The Instigator
LilBabyJesus
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
ADreamOfLiberty
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Is Capitalism a Form of Slavery?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
ADreamOfLiberty
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/14/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,656 times Debate No: 40562
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (4)

 

LilBabyJesus

Pro

Capitalism claims to bring with it freedom and economic stability, but your only freedom brought by capitalism (not a government supporting capitalism) is that of the ability to work for less than you're worth (known as "profit" by capitalists) or starve. This is not freedom, this is a threat. Working for less than you are worth is essentially paying a tax to those who own the means of production. Weren't we appalled when this was done in sharecropping? Why is it so widely accepted now? Being a slave to a boss is nothing but the exploitation of the proletariat.
ADreamOfLiberty

Con

My opponent has failed to define any key terms so I'll just go ahead and do that. Mostly though I think this is just going to be exchanging witty retorts since I don't sense a desire in Pros post to get detailed.

An objective definition of slavery is: The practice of coercing work through threat of violating rights, i.e. obtaining work without the consent of the worker.

The most basic tenant of capitalism is free trade. No one stops trades by force and no one starts them by force. It is thus impossible for any truly capitalist institution to meet the definition of slavery.

"Capitalism claims to bring with it freedom"
No, freedom brings Capitalism. Capitalism is the necessary and inevitable result of free trade, freedom of association, and property rights (which is to say free production).

"is that of the ability to work for less than you're worth (known as "profit" by capitalists)"
If your work is worth more when you don't trade it to a company why not work alone?

"or starve. This is not freedom, this is a threat."
You are confusing capitalism and nature. Nature declares that if you don't find food you die. If after capitalism your only choices are to work or die, then before capitalism your only choice was to die.

"Working for less than you are worth is essentially paying a tax to those who own the means of production."
A fee, taxes are involuntary.

"Weren't we appalled when this was done in sharecropping?"
No we were appalled that slavers ruined 10 generations of millions of people's lives, grew rich off their slave labour, and then paid almost nothing towards their education and refused to entertain allowing them land claims.

Debate Round No. 1
LilBabyJesus

Pro

"Freedom brings Capitalism."
This depends on your definition of freedom. Freedom, as described by many leftists authors such as Bakunin, is described as the freedom of all and not just you. This inevitably leads to socialization, the cooperative ownership of the means of production, and mutual aid.

"If your work is worth more when you don't trade it to a company why not work alone?"
Because then you are making a large investment into something that might lead you back down to poverty. This is not simply that it is worth more than you think you are getting paid for, this is a simple case that you are being robbed of what you are doing and having it slowly trickle back in the form of wages. Not everyone can start their own exploitative business, nor should they. Cooperative ownership is the only way to have a pure input/output system which is by definition more equal and free than wage labor.

"If after capitalism your only choices are to work or die, then before capitalism your only choice was to die."
This implies that capitalism is the only means by which food was produced, and that there are no alternatives. A socialist system would allow all to be fed and live. This also brings me to the innovation idea behind capitalism. Capitalism only hinders progress, as you are meant to create as low-quality of a product at the highest price possible before competitors slowly offer ever-so-slightly better objects for ever-so-slightly less money. This is not competition, this is but profit holding back innovation.

"A fee, taxes are involuntary."
Are you telling me that I am voluntarily giving money to my employer?

"No we were appalled that slavers ruined 10 generations of millions of people's lives, grew rich off their slave labour, and then paid almost nothing towards their education and refused to entertain allowing them land claims."
This is a red-herring fallacy. Almost no one will tell you that sharecropping was good because it allowed people to work, and you are only leading people away from the topic at hand.
ADreamOfLiberty

Con

"This depends on your definition of freedom."
The political and legal acknowledgement and respect of a universal absolute right to liberty. Freedom means you can do anything within two constraints.

1. You can't violate the laws of physics.

2. You can't coerce (force or fraud) anyone directly or indirectly to help, do it for you, give you anything, or do any action or interaction.

"Freedom, as described by many leftists authors such as Bakunin, is described as the freedom of all and not just you."

An ironic description given that any freedom other than mine requires that some sacrifice freedom for others. I suspect that Bakunin doesn't have the right to use that word, I suggest duty as more accurate.

"Cooperative ownership is the only way to have a pure input/output system which is by definition more equal and free than wage labor."

Cooperative ownership is known as 'corporation' in capitalism. A corporation can have a charter which creates any legally binding rules you want.

Let's not dance around the issue. You trade it to a company because it's only worth anything when you do. If you were to work alone it would not be worth as much as what you could get in trade. You have no objective basis by which to determine if someone is being underpaid unless they choose the lower of two wages they were offered.

"This implies that capitalism is the only means by which food was produced"

I didn't come up with the dichotomy you did. In real life you can farm by yourself or you can steal food. If you organize the latter through government you can call it socialism and call it moral.

"A socialist system would allow all to be fed and live."

At the cost of human rights. Is food so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it ADOL!

"as you are meant to create as low-quality of a product at the highest price possible"

Incorrect, capitalism doesn't mean you to do anything. You can make the highest quality product if you want. Capitalism only says you can't make people buy it if they don't want to.

"Are you telling me that I am voluntarily giving money to my employer?"

You voluntarily work for your employer. If you think your work is worth more than you are earning then you consent to get less than you're worth and for the balance to go to your employer.

"This is a red-herring fallacy."
Lol, ok then I'll shorten it. No I was not appalled.
Debate Round No. 2
LilBabyJesus

Pro

"An ironic description given that any freedom other than mine requires that some sacrifice freedom for others."
This is in no way true. It is simply that you cannot be truly free without the freedom of others because their options are limited, then therefore yours are as well.

"Cooperative ownership is known as 'corporation' in capitalism."
This is not cooperative ownership, this is hierarchical and systematic violence against those without a system from which they can produce. Corporation is simply a smaller government which you are taxed by in exchange for being able to work. Sure, you can go to other jobs which might be better, but just because you like Stalin more than Hitler doesn't mean Stalin was good.

"You have no objective basis by which to determine if someone is being underpaid unless they choose the lower of two wages they were offered."
Actually, yes I do. If someone is payed less than what the items they make are sold for then they are underpaid.

"In real life you can farm by yourself or you can steal food. If you organize the latter through government you can call it socialism and call it moral."
Equality and duty are not theft. It's just not what was engrained into you by culture.

"At the cost of human rights. Is food so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it ADOL!"
What human rights would be taken away? The right to take away the rights of others?

"Incorrect, capitalism doesn't mean you to do anything. You can make the highest quality product if you want. Capitalism only says you can't make people buy it if they don't want to."
I was referring to what would be the most efficient and currently most favored (just look at the phone industry) way capitalism has been used. This just so happens to be a false idea of choice.

"You voluntarily work for your employer. If you think your work is worth more than you are earning then you consent to get less than you're worth and for the balance to go to your employer."
I don't make the choice to be exploited. I am not offered the ability to work for what I am worth. There is no Communist Corporation. Again, you are threatening me with pseudo-taxes or starvation.
ADreamOfLiberty

Con

"It is simply that you cannot be truly free without the freedom of others because their options are limited, then therefore yours are as well."

What a load of BS. If you think you have a right to bread then you must think that someone has a duty to make bread. You are sacrificing the bread makers’ freedom for the bread eater’s privilege.

The bread maker can only have freedom if he may choose to give bread or to not give bread.

Where nature constrains the hungry to seek food, it is the hungry who constrain the wealthy to give it to them. One is reality constraining the options of men, the other is men constraining the options of other men.

"This is not cooperative ownership"
Actually it is, a legal mechanism by which many people may own the same company. Since they must consent to become stockholders it is cooperative.

"this is hierarchical"
Yea but the hierarchy is defined at time of creation, it can be anything you want. If you think you have a socialist system that works you can make a corporation that implements it (minus the violation of rights of course).

"systematic violence against"
lol where is the violence? Actually this is the last round, so I'll answer for you: There are only two sources for violence, criminals and the government, neither of which are inherently linked to corporations.

"Corporation is simply a smaller government"
Then build your own government, you seem to think you've got a good plan for organization.

"taxed by in exchange for being able to work."
You are paid for your work only if you consent to work for that payment.

"Sure, you can go to other jobs which might be better, but just because you like Stalin more than Hitler doesn't mean Stalin was good."

If neither Stalin nor Hitler ever coerced anyone or used violence against any people then there would be no problem with them.

"Actually, yes I do. If someone is payed less than what the items they make are sold for then they are underpaid."

If they made those items they should sell them on their own (they have that right under capitalism), that way they don't have get less than they deserve. Problem is the people you are talking about don't make items by themselves. They use resources and framework built by others. They are being paid to help the guy with the factory make shoes, they are not renting a spot in the factory and even if they were you still wouldn't have the right to regulate the rate of renting. That is what they consent to when they take the job.

You can say they would be better off if they we making shoes cooperatively instead of just helping someone with their personal project but that's not what they agreed to. If it was so easy to build a factory and run it jointly it would have taken over by now. The only conclusion is that there is something of value in what your average industrialist does. BUT capitalism does not explicitly recognize any values. It is simply the implementation of freedom in economy. That is why it does not force anyone to put the means of production in the hands of a few, they can put it anywhere they want but they need to build it before they have a right to distribute it.

"Equality and duty are not theft. It's just not what was engrained into you by culture."
Taking another's property without their consent is theft, regardless of whether you did it to establish equality or because you claimed they had a duty to give it.

"What human rights would be taken away?"

The right to do what you wish with yourself and the product of your effort (your property) provided you do not violate the rights of others.

"The right to take away the rights of others?"

I take away no rights by being a good baker, or a good capitalist. I offer jobs, I offer products, I offer my labour. I force nothing. I demand nothing except that my consent is similarly respected without exception. I therefore cannot violate rights.

"I was referring to what would be the most efficient and currently most favored (just look at the phone industry) way capitalism has been used."

What is favoured is what the consumer is willing to put up with, they are the ultimate judge not the competition. If there was any hint in the market that people would rather buy an expensive high quality phone (or car) rather than a cheap one that breaks or becomes obsolete in a few years then a company could make a profit by doing that.

"This just so happens to be a false idea of choice."

The false idea is that you have a right to a good phone. You don't and if no one offers to sell you one you don't have the right to force them to make you one. You see a monopoly and think you're rights are violated because you want to buy from someone else? But you don't have a right to even one seller, even the monopoly seller is a privilege granted you by their consent.

"I don't make the choice to be exploited"
You do if that's what you call going to work.

"I am not offered the ability to work for what I am worth."
Join the club, that doesn't mean we have the right to force our ideas of self-worth onto others.

"There is no Communist Corporation."
You could try, it just wouldn't work without AK-47s to the head of all the capitalist competitors.

"Again, you are threatening me with pseudo-taxes or starvation."
Nope. Nature threatens you with starvation. Nor am I threatening you with taxes. As I said taxes are involuntary, you have the right to refuse any interaction including any employment.

If offering you a job you don't like is a threat of pseudo-taxes then how do you describe not offering you a job at all? Murder?

Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
ADreamOfLiberty
@Darris

"That's not true at all. If your only choice is to work FOR SOMEONE ELSE or die, then it is slavery"
Not unless that person is the reason you don't have any other choices. Offering someone a job is adding a choice, it cannot destroy choices.

"Also, under communism, if everything was mechanized, you wouldn't have to work or die."
You mean like star trek? Problem is things, even if they have very low value, have a value. Under capitalism if everything was mechanized things would be so cheap that you would barely have to do an hour"s work to a week to feed yourself. Capitalism is still better because it is still moral. Someone has to maintain and design those machines. They must consent to do so. If you can eat without working then you won't have to work under capitalism or communism.

"Not all taxes are unjustifiable."
According to me they are, they are inherently immoral because they do not respect consent by definition.

"When someone buys a good, the price of the sales tax is included in the good when the buyer chose to buy, therefore, by your own logic, sales tax is voluntary"
True for the buyer, but not the seller. If they refuse to pay a portion of their sale to the government that is their right. You could say it's the buyer who voluntarily gives a percentage of the price to the government. That's fine too. Problem arises when neither buyer nor seller consents to pay the government. Then it's immoral to demand a cut.

"Freedom is just privilege unless enjoyed by one and all."
Precisely (yes I know where that is from, but it's still correct if incorrectly applied)
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
ADreamOfLiberty
"Pro needs to take ECON 101 as soon as possible. "

That's not a sufficient RFD, economy classes were not mentioned in the debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
LilBabyJesusADreamOfLibertyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro has the BOP, which he indisputably does not meet.
Vote Placed by Darris 3 years ago
Darris
LilBabyJesusADreamOfLibertyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "You are confusing capitalism and nature. Nature declares that if you don't find food you die. If after capitalism your only choices are to work or die, then before capitalism your only choice was to die." That's not true at all. If your only choice is to work FOR SOMEONE ELSE or die, then it is slavery. Also, under communism, if everything was mechanized, you wouldn't have to work or die. And if everything wasn't mechanized, the workers could divide the labor up so everyone works less without dying. Not all taxes are unjustifiable. The collection ("taxation") of economic rent is justified. When someone buys a good, the price of the sales tax is included in the good when the buyer chose to buy, therefore, by your own logic, sales tax is voluntary. "any freedom other than mine requires that some sacrifice freedom for others. " Freedom is just privilege unless enjoyed by one and all. However, pro didn't point any of that out, so Con wins. Also, econ101 is not the only econ c
Vote Placed by 00r3d 3 years ago
00r3d
LilBabyJesusADreamOfLibertyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Interesting debate style. There were points at which pro`s argument was confusing, and in the end, Con better explained that Capitalism is not slavery. No work was done to try to expand the definition of slavery.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 3 years ago
InVinoVeritas
LilBabyJesusADreamOfLibertyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro needs to take ECON 101 as soon as possible.