The Instigator
Capitalistslave
Pro (for)
The Contender
thumbnailunavailable
Con (against)

If people were properly educated, capitalism would disappear

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 716 times Debate No: 101726
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (0)

 

Capitalistslave

Pro

I couldn't fit the entire resolution in the title, but here it is:
"If people were properly educated and the government wasn't involved in the economy, capitalism would disappear."

I am arguing that this is true, my opponent will argue it is false. I'll take burden of proof solely.
Rules of debate:
1) No insults, ad hominem, or personal attacks. Be civil
2) The total number of rounds used for argument should be the total you see here minus one since I am not using round 1 for argument. This is to keep the total number of rounds used for argument even between us
3) The last round of argument should just be rebuttal to your opponent's arguments. There should be no new arguments in this round. New facts and information can be presented, but only in rebuttal to your opponent's arguments

Definitions of relevant terms:
Definitions are courtesy of wikipedia
Capitalism: "an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets."
Private property: a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which is owned by a state entity; and from collective (or cooperative) property, which is owned by a group of non-governmental entities."
Cooperative: "an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled business." I would add that cooperatives are cooperative, as opposed to, private property.
Worker cooperative: "a cooperative that is owned and self-managed by its workers"


Now, for this debate, I need my opponent to agree that worker cooperatives are not capitalistic. I argue that they are not because they are cooperative property, and not private property which is a necessary part of capitalism, as defined above.


If my opponent has objection to any of the above definitions or rules, say so in the comments before accepting the debate so that I can change it if I agree to what you suggest should be the definition of terms or rules. I am also willing to change the total number of rounds to 5, or less than 4 if my opponent wants a different amount of rounds.
thumbnailunavailable

Con

hello there! Pro Socialist! it's been a while since I've had a giggle like that, i accept your challenge and it's rules declared in round 1, i won't make an argument yet so we both have the same amount of turns but i will say that you're wrong, and i will tell you why after you post your first argument but before we continue i strongly recommend that you read George Orwell's "Animal Farm" it is a Fable that might change your point of view slightly, you can read it here: http://vho.org...
anyways, this is only a suggestion since it is a good book that i might state during the argument, and it will save me a great amount of effort if you were to read it, great book, i am eager to receive your response! 'till next time.
Debate Round No. 1
Capitalistslave

Pro

As my opponent will find out, I am not uneducated and I know of many studies that are relevant to this topic.

First, I need my opponent to recognize that if the economy was to have primarily cooperative businesses, it would not be capitalist. The logic is implied in the definitions I provided above how Capitalism requires private property, and cooperatives are not private property, but rather cooperative property. I suspect my opponent will agree since they agreed to the definitions above by accepting the debate.

If people were properly educated about worker cooperatives, it would lead to a rise in the amount of them.

Now, I'd like to point out that worker cooperatives are generally more successful than capitalist firms, so by all means they should be out-competing capitalist firms, but I'll point out why that isn't happening(it's because most people are ignorant of cooperatives). In a number of studies in the United Kingdrom, the United States, France, Spain, and Canada, it was found that Capitalist businesses for a 3-5 year period only have a survival rate of under 50%, ranging from as low as 5%(in a 5 year period) to as high as 48%(in a 3 year period), in comparison cooperatives(which are essentially socialist business models) have a 3-5 year survival rate of as low as 62% to as high as 90%[1][2][3][4][5][6]. Therefore, capitalism, I believe, naturally results in an economy that won't be able to boom as much due to the failure rate of capitalist businesses. Additionally, cooperatives, especially worker cooperatives, are particularly resilient during economic crises, moreso than their capitalist counterparts.[2]

Additionally, 78% of people who know about worker coops, prefer to shop at those than capitalist businesses[2] One must wonder, if these numbers are true, why aren't worker coops overtaking capitalist businesses? It's really quite simple. Very few worker coops are ever created, whereas many more capitalist businesses are. I believe one reason for this is because of this fact: 89% of people don't even know what a cooperative is[7] let alone a worker coop. If everyone knew what a cooperative was, there would likely be many more people who would shop at them, create them, and they would boom so much that they would possibly overtake the capitalist economy we have.

If the government wasn't involved in our economy, more people would likely realize how bad capitalism is
Once more, capitalist businesses have greater than a 50% failure rate within the first 5 years of being in business, and that likely goes up as you increase the amount of years. However, a major problem about our government, is that it is a strong supporter of capitalist businesses. It just doesn't want to allow big capitalist businesses to fail when they're supposed to, and they make stimulus packages and bail companies out when they fear that these capitalist businesses will do the intrinsic factor of capitalism, which is failure. If, however, these companies were allowed to fail and ruin the economy more, people would likely see the problem and instability of capitalism. They would likely want to try a different economic model, and start doing research themselves on them. They may come across worker cooperatives, and see that they fail at a much smaller rate than traditional businesses, provide higher wages to their workers, and provide more employment options than capitalist businesses.

Additionally, the government has many business regulations for safety to minimum wage laws, etc that most people aren't able to see the terrible effects capitalisn has naturally without government involvement. If they knew how bad capitalism is without government involvement, which is how it was in the 1800s when working conditions were terrible and wages were terrible, people would likely want to transition to a new economy. But, the government prevents people from being able to see the downsides of capitalism and tries to alleviate many of the terrible aspects of it.

Worker cooperatives provide more employment, higher wages, and are more productive, so why wouldn't people switch to them if they knew about them?
The latter two points I brought up in the last sentence of an earlier paragraph are facts shown by this comparative study performed by Gabriel Burdin and Andres Dean, where they looked into how cooperatives performed in the Uruguayan economic crisis between 1999-2001. Tt was found that "average employment and wages in WCs[worker cooperatives] tend to be greater than in CFs[capitalist firms]." [8, pg. 522] The wage being higher definitely makes sense, since in a worker-cooperative, there is no person at the top taking a percentage of the business profits as their own, personal, income. Instead, this income is spread across the workers, which would mean their wages would be higher. Additionally, it's been found that the average employment in a single worker coop is 10[4] while traditional businesses have only just over 4 employees on average[5]. Worker cooperatives generally are created to benefit workers, and so they tend to employ more people than capitalist businesses, since capitalist businesses will employ the minimum amount of employees possible in order to maximize one's own profits. Worker coops, on the other hand, have a goal of improving workers' lives, and so they are more likely to employ more people. Thus, this can help end unemployment and the poverty rate by making worker cooperatives become a larger sector of the economy.

It has been found in a study conducted by Ben Craig, of the federal reserve bank of Cleveland, and John Pencavel, of Standford University, that worker cooperatives within the plywood industry are more materially productive than traditional firms[11, pg 124]. The reasons they believe for this are because:

1) "A co-op mitigates the agency cost associated with a corporation's division between ownership and control". Since co-ops are owned by the workers, they are much more likely to be informed about the business decisions than if they weren't owners, thus there is no need to spend extra time from business owners to educate them on this matter.[11, pgs 124-125)

2) Worker co-ops eliminate "the separation of interests between workers and owners."[11 pg 125] As one can imagine, there are many instances in which a conventional firm would be presented with opportunities where they can make a decision that more benefits them and harms the workers. The workers would be opposed to this, and normally what happens in a conventional firm, is that bargaining goes on and this takes up precious time that could be devoted to work. In a co-op, this bargaining would not take place, since worker-owners would likely choose what benefits the majority of the workers, whereas in a traditional business, the owner would choose what only benefits themselves.

3) Workers are able to monitor each other better than in traditional businesses where the monitor is a single manager [11, pgs 125-126]. This makes sense as well, since in co-ops, the workers are the ones who make the decisions of the company, and would be involved in hiring and firing other workers. Co-workers are more often among their co-workers than a manager is, so they would be able to monitor their co-workers more effectively than a manager. This provides incentive for each worker to provide their best work and not laze around.



Conclusion of this round:
Thus, because worker coops pay their employees more, have higher employment rates and thus can help end unemployment, and are more productive than capitalist businesses, it's easy to conclude that people would prefer cooperatives to capitalist businesses if they only knew about them and didn't have a government that favors capitalist businesses. Additionally, this is already proven that people tend to prefer cooperatives because 78% of people who know about cooperatives state they prefer cooperatives. It should be pretty obvious that if the system wasn't rigged in favor of capitalist businesses, if people were educated about worker coops and coops in general, they would likely easily overtake the capitalist bussines, and thus transfer our economy into what is known as a cooperative economy, which is a socialist economy[12]

I'll turn this over to my opponent, and wish them luck. I look forward to seeing if they can point out any flaws in my arguments.

Sources:
[1] http://www.geo.coop...
[2] http://www.cecop.coop...
[3] https://www.uk.coop...
[4] http://www.ontario.coop...
[5] http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu...
[6] http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu...
[7] www.geo.coop/story/new-survey-reveals-perceptions-and-myths-about-co-ops
[8] disjointedthinking.jeffhughes.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Burdin-Dean-2009.-New-evidence-on-wages-and-employment-in-worker-cooperatives-compared-with-capitalist-firms.pdf
[9] http://institute.coop...
[10] https://smallbiztrends.com...
[11] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu...
[12] https://en.wikipedia.org...
thumbnailunavailable

Con

Greetings once again! it sure did mean a lot to me that you dedicated such a monstrous sized text for me to read, and I see that you've turned the tables by denying me from putting the weight on my argument on one of the weak spots of yours, but that is only one of the flaws I've encountered by reading between the paragraphs, I will keep this short and simple.

you have mistaken "private property" and "sole proprietorship" because "worker cooperatives" ARE private property, just not sole proprietorship, which would correct your initial statement in the matter of "I would add that cooperatives are cooperative, as opposed to, private property" being changed to sole proprietorship only because the company is not Public, people cannot go in and take what they need without paying accordingly, that is the base of Capitalism, you want something, you pay for it, and to be able to pay for it you have to have a source of income, or if you want the fancy definition it is "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state" (notice how it says "private owners" and "profit")

Moving on to the next point, Worker Co-ops are stemmed from Socialism, I agree to that, since it emulates a small scale form of socialism where the profits are distributed equally between all, but then again this is small scale, because at the end of the day companies under a socialist economy (as you've previously said) do not prosper because capitalist governments have laws that are favorable to business, in any case, if people where "properly educated" (which means being told that co-ops exist) will lead to some people to support co-ops and maybe even change to them, but this will not make capitalism disappear because companies need revenue to exist and if the people actually were "properly educated" they would understand that capitalism is a pro-company type of economic system, now there could be co-ops in socialist systems but these are not as likely to thrive, there could be a government owned co-op in a socialist system but given the fact that one of your preferences would be making the government neglect the economy and mind their own business (although since the trade is being done in the country it is their business, because they need the taxation coming from those trades to run the nation) this would not be a preferable option, or we could all just resort to anarchy and take what is needed until there is none left, either way I see no possible way co-ops can eradicate capitalism, and I do not understand why you would want to change capitalism in any way, do you understand that if we suddenly were to change to socialism and you were to be slightly more wealthy than the average (VERY low) you money would be seized by the government and given to you comrades?, not only the rich get affected, and they don't get affected on a wide scale because they can always use their influence to change their money to another country that isn't as deficient as a socialist one.
sorry i took my time, it's just been a hell of a week, go capitalism! where you get to keep what you earn instead of being given what you need regardless of effort! FYI, if you are a TRUMPcare supporter i've got bad news for you...
Debate Round No. 2
Capitalistslave

Pro

I would like to remind my opponent that whether cooperatives are private or cooperative property wasn't up for debate, and that I said that if you had objections to the definitions I provided, you had to say so before the debate in the comments section. You can see that clearly in round 1 after I provided the definitions. I hold, therefore, that voters have to go with the definition I provided, because I made it clear that if you had objections, you needed to say so before the debate began, not in the middle of it. When you accepted the debate, you accepted the definitions I provided, so we must go under the assumption that cooperatives are not private property, but rather, cooperative property.

Now, I could leave it at that, but I do feel a need to explain why I don't believe cooperatives are private property:
Private property, in my view, results in a person or group of people who own the company, and there is always a hierarchy due to that ownership. The workers of the company do not jointly-own the business under private property, and so it naturally results in hierarchy between the non-owners of the business and the owners of the business. This is why cooperatives are not private property: they don't have an inherent hierarchy. It is possible for cooperatives to still have hierarchy, but they don't have to have it and it's not due to ownership of the company.

Next, I'll put in italics quotes by my opponent and I shall address those:
I just realized as I am reading this, there is a huge run-on sentence in your paragraph. This is the sentence I want to address, but I'll divide it up into multiple parts by specific ideas that are presented in the sentence. Just keep in mind, it might be awkward since I won't be including the whole sentence at once, due to it being a run-on. Moving on, I wish to address this part first:

...in any case, if people where "properly educated" (which means being told that co-ops exist) will lead to some people to support co-ops and maybe even change to them, but this will not make capitalism disappear because companies need revenue to exist and if the people actually were "properly educated" they would understand that capitalism is a pro-company type of economic system...
How exactly is capitalism a pro-company type of economic system and cooperative individualism(an economic system in which worker coops are the dominant business model) isn't? I don't understand how that makes any sense. Capitalism is a pro-private property company economic system. Cooperative individualism is pro-worker coop companies. Both are pro-company, but they are in favor of a different type of company. Capitalism isn't pro-worker coops, and that is a form of company, so if you're calling capitalism pro-company, well, it isn't in the respect that it is pro-all companies. It's against public and cooperative companies. So, if your definition of pro-company is being in favor of all types of companies, both cooperative individualism and capitalism fail at that. The only pro-company economic system is one in which has roughly an equal amount of public companies, private companies, and cooperative companies.

...now there could be co-ops in socialist systems but these are not as likely to thrive...
If you're referring to socialism as the state control of the economy, then they are not likely to thrive, indeed. However, if we are talking about market socialism, then co-ops probably are likely to thrive. Market socialism is "a type of economic system involving the public, cooperative, or social ownership of the means of production in the framework of a market economy"[13]. So, market socialism can literally just be an economy of worker coops. In fact, cooperative individualism would be a market socialist economic system. I don't think I've provided much about cooperative economics and cooperative individualism yet, but you can look at the wikipedia page about cooperative economics if you want.

...but given the fact that one of your preferences would be making the government neglect the economy and mind their own business (although since the trade is being done in the country it is their business, because they need the taxation coming from those trades to run the nation)...
I also would prefer that the government didn't use any form of taxation, but rather got its funds from fundraisers. I don't know how effective that would be, but we are not debating about taxation anyways, and this would be a tangent anyways.

...I see no possible way co-ops can eradicate capitalism...
Worker co-ops would eradicate capitalism by simply becoming the majority business model in the nation, we would have become a cooperative individualist society as opposed to a capitalist one, and it would thus be a Market socialist society.

do you understand that if we suddenly were to change to socialism and you were to be slightly more wealthy than the average (VERY low) you money would be seized by the government and given to you comrades?, not only the rich get affected, and they don't get affected on a wide scale because they can always use their influence to change their money to another country that isn't as deficient as a socialist one.
There are many forms of socialism. I understand that equalist authoritatian socialist societies would do what you said(and I would be opposed to those), but there are many forms of socialism. Some can be done without the government, for example Revolutionary Catalonia had a anarcho-socialist/syndicalist society until they were beaten in a civil war. Socialism doesn't need the government, and many socialists are okay with income inequality to an extent. Many socialists recognize some people deserve more money, such as people who had to get a lot of education for their career, or careers that require higher skills to do. However, we don't like the idea of people getting rich off of other people's labor. We consider this exploitation and an unfair way of earning money.
Sources:
[13]
https://en.wikipedia.org...
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jonbonbon 9 months ago
Jonbonbon
Ah I understand your position better now. On a large scale, however, I'm not sure that would work. A hierarchy isn't inherently bad. Hierarchies exist to make organization more efficient and effective. On a small scale I can see that working, but in a larger society, the exchange of resources would become a lot more complicated. It's already a nightmare getting four signatures for something in capitalist organization. I guess I'd need to do more research to see what the technical aspects are.
Posted by Capitalistslave 9 months ago
Capitalistslave
Somehow, the text turned blue halfway through my round 3... more strange is that when you put your cursor over the blue text, it turns black...
Posted by Capitalistslave 9 months ago
Capitalistslave
thumbnailunavailable: You will be responding soon right? Or did you determine it would be too difficult for you to win and decided not to post?
Posted by Capitalistslave 9 months ago
Capitalistslave
Also, every time I type M O N D R A G O N together in the comments section, debate.org seems to always what to add a "<x>" in between it for some reason. Try it out yourself, I'm sure you'll have the same result.

There should be no <x> there though.
Posted by Capitalistslave 9 months ago
Capitalistslave
Wylted: "why would worker co ops be considered socialist if they exist in capitalist societies?"
Socialist businesses can exist alongside capitalist businesses. There's not a "either or" thing going on here. It's not "either you have complete capitalism and no socialist businesses or you have complete socialism and no capitalist businesses". The societies cooperatives exist in, for the most part, are capitalist, but they are not purely capitalist. The more cooperatives there are in an economy, the less capitalist and more socialist it is. For example, the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy has 40% of its businesses as worker coops, and so it is only slightly a capitalist economy.

"You should go work in a co op. It has a hierarchy."
I suppose I should clarify what I said before, which is that I meant that private property results in illegitimate hierarchy. Yes, some worker coops can have a hierarchy, but the people in those positions are voted on by the workers and thus I believe it is a legitimate hierarchy. I am aware, for example, that Mon<x>dragon corporation in Spain, a worker coop, has a president. But did you also know they have a congress that is representative of each Mon<x>dragon store? The president is elected by the congress, and the congress is elected by the workers. No capitalist business has a congress.
Posted by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
"d public property. I think the difference between private and cooperative property, is that the former results in a hierarchy."

You should go work in a co op. It has a hierarchy.
Posted by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
why would worker co ops be considered socialist if they exist in capitalist societies?
Posted by Capitalistslave 9 months ago
Capitalistslave
Jonbonbon:
"So I guess, I'm not sure why market socialism is not just a form of capitalism. Even property that's owned by multiple people is still considered private ownership of property."
Well, according to wikipedia, private property excludes cooperatively owned property and public property. I think the difference between private and cooperative property, is that the former results in a hierarchy. While both can have multiple people owning the business, cooperative property never has a hierarchy. Private property will always have one or a few people who own the business at the top of the business, while there are workers at the bottom who do not own the company in any way, not even jointly. That's the difference between cooperative and private property.

Now, market socialism is different from capitalism because capitalism requires that the means of production is privately owned, while market socialism requires that the means of production be publicly owned or cooperatively owned.

Really, the biggest difference between socialism and capitalism is who owns the means of production and if there is a hierarchy as a result of it.

"I looked up the definition of market socialism, and what it looks like is that the theory can't work without government interference on a large scale."
I think it can work without government interference. The only reason some people think government interference is necessary for it is because capitalists keep the masses ignorant about any other alternatives to the capitalist business model. 89% of people don't even know what a cooperative is, for example, but 78% of people who do know about them, prefer to shop at them. I contend, then, that the only thing that is necessary to transform to market socialism, is to educate people about cooperatives. In theory, 78% of all people would prefer to shop at those than traditional businesses. This would result in a cooperative boom and possibly they would become the majority business mo
Posted by Jonbonbon 9 months ago
Jonbonbon
*very few businesses in America don't consist of*
Posted by Jonbonbon 9 months ago
Jonbonbon
The thing is that in simple definitions that private property is something owned by civilians or businesses and public property is what's owned by the government. So unless no one has any claim to land, the civilians own the land (real estate is part of the economy because it has market value).

So I guess, I'm not sure why market socialism is not just a form of capitalism. Even property that's owned by multiple people is still considered private ownership of property. So I guess what you're assuming is that in capitalist terms, private ownership means ownership by one person? But in capitalist terms, private means it's not part of a government entity.

I looked up the definition of market socialism, and what it looks like is that the theory can't work without government interference on a large scale. You should take an accounting class to get a better understanding of how balance sheets and income statements work, because on a large scale, that doesn't work cooperatively in the sense you may be thinking.

However, to a degree, a sort of cooperative ownership happens in corporations and partnerships in our capitalist economy because multiple people or groups of people have part ownership in the company and its assets (and liabilities). In fact, very few businesses in America's capitalist economy consist of multiple people owning parts of the business. Sole proprietorships aren't as common as the other forms of business.
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