The Instigator
wjmelements
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
JustCallMeTarzan
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

Fiscal equality is unjust; therefore, capitalism is the best economic and political system.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
JustCallMeTarzan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,218 times Debate No: 6077
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (6)

 

wjmelements

Pro

I would like to begin by asking all voters to read the debate before voting. To do otherwise defeats the purpose of debating. This is not a poll, but a debate.

Fiscal equality- government mandating an equal yearly wage for all its citizens
unjust- lacking in justice or fairness http://dictionary.reference.com...;

What one puts into society should equal what one gets out of society.
-pursuing education should yield a higher pay than not doing so
-creating or inventing new things or ideas that improve society should yield a higher pay than not doing so
-working more/harder should yield a higher pay than working less in cases of two people with the same job

For the above reasons, fiscal equality is unjust. I will elaborate as necessary.

capitalsim-An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market
Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights. http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com...

To round this up:
People can own their property and their work results in pay in the form of somehting of value that directly goes to them. Goods are chosen by the consumer. Competition inspires people to work hard and develp new things for their own benefit. The way one's property is used or spent is not restricted unless it violates another person's rights to do so.

My opponent must suggest a system that would be better than capitalism. Simply saying that there is a better system will not suffice.
I have not put out a thorough argument yet and will do so in round 2. My opponent may throw the first punch. I wish my opponent good luck in this debate.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

At the onset, there is a philosophical problem with capitalism that rests on the notion of positive basic human rights. These rights are those that state that persons have autonomous rights to exercise their will, and not merely rights that a person has to not have something done to them (i.e. the right to not be killed). So the entire basis of capitalism rests on the notion that one has a positive right to own property and to own the use of one's body and labor. While it is possible that one could argue that there is no such positive right, and that one can negate one's right to body and labor with a contract, this is not my opponent's intention for debate, and I will attempt to stay away from these points unless he brings it up again.

Another problem at the onset is that my opponent's resolution is not a valid argument. He makes an unwarranted assumption that capitalism is the best model to follow in the face of Fiscal Equality. Pure and true capitalism as defined in his opening argument is in fact, NOT the best model to follow. Capitalism has several problems.

1) Capitalism is biased towards those who already own property.

Following the positive right to own property, the first-come-first-serve policy automatically creates an unfair distribution of property unless all persons receive an equally valuable share of property. Following the "as much and as good" rule, the later you are in line, the less you get, while still leaving "as much and as good." Thus, it becomes possible for those that already own property to exploit those who don't.

2) Capitalist markets are subject to various problems of justness.

In a capitalist market, it's possible for monopolies to arise, leading to other problems like price gouging. Also, when wages are set by the free market, it's possible (and seen frequently) that some wages are egregiously low or egregiously high. Lastly, in a capitalist market, external influences can radically affect the market without compensation or punishment.

*********************************

I argue that a much better system is regulated capitalism, or some libertarian form of Marxism, wherein a democratically elected government not only regulates the distribution of property, but regulates the market to keep prices, wages, and the overall market stable.

*********************************

My apologies for a short post, but I have a terrible migraine at the moment and I'm content to let my opponent make propositions for me to rebut...
Debate Round No. 1
wjmelements

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I understand your short post; however, you could have waited more than two days to complete your argument and you chose not to. i'm sure there is a reason though, and I sympathize your condition.
I ask my opponent to elaborate on his first paragraph or simplify it so that I may debate it if I wish.
The all-important value in this debate is justice, which means:
-the quality of being just, impartial, or fair http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Fiscal equality is not fair, as those who put forth more effort end up with the same as those who put forth less.
Input should result in output. Output should not be constant. Otherwise, input doesn't matter, and ceases to exist at all.
Therefore, a system that has input proportional to output is just to all. Responsibility for one's actions occurs and is therefore just.

First, my opponent has conceded that fiscal equality is unjust.

Second, my opponent has suggested that regulated capitalism and libertarian Marxism are both better systems than capitalism.

Third, my opponent has brought up two imperfections with the capitalist system.

I remind the audience that I am not waving the flag of anarchy at all.
It is necessary for local government to educate; however, not doing so still allows the possibility of even the poor to pursue education through loans. However, we are assuming that there is local government education for all.

My opponents issues with capitalism:
1) Capitalism is biased toward those who already own property.

Due to an education system, it is possible to have someone born poor become rich and for someone born rich to live poor. Fortunes don't last long. Houses don't last long. No property lasts forever. Therefore, it is necessary to have a job to earn and maintain such things. Therefore, in order to have a high paying job, it is necessary to work for an education and pursue a career. The bias is limited.

2) Capitalist markets are subject to various problems of justness.
a) My opponent has argued that monopolies exist in the free markets. I have two different negations. a) A government-ran economy is also a monopoly that can result in price gouging. b) In cases of monopoly, there is a higher demand for competition if price gouging occurs; therefore, this threat overcomes itself.

b) My opponent has argued that people can make tons of money and people can make very little money. I have a negation to that as well. Most usually, the higher-waged jobs are more important or in demand and the lower-waged jobs are less in demand. So, in a capitalist system, the amount of effort you put in to get that job determines your ability to get it. It takes much more effort to get a high-paying job than a low-paying job; therefore, the system is just, for effort results in output, as conceded by my opponent.

c) My opponent has argued that external influences can radically affect the market without compensation or punishment. I shall not concede this point. Instead, I shall ask my opponent to elaborate so that I might understand exactly what he is talking about. It seems that an example of this would be OPEC increasing the price of the oil they sell to the United States. OPEC did influence the market when it did this, and many argue it had positive effects. People drove less and bought more fuel efficient cars. The markets quickly adapted to this need, and this adaptation still remains now even as the price of oil is less than half what it was.

Problems with my opponent's systems of government:
1) Regulated Capitalism
regulate-to bring under the control of law or constituted authority http://www.merriam-webster.com...
To limit what the markets can and cannot do limits the flexibility of the market.
For example: A certain fabric is banned for use in cars during the early 1900s because it is flammable and cars would often combust. This material would catch fire easily and would endanger the passengers. As a result, it was banned. Even after car fires are much less common, research was never done on it because it was illegal to do so.
Alternative: Car companies choose not to make cars with that fabric to compete with eachother in safety, which was in high demand due to car fires. Many years later, after fires in cars were no longer an issue, the fabric was brought back because it was much lighter than the standard seat fabric and it was used to make cars more fuel efficient.
A regulated market is limited it what it can develop. An unregulated capitalist system is not limited in what it can develop. Therefore, unregulated capitalism is better than unregulated capitalism.

2) Libertarian Marxism
libertarian-believing in freedom of thought and action http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Marxism- The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society's allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Some may arue that Libertarian Marxism is an oxymoron, but i think I understand what my opponent is getting at.
The system I believe my opponent describes is economically socialist and socially free (far different from communism).
The overall flaw of this system is that the result of one's effort does not change with additional effort. One's work is not his own. This lack of responsibility exists everywhere, and production suffers. Why work hard when you get just as much for working little? Why achieve when it gets you nowhere? This results in a lack of motivation and purpose. Further, my opponent has already conceded that fiscal equality is unjust; therefore, such a system is invalid. Nontheless, this system is not better than capitalism.

I thank my opponent for his last post and hope in his next he shall not be under the influence of migrane.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

Much thanks to my opponent for understanding my migraine troubles. I like to make the first post right after I pick up the argument though, which is why I posted under the influence anyway....

A short version of my first paragraph in the previous round would be something like - "If one can successfully argue that there is no positive right to property, then the whole discussion of capitalism is moot because the justification for capitalism relies on the positive right to property."

I'm unsure why my opponent states I have conceded that Fiscal equality is unjust - I took that to be a premise of the resolution. However, if this is open for debate, I ask my opponent to elaborate on whether he means fiscal equality as in a basic living stipend or a minimum wage.

I shall respond to my opponent's contentions... I do indeed like these very structured debate formats...

1) Capitalism is biased towards those who already own property.

My opponent's contention on this point is that since no property lasts forever, the bias disappears over time. However, many of the people that already own property are able to accumulate wealth at a disproportionate rate to even those with a higher level of education. The long term that *might* eliminate the bias is far longer than a generation. The bias may indeed be limited, but it still remains.

2) Capitalist markets are subject to various problems of justness.

a) A government-run economy is not a monopoly by any means. When the people have control of the government, the people are able to control the market. The reason government-run economies fail quite frequently is because the government that is IN control isn't answering to the people, which is a problem with the specifics of government, not the idea itself. In the case of monopoly, my opponent contends there is demand for competition. It is simply not a salient option to form competition against large corporations. If it were, monopolies like Intel, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart would have serious competition from various sources.

b) My opponent contends that high-wage jobs are more important or in higher demand. This is also not the case. If there were a 10% drop in lawyers worldwide, companies would continue to function with a minor hiccup. However, if there were a 10% drop in sanitation workers worldwide, companies would be scrambling to hire more people to take out the trash. Nobody argues that effort results in output, but consider the case where the actuary who spends 4 years in school makes more than the person who has spent 12 years getting a doctorate in English. Input is not always proportional to output, and never will be.

c) What I refer to are called externalities - a good example would be global warming, but that doesn't say much for a preventable system. Another example might be a city where the main economic powerhouse is a factory. If the factory changes something in their finances, say, the price they pay their workers, it forces a change in the economy of the entire town.

*******************************

A defense of my two positions...

1) Regulated Capitalism.

My opponent misunderstands the use of regulations that I propose. The government would be responsible for regulations to keep the market stable. The example my opponent uses is an example of something the government would regulate regardless of the economic system - flammable material in cars is a public safety concern, which is of the utmost importance to the state. A regulated capitalist market is not as subject to the instabilities from externaities that an unregulated market is. Also, it would be impossible for injustices like polarized wages and monopolies to exist in a regulated market.

2) Libertarian Marxism.

I was kind of shooting in the dark with this idea, but my opponent has properly characterized the system - the people are free and democratically control a government that (somewhat) owns & controls the means of production. However, he has made some incorrect assumptions regarding the economics of such a system. Education and effort would still play a role in one's benefit from the system. However, since the people own the means of production via the government, the decision of factors like wages and monopolies falls to the majoritarian processes of the populace. Thus, assuming the people writ large make just and fair economic decisions, the system writ large is just and fair. Any system that is just and fair is inherently better than capitalism, due to the flaws I have illustrated above.
Debate Round No. 2
wjmelements

Pro

Is it the last round already?

I thank my opponent for this debate.

My opponent may not have willingly conceded that fiscal equality is unjust; however, he has not argued against it.
"I ask my opponent to elaborate on whether he means fiscal equality as in a basic living stipend or a minimum wage."
Fiscal Equality is not referring to a minimum wage, but earning equal money. I had defined that in the first round.

My opponent's problems with capitalism:
1. bias towards those who already have property
2. monopolies can exist
3. there are multiple classes
4. externalities

1. No one is born with property. All property is earned during one's lifetime from one's work. One's property never effects how much money is made through a job.
Correction: -minute bias towards those born with property

2. Small business often succeeds in competition against large companies due to specialization, quality, or whatever is lacking from the current 'monopoly'.
-Microsoft was once a large monopoly, but it now faces competition from many companies, including Apple.
-Small business often competes with Wal-Mart. Examples include Randall's, Wallgreen's, Kroger's, etc.
-Intel is hardly a monopoly. Several other companies compete in that industry.
Correction: -monopolies are rare and temporary

3. My argument was that jobs with various wages are not only good, but also just, because input relates to output. When input has an effect on output, input is larger. Further, if ouput serves as a reward for input, then input is also just.
My opponent has argued that companies would be scrambling to hire more people to take out the trash if many sanitation workers suddenly disappeared.
The result would be an increase in the wage of sanitation workers in order to attract more to that job. When the demand for a job increases, the wage increases.
The same goes for lawyers. When there are fewer lawyers, there is more demand for a lawyer and individual lawyers are paid more as a result. This wouldn't affect individual companies, though, because we aren't talking about companies right now.
The answer to the inquiry about the lunatic that would spend twelve years of his life studying only English is that my opponent is simply wrong. A doctorate in English can lead to a proffessorship, which pays much higher than someone that spends four years in business school and may or may not become a rich entrepreneur.
No correction.

4. Economic change is sometimes necessary to improve the local economy. Harder times are temporary and their effects improve the situation. An example would be a city that has most of its employees in a coal mine. The coal is mined and sold to other areas for a profit, while the employees are paid from this money. The pay is then circulated to stores and businesses for various needs. We're pretending that the mine runs dry of coal. Major unemployment occurs and the money that businesses need is lost. This is an 'external problem'. This is not a reason for the end of capitalism, though. The free market quickly adapts to this problem in one of the following example ways: oils is found and replaces coal as chief export; another coal mine is started nearby; the people move; a factory comes and produces things that were always sold to the people (there are many people that want a job and the company decides to move there for that reason); etc. Capitalism is flexible, so externalities only have a temporary effect.
Correction: -externalities have a slight and temporary effect

Capitalism's 'flaws':
1. minute bias towards those born with property
2. monopolies are rare and temporary
3. fiscal inequality
4. externalities have a slight and temporary effect
The first flaw is minute. The second is temporary and minute. The third is actually a good and just thing. The fourth is temporary and minute.

Now we can see how capitalism fairs when compared with the other systems.
Regulated Capitalism-
"flammable material in cars is a public safety concern, which is of the utmost importance to the state"
As I have already proven, it is not a public safety issue because the market corrects these issues independently. The state does not have to take part in mandating safety when the market will do it on itself and the result will be more flexible.
Polarized wages and monopolies cannot exist in a free market. Varying wages can occur, but extremely low wages cannot exist; otherwise, no one would want that job, forcing the wage for that job to increase in order to have someone take it. In addition, there is nothing wrong with someone making a lot of money. Further, a harmful monopoly cannot exist in a monopoly because if a company were to price gouge, competition would rise up and compete the prices down. Monopolies also create competitin with their existence, because there is an easier market to start a company in.
In a regulated market, regulations can limit the flexibility of the market and keep it from adapting to problems it must face.
As I have already argued, externalities cause temporary instabilities. A regulation cannot perfect the markets. The regulations can, however, limit the market's ability to adapt to such an instability.
Regulated capitalism has all the same problems unregulated capitalism has, but the markets cannot adapt to problems and instabilities as well. Therefore, Regulated Capitalism is not as effective as Capitalism.

Libertarian Marxism-
Education and effort do not effect what one gets from the system because in marxism, there is no fiscal inequality.
There is no competition in this system to drive innovation (because government companies are monopolies).
Competition creates innovation because people strive to do things in a better way than eachother in order to dominate the market.The people benefit from this competition because lower prices, higher quality, and innovation are all used to compete. http://www.amd.com...
Further, people all make the same under this system. As already decided, fiscal equality is unjust. Therefore, this system, which harbors on fiscal equality, is also unjust. People should be able to work their lives out in a manner in which they can be whatever they want and accomplish and invent and compete and be rich if they want.
Libertarian Marxism's flaws, as I have already pointed out, are:
- a lack of competition
- a lack of individual motivation
- fiscal equality
These problems are much worse than the slight issues with capitalism.

Therefore, I urge an affirmation.
My opponent has not debated the justness of fiscal equality; therefore, he has conceded this point.
I have proven that capitalism is the best economic and political system.
You, the reader, must vote PRO.
I thank the reader for reading this debate and my opponent for contending.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

I was unsure about the mechanism for earning this equal money, but I do believe that we can consider ourselves in agreement that the government forcing fiscal equality is unjust. Given this, I should remind the reader that the only thing CON must do in this debate is show that there is a better system than unregulated capitalism. To debate the justness of fiscal equality would essentially be to debate the proposition: "Regardless of the fact that some jobs are harder and require more skill than others, everyone should be paid the same wage." Preposterous.

1) Bias towards those who already own property.

My opponent has conceded that such bias exists. He states that "all property is earned during one's lifetime from one's work." This is simply false. My opponent seems to have never heard of inheritance. Quite frequently, an individual will use money they have inherited to fund activities or business ventures that they could not have with only the money they have earned themselves. Good examples would be the Ketchup Queen (John Kerry's wife) and George W. Bush.

2) Monopolies can exist.

My opponent has conceded that monopolies can exist as well. He states that "small businesses often succeed in competition against large companies" due to some lacking property of the monopoly. However, in reality, it is much more often the case that the monopoly puts the small business down. How many Mom & Pop grocery or convenience stores have been put out of business by Wal-Mart? How many Mom & Pop stores have driven Wal-Mart out of town? The argument speaks for itself.... obviously the monopolies and other huge corporations put small businesses under. My opponent argues that Microsoft and Intel are not monopolies. Intel owns more than 80% of the x86 and x64 chip market, with AMD being the only real competitor. AMD's influence is waning, especially with the launch of the Core i7 two weeks ago. Microsoft has major companies around the world by the proverbial short & curlies... how many large companies use OSX or Linux?

3) Polarized wages.

My opponent refers to this as "classes" for some reason. I'm not sure why. In a system where there IS an unemployment rate, the supply of workers wouldn't change, and thus, a drop in current workers would not yield a change in the price the companies would pay the workers. The company may temporarily raise the price they pay workers, but only to fill the positions in the ensuing emergency. Essentially, this argument is that infrastructure-related jobs are in higher demand than service-related jobs. As for the professorship... that is a best case scenario... I would argue that the average MBA student makes more than the average English major with an equivalent amount of education.

4) Externalities.

My opponent argues that the effect of externalities is temporary and thus concedes that they do exist. However, the problem of externalities is not that they cause temporary problems, but that they CAN cause problems. In an unregulated market, externalities can cause huge fluctuations in a local economy virtually overnight. For example, as Hurricane Katrina neared the US coast, gas prices rose faster than would be possible in a regulated market. Again - my opponent concedes that externalities DO cause problems in capitalist markets, but writes their influence off as minimal. This is not the case, as it can be seen quite clearly, both historically (Great Depression) and presently (Gas Prices) that market speculation (an externality) can drastically change prices overnight.

To sum up, my opponent has conceded 3 of my 4 objections to capitalism (1, 2, & 4).

******************

1) Regulated Capitalism

My opponent tries to pretend that he has proven that safety is not important enough for the state to regulate and that the market will take care of itself. This is obviously not the case. There were numerous lawsuits against auto companies concerning Michelin tires, SUV's that flipped over easily, and he Ford Pinto (otherwise known as the Car-That-Explodes-When-Rear-Ended). In these cases, even though the danger to public safety was egregious and severe in the extreme, people kept buying the product until the government forced the company to make changes.

He also argues that polarized wages and monopolies cannot exist in the free market. How is it that they do, then? CEO and waitress salaries are two prime examples of this. In a well-regulated system, it would be impossible for there to be such egregious disparity in wages. This is not an argument for fiscal equality, but rather an argument for a regulated system that keeps the distribution of wealth in check by creating wage floors and ceilings - in other words, creating a more normalized bell curve on the distribution of wealth.

The problem of externalities cannot be entirely solved by regulation, but price caps would go a long way towards solving the problems. Consider if there had been a price cap on gas following 9/11 - the fast inflation of the price of gas would have never occurred. The main purpose of regulating against externalities is to prevent fast inflation.

Conclusion? Regulated capitalism fixes the polarization of wages problems with wage cielings and floors, producing a better bell curve in the distribution of wealth. Regulations against monopolies prevent monopolies themselves and help to further mitigate the bias of pre-ownership of property. Price caps help solve the problem of externalities.

Regulated Capitalism is better than unregulated capitalism.

2) Libertarian Marxism

I'm not sure what definition of Marxism yields the determination that there is no fiscal inequality. There is fiscal inequality in every economic system except some sort of pure communism. My opponent also asserts without any reason that there is no competition in this system, that this system necessitates fiscal equality, and that there is no individual motivation. All three are incorrect.

Consider a system wherein persons have a vested interest in participating in politics because political power equals economic power. The people control the means of production via the government. This simply means that the majority of the people (or the people in the middle of the bell curve) would control the economic direction of the country. This in no way means that obtaining an education and becoming a doctor will yield the same income as being a garbage man. There are still businesses, poor people, rich people... Innovation and competition are directed towards producing goods of superior quality at cheaper prices.

This system would completely eliminate the bias towards pre-ownership of property except that those people would be better able to afford an education. However, if education was the duty of the state, even that objection would disappear (in fact, this may even be more just than capitalism because it advances equality of opportunity). Monopolies would not exist due to government regulation of market shares. The polarization of wages would largely disappear with wage floors and ceilings, and a vast middle class would develop. Lastly, externalities would create only very small waves in a market where prices are fairly stagnant and inflation minimal.

******************************

I urge a decision in favor of one of these two systems. Fiscal equality is inherently unjust, but this does not necessitate that capitalism is the answer. My opponent has merely contended that capitalism is the best system, but conceded that it has at least three flaws, which I have shown to be eliminated by Regulated Capitalism or Libertarian Marxism.

Vote CON.

**************

Thank you for reading, and much thanks to Wjlements for an excellent topic. For the record, personally, I endorse regulated capitalism over unregulated capitalism simply for the fact that the regulations act as safety nets... and the Libertarian Marxism thing was kind of an experiment ;)
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
I think the ranking criteria works on win ratio, not percentile...

and as for the type of capitalism.... ooooh good.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
JCMT, it's obviously not American Capitalism. American Capitalism is a strictly regulated capitalism, which cancels itself out.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
you're right, Poe. So, I'm going to fix that so its only age.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"Do you mean capitalism as it is practiced in the United States or capitalism as in actual, lassiez-faire capitalism??"

Pretty clear.

"
capitalsim-An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market"

Btw poe, I think he asked for age criteria, cause I'm higher ranked than him and I'm a no-go. Not that I'd challenge a capitalist rofl.
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
The funny thing is that because of vote bombing, many qualified people who would otherwise take this debate, are disallowed
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Do you mean capitalism as it is practiced in the United States or capitalism as in actual, lassiez-faire capitalism??
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wjmelements
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