The Instigator
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
26 Points
The Contender
Citrakayah
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

In practice, socialism requires a ruling elite.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/26/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,244 times Debate No: 42977
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (12)

 

RoyLatham

Pro

Definitions. For this debate, "in practice" means "as generally applied to humans having ordinary human nature." We might suppose "In theory, police are not required to enforce laws." That's because theoretically every person might study the laws to find out what they are and then voluntarily choose to obey them. In practice, police are required. Moreover, one might cite an isolated monastery where all the monks are inspired to obey laws without police enforcing them. That's not "generally applied." We are talking about applying socialism in countries where the population is not pre-selected for conformance.

Socialism is "a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies." [1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...]

Yahoo Finance provides a list of the major industries of the United States. [2. http://biz.yahoo.com...] This list is taken as typical, although in some countries some of the listed major industries might be missing. A country without oil will not have oil recovery as an industry. This shouldn't be important for the debate.

Background. As background to the debate, two references are of special interest:

[3. Joshua Muravchik, Heaven On Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, Encounter Books, 2003]

[4. Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010 (originally 1922)]

A comparison of socialism and capitalism is given on the web at [5. http://www.diffen.com...] The debate is about socialism wherein the major industries are controlled by government.

I invite Con to include any background references he chooses as part of acceptance.

Rules and conventions.

I have the burden of proof in this debate.

I include references in line with numbers sequenced through the debate. My ref [1] will therefore be that cited above throughout the debate. Con may choose any numbering system for his references. In electronic books, page numbers are not always assigned, so quotations must in that case be found by using the search feature of the ebook reader.


Standard debate conventions and DDO site rules apply. The first round is for acceptance, definitions, and general background only. The affirmative case will be given in R2. Pro's R4 may include rebuttal to Con's R3, plus a summary. Neither side may make new arguments in R4. Con may not add references in R4, because they cannot be rebutted. All arguments and references must be within the debate.

This debate is the second round of ClassicRobert's Gauntlet Tournament. [6."http://www.debate.org...]

I welcome my worthy opponent to the arena. The quest for the gonfalon continues!
Citrakayah

Con

I accept, and wish the best of luck to my opponent. As I do not have access to either of those books, I will have to ask Pro to, when citing them, provide a quote or paraphrase of the reasoning behind what those books say.

May the best arguments win!
Debate Round No. 1
RoyLatham

Pro

1. Socialism requires authoritarian rule of economic society

Consider government in two parts: laws and regulations related to the economy and everything else. It's possible to have free markets and the rest of the government under authoritarian rule; Taiwan under Chiang Kai-Shek is an example. Socialism requires authoritarian control of the economy, but the rest may be either democratic or authoritarian. India in the period after independence was democratic socialism. The Soviet Union was authoritarian socialism.

To control the major industries, the government must:

a. Decide what products are produced. In theory both Apple and Android might be allowed to coexist, but in practice the government usually finds no good reason divide talent and capital to sponsor both. It decides what is best.

b. Decide how much of each product will be produced, and how much of each service will be made available.

c. Decide how much each product and service will cost and what each worker will be paid.

d. Decide what new ventures are funded, and what R&D will be performed.

e. Decide what imports will be allowed and what exports will be offered. If the socialist government did not control imports and exports, control of the economy would soon be lost to free market competition.

There are few, if any, examples of either pure socialism or 100% free market economies. Nonetheless, we can identify economies in which government dominates control of some number of major industries. We can then observe how the control operates. For example, right after WWII, India and Japan had roughly equal-sized auto industries. Under socialism, India kept Hindustan Motors protected from competition, [7. http://en.wikipedia.org...] while the same time in Japan Toyota was forced to compete in free markets. [8. Friedman, Thomas, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Ferrar. 1999]. Socialism restricts competition.

There is no conflict between democracy and having a ruling elite. In the United States with a democratically-elected mixed economy, the Federal bureaucracy passed over 5000 regulations this year, each with the force of law. Each has the force of law, and provide partial control of banking, energy, and health care. Full socialism requires much more control, and hence a larger ruling elite.

The ruling elite comprises a high-level leadership that sets priorities for the economy, a vast bureaucracy that translates policy to individual economic decisions, and a police force to ensure compliance.

2. A bureaucracy is necessary for socialism.

The number of products give us an idea of how many decisions the government must make to control the economy. ThomasNet provides an index of just the industrial products available in the United States. They list “over 100 million products” from 810,000 suppliers in the United States. [9. http://www.thomasnet.com...] We must add the consumer products. A search for all products on amazon.com yields 233,768,714 results. [10. http://tinyurl.com...] The amazon listings contains products that are out of stock or no longer available, and some products are listed multiple times under slightly different names. On the other hand, amazon has few inexpensive items like those found in dollar stores, and very few inexpensive heavy items like canned goods or bulk commodities. Amazon doesn't sell fresh produce, prescription drugs, and certain other types of goods. Hence, a very conservative estimate that there are roughly 100 million consumer goods. That gives a total of 200 million goods subject to government decisions per (a) through (e) above.

The numbers are remarkable. Companies rarely make identical products, because each company wants its products to be distinguished by design details, color and style, durability, and quality. For example, 7500 wineries produce 360 million cases of wine, perhaps 50,000 branded varieties. [11. http://www.wineinstitute.org...] The average supermarket has about 42,000 products. The government will decide upon a more limited number of products which it decides are adequate to serve people's needs. If ten competing products can be winnowed down to one, there still would be 20 million products to manage in the economy. To this must be added services: professional services like law and medicine, repair services, cleaning services, education, transportation, and recreation. For example, there are about 30,000 airline flights per day in the U.S. Each is a service that must be planned to exist or not, and must be priced.

There are far too many decision for voters to consider each one. It's not possible for workers in each product or service operation to make the decisions, because they have a strong bias to keep their own operation going, they cannot grasp all the interactions among products, and they don't have the expertise needed to translate leadership policy to individual product decisions. Workers at one winery cannot be expected to decide if their operation should be shut down or expanded, or what quantities of what varieties at what quality levels they ought to make. Moreover, if they were given such decisions, government control would soon be lost to market competition as each operation attempted to gain advantage over others.

3. A large police force is necessary.

A socialist government removes property rights, and not everyone will go along with that. Black markets, smuggling, and an unregulated underground economy will inevitably arise, so there must be a substantial police force to suppress it.

In fact what distinguishes government control from private control is that the government can use force to obtain compliance from citizens. Force includes fines, additional removal of rights and privileges, and imprisonment. A large police force must be maintained to prevent free markets from prospering and undermining the socialist system.

The policing required is substantial. For example, government control of banking is undermined by individuals and crime organizations making unauthorized financial transactions. China has a death penalty for making private loans, but “shadow banking” persists. [12. http://tinyurl.com...] It was the same for the Soviets, “Involvement in the underground economy had become a fact of Soviet existence by 1980. Economic activities regarded as normal in market economies not only were prohibited under Soviet law, but also carried heavy penalties. …” [13. http://tinyurl.com...]

The loyalty of the police force must be maintained, otherwise bribery and corruption would foil government control. The only practical way to do that is by giving the police more pay and benefits than those they are policing.

4. An elite is required to sustain socialism

Non-democratic regimes maintain power through an elite whose loyalty is secured by granting them power and privileges. In Communist bloc countries the elite had Party membership. Iran has the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Democratic socialism must have a substantial base of loyal regime supporters to provide the work needed to achieve re-election. A large bureaucracy must exist to make decisions, and a large police force must exist to enforce the decisions. This is already a power elite, and the elite already has a vested interest in keeping socialist government in power. Their power already makes them an elite, but it is small step from that to making them more elite by giving them more money and benefits, and that is a practical inevitability. In the United States, government employees receive 74% more compensation and four times the job security as private sector workers. [14. http://tinyurl.com...]

The patterns of a ruling elite are broadly observed in the history of socialism. [3] I can find no exceptions. Socialist control of an economy requires a power elite for policy making, detailed decision making, and enforcement. The elite grants itself further privileges to maintain power.

Citrakayah

Con

1. Can A Governmental Elite Exist In A Democracy?

I would like to pose a question. If one has a ruling elite, then is that compatible with democracy? A ruling elite, after all, cannot really be challenged. They are static, unchanging, elevated above the common person. An elite that can be removed on the whim of the voters, after all, could hardly be considered an elite at all.

The whole point of democracy is that the people can choose new leaders, if they so desire. In a true democracy, no leader remains if they are unwanted--therefore, the only way an entrenced elite (and an elite can hardly be considered an elite if they are frequently replaced) could exist would be to be so incredibly popular that no one wanted to remove them. And this is easily avoided in any society that has term limits. In that case, one might argue that the political party itself is the elite. However, even in a political party, the upper leadership (and if there was going to be an elite, it would be them) are also replaced, and there is no reason that the upper leadership couldn't also have term limits.

Moreover, why would a democracy--especially one organized around an economic philosophy that dictates the minimization of class distinctions--tolerate such an elite?

2. Case Studies

I absolutely agree with my opponent that there are few, if any, examples of 100% socialist or capitalist societies. However, I believe that Pro has omitted several examples of countries where many major industries are nationalized, and these are some of the most successful examples of such countries. Norway, Sweden, and Finland all have extensively nationalized major industries ranging from transportation to farming.

Mail: Posten Norge has a legal monopoly on all mail services in the country of Norway.[1] The USPS has a monopoly on most forms of mail in the USA.[2] Posten AB, a Swedish service, has an effective monopoly, with only one other entity that could be called a competitor.[3]

Medical: Until recently, Apoteket had a monopoly on medicines.[4]

Wikipedia has a more comprehensive list.[5] While I am aware it is Wikipedia, and therefore potentially subject to vandalism, Wikipedia is usually reliable for such a basic outline, and if any judges or my opponent have a problem, I can track down--and edit in changes, if necessary--more information. Suffice to say that several countries, such as Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Canada (though Canada's monopolies depend on province) have large industries owned by the government. And, of course, many of these governments have partial control over areas of industry.

(On a side note, I would mention that a government could create two competing companies with different philosophies and run both of them, as a sort of test to see which was superior. This could recreate the force of competition.)

3. Bureaucracy.

The force of Bureaucracy is, obviously, a force far beyond the ability of any of us mere mortals who have not gazed into the Void of Azathoth to contemplate. I, however, got into a staring contest with the Void of Azathoth, and shall therefore dispute this section of my opponent's argument--sort of.

All corporations, all companies, have a bureaucracy. It is a universal feature of all organizations that someone has to manage the details, whether that organization be a government, a social group, a non-profit, or a company. If anything, therefore, socialism would result in a reduction in the total amount of bureaucracy... and the word "ruling elite" hardly conjures up the image of someone at a desk job taking care of shipments.

4. On The Matter Of Police

Yes, it's true that socialism will require a large police force, and they'll have to be paid well enough to keep corruption low. However, I dispute that it would be necessary to form an elite out of them--are the police in most democratic countries an "elite?" Is your average traffic cop, or detective, or constable, an elite member of society?

Moreover, if the police must be paid more than those they are policing to keep corruption from exploding, then why isn't that universal among established countries? Police are paid slightly more than the median wage,[6][7] but a ~$6,000 dollar difference from the median wage, when one takes into account on-job dangers, isn't exactly the difference typically conjured up by the word "elite." My opponent might object that there is corruption and such in the USA, but there will be some level of corruption in every country, even a socialist one. It's inescapable. But there is more at play than just a pure "do I gain more money or benefits than the people I'm policing" here. There's idealism, there's emotional loyalty, there's the desire to avoid the shame of getting a reputation as a dirty cop and/or thrown in prison. That is human nature.

And even if the police are paid more than the average person, that does not mean that they will form an elite. For instance, while police are paid more than the median wage in the USA, there are a great many industries and jobs where the median pay is higher.

5. On The Matter Of The Elite

Bluntly, my opponent is wrong here. The government offers more compensation to comparatively untrained employees, yes, but these can hardly be said to form an elite. They actually offer less money to highly trained employees.[8] Then my opponent argues that:

"A large bureaucracy must exist to make decisions, and a large police force must exist to enforce the decisions. This is already a power elite, and the elite already has a vested interest in keeping socialist government in power. Their power already makes them an elite, but it is small step from that to making them more elite by giving them more money and benefits, and that is a practical inevitability."

What, then, is the meaning of the word "elite?" Do we not already have an elite, since there already exists a bureaucracy and a police force? If this is an elite, it must be a very large elite, since so many people are part of it, and it certainly is not regarded as better, and they aren't paid (comparatively) that much more. For that matter, if it was true that governmental employees made more in a socialist government where the only bureaucracy is the government, one could not pay governmental employees more than private ones, since there would be no private workers.

If there was going to be a true ruling elite in a socialist government, it would have to be the leadership. And, even if idealism is rare among humans, I think it is quite a stretch to say that it is impossible to find people who fit the job of governental official and can get elected who will not make themselves into a ruling elite--even moreso when there are clear anticorruption laws, term limits, and a transparent government, and the whole philosophy of government is based upon socialistic principles. For a top official in a socialistic government to try to make themselves a ruling elite would be roughly equivalent, in terms of violating social norms, to a top official of our government suggesting that maybe the Nazis had a point. Well, maybe not that bad, but it would be a massive liability.

Sources:

1. http://postandparcel.info...
2. http://capitalismmagazine.com...
3. http://www.postalconsumers.org...
4. http://www.thelocal.se...
5. https://en.wikipedia.org...
6. http://www.bls.gov...
7. http://money.cnn.com...
8. http://www.facethefactsusa.org...
Debate Round No. 2
RoyLatham

Pro

1. Socialism requires authoritarian rule of economic society

Con did not disagree that government must perform functions I listed in (a) – (e), nor did he disagree that government has the unique ability to use force to compel people to obey it's decisions. In a free economy, consumers can choose products and services. Under socialism, choice is replaced by the force of government. That's authoritarianism in economic society.

Pro claims that an elected ruling elite should not be considered a ruling elite. The ruling power elite compels compliance from the 49% who are stripped of their right to make their own decisions. To do that, it is only necessary to convince 51% of voters that they are justified in stripping the 49% of their rights. The ruling elite is sold to the majority as enforcing justice and making “correct” decisions for people not competent to decide for themselves.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is an example of a democratically-elected head of a power elite. [15. http://tinyurl.com...] He was subject to term limits, and simply alternated with Medvedev. Any number of alternatives are available to foil term limits. Socialism requires authoritarian rule of the economy, so if some foolproof mechanism for foiling authoritarian rule were found, it would be incompatible with socialism.

Another mechanism for maintaining a power elite is through a government bureaucracy empowered through legislation. Con did not dispute the power of the U.S. bureaucracy, issuing 5000 regulations each having the force of law, with none voted upon by legislators.

Japan has been struggling for decades with the problem of an empowered bureaucracy. Japan has changed prime ministers eight times in the past nine years [16. http://tinyurl.com...] in an attempt to get their country back on track, but the bureaucracy waits out leadership changes. The problem is well-known, and politicians plan on ways to confront the bureaucracy. [17. http://tinyurl.com...]

2. A bureaucracy is necessary for socialism.

Con argues that in free markets bureaucracies operate within companies, so that socialist bureaucracy only replaces that. But private enterprise has many fewer decisions to make because market forces determine the allocation of capital, the costs of production, and which products are produced and which fail. “Market forces” are the decisions of individual consumers. The government does not need to decide how many Apple, Android, and Blackberry smartphones are produced, because the market does that automatically. There are at least 20 million coordinated product decisions which the government must make under socialism.

Free market bureaucracy is much less and is unable to deny the right of choice, and the bureaucracy is distributed. Corporate bureaucrats are put out of business if they make poor judgments. Socialist bureaucrats have few checks. If they fail to develop new products, no one is identified as being at fault. Theoretically they can be fired, but in practice they have extreme security, no matter how badly they serve.

3. A large police force is necessary.

I claimed that a socialist government removes consumer rights, and not everyone losing choice will go along with that. Black markets, smuggling, and an unregulated underground economy will inevitably arise, so there must be a substantial police force to suppress it. Con agrees, saying, “Yes, it's true that socialism will require a large police force, and they'll have to be paid well enough to keep corruption low.” He claims they would not necessarily be corrupt.

It isn't necessary to be corrupt to qualify as an elite. We seem to agree that the socialist police must have wealth and power distinguishes them from ordinary citizens. They have unrivaled powers to compel people through force.

While it isn't a logical necessity that the police act in support of a ruling socialist regime, it's a natural alliance that occurs in practice. In the U.S., the police, fire, and teachers unions are among the largest contributors to candidates who want to expand the size of government and the wealth of government employees. Doing so is not corrupt, it is their honest belief that government employees deserve high pay and that government ought to grow.

Con's statistics on police pay are bogus. He compares the median wages of individual police officers with the media household income in the U.S. At the median level, there are 1.29 workers per household. [19. http://tinyurl.com...] So police wages are not just 12% higher than the average citizen, they are about 41% higher. In addition, “wages” does not include the value of benefits, and public employee benefits are much higher than median private sector employees. Benefits for government employees typically include lifetime health care, early retirement at a high percentage of final salary, and enormous job security. The end result is the 74% advantage observed.

Con that since there are no private workers, some cannot be paid more than others. But as the novel Animal Farm proclaimed, some pigs are more equal than others. The rule-making bureaucrats and the police enforcers are a natural elite. Both have extraordinary power as a consequence of socialism, and both are natural allies of the political leadership. In the Soviet Union it was the Party members who staffed the bureaucracy and the KGB. The are analogous forces in democratic socialism, and their power is proportional to the size of the socialist component of the economy.

4. An elite is required to sustain socialism

Con claims my numbers on overpayment of government employees are wrong.
His numbers, however, are incorrect in three respects. He only considers Federal employees, whereas the most gross overpayment occurs with state and local government workers. My numbers were for all government workers. In state and local elections, the government employee unions provide massive funds and uncounted labor to elect candidates, mostly Democrats, that reciprocate by making sure that government employees get lavish treatment. Another error is that Con's numbers for the Federal government are broken out by college degree and then averaged by category. The only category in which Federal employees are paid less is the category with PhD.'s and physicians, of which there are few in government. The large numbers are in the lower categories where there is the most overpayment. The enormous benefit of virtually guaranteed lifetime employment is not counted. PhD research scientists are then willing to work for the government for slightly substandard compensation. Because of the job guarantee alone, government employees should be paid at least a third less than the private sector.

Scandinavia is not a counter example. “Scandinavian nations are more free [than the U.S] in several decisive areas. Denmark has greater business freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom while having comparable property rights and trade freedom scores to the U.S. Sweden has greater business freedom and freedom from corruption, while having comparable trade freedom, monetary freedom, property rights enforcement, investment freedom, and financial freedom to the United States. Finland has greater business freedom, monetary freedom, and freedom from corruption than the United States, while having comparable property right enforcement, financial freedom, and trade freedom. Norway, the least successful Scandinavian nation, has greater freedom from corruption than the United States while having comparable business freedom, trade freedom, and property rights” [20. http://tinyurl.com...]

The Scandinavian example shows that high taxes can be extracted from a free market economy if there is little regulation. There are a few socialized industries, but those can be tolerated if a much larger market economy is there to support them.

There are no examples of socialism contrary to the resolution.

Citrakayah

Con

1. Governmental Elites and Democracy

I claim that a ruling elite that exists in a democracy is no ruling elite at all, yes. That is because democracy is more than just 51% of people agreeing with something, it covers things like freedom of expression, political freedoms, et cetera, because without those any choice one might have is an illusion. If democracy is political choice and self-determination--and in modern parlance, at least, it most certainly is--then it's rather contradictory to have someone like Putin, because Putin is known to repress dissent (and, of course, anyone who simply alternates with another person is running a country with a poorly structured constitution; why on Earth would you merely make it so that the terms can't be consecutive?).

It's true that laws aren't actually voted on by voters, at least individually. It is also true, however, that the people actually making the laws and regulations are elected, or appointed by people who are elected, and can therefore be removed by the electoral process. Part of the problem the USA has is that both parties are pretty much identical in ideology and third parties aren't viable, a parliamentary democracy with preferential voting would not have that problem (at least not to such a great extent). There is nothing preventing such a system from being established other than inertia; other countries have a parliamentary democracy already, and preferential voting has already been implemented in several electoral systems.

If the leaders of the bureaucracy are subject to vote, or are directly appointed by people who are subject to vote, then it is easy to reign in the bureaucracy and prevent it from becoming an elite.

2. More On Bureaucracy

Ridiculous. People in Apple, Android, and Blackberry factories must choose how many of each are produced, it isn't like the customer orders a phone, the phone is assembled, and then shipped to the customer. If this was the case, there would be no surplus, and no shortage unless it proved impossible to obtain parts. Stores would never be sold out.

It's true that the number of phones produced does depend on the people buying them, but ultimately what is going on is that someone (someone in charge of production) is fulfilling orders made by the heads of individual stores, who are predicting how many of an item they will need. A governmental bureaucracy could do the exact same thing. And market forces can be performed on government-owned companies.

3. Governmental Companies

Let's run a scenario.

Joe Shmoe has an idea that he believes will either be profitable or very useful to the people of the country. He's going to sell a product, or provide a service, or exploit a natural resource--something like that. Let's go with him managing an orchard.

So, Joe Shmoe goes to the government and says, "I've got an idea for a fruit company, and I think I can do it better than ACME Fruit." ACME Fruit is, here, the default fruit company. Now, any logical person is aware that other people may have a better idea than they do. So, the government can say, "Okay, you can give it a shot." The government will own Joe Shmoe's company, but it will basically be a separate entity with Joe Shmoe in charge. A quango, basically.[9] The government does control whether or not the company can operate, and can lay down basic rules. It is basically under the same level of control that an entity like Amtrak is.

Now, let's say that Joe Shmoe is correct and his company does better. It doesn't do better necessarily by making more money (and certainly wouldn't by making more money at the expense of quality), but it does sell better quality fruit, or sell more fruit, or they don't have the same ecological problems, or they make more money without ripping people off or lowering quality.

So, now the government has some different options. They can get rid of ACME Fruit. They can give ACME Fruit to Joe Shmoe. They can study what Joe Shmoe did and make ACME Fruit do the same thing. Or, they could study what Joe Shmoe did, funnel more money towards Joe Shmoe's agency because it is doing better (and Joe Shmoe would gain wide recognition for his success), and challenge ACME Fruit to either match or exceed Joe Shmoe's success or be absorbed by Joe Shmoe's agency.

By applying this universally, you have created an economic environment where anyone can create a company (albeit a government-owned company), and competition is strongly encouraged, but the standards success is judged on is not necessarily profit (in line with basic socialist principles on what economic activity should be done for). Obviously, in practice things would be slightly more complex than this, but it gets the basic idea across. An economy where all companies are government-owned does not mean the end of competition.

4. Police

No, we don't agree on that. We agree that pay must be sufficient, which is different from saying that it must be enough to set them apart and above from the populace. What Pro is basically trying to argue here is that the police in a socialist state must be paid so much that they are in a very high percentile of income earners (and have the other traits commonly associated with an elite). What I am disagreeing with is that part.

I stand corrected. That puts them in the 66.3 percentile.[10] This is hardly an "elite." Moreover, they are putting themselves at substantial risk of being threatened, shot, stabbed, et cetera. If we are to reward those who put in more effort and take more risks, then a police officer should have a higher salary than the median.

Pro then claims some stuff, which I don't have room to quote.

If one is going to bring Animal Farm and the Soviet Union into this, then it is worth pointing out that it wasn't a matter of making rules, it was a matter of having rights that others did not. In both these cases, these policies only survived due to repressive policies--dogs and police, respectively. The leader built up a cult of personality,[11] used show trials,[12] and generally imposed a reign of terror against those who would speak out against the rulers.

This, needless to say, does not exist in democratic socialism. If a member of the government who actually has the power to make rules is acting in an elitist manner, he or she can be replaced, either by direct voting or voting in someone who will replace them.

5. On The Matter of The Elite

Yes, it's true that the only people who earn less at the most highly educated ones (who, it should be noted, would be the ones who would form the elite). People who are in the middle are paid the same, which Pro doesn't mention, and people with a high school diploma or less are paid more. In otherwords, the "elite" here is made of people who never entered college.

I honestly have a hard time calling that an elite, and would feel pretty safe betting money that they aren't in the top 25 percentile of individual earners.

As far as the most educated, when one factors in benefits they are still paid 18% less.[8] And before Pro argues that there is a job guarantee, I would point out that there is constant political pressure to downsize the government, which usually means that some people will lose their jobs.

6. Scandinavia

Much of that quote is irrelevant to whether or not socialism is practiced (ex. freedom from corruption)... and the Index does not mean that there is little regulation. For example, business freedom measures how difficult it is to start a business.[13] If there are strong environmental regulations, for instance, but these are clear and streamlined, the country could have a high business freedom score. Monetary freedom measures inflation and price controls.[14] Labor freedom is the only one that is useful as an argument.

Sources:

9. http://tinyurl.com...
10. http://tinyurl.com...
11. http://tinyurl.com...
12. http://tinyurl.com...
13. http://tinyurl.com...
14. http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 3
RoyLatham

Pro


The key to this debate is the “in practice” part of the resolution. In theory, government bureaucrats could invent smart phones. In theory, bureaucrats could fund multiple development projects to produce all the products that people want, while disapproving all the products destined to fail if they were a free market. Dictators want economic prosperity as much as anyone, so in theory the socialist bureaucrats in the Soviet Union or North Korea could make all of the decisions as well as free markets. In practice, there are no examples of it ever happening under any any form of socialism.


1. Socialism requires authoritarian rule of economic society


Con claims that democracy implies that human rights are preserved, even if the majority wants to take away those rights. I cannot find a dictionary definition that supports that claim, and Con cited none.


Arguing for a system of Federalism, Jonah Goldberg accurately assessed democracy,


Democracy voluptuaries think democracy makes people the most happy, but it doesn't, because in a democracy 51% of the people can vote to pee in the corn flakes of the other 49%. Others think that socialism maximizes happiness, but all that does is make unhappiness more consistently uniform across all of society. [21. http://old.nationalreview.com...]


However, if we accept Con's definition of democracy as having implicit protection of individual rights, then there is no such thing as democratic socialism. The whole point of socialism is to deprive individuals of the right to choose what products they buy, of the right to sell goods and services for what others are willing to pay, and of the right to take risk in return for potential profit.


Con claims that cults of personality, show trials, and other abuses of power do not occur under democratic socialism. I gave the example of Putin in Russia, who was democratically elected and has indulged in the abuses cited. Con hopes to escape that example by defining “democratic” as not having abuses. That's circular logic. Quite clearly, a democratic majority of 51% can choose to abuse the rights of the 49%, and socialism demands that rights of the 49% to make their own decisions be removed.


It is not true that bureaucrats are appointed by elected officials. Only about 3,799 of the 2.7 million government employees are appointed, and many of those are on advisory commissions. [22. http://tinyurl.com...] If most federal jobs were appointed, the patronage associated with the party in power would be too great. Instead, nearly all government employees are career civil servants essentially immune from every being replaced. Bureaucrats are largely united in believing in the virtue of government control. That's why, as in Japan, the bureaucracy has a life of it's own.


2. A bureaucracy is necessary for socialism.


Con contends that people at individual companies decide how many of each product are made, and that's no different from having a government bureaucrat deciding. The difference is that companies operate subordinate to market demands. Products are typically made by private companies in batches or at an adjustable rate of production, so that the company does it's best to match supply to demand. In free markets, the companies respond to demand.


Under socialism, there is most often only one product of each type, and the bureaucracy decides how much of it will be produced. Since having too much would be an embarrassment, most often too little is produced and the product is rationed. There was a joke about a Soviet citizen ordering a car and being told that it will be delivered on the morning of March 10th, eleven years hence. The citizen replies, “That's no good. The plumber is coming that morning.”


Con indulges in a fantastic redefinition of socialism in which government bureaucrats foster innovation and create a competitive environment without any profit motivation. If the fantasy could be realized, the government wouldn't be controlling the industries, the individual entrepreneurs would be making the management decisions and free market supply and demand would determine success and failure. That doesn't meet the definition of socialism. The resolution demands that the system, if it is socialism, work in practice, not just in theory, and Con offers no example of it working.


It's a fantasy because no one is going to put life-consuming effort into writing business plans, convincing bureaucrats, and then working day and night to make an enterprise successful without there being even a chance of making a profit.


3. A large police force is necessary


I claimed that a socialist government removes property rights, and not everyone will go along with that. Black markets, smuggling, and an unregulated underground economy will inevitably arise, so there must be a substantial police force to suppress it. Con agrees, saying, “Yes, it's true that socialism will require a large police force, and they'll have to be paid well enough to keep corruption low.”


Con disputes how much extra the police have to paid to qualify as an elite. In think 66% plus life time job security is enough. However, what Con did not respond to is that elites are defined by power as well as money. Bureaucrats are an elite because they get to make the rules. The police are elite because they are enforcing the rules that govern how people live. Under socialism, it's their job to suppress freedom.


4. An elite is required to sustain socialism


Socialism was tried dozens of times in the Twentieth Century, and in every case there was a privileged elite. In the United States, government workers overall are compensated 74% more than private sector workers, plus they have life time job security. Con did not address job security. Job security is so valuable that we would expect to attract government workers if they were paid substantially less than the private sector. Con may not think that 74% extra plus lifetime security is much, but it's certainly elite. Con did not dispute that government employee unions are major financial supporters of politicians that want to increase government control. Thus they perform the required function of having an elite to sustain itself.


Con tries a theoretical argument that even though the Scandinavian countries have extraordinary freedom in starting and operating a business and in pricing in accord with free markets, they could nonetheless meet his odd definition of socialism. First of all, socialism does not allow competitive private businesses at all, because that defeats government control of industry. Beyond that, Con only gave a theory of how heavy regulation might be imposed with enormous efficiency. He provided no source saying that was actually accomplished in Scandinavia. Con discounts measures of market and monetary freedom, but in fact they dominate characterizations of the economies. Con granted labor freedom, and that alone is fatal to socialism.


Liberal pundit Fareed Zakaria summarized,


You know how conservatives hate inheritance taxes – or "death taxes"? Well, guess which country has no inheritance tax – Sweden. In fact Sweden today is characterized by a very free market, freer and less regulated than the United States in many areas. ... Indeed, Sweden tends to be near the top of most rankings on quality of life and competitiveness. [23. http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com...]


-------------


Con's arguments in this debate rely upon a redefinition of socialism in which control of industry is somehow maintained through a faux free enterprise in which bureaucrats replace free markets. That doesn't meet the definition of socialism, it hasn't happened, and it cannot happen. "Control" implies a ruling elite of controllers and enforcers. The economy has so many decisions as to require an army of bureaucrats. The elite must work to sustain itself.


Thanks to Con for a good debate. I hope readers find it interesting.


Citrakayah

Con

Gee, next thing one knows the government will be inventing the prototype of the Internet--oh wait.

Cheap shots aside, I'm not actually arguing for a recreation of the free market. In the free market, profit is the sole determinant of what succeeds. Make money and you "win." I think that's a foolish way to do things, because people aren't perfectly rational and honest. They can be tricked, deceived, conned, or make a stupid decision--so the best product will not necessarily win out.

Rather, if I am to propose a system like this (and note that I don't), such a system would require an extensive separate bureaucracy, ruthlessly patrolled for the slightest trace of corruption (most likely a separate ombudsman), with data being gathered as to how a company is doing (profit margins, effectiveness, quality, and so forth). This data would be made public, and based on the data, a set of randomly selected judges would proceed to pour over the data in a completely public process. Once this had been done, the measures I outlined would be taken to reward or punish government-owned companies, as appropriate.

1. Governmental Elites and Democracy

Then I apologize for the misunderstanding, because I was explicitly referring to political rights--economic rights (such as starting a business) are very, very different from rights such as freedom of speech, because the legal protections are designed for different things. My logic isn't circular at all; in modern parlance, which I assume that we are using unless explicitly noted, democracy does not mean only "50% + 1 supporting something." Modern democratic theory--and if Pro wants to rant about how "The whole point of socialism is to deprive individuals of the right to choose what products they buy, of the right to sell goods and services for what others are willing to pay, and of the right to take risk in return for potential profit," then he needs to acknowledge that we are taking into account the predominant philosophy behind a concept rather than the concept at face value with nothing added--has implicit protections of political freedoms.

Pro tries to argue that government bureaucrats aren't appointed by elected officials. Well, that's true in the case of low-level paper-pushers. However, these people do not decide policy. While it may be a joke that the secretary is the God of the Office, they are still limited to being obstructive when scheduling an appointment (and a complaint against them can still get them fired). The head of the EPA, on the other hand, has far more influence and power.

Pro yet again argues that civil servants are immune from being replaced. I see no citation for this, no proof.

2. More on Bureaucracy

And what keeps a governmental company from also being dependent on market forces? Nothing, that's what--there's nothing stopping a governmental company from matching supply to demand. Why does Pro continue to insist that a governmental company is somehow magically unable to account for how much people actually use a product or service?

Short of incompetence in leadership--which Pro hasn't established to be any less likely in the private sector--there is no reason at all to not take the necessary steps. As rational creatures, we can study how people do things, and seek to emulate the proper techniques: Therefore, if a private company can account for market forces, a public company can too.

3. Government-Owned Companies

First, I'd like to note that Pro is shifting the goalposts. In his opening argument he readily admits--as is correct--that there is no example of 100% socialism or capitalism (well, few to no). Any discussion on how 100% socialism would work will always be theoretical, but that does not mean that we cannot look at actual data, or what we know of human behavior, and draw reasonable inferences from that. On to the rest of the counterattack.

Pro argues that the individuals would be controlling the companies. Yes, that's true. So? That's no different than having an independent director for the Post Office, or NPR, or PBS, or Amtrak, any government agency. Basic rules are put in place by the government, and the government can deny the company continued existence. Pro never argued that the president, or the legislature, or some other central figure or group of figures of the government had to be in complete control. He never argued that there had to be a single, centralized bureaucracy.

Oh, and Pro? I would do such a thing. I know many others who also would. We would do such a thing because we would want the credit/bragging rights, or because we actually want to help other people, or because we felt the work was rewarding. I myself plan on going into a field of architecture that is unusual, and will not net me the most money, but it is, ultimately, what I wish to do.

Moreover, who ever said that there would be no profit involved? I certainly did not. If an independent agency made more than they spent, and this is directly attributable to something the head of the company did, then why wouldn't you pay that person more? Why wouldn't you allow the person who just came up with a brilliant innovation to earmark more money to try a new innovation?

4. Police

Yet again, Pro claims that police have lifetime job security without any evidence... in this day and age, where the mantra of all is to shrink the size of government, is Pro really trying to argue that government workers can be confident that they will never be laid off?

Pro misunderstands percentile. I am not saying that police wages are 66.3% higher. I am saying that, of all people making income in the USA, they make more income than 66.3% of income earners. That's pretty close to the middle of the Bell chart, all things considered. Of course, the "Bell chart" here is pretty lumpy.

It's true that elites aren't only defined by money. But power can be limited in such a way that it makes someone not be an elite. Police have power, but it is very narrowly limited, and to be used for very specific things. If I have the power to arrest someone (after getting probable cause) or search a house (after getting a warrant or in very limited situations) that does not make me an elite--not according to the colloquial usage of the term, at least, and if the mere act of enforcing a law, or making a law, makes someone an elite, then the term "elite" has no meaning, and saying that socialism requires an elite is akin to saying that it requires a government!

Under Pro's definition, every traffic cop, every person at an Amtrak desk, every mid-level bureaucrat, is a member of the elite. I find this absurd.

5. On the Matter of the Elite

Pro has not refuted my main point in this section: The people who are paid more are the people who only have a high school diploma or less. Since when are these people making rules, anyway? I think you need a college degree or similar for that.

6. Scandinavia

Me: Scandinavia is an example of a country that has heavy government control of industry.
Pro:
Me: That doesn't show what you think it does.
Pro: Prove that Sweden/Norway/etc. have many regulations.

Well, that's irrelevant. The point there is that Pro has a (bizarre) definition of socialism, admitted that there's no example in which there's 100% socialism or capitalism, and under those admissions, I am perfectly justified in bringing up a country that up until recently had a governmental monopoly on medicine as a counter-example. Heck, Pro didn't even show that the Soviet Union had government-controlled industries, or that North Korea does.

----

Pro relies on two main ideas, both of which are false:

1. The real elites are not corporate CEOs, or rich politicians, but police officers (because they enforce laws) and bureaucrats.
2. A government-owned company cannot understand supply and demand, and therefore cannot be competitive.

My thanks to Pro for the fascinating debate.
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Legitdebater 3 years ago
Legitdebater
R1: Pro does not accurately define the word elite for this debate. This made the debate confusing over what the word elite meant.
Posted by Citrakayah 3 years ago
Citrakayah
"Except the term was defined in the first debate round, thus there's no need for me to rely upon such a paradigm. Even if I did do that, (1) You didn't offer a source detailing what the term elite meant and (2) I still see no indication or justification to the notion that a ruling elite must be impervious or nigh-omnipotent as you seemed to suggest throughout the debate."

The second round is not the opening round.

1. Correct... because I'm using the term in the common use of the term, not the dictionary one. What am I supposed to do, cite urban dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com...)?
2. Then you misinterpreted my argument--an elite doesn't have to be impervious or nigh-omnipotent, but they do have to be elevated, in power, status, wealth, et cetera, among all others. Lower level bureaucrats do not count, therefore, nor do the police, since their power is sharply constrained. At the upper levels, as I pointed out, term limits and voting can replace, directly or indirectly, members of the government, and people who act elitist are, in a democratic socialist system, not likely to be very popular.

And if the members of the "elite" can be kicked out every few years, and can't hold office more than a few sets of a few years, then they aren't exactly "elite" in the common sense of the term.
Posted by Logical-Master 3 years ago
Logical-Master
""By such standards, arguing that socialism requires an elite, when you specifically define socialism as a system involving a government, is tautological."

Not at all. There's having the law and then there's enforcing the law. From the standpoint of pragmatism, not enforcing the law by the means Roy listed in a socialistic society is sure to result in immediate failure. You can try the idealistic nonsense touted at the very beginning of animal farm or you can do what Roy said. But one is welcome to debate otherwise.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
The definition I used is close to the dictionary definition, but it's taken in the context of the discussion. I doubt many people would deny that Communist Party members are the ruling elite in China, or were the ruling elite in the Soviet Union, or that Nazi Party members were the ruling elite in Hitler's Germany. The elite can have hierarchy, but they are distinguished by their authority to make decisions that govern the populace. Lower levels do not set policy, but they make laws and enforce them in order to carry out policy.

I think the definition was clear, but I don't question the right to argue the definition.
Posted by Logical-Master 3 years ago
Logical-Master
"Logically, if a term /isn't/ defined in the opening rounds, then we should assume that it is either being used in the colloquial sense, or the exact dictionary sense. "

Except the term was defined in the first debate round, thus there's no need for me to rely upon such a paradigm. Even if I did do that, (1) You didn't offer a source detailing what the term elite meant and (2) I still see no indication or justification to the notion that a ruling elite must be impervious or nigh-omnipotent as you seemed to suggest throughout the debate.

"Moreover, Roy's definition of "ruling elite" is basically "government" (all governments will have a bureaucracy, all will--on some level--influence the economy, and all will have some form of police). "

No. You can have a government that doesn't "set priorities for the economy", doesn't have a "vast bureaucracy" and isn't enforced via policy state. There's limited government and then there's massive government. Roy is saying that a ruling elite is the latter.

"The thing is that Roy didn't actually use this definition. If he was, he wouldn't be able to claim that lower level governmental workers are an example of the elite"

I found the entire discussion regarding the wages of individual employees to be irrelevant and immaterial to the debate. The point is that these institutions are collectively the elite. As Roy points out, they are the elite based on the power and influence they wield as an institution.
Posted by Citrakayah 3 years ago
Citrakayah
Logically, if a term /isn't/ defined in the opening rounds, then we should assume that it is either being used in the colloquial sense, or the exact dictionary sense. The exact definition of ruling class, given by Wikipedia (what popped up when I googled "define:ruling elite") is "The term ruling class refers to the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political policy by mandating that there is one such particular class in the given society, and then appointing itself as that class."

The thing is that Roy didn't actually use this definition. If he was, he wouldn't be able to claim that lower level governmental workers are an example of the elite, since they aren't part of the upper level social class that decides public policy. Moreover, Roy's definition of "ruling elite" is basically "government" (all governments will have a bureaucracy, all will--on some level--influence the economy, and all will have some form of police). By such standards, arguing that socialism requires an elite, when you specifically define socialism as a system involving a government, is tautological.

"In R1, you ask"What, then, is the meaning of the word "elite?", as if he didn't already outright announce what it was."

That was rhetorical, intended to demonstrate the absurdity of arguing that frequently replaced political leaders with their jobs subject to the whim of the populace make up an "elite." Throughout the debate, I attacked Roy's definition on the basis of its absurdity. If you found my attacks on that definition unconvincing, then very well, but don't say that I didn't even notice, or that other people didn't either.
Posted by Logical-Master 3 years ago
Logical-Master
"Actually, Roy didn't define it until R2"

He told us what it comprises of in his first debate round. In fact, that was the structure of his entire case. Now if you're referring to when you decided to accept the debate, that's different. Although you have my sympathies for misunderstanding the premise of the debate, there was nothing stopping you from acquiring clarification (or adding a stipulation) before hitting the accept button.

"Since I didn't specifically agree to that definition of "elite," taking Roy's definition for granted is unfair, just as it would be if I defined elite in a manner highly favorable to myself on R2."

The way I resolve definitional disputes is pretty straightforward. If the definition is premised upon a reasonable interpretation of the debate topic, there arises a rebuttable presumption that said definition is valid. The first person to offer the definition is given additional weight.

Personally, I thought Roy's definition was reasonable and see no indication that you have to be some kind of impervious authority to be an elite. At best, pursuant to your own understanding of the term, I am to conclude that some elites have more power/control than others.

As I said, I think you simply missed it. If you hadn't, you wouldn't have really addressed (or even needed to address) any of PRO's contentions to any degree whatsoever and would've simply discussed what "elite" should constitute. It feels as if you missed where he outright defined it, hence why you offered up your own interpretations without cited sources or anything to substantiate why your definition prevails over his. In R1, you ask"What, then, is the meaning of the word "elite?", as if he didn't already outright announce what it was.
Posted by Citrakayah 3 years ago
Citrakayah
"PRO defined "ruling elite" in R1 as "compris[ing] [of] a high-level leadership that sets priorities for the economy, a vast bureaucracy that translates policy to individual economic decisions, and a police force to ensure compliance." PRO demonstrated that socialism, in practice, possessed each of these elements. What PRO is essentially arguing is that government with massive power is required to sustain massive restrictions on freedom. I think CON might have been confused in regards to this being what PRO set out to prove. If I had to guess, I'd say the term "comprise" threw him off, hence why he bothered arguing about the definition of "elite" in the first place. Nevertheless, because of this, CON ends up not disputing the substance of PRO's case, instead focusing on minutia, arguing things like "democratic societies can remove corrupt leaders", benefits to police wages are limited. CON doesn't appear to be the only one to misunderstood the premise of the debate."

Actually, Roy didn't define it until R2, and I immediately challenged his definition. Since I didn't specifically agree to that definition of "elite," taking Roy's definition for granted is unfair, just as it would be if I defined elite in a manner highly favorable to myself on R2.
Posted by Logical-Master 3 years ago
Logical-Master
"Easier to clarify"
Posted by Logical-Master 3 years ago
Logical-Master
Am reading this debate. Based on the R1 and R2s, I think this debate would've been much better in person. Easier clarify on things and the desire to sequentially respond point by point is lessened considerably.
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Legitdebater 3 years ago
Legitdebater
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Reasons for voting decision: The main theme of this debate was if a bureaucracy was considered the "elite" in socialism. Continuously, Con pointed out that in a democratic socialist government, an elite that can be voted out by the people cannot be considered an elite at all. At the beginning of the debate, Pro defined Socialism as a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies. As Con states, Norway, Sweden, and Finland have several major industries nationalized, which I felt fit Pro's definition of socialism. Pro's refutation of that point did not suffice, and his evidence was supported by an Econ. Major at Wayne State University. This user was merely a former university student and not even a professor. Hence, I feel that Pro did not meet his BoP, especially with Con's major argument.
Vote Placed by jzonda415 3 years ago
jzonda415
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Reasons for voting decision: Faaaaaaantastic debate! Now to the RFD: I believe Pro had better grammar in this debate, and his sentences had more flow. I am not saying that Con had worse sentence structure and grammar, but Pro's arguments were easier for me to read. As for arguments, I felt when it came to the arguments around authoritarian rule of economics and bureaucracy, Con did not adequately refute Pro's arguments, and denied existence of evidence Pro did in fact put forward. Conduct was beautiful and so where sources. Overall, great arguments on both sides; the debate provoked a lot of good thoughts.
Vote Placed by Logical-Master 3 years ago
Logical-Master
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO defined "ruling elite" in R1 as "compris[ing] [of] a high-level leadership that sets priorities for the economy, a vast bureaucracy that translates policy to individual economic decisions, and a police force to ensure compliance." PRO demonstrated that socialism, in practice, possessed each of these elements. What PRO is essentially arguing is that government with massive power is required to sustain massive restrictions on freedom. I think CON might have been confused in regards to this being what PRO set out to prove. If I had to guess, I'd say the term "comprise" threw him off, hence why he bothered arguing about the definition of "elite" in the first place. Nevertheless, because of this, CON ends up not disputing the substance of PRO's case, instead focusing on minutia, arguing things like "democratic societies can remove corrupt leaders", benefits to police wages are limited. CON doesn't appear to be the only one to misunderstood the premise of the debate.
Vote Placed by Contra 3 years ago
Contra
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Reasons for voting decision: All things considered, Pro had stronger arguments. Essentially, pro's implicit argument that in a free market economy, the people choose products and services, and that in socialist, "choice is replaced by the force of government. That's authoritarianism in economic society." Con really didn't refute this main point. The arguments regarding profit was not really resolved, since Con's rebuttal came in the fourth round. The idea that low-lying bureaucrats and police officers are "elite" seems to be absurd, so I agree with Con in this respect. However, if the government were to crush all private sector activity by implementing a socialist economy, this would require a more heavily funded police force and bureaucracy (micro managed, instead of distributed through many different private enterprises). Therefore, since there would be more law control efforts and resources, it affirms that argument that "in practice, socialism requires a ruling elite."
Vote Placed by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Both sides were well behaved. Arguments: It felt like much of Con's first round was based off Theory instead of Practice. Term Limits and Voting have never curved the Elite. Pro's arguments made obvious that a massive Bureaucracy was needed, and that an Elite must be established to control everything and avoid corruption and disobedience. Pro established that a Socialist nation can not exist without a strong and powerful elite. Sources: Both sides well a well round number of reliable sources. Don't worry Con, I don't have a problem with Wikipedia.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
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Reasons for voting decision: abstention.
Vote Placed by 1Percenter 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Interesting debate. "Elite" wasn't defined in R1, so I assume that it is up to the voters to decide based on the debate. That being said I didn't really see how CON's rebuttals were relevant to the resolution as they were mostly theoretical, not "in practice". I'm not sure why any arguments on either side were made about the pay of the police in the United States, the point was irrelevant. The strongest argument provided by CON was that democratically elected leaders can hardly be considered elite. As Pro pointed out, the leaders are still delegated vast powers to maintain control of the major industries even if they are democratically elected. PRO did a good job explaining why a powerful bureaucracy would be needed. CON rebutted that bureaucrats can in fact account for how much people actually use a product or service in the market, but this is in effect a concession because he didn't deny the need for a powerful bureaucracy. Overall, PRO met his BOP, so he gets arguments vote.
Vote Placed by janetsanders733 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good job to both debaters. I think end the end though, Pro really delivered a few "knockout arguments". This includes the idea that under a socialistic government, a police state, martial law, or even law-enforcement would be elite because black market dealers would arise from this form of government policy. Thus providing the need for the police to be "Elite". Also, Pro showed how an elite exist, in order for socialism to be sustained. He cited a statistic that showed that 74% of government workers in the past got paid more, and had job security. Overall tough debate and again great job to both sides.
Vote Placed by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
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Reasons for voting decision: Great debate. Pro effectively illustrates how a government apparatus is necessary for implementing socialism. However, I don't believe that a government apparatus necessarily implies a "ruling elite." As Con points out, most bureaucrats are anything but elites. Pro tries to show that Putin is an example of elitism in democracy, but I think it is questionable how democratic Russia truly is. Moreover, if there is even the remotest possibility that a democracy without elites could exist, then I don't believe socialism REQUIRES a ruling elite. Requires is a very absolutist statement, and I don't think Pro met the burden of showing how socialism requires (always needs) a ruling elite. In other words, I believe Pro failed to meet the BOP in this debate. Therefore, I am awarding my vote to Con. Good debate!
Vote Placed by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO defines "ruling elite" as "leadership that sets priorities for the economy... bureaucracy that translates policy to individual economic decisions, and a police force to ensure compliance." CON argues that a ruling elite which is not static (meaning that it can be removed by voters) is not elite. PRO has trouble refuting that. PRO's point that a way to enforce rules is necessary is irrelevant because it doesn't establish whether socialism 'requires' a ruling elite, but rather the means that a ruling body would need to rule. However, PRO contends that "socialist control of an economy requires a power elite for policy making, detailed decision making, and enforcement. The elite grants itself further privileges to maintain power." PRO seemed to be referring to "elites" as only people who make/execute/enforce rules. But, any kind of government must have these roles filled to function. PRO assumes that ruling implies eliteness. Ruling does not imply eliteness. PRO failed his BOP.