The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Losing
39 Points
The Contender
KarlMarKard
Con (against)
Winning
47 Points

Liberalism is smarter, more efficient and more unfair than socialism.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/26/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,077 times Debate No: 3392
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (36)
Votes (22)

 

HandsOff

Pro

Under a classic socialist government, citizens provide the man power while the government owns and maintains the land, factories, office buildings, equipment and businesses required to generate economic production. Yes, a socialist government does what it wants with the profits resulting from such production, but it also assumes all the risks, costs, burdens and responsibilities of business ownership.

Liberalism, on the other hand, advocates a far more efficient (albeit more unfair) way to make money for government consumption. More simply, liberalism advocates taking whatever percentage of profit it sees fit from individuals and businesses while leaving all the headaches of business ownership to them. Unlike individuals and businesses under socialism, those ruled by liberalism would be responsible for acquiring, managing and maintaining their own capital, factories, employees, equipment, and office buildings.

It is fascinating to me that liberalism has managed to come up with a way to receive all the benefits of business ownership with none of the burdens, risk or responsibility. If a business venture fails under liberalism, it has cost the government nothing because government had nothing invested. Yet if a business succeeds, the government is there with its hand out (and a gun in the other) to take its "fair share." Is it unfair to make a profit without enduring the cost, risk and effort required to do so? I'd say no. But isn't it smart in comparison to what those silly socialists had in mind?
KarlMarKard

Con

Contrary to popular belief, socialism advocates for an economic democracy, NOT government or state ownership or control. Under socialism, workers in any industry (scientists, coal miners, teachers, artists, doctors, etc.) would have delegates that make decisions for their field of work, such as what to produce and how much. This direct responsibility for a worker and their line of work is indeed more efficient than the liberal notion to have elected represenatives and other people in power who have nothing to do with the direct labor make decisions for people who are "beneath" them. I also argue that liberalism is not "smarter" in this sense because who better to know how to run a workplace than the delegates who actually work there?

Here's another point. "Socialism would also enable us to raise our living standards dramatically by ending the billions of dollars thrown away on arms production and "defense," by ending the waste, duplication and inefficiency of capitalist industries, and by returning millions of soldiers and unemployed workers to useful occupations" - Socialist Labor Party Statement. Liberals think it is smart to allocate a ridiculous amount of tax payer money towards large government social programs. I disagree. That hurts our economy and takes away rights of the workers forced to pay into these programs that many feel are unnecessary and counterproductive to society (work output). This would also make society less efficient.

Now the truth is that I consider myself a lot more socialist than I do liberal, thus I agree with your point that liberalism is more unfair than socialism. However I argue that because liberalism is more unfair, it is neither smarter nor more efficient.
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

"socialism advocates for an economic democracy, NOT government or state ownership or control."

Socialism in a literal sense advocates vesting ownership and control of "means of production" (land, capital, etc) in the community as a whole(i.e. the government). http://dictionary.reference.com... So your argument that liberalism is not smarter because socialism does not advocate government ownership of property and means of production is undermined by this fact. Liberalism is beyond smart-- it is ingenious. I'll get to more on that in my next paragraph.

"Socialism would also enable us to raise our living standards dramatically by ending the billions of dollars thrown away on arms production and "defense," by ending the waste, duplication and inefficiency of capitalist industries, and by returning millions of soldiers and unemployed workers to useful occupations" - Socialist Labor Party Statement"

There is no waste nor inefficiency experienced by government in a competitive capitalistic market (or "duplication of capitalist industries" as it was referred to). There isn't even an expense involved for government unless you are talking about corporate welfare, which is not part of the liberal philosophy. Again, liberalism has devised a way to access only the upside and avoid ALL risk. Any failing industries competing in a capitalistic environment must bear the cost of their own inefficiencies. That is why liberalism goes beyond smart into the realm of ingenious. It has devised a way to feed off only the most efficient and hence profitable competitors. What other political philosophy has made its Nemesis (in this case capitalism) its lifeblood its slave.

"Liberals think it is smart to allocate a ridiculous amount of tax payer money towards large government social programs."

I agree. But socialism is nothing more than one enormous social program with the disadvantage that it is responsible for its own funding. Albeit this seems more fair, but this approach suffers due to the inherent inefficiencies resulting from government production. Can you think of even a handful of products resulting from government production that could compete with those produced in a free-market? Without the advantage of individual entrepreneurship, specialization, competition, and a profit motive to drive it all, inefficiencies abound. Private industry is simply a more efficient means of production.

"Now the truth is that I consider myself a lot more socialist than I do liberal, thus I agree with your point that liberalism is more unfair than socialism."

I think I've made my case for Liberalism being smarter and more efficient. Thank you for conceding that one. If you don't mind, what is your particular argument for claiming that liberalism is less fair than socialism?
KarlMarKard

Con

"Socialism in a literal sense advocates vesting ownership and control of 'means of production' (land, capital, etc) in the community as a whole(i.e. the government). So your argument that liberalism is not smarter because socialism does not advocate government ownership of property and means of production is undermined by this fact."

Undermined by what fact? You provided the definition of socialism, and then decided that the "community as a whole" part of the definition meant the government. But it doesn't mean the government. It means exactly what it says; you can't make things up to "undermine" facts, sir.

"There is no waste nor inefficiency experienced by government in a competitive capitalistic market."

Really? It's funny that you used the term "waste" because waste, or trash, is one of the main arguments against capitalism. Many feel the capitalist economy has created a profit-driven system based on selling as many products as possible with no innovation on how to conserve or reuse products. But I digress; personally I don't care that Americans go through 2lbs more of garbage per day.

Instead I argue that planned obsolescence is a huge problem. Planned Obsolescence - the process of a product becoming obsolete and/or non-functional after a certain period or amount of use in a way that is planned or designed by the manufacturer. Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for a producer because the product fails and the consumer is under pressure to purchase again, whether from the same manufacturer (a replacement part or a newer model), or from a competitor which might also rely on planned obsolescence. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) There is the popular charge that Apple designed iPods to stop working after 18 months of use, but the truth is that the majority of products on the market today have planned obsolescence in mind. This is because mass production became efficient, affordable and lucrative. However it is a WASTEFUL and INEFFICIENT use of resources. Because capitalism is a liberal policy, this demonstrates how aspects of liberalism are less efficient, therefore less smart. It's less smart because capitalism benefits a few but hurts the majority (financially).

"Without the advantage of individual entrepreneurship, specialization, competition, and a profit motive to drive it all, inefficiencies abound."

I believe that innovation, specialization and competition can all exist under socialism. What about foreign competitors? There will always be profit motives. Socialism would not make it impossible for individuals to become wealthy. Instead it would change the way the government utilizes resources, controls the workforce and allocates funding. It would seek to maximize efficiency; perhaps under socialism we could even become a legit competitor in foreign markets again!

Over the last 15 years, the government has continually slashed the budget on all programs and services needed by the working class, all in the name of giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Education, health programs, workplace safety and other services have increasingly decreased. "The slashing of the education budget, and the introduction of religious creationism into the public schools has given American education a serious blow" - D. May, not to mention the cut in public workers (teachers) salaries... How is this policy smart? It is effecting education. It is negatively impacting health and safety. D. May says, "The looting of the public by companies like Halliburton is clear evidence that there is no longer anything historically progressive in capitalism, it is played out. Instead of developing and revolutionizing production as it did 200 years ago, it now is so feeble that it has to feed off of its own state. Capitalism cannot offer us anything more than worsening living conditions and wages, wars of imperialist plunder and crises. We are living through a spiral of capitalist crises, and we require a socialist solution!"

To conclude this round, no, you didn't make a case as to why liberalism is smarter or more efficient. Plus, although I did agree that liberalism is more unfair than socialism, in the very next sentence (which you conveniently left out) I continued on to say that because it is unfair, it is neither smarter nor more efficient. I have not conceded anything. Instead I have argued all of your points and made better ones.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

"You provided the definition of socialism, and then decided that the "community as a whole" part of the definition meant the government. But it doesn't mean the government."

If we are not going to refer to the entity that represents "the community as a whole" by the name "government," what do you suggest we call it? You can call it whatever you'd like (club, cult, troop, brotherhood, commune, association), but for the sake of this debate whatever word you pick I will consider interchangeable with the word "government."

"Because capitalism is a liberal policy, this demonstrates how aspects of liberalism are less efficient, therefore less smart."

Your entire argument was against capitalism and not liberalism, and you justified it by claiming that capitalism was a liberal policy. Capitalism is a conservative ideal and is only associated with liberalism in that it plays host to the parasite that is liberalism. Liberalism assails upon capitalism as a source of funding, and that is as far as the relationship goes. More importantly, even if you were able to prove capitalism is a liberal policy, your argument claiming capitalism is less efficient than government is very weak. All the "planned obsolescence" in the world would not compensate for the lack of efficiency on the part of governments. Again, show me more than a few cases (not that I can think of one) where government has created a better product for less.

"...the government has continually slashed the budget on all programs and services needed by the working class, all in the name of giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Education, health programs, workplace safety and other services have increasingly decreased. "The slashing of the education budget, and the introduction of religious creationism into the public schools has given American education a serious blow" - D. May, not to mention the cut in public workers (teachers) salaries... How is this policy smart?"

Personally I think it is very smart, but I'm not a liberal, and the percieved injustices you mentioned are not the product of liberal policy. So your example says nothing about the "smartness" of liberalism. You have turned this into a debate on whether socialism is better than conservatism.

"...I have argued all of your points and made better ones."

I'm waiting for that to happen so we can get back to the topic at hand. So far you have been citing the numerous offenses on the part of capitalism and its conservative backers who you say seek to slash social programs and encourage corporate greed and tax breaks for the rich.
KarlMarKard

Con

Take a look at the wording of the debate topic at hand. My opponent is essentially stating that liberalism is "ingenious" because liberal economic policies (capitalism) manage to exploit the system without having to actually support it. This, he claims, is unfair (see: debate topic). Specifically, it is more unfair than socialism. Now, at first glance one would assume that my position in this debate calls for me to prove: socialism is smarter than liberalism (done), socialism is more efficient than liberalism (done), and that socialism is "more unfair" than liberalism. This last part is where the discrepancy lies; in actuality, I do not have to prove that socialism is more unfair than liberalism and here's why:

My opponent's position in this debate has claimed that the reason liberalism is smarter than socialism is BECAUSE it is unfair ("It is fascinating to me that liberalism has managed to come up with a way to receive all the benefits of business ownership with none of the burdens, risk or responsibility" - Pro, Round 1). Thus my position calls for me to prove that liberalism is NOT smarter because it is unfair. Essentially, both of us are arguing that liberalism is bad. The difference is that he's trying to say liberalism is smarter and more efficient based on its preposterous ideals (he's mocking it) that he feels are unfair. And those ideals ARE unfair. So in my position of this debate, I will argue exactly why the unfairness of liberalism in comparison to socialism makes liberalism less smart and less efficient. Thus, the debate...

Okay, Liberalism vs. Socialism. Typically liberalism is associated with the middle or working class of society. As my opponent has stated, this country's economic system - capitalism - is essentially a Conservative ideal, not a liberal one. Capitalist systems provide for: unfair and inefficient distribution of wealth and power; a tendency toward market monopoly or oligopoly (and government by oligarchy); imperialism; various forms of economic exploitation; and phenomena such as social alienation, inequality, unemployment, and economic instability (Wikipedia - Capitalism). Liberalism supports a capitalistic economy as my opponent said, because they feed off it and essentially make money from it via social programs implemented by a liberal (democratic policies) government without assuming any of the burden or risk. He thinks this is smart and efficient. I disagree.

If liberal policy aims to dismantle monopolies, end counterproductive business cycles, decrease inequalities regarding wealth distribution, and end the exploitation of workers, why then would they support capitalism over socialism? (Obviously they do not support socialism because they are not socialists). This is not smart, because capitalism is the very reason for those conditions to exist in the first place. Thus, liberalism is not smart. It seems to me that liberals do not want to pursue individual freedoms (laisez faire) and liberties but rather ensure that their "right to not be poor" be taken care of by the government. But there are consequences to the government having control over your funds. For instance the allocation of funding into programs you might not support. Liberals want government money to fund just about everything. Again, this is not smart. Left-wingers are tax payers too; they're only hurting themselves. Again - NOT SMART!!!

As far as efficiency goes, I will cite an example by E. Belfort Bax which demonstrates how and why a socialist based economy is more efficient in terms of production. "Let us suppose an individual is co-operating in the making of the communal or social bread. Since he, as well as the rest of the community, will suffer if the bread is bad, he being one of the consumers of that bad bread, and seeing that he can gain nothing in any other direction by putting scamped work or bad materials into the bread, his purely selfish interest is identical with that of the rest of the community in making the bread as good as possible." This differs from the interest of capitalists who want to make things as cheaply as possible – cheap materials and cheap work meaning bad materials and bad work. Self-interest and dishonest production = bad and dishonest production = shoddy products (not in terms of bread but for say things like electronics)... That leads to planned obsolecence, like I've said, which in the end costs the indivual more money. People have to spend money fixing or replacing things that they buy. Or for instance, in terms of bread production, perhaps one would have to pay for healthcare should they get sick eating bad bread. Thus these extra expenses would upset liberals who are busy trying to cut costs because they tend to be working class individuals. So again, liberals not being socialists is NOT SMART, and, as we can see, NOT EFFICIENT. My opponent challenged me to prove that a government will make a better product for less. Simple logic, including Bax's example, explains why. But to re-cap: Socialsm is more efficient than liberalism because socialists are also the direct consumers and recipients of their work. They benefit from the fruits of their own labor. Thus they will ensure that the work is done right and for the least amount of money in order to benefit themselves (and everyone else in their society).

To conclude, as I have mentioned earlier, my position in this debate DOES NOT call for me to prove that socialism is less fair for reasons stated above. However, for those who can't understand that reasoning, I will offer my attempt at a quick rebuttal anyway: I will state that socialism will probably turn into communism which will, in fact, limit the rights of the individual (according to the liberal agenda). Therefore socialism would be less fair. With that said, I will sign of reminding everyone that I have proved why socialism is both more fair and more efficient than liberalism. Whether you agree with socialism or not, my arguments in this debate have clearly supported my claim.
Debate Round No. 3
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
"You feel the role of the government should be tiny and I feel it should be just big enough to lend a helping hand without creating dependence. Here we disagree...."

No, I agree with you. But there is no way for government to accomplish this (in my view) without creating dependency. Government is inherently inneficient and limited in many areas, one of which is screening. A private charity, on the other hand, is able to discriminate between the helpless and lazy. But as the dependency grows, so does the voting block. At some point charity will have no chance at replacing government handouts, because voters who see truth about wealth redistribution will be an even smaller minority. Also their words and "good fight" will fall on the deaf ears of undeserving recipients of social services. Can you imagine trying to pull back on the unearned government freebies currently given away? Imagine what would happen if we tried used our "good fight" to strip them of the food, clothing, healthcare, and automobiles the government provided them.

I was hoping for a straight and honest answer to the following question. I don't think you addressed it:

Is there any difference to you between a government service that 95% of Americans favor versus one that 51% of Americans favor?
Posted by Oolon_Colluphid 9 years ago
Oolon_Colluphid
As to your definition of unjust. You are also pre-supposing a value system before saying this or that is unjust. The question becomes, unjust to whom? Obviously you and your value system find this unjust but not everyone will or does. Should your value system be the absolute benchmark?

Since we have no constitutional guidelines forbidding social services the laws are, for better or worse, in the hands of the people. Those rights not laid out here are retained by the states or the people, etc. Does that Fact alone make them fair? No, but it makes them law until people who disagree can change that law.
Posted by Oolon_Colluphid 9 years ago
Oolon_Colluphid
If you make a contract, with say an Insurance company, and you do not like the one article of the contract should the insurance company be required to offer you an opt out? For better or worse america is a package deal. I can get behind an op-out policy for practical reasons, but do not think a non-opt-out policy is inherently unjust. Especially since you have the option to vote and change your circumstances or leave. It's a coercion that can be overcome.

As I have posted elsewhere, I support a basic temporary safety net because it provides a service open to all (which they cannot determine whether they will ever need or not, much like police protection) which does not encourage abuse (i.e. mooching, joblessness, lack of industry).

You feel the role of the government should be tiny and I feel it should be just big enough to lend a helping hand without creating dependence. Here we disagree, we may even disagree about the possibility of each other's ideal.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Oolon,
All social programs that do not allow for the tax payer to opt if he wishes are unjust to that exent. Some, as you frequently mentioned, would be impossible to opt out of, and so are a necessary evil. The severity of the "evil" would depend on what percentage of the tax payers would opt out if they were not forced to participate. Liberals feel there is no injustice in having 49% of America paying for services they do not want to use or pay for. Common sense says otherwise.

What percentage of tax payers would you say are in favor of the services you listed? I'm guessing somewhere in the 95% range, since you mentioned services that MOST TAX PAYERS would consider valuable to THEMSELVES. Services that typically benefit NON-TAX-PAYING citizens are not so popular with tax payers. Is there any difference to you between a government service that 95% of Americans favor versus one that 51% of Americans favor?
1 Minute Ago
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Oolon,
All social programs that do not allow for the tax payer to opt if he wishes our are unjust to that exent. Some as you frequently mentioned would be impossible to opt out of, and so are a necessary evil. The severity of the evil would depend on what percentage of the tax payers would opt out if they were not forced to participate. Liberals feel there is no injustice in having 49% of America paying for services they do not want to use of pay for. Common sense says otherwise.

What percentage of tax payers would you say are in favor of the services you listed? I'm guessing somewhere in the 95% range, since you mentioned services that MOST TAX PAYERS would consider valuable to THEMSELVES. Services that typically benefit NON-TAX-PAYING citizens are not so popular with tax payers. Is there any difference to you between a government service that 95% of Americans favor versus one that 51% of Americans favor?
Posted by Oolon_Colluphid 9 years ago
Oolon_Colluphid
Oh and our government, and I'd be willing to bet any government with social services, takes from the rich, middle class, and poor alike. There is a good argument to be made against progressive taxes there, but I don't see one against social services on those grounds.
Posted by Oolon_Colluphid 9 years ago
Oolon_Colluphid
Fire Protection: Most don't make use of it, but it is freely provided to all. Is this an unjust system?

Police Protection: Most american's don't make direct use of police protection. Is police protection injust?

Defense: We've not been invaded in my lifetime, so it hasn't been used by any of my generation. Is it an unjust system?

Unemployment Insurance: Most americans don't make use of this, but it is open to all. Is this an unjust system?

Disability Insurance: Open to all americans without exception but not used by all. Is this an unjust system?

So you are saying socialism is just since it gives and takes equally? If we put 51% of the country on welfare, does that make it just? I'm sure you're waiting for me to defend welfare and Social Security, but I'm not big fans of those either.

Just because the majority do not make use of it directly doesn't mean that it is unjust.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Just Goverment: Takes from most and gives to most.

Robin Hood: Takes from rich and gives to the poor.

Unjust Government: Takes from rich and gives to the poor.
Posted by Oolon_Colluphid 9 years ago
Oolon_Colluphid
Robin Hood:
An individual who takes from other without their consent or say.

Government:
A democratic organization that collects taxes owed it under the social contract.

One is thief and the other is a party in a contract. By continuing to live here and earn income I am obligated to pay my share of the contract.

If an organization says you can use it's lands and roads if you pay a fee, you would not call that theft. However, let's assume this company pools it's money and allows it's shareholders to decide how to spend it. Now assume the shareholders vote for something like discharge compensation (unemployment insurance) or health insurance coverage (medicare). Where, in the above scenario is the theft?
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
OOlon,
Hey, you can't have it both ways. Either taking from the rich against their will and giving to the poor is just, or it's unjust. Take your pick.
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