The Instigator
ProfessorLiberty
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Joe_ed
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Free-market capitalism is best for society.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 576 times Debate No: 58777
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

ProfessorLiberty

Pro

First round is acceptance

Second round is opening statements

Third round is rebuttle

Fourth round is rebuttle

Fifth round is conclusions


Keep it civil. Try to provide links to resources used. Be respectful.

Do you accept?
Joe_ed

Con

I feel that it would be have to begin my argument by first asking the opposition for greater clarity on what is meant exactly by the proposition, "Free-market capitalism is best for society" - Are we to take it that unadulterated free-market capitalism in it's purest form is best for society? Secondly, by what unit of measurement do you confer the status of 'Best' onto the idea?
I would have to assert that 'Best' would be the polar opposite of 'Worst' and if we define one then by default, we define the other and in doing so we can also assume that whatever else falls in-between these two ends of the spectrum would not constitute as being the 'Best' nor would it constitute as being the 'Worst'

This notion will be the basis of my argument;

Free-Market Capitalism is neither the best, nor the worst for society on virtually all measures of 'Best' and 'Worst'
(I will shortly get to the array of measurements we can firmly establish as being the basis of best and worst soon)

What can we define as being best? In a car, is it the fastest? The most expensive? The most energy efficient? Or is it the safest? If I were to ask you, what is the fastest car, you might not know the answer immediately, but you would probably be able to devise a pragmatic and relatively straightforward method of testing which car was the fastest. Once you had results, you could then conclude by empirically stating - "X Car is the fastest and here is the data to prove it"

As to what is the best car? Well this would probably vary widely from one person to the next and I would assert that this is because people will value different attributes of a car. Some will prefer faster cars, others will prefer larger cars with fold-able seats.

Without going on at great length about cars, I must concede that so far my argument has been entirely semantic, but there is a point to all of this. I am now going to start laying the foundations of this debate by first raising questions and then making assertions about which units of measure can we apply to society, that myself and my opposition can agree upon as being worthwhile measures of best and worst for said society.

For example, it could be argued that what is best for society can be measured in; GDP or economic wellness, employment rates, education, physical and mental well-being, environmental wellness, workplace wellness and social wellness. The point I am making here is that the measure of best and worst must surely take account of all of these measures as a whole array. There are qualitative and quantitative measures which must then be investigated and then amalgamated in order to produce a result from which we could then conclude that indeed, free-market capitalism is what is best for society or conversely, there are alternatives which are higher in terms of the scale of best and worst.

It is important, I think to note that a degree of cerebral flexibility and open-mindedness can not be understated in the debate as exemplified in the following proposition;

Free-Market Capitalism may indeed be better for society than other alternatives that are currently have implemented , but it may not be the best that we have already conceived of. To make this point more clearly I will put a similarly styled argument into another context. At one point, the pinnacle of medical knowledge was to attribute the cause of disease to spirits and deities making their presence known. It was firmly understood within these societies that making ritual sacrifice would appease the spirits and thus lift the curse of disease, it was the pinnacle of their understanding of disease. Thankfully we now have scientific pathology and epidemiology to elevate our understanding of germs and the causal nature of disease and infection.

To bring this back around and relate it back to the question of free-market capitalism being what is best for society. I would argue that although it is the dominant form of economic model in the post-industrialised modern nations, it is by no means the best yet conceived of and nor has it (or indeed can it) be what is best for society without some form of restraint over the mechanic of total freedom of enterprise. That is to say, that even the very best examples of highly capitalist and free-market societies that can be cited, will all undoubtedly have (to a greater or lesser degree) a socialist leaning.

And what about intrinsic and extrinsic human values and ethics? Asking questions about these and obtaining a consensus can surely lead to answers about what is best for society?

Do we value liberty, freedom of expression, elevating human innovation, education, equality what about the value of human and non-human life, the environment and the animal kingdom? Do we value time and freedom, are these values mutually exclusive or synergistic? What about leisure, health, or even spirituality?

Do we value institutions? tradition, conformity, the quest for profit, which of these values rates higher than others? And on that basis, are we willing to subdue one or more of these values in the pursuit of others?

To conclude my argument and focus this into a concentrated understanding of where I stand in this debate. I would argue that total, undiluted free-market capitalism is not what is best for society on a wide range of units by which we can measure best. That there does seem to be a consensus on what human ethical values rate highest and that in many cases and examples, profit and politically driven motives can be attributed to many individuals and groups of individuals within free-market capitalist societies to behave in ways which do not positively reflect on societies higher values and ethics.

In a free-market economy, If I own a shop selling lamps and you walk in looking to purchase a lamp, I could say that you've come to the right place, I have everything you could possibly want, look no further. Doing so would make me a good salesman and would be among the most basic core operating principles of free-market capitalism and competition for sales and profit.

But what I tell you as a salesman might not necessarily be true and if I know it's not true then I am lying to you.

What if I know for a fact that the shop across the road has better quality lamps, a wider range and generally much cheaper.
Am I behaving ethically by lying to you? I would argue not. But would it make me a good capitalist, absolutely yes, it would.
Would I be behaving in the best interests of human values and ethics?

In addition to this point, I would argue that free-market capitalism was at one point the very best of economic models for over a century that has been conceived of, just as feudalism dominated the political and economic landscape of medieval times, but that society (Globally, regionally and locally) is now in a position to evolve into a higher model of economics that much more closely relates to the consensus of human values and ethics.

Thank you for reading
Debate Round No. 1
ProfessorLiberty

Pro

ProfessorLiberty forfeited this round.
Joe_ed

Con

Firstly I must express my apologies for posting my opening statement in the acceptance round, this was due to my ignorance of the general format of these debates due to me being a novice user of the site and this being my first debate. I had considered forfeiting this round as a concession to the opposition, the instigator as way of making up for posting my opening statement out of turn, but due to schedule commitments, I am forced further my argument now as I may have to forfeit one of the later rounds.

It is also unfortunate, to note that the opposition has forfeited this round of debate himself - and I sincerely hope that he will manage to find the time to make his case at some point in the duration of the debate as I am sincerely interested to consider his argument - Free-Market Capitalism is best for society, a proposition that, whilst being very open minded to, I have not yet heard an argument that has convinced me that this is the case in view of the alternatives.

What is the end game of Monopoly? Everybody starts the game equally, with equal opportunity, the rules are quite simple, no cooperation, players must compete to own all of the property and all of the wealth. The end result is one player has the monopoly and the others have nothing. It's a light hearted and fun game that is an over simplified simulation of a free-market capitalist economy. One that promotes competition in favour of cooperation and the end result is that there is one person with all the wealth and everybody else with nothing. Sure it's just a game, but it's also a simile or even a proving ground for the shrewd and astute business minds. It is capitalism - and in a microcosm of a few hours, one can observe the result - only in monopoly there is no social stratification, environmental degradation, exploitation, deprivation and other psycho-social ills resulting from losing at it. It's just a game - but it's capitalism in it's purest form. The money trickles only in one direction, then it ebbs, then it flows, until finally the wealth and property cascades all to the one player who has the monopoly - and the result is vast inequality, it's capitalism, and it is not a system that I have yet observed to be benefiting of the vast majority, or to put it another way...

Free-Market Capitalism is not what is best for society.

The predication of a capitalist society is economic growth and ever increasing profits. This is based on the sales of goods and services, goods which are manufactured from raw materials that are finite. Which leads me to my first objection to capitalism.

1. Sustainability - There is no sustainability, an economic model that demands constant and exponential growth, fed by resources and raw materials that are limited. This can not last forever, I submit that capitalism has already reached it's peak and it's relevance has begun to pass. The only concrete objection to this I can think of is, what does it matter? We're here now, who cares about the future.

2. The motive for profit - This is one of my huge issues with capitalism and it never ceases to baffle me how some people fail to realise that the pursuit of profit is an endless road that leads nowhere. The mere drive of pursuing profit for profit's sake is a staggering condemnation of the human species that is and has shown exemplary imagination and resourcefulness. I submit that, regardless of your beliefs of the origins of life on Earth, there are enumerable avenues humans can explore that will elevate the species in terms of knowledge, enlightenment and spirituality - none of them have "Make More Money" imprinted on our DNA or written in the stars. As a further note (In case you were wondering) No - Profit does not drive innovation and there are many studies and cases where this has been proven to be the case. Straight off the top of my head, Nikola Tesla was a genius of a man who in many ways gave birth to the modern world, he was motivated entirely by his creativity and ingenuity in and of themselves, he was a problem solver and an inventor that took pride in improving the quality of people's lives through his own industry and creativity, it was in fact, capitalism and the motive for profit that saw his efforts impeded by others who were motivated not by the desire to solve problems, but their desire to protect the profits that Tesla's inventions threatened. Studies have been conducted on the point of profit motivates creativity and productivity and have concluded that they do not. I am willing to cite a source upon request, but my last point and most important point is accompanied by a video presentation that I am much more keen to share.

3. Vast Economic Inequality - Capitalism leads to inequality

[img]http://assets.motherjones.com...[/img]

- and inequality, for lack of a better term is bad. Actually, I do have the optimal term. Inequality is not what is best for society, since capitalism leads to inequality and inequality is not what is best for society, it then follows that - capitalism is not what is best for society.

I had hope that I would express this point of mine much more eloquently, but I do in fact have a source for these claims and I strongly advise that you take 17 minutes to watch this extraordinarily informative presentation on what effects economic equality and inequality has on a society.

https://www.youtube.com...
Debate Round No. 2
ProfessorLiberty

Pro

ProfessorLiberty forfeited this round.
Joe_ed

Con

Joe_ed forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
ProfessorLiberty

Pro

ProfessorLiberty forfeited this round.
Joe_ed

Con

Joe_ed forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
ProfessorLiberty

Pro

ProfessorLiberty forfeited this round.
Joe_ed

Con

Joe_ed forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Joe_ed 2 years ago
Joe_ed
I must apologise if the format of my first post has not conformed to the outlines rules/guidlines. This is my first debate on this site and although I have attempted to understand the format, I fear that I may have understood it too late and posted an opening argument where it should not have been posted.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
Are you referring to Laissez-Faire Capitalism?
Posted by KhalifV 2 years ago
KhalifV
what kind of capitalism are you arguing for? Can you give an example of a capitalist country you are arguing for, for clarification?
No votes have been placed for this debate.