The Instigator
DucoNihilum
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
danny445
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points

Greed causes a great deal of negative problems with the politics and economy of our nation.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/28/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,375 times Debate No: 2983
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (6)

 

DucoNihilum

Con

I'd like this to center around political or economic issues.

I will be centering my debate on 'greed', in fact, being good- causing the world to advance and become more productive.

I'll define greed as an "Avid desire to gain more wealth."
danny445

Pro

"I'd like this to center around political or economic issues.
I will be centering my debate on 'greed', in fact, being good- causing the world to advance and become more productive.
I'll define greed as an "Avid desire to gain more wealth."

Very well, wow a 5 round debate? I better save some steam. Basically I feel that greed is a bad thing, which is reflected in its very definition. Being ambitious, or being innovative, are not the same as being greedy. As your definition clearly states, greed is the "Avid desire to gain more wealth." The emphasis of course being more< "the state of being rich and affluent; having a plentiful supply of material goods and money" according to wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn.

Therefore the very basis of being greedy is wanting to have more than you need. In most cases it is, because that extra wealth is usually gained off of the work or downfall of other people. A prime example is Wal-mart. Wal mart wants to constantly get more and more money, at what cost? Its employees getting payed extremely low wages with no health care, and buying its products from factories overseas with child labor and despicable working conditions. I don't see a cheap shirt being worth the downfall of many people.

Another example, is EXXON mobile, who netted 30+ billion in one quarter of 2007. Exxon mobile just spilled 2.5 billion dollars worth of oil near Alaska, and the American people are struggling to keep up with steep gasoline prices.

Illegal Immigration: 12 million extra people, that is a 4% increase in the total population. Is that a problem for America? Well consider that the average American can't live off of minimum wage, so how can we expect someone to be able to live on less than minimum wage? They can't, therefore our infrastructure has to pick it up. Another emphasis, is that those 12 million people are going to reproduce, and they will give birth to Americans. Is this legitimate? it doesn't matter, at that point we have to pick up the slack. You could have two parents who aren't legally allowed to get a job, while their American child needs food and clothes. That is a major problem. Now, what sparks it? The fact that businesspeople hire illegal immigrants to save money on regular labor. That is the pure and simple point. If you take away the work, illegal immigrants would have no desire to come here. The focus being on illegal, that means that they are not trying to reap the benefits of living in America, because they technically aren't allowed to reap any benefits, the only thing they can do is work, which is their incentive. Reason: GREED of business owners. (once again a billion dollar + market)

These are just a few examples, we have many rounds to go. I think this is a very interesting debate, I look forward to your points. Thanks,

Danny445
Debate Round No. 1
DucoNihilum

Con

I disagree with your definition of Wealth. I stand by the economic definition of wealth, which is

a. all things that have a monetary or exchange value.
b. anything that has utility and is capable of being appropriated or exchanged.

But even regardless of your definition of greed, it still applies to everybody (which isn't incorrect). You say that "... the very basis of being greedy is wanting to have more than you need..."
The vast majority of people seek such, including you. You're sitting here on a computer, able to chat with me, rather than living in a unheated hut living on mere subsistence. Need is something of only the most savage of peoples- something that people without capitalism must worry about (Pre-Industrial). With Capitalism, people have gone far beyond 'need', and into more luxuries, wants, desires, entertainment, good food, TV's, ETC. This is not bad, this is in fact why we as an industrialized nation have such a high standard of living. This evil greed, this evil desire to have more than you need has brought us from living on our own farms to living in a society like we have today, one with very high standards of living, and livelihood. Population exploded when Capitalism and good came into the world.

You seem to misunderstand how Capitalism and 'Greed' work, wealth is not finite, one person being rich does not take away riches from anybody else. Nobody is harmed in the making of capitalistic wealth. Both parties benefit from the mutual agreement, otherwise it wouldn't have happened without coercion.

As for your specific complains..... Walmart does indeed get more and more money. At what cost does wal-mart get this money? Well- all of our lives are substantially improved! Things cost less money, especially things need a lot (groceries). We can spend this extra money on other things, things we want but might not 'need'. Employees of walmart get paid above minimum wage, and are benefited as they agreed to go to work for Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart agreed to pay for them in exchange of this labor. While Wal-Mart employees may not make 80,000 dollars a year, they aren't WORTH 80,000 dollars a year. The market determines the price of labor, and Wal-Mart moves ABOVE the market price- perhaps for a steady stream of labor. It is better that they have a job at Wal-Mart than no job at all, and remember, since this isn't socialism employees get to CHOOSE where they work. If they don't appreciate walmart, they can move to any other job they wish. As for the 'child labor', ETC complains, AFAIK most if not all busniesses have stopped hiring children, and actually have very nice factories that help the people in that country develop.

There is no 'downfall', only money being put into the economy though cheap prices, and wages for laborers.

EXXON makes all their money though selling things like in the stock market (Buy low, sell high sorts of things). The price you see at the pump is determined by the market and no one else.... except the government which is actually a big contributer to the rising price of gas. You might notice gas rising more and more- not because of the rich and evil greedy businessmen.... but because of the PRC and India- two new markets, very large ones, that are just starting to industrialize to the point where we are.

As far as illegal immigration goes, a rise in population isn't necessarily harmful. We have lots of room. I have no idea where you get the statistic that the average American can not live off of minimum wage, and it's quite clear you're wrong by your own example. The illegal immigrations do in fact live off of the MARKET wage, NOT MINIMUM WAGE. Sure, they don't live the best of lives, but that's typical for unskilled workers who just move in the country and it's far better than they will find in their home country of Mexico. This isn't a bad thing, this is in fact a very good thing. They're obviously helping the illegal immigrants who would rather work here than work anywhere else. They're mutually benefited by this agreement. The only problem here is the government, who would be happy to throw these businessmen in jail for simply following the market.

In all of the examples you gave me you showed greed as a bad thing, when in fact in all of the examples it was a key to prosperity!
danny445

Pro

danny445 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
DucoNihilum

Con

This is rather unfortunate. This is one of many times that an opponent has forfeited an interesting debate.
danny445

Pro

I would like to note that I am very sorry for the missed round, but I am sure that everyone is aware that whatever is priority in your life sometimes requires attention before debate.org That being said, you said the debate had been forfeited, not quite! only the round.

You defined wealth as:
a. all things that have a monetary or exchange value.
b. anything that has utility and is capable of being appropriated or exchanged.

I believe in economic terms what you are referring to is more along the lines of capital than wealth. Therefore, I will stick to my prior definition.

You bring up the subsistence point because my definition of wealth was when people seek to obtain more than what they need.

--You say: Need is something of only the most savage of peoples- something that people without capitalism must worry about (Pre-Industrial)"

This is absolutely incorrect. People seem to think that history moves in a linear direction from pre-industrial savages, to industrial capitalists. This is not true, in fact, there has been extensive studies that show that pre-industrial hunter-gatherer societies aren‘t in a state of need. They are completely content with their intake of food, supplies, etc. They subsist purely on what their herd, environment and family has to offer. It is the transition into capitalism that sparks a deep desire for need, and sadly for greed. If anyone would like to read the many scholars that have talked about this, I will gladly point you in the right direction.

--You said: "This evil greed, this evil desire to have more than you need has brought us from living on our own farms to living in a society like we have today, one with very high standards of living, and livelihood. Population exploded when Capitalism and good came into the world."

Once again here you are assuming something without proving it. Moving from a farm to a society like we live in may or may not be a good thing. Population explosion can be seen as a good sign of living conditions, but for any Malthusian theorists, we would agree that increase in population causes a lot of problems, not only with infrastructure, but also with crowd diseases, allocation of resources, etc. Once again, I have provided examples of the negatives of greed, where as your "positives" are simply opinion, not fact.

--You said: "Nobody is harmed in the making of capitalistic wealth. Both parties benefit from the mutual agreement, otherwise it wouldn't have happened without coercion."

Nobody is harmed in the making of capitalistic wealth? I will allude to the example of coffee. When the islands of Indonesia were part of the Dutch empire, it was converted to growing coffee instead of rice. This caused a famine that killed unbelievable amounts of people. Why? All so those coffee companies and capitalism could continue.

Another example: Fishing-based economies on the west coast of Africa. These economies go into an agreement with foreign countries and sell the rights to fish the waters because they need the money in the short term. It is an agreement; however, the African economies will fail in the long term, because their primary economy source is being drained for the benefit of fish companies.

Example after example can show you that people do desperate things for money. Things that are not at all rational (prostitution, etc). Therefore just to say that people do something for money, in no way implies that it benefits them, or is a moral good for society.

--You said: "Wal-mart does indeed get more and more money. At what cost does wal-mart get this money? Well- all of our lives are substantially improved! Things cost less money; especially things need a lot (groceries). We can spend this extra money on other things, things we want but might not 'need'."

I believe this proves my point; the workers that barely scrape by on wages and have children that can't go to the doctor when they need medicine are put into those situations why? Just as you said, so we can spend the money on things we don't need. Does that make much sense? "All" of us don't benefit, especially considering the child labor that makes the cheap clothing.

You also discuss that Wal-Mart employees go into the agreement voluntarily because they get paid above market value. This is true, because if it was up to the business owners, they would contribute ZERO to labor costs. Why? Because they want more money!! So saying above market value, is not saying that it is enough to live. They don't have healthcare as I previously mentioned. As for having "very nice" factories. I would really like you to do more research on this; I will point you in the right direction: research recent Nike factory conditions, or the wal-mart factory conditions. These children work in extremely dangerous, poor conditions for "market price". A child should not have to work, and the fact that there is child labor hints that when those children grow up they will only know how to do their non-skilled job. What does this mean? That greed involved with child labor traps people in the cycle of making "mutual" agreements that really aren‘t to their benefit. As for a Wal-Mart worker not being worth 80,000 dollars, nobody said that they were. But with Wal-mart making enough money to be alone one of the largest economies in the world, they could give them benefits.

You claim that oil prices are market based, however refineries are shut down to limit our supply and push prices up, and considering we are the number one consumer of oil in the world while we get most of it outside of our own borders, it is up to a limited amount of people exactly how much oil we receive. If it's a low amount, that pushes prices up. Billions of dollars in one quarter! That is what Exxon made. I think that everyone can agree that to a certain extent gas prices are dictated by the government and corporations.

--You said: "As far as illegal immigration goes, a rise in population isn't necessarily harmful. We have lots of room. I have no idea where you get the statistic that the average American can not live off of minimum wage, and it's quite clear you're wrong by your own example. The illegal immigrations do in fact live off of the MARKET wage, NOT MINIMUM WAGE.

First of all, I have already covered why a rise in population is a bad thing for any population. For an illegal population it is specifically bad because they have limited rights. When disease, poverty, etc rise among growing populations and the state can't do anything to help, that is a huge problem.

As for minimum wage, I promise you, that it is nearly impossible to live off of minimum wage if you have a family that you are feeding. If you are supporting a significant other and two kids off of one minimum wage job you are below the poverty line, and need state help, a clear example that it is too low. You bring up the market wage again, and I will point out with a new example that slaves were also paid the market wage: nada. GREED caused slavery, GREED causes wars, GREED causes a few people to get boosted up on the shoulders of the hard workers. You cite often that people make a mutual agreement, but as I have shown, mutual agreements are sometimes out of desperation, and are not always a wonderful thing. I will agree that corporations, and industry can be a prosperous thing, I have not in one case mentioned socialism. We are however, not debating that. We are talking about monetary greed, a hunger for more when your belly is already full. A desire to pack your wallet when it is already loaded. It is in its definition a bad thing, and greed makes people throw people under the bus while they benefit.Example after example.
Debate Round No. 3
DucoNihilum

Con

No problem, I've gotten busy and been unable to reply myself numerous times. Sorry if I rushed to conclusions, but within the past few days of your round forfiet I had two or three other debaters forfiting every round, one not even posting his opening argument. You can understand the frustration and the confusion on both ends.

You seem to have misunderstood exactly what I was saying when I said that need was something that only the savage have to worry about. While part of my point was that subsistence leveled people are in a state of need, my primary point was that people who are industrialized in a capitalistic system tend to not have to worry about need so much as they worry about wants and desires. You make the claim that greed is the desire to get anything more than you 'need'- and when even you say that 'need' is already surpassed by savages you suggest we 'need' very little. It is true, we do need very little. I don't need this computer, nor do I need my photography equipment (I'm a photographer). I don't need to live in a place as nice as I do, I could live in the ghetto and still live. Living on simply need is not desirable for the majority of people. That is where capitalism comes in. Capitalism allows people to live far past the standards of needs and minor wants, moving into a rich and prosperous life. Not all people will become billionaires, but even the average middle class person has all of their needs fulfilled, and plenty of their wants. In fact, a good portion of even the lowest of economic classes in the US have gone far beyond subsistence into wants and desires.

I find it a little odd that you find pre-industrial societies already in a state of 'content'... From the statistics I have read (For example, Pre-Industrial France) the population was rather low (around the world) and the mortality rate was high. All of this is very well documented. The population levels were so low because people did NOT have what athey needed. They died of starvation, they got ill and died of simple diseases. More than half of their children did not live into adulthood, and a simple bad harvest could mean the death of an entire family. If that is the life you would like to live you may do so, I would however prefer to live in a state where that at least my basic needs were met. What sparked about these changes? This sudden change from living in a world where you could die of hunger, into a world where the average person has a multitude of conveniences and luxuries shared not even by kings of before? Capitalism and greed.

I'm pretty sure that both of our opinions on greed are just that, opinions. I'm quite sure none of our ideas are absolutely set in stone correct, otherwise debate would be pointless. While some might not enjoy the idea of the great success that is capitalism, they are free to live their lives similar to those who relied on subsistence farming, just with slightly

and bounds in efficiency in the past few centuries. If we're talking about pre-industrial Europe, their yields were far less than we would achieve today even on a bad harvest). For the vast majority of the population, the idea that you can live longer and not die of starvation is a great enhancement. The invisible hand of the market gives a very fair allocation of resources. If you want to go more into how exactly it is 'fair' we can do that.

I'm not very familiar with your example of coffee and Indonesia. I'm curious, how exactly was it converted? Was it 'converted' by the free market? How exactly can coffee cause famine? Wouldn't a famine be a natural occurrence?

Africa, ironically, is generally failing because of the lack of capitalism. Their leaders are holding back progress by refusing to allow the free market into the equation. Notice how most African economics are void of any remotely free market.

As for the walmart reference, I did not say they went into a voluntary agreement simply because they get paid above market value- regardless, so long as they are in a free market there is a voluntary exchange! The factories tend to pay far above what they would get anywhere else, which is why there is such a demand for labor. Factories such as this are helping the poor countries move out of their poor status and into the status of the Americans. This does not happen over night, sometimes people might have to work hard to get into a situation of prosperity. People make a lot of money working, and are able to buy things they would not have before. It improves their lives. Walmart has no obligation to give their workers so much- their workers aren't worth that much. It is not wal-marts fault that some of their workers are rather poor and have problems, those are the issues of the workers. If you disapprove of walmarts policy then I suggest you not work there. For those who do approve of it, who approve of the extra money they receive, they work there- they agree to work there, they want to work there.

I will only address your issue on healthcare shortly. Health care is very expensive in the US right now because the government is keeping the prices high- and has sort of gotten us fixed on certain sorts of bad insurance plans. Insurance is a form of collectivism, which when added together.... equals very high prices. If we deregulate health entirely and try to lean out of insurance our system will be very affordable.

The thing about your examples of how bad a rise in population are-- it's not true, disease is not a serious problem- at least in comparison to other issues, poverty in the US is practically non existent unless you look at it compared to the wealthy (most of the poor own a microwave oven.)

If a single person is working on minimum wage trying to feed a family it might be very difficult. Of course it's very difficult. It would be difficult if there were no minimum wage, or if the minimum wage was 40 dollars an hour. It would be near impossible to support a family very well given those conditions. It's just the situation, if you think one person can work at a job primarily meant for those coming into the workforce to provide for a family, you're ill. Raising minimum wage would not help those people. It would simply hurt the economy, specifically small businesses- and ironically poor people. Money doesn't come out of nowhere, and at some point somebody has to be fired.... because of the government.

It is true, that greed is the cause of some issues, such as what you brought up as slavery. Those problems are brought up though government greed. Government greed has not gotten to the point where it is the cause of a great deal of problems in the US yet- we're not soviet. Most of the issues you brought up as greed were either not examples of greed, were examples of how things are good, or were rare examples of government instituted greed that either does not exist anymore, or simply involves a few rare things that the government does.
danny445

Pro

danny445 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
DucoNihilum

Con

My opponent attempted to prove that greed was a bad thing. He cited many things that in fact have been enhanced by greed. For profit motives are what makes our products so cheap, and what helps those who work in the lower classes. After all, making some money is better than making no money. Greed is not a bad thing, it is the prime motivator for capitalism, a system which has moved us from living off the land to worrying about whether or not we will get to watch the latest movie. It has increased our population substantially. My opponent brings claims of starvation, famine, disease, etc that have not only not come true yet, but been disproven. The theorist he mentioned who predicted the global starvation is famous for just that, the false prediction. He predicted that without understanding all the new things that allowed us to survive. These greed, this capitalism, has brought us from a state of world where we had less than 500 million people to one where we have over 6 billion, one where capitalism allows itself, such as in the united states, people prosper beyond imagine. Greed, rational self interest, the desire to make more money have brought us to this point. Our lives are all better off because of the greedy.
danny445

Pro

danny445 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
This wasn't a hard debate to vote for. It started off well matched but when one person forfeits 3 rounds...
Posted by liberalconservative 8 years ago
liberalconservative
i think the desire of want helps our economy, but at what cost
Posted by DucoNihilum 8 years ago
DucoNihilum
No problem. I've had similar problems before. Maybe I'll get to this debate on my 9 hour upcoming train trip.
Posted by danny445 8 years ago
danny445
My greatest apologies, there was no way possible that I could have posted before right now. This is a long debate however, I intend to give my opinions on every point that you have made, so the voters/viwers will get a chance to get the full debate experience. I'm sorry
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