends their money foolishly then they just as equally deserve to be broke by the time they are 35. It goes both ways, and is more than fair. Regarding abusing power, this is something that can be done whether you are talking about capitalism or socialism.



Response to “Unaffordable Losses”



I have so much objection to this section that I must take it by sentence by sentence.



Corporation A monopolizes a market. Corporation A's shareholders are very rich people, they have large sums of money, yet the want to keep getting more.”



The way you word this makes it sound like getting more money after you are already rich is a bad thing. Who's to say that the person doesn't intend on donating that money? Who's to say that the person doesn't want to invest the money back into their business so that it can grow? In reality, you have no idea what they are going to do with that money. There is no shame in wanting to become more wealthy.



Some enterprising (yet not too rich) people notice that market's price is very high, and decide to compete with Corporation A to lower that product's price, they ask for a big loan create then the Company B.”



You are immediately assuming that to sustain and/or create a company you must take out a loan. When starting a company, you have to start small. You have to gain the priceless experience to make the right decisions with that company and move it forward. It's not as simple as just taking out a loan and then suddenly you have a company. You have to work, gain experience and slowly build that company to all of its potential. They did not have to this. They could have started with what they had and worked their way up.


Since Corporation A's shareholders want to keep their earnings, they decide to kick Company B out of the market. To do so, they will make them get so many loses that they run out of capital, and they achieve it by lowering the price of their market's product so much that it isn't profitable to produce it.” They have the money, they can afford it.



What do you mean by “kicking them out of the market”? A company can't just magically do something to kick another company out of the market. Sure, there is definitely competition between markets but that's not say that one company can just wipe another off the map in a heartbeat. Also, the little hypothetical strategy you describe would never actually happen. Why would a successful company purposely put themselves under like that? I can understand a company lowering a price and taking a loss in the beginning and then raising it again after the sale is over, (just to get attention) but why in the world would any company do that? You claim they have the money so they can afford it, but if they used that logic in every decision then where would they be? Answer: Out of Business.



But Company B's entrepreneurs have to pay the loan, and their company is taken by the bank, which sells dismantles it soon after as it isn't worth it to compete with Corporation A. While Corporation A's shareholders have lost some money in this strategy, they can rise the prices again, and other entrepreneurs won't try to do it again.



Why are you automatically assuming that no one will try it again? 3D technology has been tried in the 80s, 90s and early 2,000s, but only recently has it been picked up and been made a success.



The results are a)resources invested in Company B are totally wasted. Not even Corporation A will want to buy it, as to put it to work will only cause overproduction, and; b)as the product produced by Corporation A is monopolized, the price will highly increase, which will be translated into a lower capacity to be bought, and thus a lower supply than there would be without the monopoly, and without capitalism.


Why are you automatically assuming that no one will try it again? 3D technology has been tried in the 80s, 90s and early 2,000s, but only recently has it been picked up and been made a success.



I won't go any further, but there is my main counterargument overall.

Debate Round No. 2
Kiroen

Pro

Debate topic limits and 'metadebate'

You got in the exploitation topic when it doesn't form part of the debate. I don't mind discussing it, but not here, since I can prove my points without it and you can't win the debate topic by proving that 'there is no exploitation in capitalism'.

If we continue, we can read "Second of all, you describe that “...there will always appear people hugely richer than the average. These individuals can take advantage of their position to compete in terms that the laws of market don't contemplate...”. This is a given statement. The people that work the hardest deserve the best [...]" and then you proceed to try to justify it. But once again, ethics don't matter in the topic we are discussing. Not only you can't refute that there is hugely rich people in capitalism (no one in his/her senses would buy it anyway), you even give me the point that they can and will abuse power!

"Regarding abusing power, this is something that can be done whether you are talking about capitalism or socialism."

There is a somewhat important point here. You are talking about 'plain' socialism, but If you want to attack my very position, you have to prove that 'in libertarian socialism the market laws aren't followed, or the system is a worse alternative than capitalism' at the light of my arguments. Notice that libertarian socialism and socialism are quite different, and there are few or none positions or power that can be abused in the former - and If there were, they could be easily revokated, as they have to depend on common agreement and democracy and not ownership of the thing that gives you that position (in the case of capitalism, the means of production).




Unaffordable losses - Sequel

Once again, I'll skip the ethics part as it isn't scope of this debate.

"You are immediately assuming that to sustain and/or create a company you must take out a loan. When starting a company, you have to start small."

If the reader of this text doesn't know what the supply-demand law is, check this: http://en.wikipedia.org...

Now: You can't start small in every product's market. If a genius programmer tried to start today his or her own Operative System, he couldn't start small, as it would take him/her years of development until he got something that could compete with Windows and Mac. If someone wanted to break a monopoly in the cars market, s/he'd also need a big initial investment. This must be taken into consideration in this topic.


"Why would a successful company purposely put themselves under like that? I can understand a company lowering a price and taking a loss in the beginning and then raising it again after the sale is over, (just to get attention) but why in the world would any company do that?"

If you think it was just to get attention you didn't understand anything. Every company, like Company B, has monthly expenses: workers' pay, machinery maintenance, and in their case, the bank loan. Corporation A only had to maintain the prices low until Company B went into bankrupt - as the later would have expenses, but no income. Then Corporation A recovers its so highly valued monopoly which allows it to recover from the losses in no time.


"You claim they have the money so they can afford it, but if they used that logic in every decision then where would they be? Answer: Out of Business."

This might surprise you, but this company (A) is not only In Business, but getting an higher market share every day in Latin America. For further reading:


https://www.google.es...

"Why are you automatically assuming that no one will try it again? 3D technology has been tried in the 80s, 90s and early 2,000s, but only recently has it been picked up and been made a success."


To introduce a product in market can be quite easier than getting in someone's monopoly. In the FEMSA's case, it's an high risk operation as you have to invest an enormous amount of money and to put less experienced businessmen in that market than FEMSA's. And no rich investor in his senses will do that when there are more profitable and less risky business to do.

"I won't go any further, but there is my main counterargument overall."
Then you still have the topic of the big companies' lack of innovation. If I were in your skin I would hurry, as your work to do is increasing.



Lobbies and monopolies protected by law

According to Wikipedia "[Lobbying] is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.". Sometimes we see cases of popular lobbying campaigns that bring little good (some people may disagree with the word 'good') changes to our politics, such as the smoking restrictions. But big companies have a huge capacity to influence the goverment policies in not so known, yet quite important aspects. This is a growing aspect of modern day capitalism in which big corporations invest a lot of capital in things so unproductive such as hiring people to convince politicians to change laws in a way that benefits them. For example:

http://www.eia-international.org...

Linking this to this debate's topic, many companies make enough contacts in some governements to avoid them from making antimonopoly laws. Such is the case of Spain, {


http://www.publico.es...

'Ex president Aznar hired by a former state energy company he privatised" (Disclaimer: Aznar had no kind of experience nor formation in neither business nor enginrering)


http://www.publico.es...

"Ex president Felipe Gonzaled hired by an energy company" (Disclaimer: Again, he had no previous experience in business nor engineering)


}

in which the energy companies are almost married to the two biggest political parties at the same time, and thus their monopoly is protected by law, as it's explained, case by case, in the following documentary:

http://w ww.youtube.com/watch?v=UBULdlKH0E8

I'm sorry I had to use so many Spanish sources, but apparently English press don't care about this, and I already have enough work getting informed about my country's problems to search for examples of this in USA or other English countries.
csw

Con

Re: Debate Topic Limits and Metadebate

You claim that ethics don’t matter in what we are discussing. That may be true in some respects, but I feel that what I had stated earlier was worth mentioning. A nation without a system with ethics is not a prosperous one. A nation run without ethics can never truly thrive.

I am not able to refute the fact that there are hugely rich people in capitalism because it is a fact, and it is also a positive fact. If there were no rich people and the only people that had any money were the government officials then everything would be out of balance. The people would be at the mercy of their government in an economic respect.

You seem to see this as a good thing, when in all reality it is a bad thing in the long term. There are several reasons for this but the most important reason is probably the fact that you can’t give me any example of one successful socialist nation over the long term for the PEOPLE under it. If you can, I would be surprised to see it.

“You even give me the point that they can and will abuse power!”

Yes, I did. However, I also said that a socialist government could abuse power as well, and your defense of this relied on your reassurance of the libertarian socialist system’s ability to revoke someone who is abusing it when you said:

“There are few or none positions or power that can be abused in the former – and If there were, they could be easily revoked, as they have to depend on common agreement and democracy and not ownership of the thing that gives you that position (in the case of capitalism, the means of production)”

In the United States democratic and capitalistic system, the president is elected by a fair democratic vote totally independent of “the means of production.” I don’t really know what you are trying to get at there. Otherwise, free markets could possibly flourish under the democratic system you describe earlier, however this doesn’t mean that it would be necessarily better than the free markets under capitalism. If a large company wants to raise the price on a product under capitalism by $1 across the nation then they can surely do it, no question asked. However, in libertarian socialism since owning the rights to freely and privately exercise power over the means of production is forbidden, it couldn’t possibly be this easy.

"If a genius programmer tried to start today his or her own Operative System, he couldn't start small, as it would take him/her years of development until he got something that could compete with Windows and Mac."

You didn’t understand my statement. I said that it doesn’t take a huge loan of 10s of thousands of dollars to start a company in the beginning in regards to saving money and gradually creating an empire over time. I was not referring to a craft such as programming where someone could work at something for an indefinite period of time with no further investment besides their own power bill.

"If someone wanted to break a monopoly in the cars market, s/he'd also need a big initial investment. This must be taken into consideration in this topic."

True, however that initial investment wouldn’t be a problem if the person believed strongly in what they were pursuing and had a large amount of money to work with from past ventures that they gradually built up. There is a saying that once you learn how to make a million dollars, the next millions come easily, and if you were to go broke you could just repeat the process. So if someone with that much money went broke, they could recoup their losses with their golden methods anyway. It would be slow, yes, but it would happen. Your approach to investment seems to be dramatic and pessimistic, when in reality someone smart enough to make that much money independently to invest should also be smart enough to take an educated risk that is also going to work. It is that simple.

As for your Company A and Company B example, I realize fully what you were trying to say. Your example is still unconvincing to me, simply because of how you portray these Company B business owners. Literally, this is the conversation they would be having.
“Hey Mike, got the loan yet?”
“Yeah, we got the loan and we are now totally in debt.”
“Great, let’s invest everything in our product which can never compete.”
“But wait, isn’t there a massive monopoly by a company that may try to kick us out of the market?”
“Yes.”
“And we are just blindly going to go in and think we can out-do them right away?”
“Yes.”
“Why not try to instead go about a niche market?”
“Why?”
“Because then we’d have less competition and a better chance of selling?”
“No, let’s just blindly do what we’re doing.”
“OK.”
It’s absurd and unrealistic to even portray it.

Next you provide me with the link for the Latin American company that you used for Company A. It would have been wonderful to have this link earlier to make your evidence apparent, and there was no reason that you could have waited this long to supply it to me. I have no idea why this was. Further, you describe that to introduce a product is far easier than getting into someone’s monopoly. You are completely right. You also say that it would be far wiser to go into a less risky business. You are correct once again.

However, even though you are correct you still ignore the fact that this Company B could start with a small niche market and build from there and at the point that they actually had the experience and capital to try and compete with a bigger company they could try and maybe they would even beat them but until that day comes, they have to start small. A monopoly is one thing, but niche markets easily accessible with a little research that are also perfectly capable of building fair revenue are another thing.

Re: Big Companies’ Lack of Innovation

"A big investor will often look at easily predictable factors that will increase profit, like an externalization to a lower salaries country, that's what they're used to. They are low risk."

This is true. However, in the long run these companies never do get around to really innovating and therefore they stagnate and fall behind.

"Thus in most of the big companies there are structures in which losses because of someone's innovation will get him or her fired."

If you have ever read the story of Steve Jobs you will know that he was fired from Apple because of this. Only when he built his own company with the ideas that Apple would never want to implement due to “overly safe thinking” did they beg him to come back. And what happened when he did? The company experienced massive success. He has quoted that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that ever happened to him (due to some separate reasons altogether, having time for his love life, etc.) but you can understand my point.

"Some may argue lack of innovation is not necessarily bad, as innovation does sometimes lead to losses. But it's exactly innovation what increases the living standards, it will ultimately innovation what increases the quality of a product and, according to the laws of market, to be chosen over the others by the consumers."

100% truth. Amen to all of that.

Going back to Apple as an example, their advertising was always considered to be bold and different, and they got a lot of attention. It wasn’t just the advertising that packed that punch, though. It was a combination of both the advertising and the product being superb. If you have the best ad campaign in the world running, but it’s for a glass of water, then what’s the use? This may sound like a silly comment but it’s true.

Due to character restrictions I must withhold the rest of my response regarding monopolies for next round (I hate to keep missing the last topic!). With the characters I have left I'll say that you have been very professional so far and I appreciate that. Also, I am only a teenager so please recognize that I may lack some experience in the realm of both debating and government and I am still learning. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
Kiroen

Pro

"[...] I'll say that you have been very professional so far and I appreciate that. Also, I am only a teenager so please recognize that I may lack some experience in the realm of both debating and government and I am still learning. Thank you."

Most adults don't even try to learn anything of those two topics, which puts you in a really good position. Everyone should do it as societies that solely rely on leaders without developing a big political conscience as whole, will ultimately lead to oligarchies and different kind of dictatorships. Thus you should feel proud your actions may help your society to avoid those.

I'll go fast on the less important topics:

Ethics: Moral and ethics are important in the society, but they are not neccesarily important in certain aspects of it. If you think they are fundamental for discussing the proper behaviour of economics, you have to prove it through arguments and/or empirical evidence.
Succesful socialist nations: I can provide examples, but I'll do it in the comments as it isn't that important and I may lack space.



About FEMSA's monopoly: Indeed, Company B was naive and they should have tried it, but their loss is a good example of how an enormous company can overcome the market laws, which is what we're discussing here.



Innovation in capitalism

"A big investor will often look at easily predictable factors that will increase profit, like an externalization to a lower salaries country, that's what they're used to. They are low risk."

"This is true. However, in the long run these companies never do get around to really innovating and therefore they stagnate and fall behind."

Not neccesarily. The big companies have the advantage that they are already big, thus they can buy smaller companies that have succesfully ran the risk (yet there's still a bad allotment of resources to innovation).

The example of Steve Jobs is fallacious, let's see why: he was already important and experienced before we was fired. His career could have been a good endorsment for getting a credit (I don't know the details, but this would have helped him), yet most of clever and innovative engineers don't have the same possibilities. We may know the story of Steve Jobs, but do we know the whole list of people with great ideas who couldn't make them true because they were tricked into giving their ideas to big companies' lawyers in bad deals? Or those who simply couldn't build enough trust with a bank to get the initial investment they needed?



Economic giants reaching political power

There are many more ways for the economic giants to reach political power than the lobbies (remember: they will use political power to make laws that allows them to maintain their market share through unfair competition). The last USA campaign introduced the minidonations - lower classes people were asked to donate small quantities to the biggest parties. If I'm not wrong, the Democrat Party got the 60% of its funds from these donations. This may seem wonderful of paper, but how did the people in the dome of the party reach it? It's easy that a giant organization like the Democrat Party calls a lot of people, but clever, honest and poor persons can't make a giant campaign to win the primary elections within the parties. At this stage, most political parties commit to a financier.

The mayor of a town from my country lost the next elections when he announced he'd built public housing. The housing bubble was about to explode, and the banks (which traditionally finnance most political campaigns around here) were making great profit from it. This major received a phone call an hour later in which he was told he'd have no campaign for the next elections. There CAN'T be competition here, as all the banks would get profit If he couldn't acomplish his program.

[ Source (again, in Spanish. Watch since 2:42): http://w ww.youtube.com/watch?v=cPct8_kEwW0 ]

This case may seem a bit distant to most North Americans, but it's not. In documentaries like 'Inside Job' and 'The Yes Men Fix the World' (English sources this time. You're welcome) there are examples of the biggest economic power representants making their demands in the USA government. With all due respect, those who living in a capitalist country think they have a good democracy, are quite naive.



Libertarian Socialism misconceptions

You keep claiming that power can be abused in socialism (without making distinctions), so I guess I didn't explain Libertarian Socialism well enough.

Libertarian Socialism pretends to have a very reduced central state, and get its fuctions decentralized.

Quoting from Wikipedia: "Libertarian socialists generally place their hopes in decentralized means of direct democracy such as Libertarian municipalism, citizens' assemblies, trade unions, and workers' councils." This means there aren't many positions from where someone can abuse power.

Companies, when formed by more than one worker, must be worker associations (cooperatives), in which everyone has the same power of decision over the company (there are special cases like the director's appointment, an optional position granted by universal votation).

If FEMSA was a company in Libertarian Socialism, there couldn't be 10 or 20 shareholders who own the whole company and don't mind to maintain a monopoly. The workers of many regional FEMSA divisions wouldn't agree with the prices policy and would put their own, bringing back the market competition and its laws again.
csw

Con

csw forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Kiroen

Pro

Given that it's the last round and my opponent forfeited the last round, I won't come up with new arguments nor evidence, as he has a limited space to answer it.



So far, I have provided arguments and empirical proof on how the privilegee of the individual ownership of the means of production can lead to monopolies or oligopolies and, thus, break the competence of the free markets.

I've also explained why the structure of the corporations (which must be followed by the big investors who want to make money) kills a lot of innovation that is created in the markets that only have small and medium companies.

At the end, Con couldn't refute my two main arguments. He touched the topic of ethics in economy, which, while I think it's an interesting thing to discuss, he failed to relate it to the debate's main statement.

Since someone much more into the topic than the Con may have argued that the state can intervene to break monopolies, I also tried to explain how the big economic powers can and do influence the governments and provided evidence on how this turned the energy markets in Spain into private oligopolies (tho it is in Spanish, unfortunately).
csw

Con

csw forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Kiroen 3 years ago
Kiroen
I just found this documentary that researches the connections between political power and economic powers and get fundamental, irrefutable proofs. I will not present it now to the debate because it's already the last round, in which presenting new arguments or proofs leaves a really short space for rebuttals.

However, If someone is interested, you can check it:

Capitalism: A Love Story
Posted by Kiroen 3 years ago
Kiroen
In the course of the early Soviet state the famines saw its end. The first famine took happened at end of the Civil War, caused by it. Unlike propaganda states, the collectivized farms were efficient - the collectivization process, however, led to confrontation with the local oligarchies, that provoked the second famine after the Revolution. The last famine happened after the WWII as direct result of that: a lot of crops were destroyed during the nazi occupation and millions of people in working age were killed.

I hope that you agree that the change from an almost feudal society that had famines every three years (1901, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1911, 1913) to a society where there were only 3 famines in ~30 years (one of them cause of an external reason) and none after that was a good change for its people's lives. I hope you see this from a global view - hunger is a problem that capitalism hasn't solved for everyone (and indeed there are families that have known hunger for the first time in their lives in the modern Greece, Portugal, and even my own country). 3 million children die each year because of it ( https://www.wfp.org... ).
Posted by Kiroen 3 years ago
Kiroen
In the third round, Con asked me for examples of socialist economies that improved its people's lives. As he meant planned economies (which don't contemplate free markets), it's not an important part of the debate. However, since it seemed an interesting topic to me, I'll gladly reply him here.

The USSR ended the famines in Russia

While I don't consider the USSR a good example as a country (as it, sadly, ended with an authoritarian political system that destroyed the socialist experience in the whole Eastern Bloc), its economy is worth studying, as it's one of the very first attempts to plan an economy.

If we check the English Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org... ) anyone may think that pre-Soviet Russia was a happy place where hunger wasn't common. This is simply not true. Wikipedia has the trouble that it requires both sources and interested and informed people to expose the truth about something. If we check the Russian Wikipedia ( http://ru.wikipedia.org... ) we can immediately see, even without translating, that there is a lot more to say about the pre 1900 famines. In fact, the famines were almost periodical in the pre-Soviet Russia. You can use Google Translator to check it (I did it myself). In the discussion page the early XX century famines are also mentioned.
Posted by Kiroen 3 years ago
Kiroen
"I think, Kiroen, that you are requiring a black and white argument, but in reality there are only shades of grey. You define Western economies as Capitalist, as if it is a religion to which every westerner has conformed."

I though I had made that point clear. By capitalism I mean the "[accumulation of] massive amounts of capital by individuals, as well as the personal ownership of land, natural resources and means of production" and the legal system that allows it to happen.

However, this point

"If an absolute statement is to be made, it should be up to the instigator to make and defend the statement, rather than restricting the challenger to absolutes while remaining free to rationalize."

makes sense to me. I'll probably edit it soon.
Posted by Oromagi 3 years ago
Oromagi
If an absolute statement is to be made, it should be up to the instigator to make and defend the statement, rather than restricting the challenger to absolutes while remaining free to rationalize.
Posted by Oromagi 3 years ago
Oromagi
I think, Kiroen, that you are requiring a black and white argument, but in reality there are only shades of grey. You define Western economies as Capitalist, as if it is a religion to which every westerner has conformed. I can think of no developed economy that should not be properly termed a mixed economy, a balance of Capitalist and Socialist forces. Rational people everywhere see Capitalism as a tool, a theory that allows free markets to trade with confidence. Does massive accumulation of wealth sometimes disturb free trade? Sure. The expansion of Microsoft or Walmart in the 90's are fair examples. But the US trusts Capitalism so we restrained ourselves and minimized interference. Over time, free markets provided some correction, although Walmart's dominance still holds. In the absence of Capitalism, free markets are less confident, uncertain whether they trade at true value or politically defined value. History shows us that free markets never die, though they may mutate into black markets or piracy to escape over-regulation. Both of the arguments you offer Con tend more towards the truth in principle, but both are patently false when stated as an absolute.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
KiroencswTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.