The Instigator
tylergraham95
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Victorian
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

Libertarian economic theory and pure capitalism contains major flaws

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
tylergraham95
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/27/2013 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,275 times Debate No: 37075
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)

 

tylergraham95

Pro

First round is acceptance only.
Victorian

Con

I accept!
Debate Round No. 1
tylergraham95

Pro

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for his time. I would also like to say that I very much so look forward to this debate.

I would like to start by defining Libertarian economic theory and Capitalism

Capitalism (as defined by Merriam Webster)
an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.

For the sake of debate Libertarian economic theory is most closely aligned with Adam Smiths economic theory and revolves around Laissez-Faire economics, which is defined by Merriam Webster as
a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights

In this debate I will contend in affirmative of the resolution upon the following three contentions. First, pure capitalism and Laissez-Faire allows for the formation of an Oligarchy. Second, like many economic theory, pure capitalism only works if certain ideals are fulfilled by every individual involved. Third, I would contend that logically based on my previous two contentions, Laissez-Faire capitalism will inevitably lead to monopoly and eventually oligarchy.

In my first contention I stated that Pure capitalism and Laissez-Faire economic theory allow for the formation of an oligarchy. An oligarchy is a government governed by the few. This forms in pure capitalism due to the lack of trade, trust, and monopoly regulation. Without restrictions against monopolies, eventually certain companies become so large that they hold absolute control over one type of service. Current American anti-trust laws are in effect for this very reason.

My second contention holds the core of my argument. The reasons pure capitalism and pure laissez fair trade do not work is actually similar to the reason why pure socialism does not work. People are not perfect. A major philosopher regarding economics and laissez faire trade is the one and only Adam Smith. In Smith's work "The Wealth of Nations" he outlines his ideals regarding a perfect laissez faire economy. One of the core ideals regarding it is the idea that a customer should have perfect knowledge regarding his product so that he can make a perfectly informed decision regarding purchase (1). Again perfection and perfect knowledge are totally out of the grasp of humans. Furthermore humans are more than willing to lie or manipulate through advertising to make more money. Therefore, Pure capitalism and laissez faire economics contains the major flaw of expecting perfection of humans.

As my third contention, I would contend that because humans are greedy, pure capitalism and laissez faire economics would inevitably result in a monopoly. Greed is a universal and natural human desire. Some people are more greedy than others. Some people aren't very greedy at all. But I would contend that only one psychopathic businessman with a strong company and no regulations holding him back could set his company on the course to monopoly. After all that's precisely why the board game monopoly was invented (2).

Clearly I have shown sufficient evidence to show that pure capitalism has major flaws.

I await my opponents response eagerly.

1. http://metalibri.wikidot.com...
2. http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com...
Victorian

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for bringing these important issues up for debate!

I accept my opponent's definitions of Capitalism and Libertarian economic theory.

First, to my opponent's point on oligarchy. One of the most common objections to the free market system is that it will lead to the formation of an enormously wealthy upper class which will perpetually leave its money to its children, until this class becomes a kind of aristocracy. My opponent did not bring up this point, but I thought I would address it to avoid confusion later, and because it indirectly ties into the issue of the formation of an oligarchy. The fact is, that while the free market undoubtedly leads to some people becoming far wealthier than others, it does not lead to an aristocracy for the following reasons. First, 86% of American millionaires are self-made, so any hereditary "upper class" would be dwarfed by those with self-made wealth. (1) Second, simple logic tells us that our hypothetical aristocrat could never have more than one child (or, in some cases, two children) without diluting his or her wealth. This clearly shows that the kind of hereditary aristocracy postulated by critics of the Libertarian economic theory is simply not a logical outcome of the free market.

So, if there is not a hereditary aristocracy that becomes an oligarchy, how would such an oligarchy form? It is possible, of course, that those with self-made wealth would assume control of the government, but this would mean that governmental positions would be held, not because of hereditary rank, which is the most common problem identified in oligarchy, but by people who had been personally successful. Obviously, even though any form of oligarchy is probably undesirable, it is clearly better to have an oligarchy based on personal success rather than birth. However, and this is the core of my argument here, even an oligarchy based on success will not form in a Libertarian society, because an Oligarchy is, by definition, a system of government ruled by a small select group. But in a Libertarian society, there would be no significant state apparatus for the rich to take control of. If this small group were to oppress people, and take away their rights, then the government would no longer be Libertarian. Thus, in a constitutionally limited government based on Libertarian principles, the rich have very little incentive to take control of the government, and even with control of the government, they would not have the power to oppress the people.

It is in fact, socialism, and other command economies that lead to the formation of oligarchy of the rich, because the rich can take control of the government and use it for their own ends. The nomenklatura in the Soviet Union is a perfect example of this. (2)

I will address monopolies and anti-trust laws later in this argument.

To the second contention, it is undoubtedly desirable that every consumer would have perfect knowledge of the products that he or she bought, but the fact that we can never achieve a utopian state of existence does not mean that Libertarian economic theory contains flaws. As long as consumers have a basic understanding of what they are buying, the free market system works. More complete knowledge can be obtained through sources like Consumer Reports, which are private, non government funded, purely capitalist ways for consumers to become more informed about the products they buy, and it is, in fact, in the self interest of consumers to attempt to gain more complete understanding of what they are buying (especially for significant purchases). And self-interest, as my opponent has stated, is present to some degree in every human being.

Monopolies. It is taken for granted, that, given free reign, companies will merge into monopolies, and that these monopolies will then manipulate prices at the expense of the consumer. However, it is nearly impossible to create monopolies without the help of government, and the monopolies that do form entirely in the free market can only survive if they continue to give the consumer a good deal. Even the poster child of monopoly, John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil company, was not able to charge exorbitant prices. For two years, Standard Oil owned 85% of the oil market, but it could not raise prices without losing ground to its competitors. (3) Microsoft owns the overwhelming majority of the computer industry, but it must continue to offer good products at low prices or it will lose ground to Apple. It is government intervention, such as the subsidization of Western railroads during the gilded age, that creates coercive monopolies, not the free market. (4) Thus, anti-trust laws are unnecessary in a truly Libertarian economy.

If pure capitalism does not lend itself to the creation of oligarchy, or monopoly, and if perfection is not necessary for a robust and well-functioning capitalist society, I think I have refuted my opponent's claims about flaws in Libertarian economic theory.

I look forward to my opponent's response.

1. http://www.fidelity.com...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. https://www.lpmn.org...
4. http://atlasshruggedcelebrationday.com...
Debate Round No. 2
tylergraham95

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response.

I would like to begin by refuting my opponents counter contentions, and then re-affirming my own contentions.

To begin I would like to address my opponents example of hereditary aristocracy. Although he makes a fine point against individuals, he fails to address the possibility of aristocracy exiting through Corporate control. Large corporations do not have children, or family, or even necessarily death for their money to disseminate through inheritance. Corporations can gain control over certain necessity industries and monopolize products and services and form an oligarchy not through hereditary aristocracy but instead through corporate aristocracy. The reason certain individuals gain and lose wealth over time (as presented by my opponent) does indeed make sense. This dissemination of wealth and power does not, however, apply to individual corporations who do not typically willingly "die" and disseminate wealth.

Furthermore, I did not suggest that pure socialism was ever a viable form of economics either.

My next point regards my opponents claim that as long as all customers have a basic understanding of what they are buying, the free market works. This is simply not true. First of all, not all customers will have a basic knowledge of what they are purchasing other than what its purpose may be. Second, Adam Smith writings in "The Wealth of Nations" explicitly indicates laissez-faire economics will only work if consumers have perfect knowledge regarding their purchases. Advertising gives certain products the upper hand every day in the consumer market and is probably the most important aspect of a successful product. Without government regulations, however, companies would be allowed to blatantly lie about their products. Consumers could be misinformed and tricked into buying poor products.

Furthermore, my opponent creates the precedent of describing a true monopoly, but then goes on the say why it isn't really a monopoly, showing an obvious gap in his point. A true example of a monopoly is that De Beers family monopoly on diamonds. Until recent government regulation and action against this monopoly, the De Beers family (founded by capitalist Cecil Rhodes) has completely dominated the diamond mining industry. This has allowed them to set the prices of diamonds way higher than their actual value regarding their rarity, and cost to retrieve. Due to the lack of real hard evidence regarding the value of diamonds and the rarity of diamonds, diamond appraising is a relatively inaccurate and unscientific field of study. The family used their massive control over diamonds to overcharge, and even fund terrorism and other horrors (I.E. Conflict diamonds). (1) (2) (3)

Government regulations have always been necessary throughout the years to prevent monopolies. AT&T had to split, and Teddy Roosevelt split countless companies in the interest of a more fair economy.

I think I have shown the naive nature of my opponents claims.

I eagerly await his response.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://ask.slashdot.org...
3. http://www.today.com...
Victorian

Con

My apologies, I did not mean to suggest that my opponent was advocating pure socialism, I was merely trying to point out that oligarchy and aristocracy are in fact more of a problem with other economic systems, and therefore even if they were natural outgrowths of libertarian economic theory, those arguments could be dismissed because of the underlying value. But that's getting slightly off topic. While my opponent brings up some interesting arguments, I believe that they are largely based on misunderstandings of key points.

Firstly, my opponent claims that an aristocracy might exist through corporate control. However, this assertion is problematic because it seems to be outside of the definition of aristocracy. Aristocracy is defined as a group or "class of persons holding exceptional rank and privileges, especially the hereditary nobility", or government by such a class. (1) Corporations are not humans. While they can spend money and issue statements, they cannot have education or social prestige. These are things that humans have, and humans only. As we have already established, a libertarian society would not have a government run by corporations, because if there were a government apparatus with enough discretionary power to be worth taking over, the society would not be libertarian. So I do not completely understand what my opponent means by "aristocracy existing through corporate control". I'll wait for clarification in the next round.

Second, my opponent claims that corporate wealth is not disseminated because corporations do not die and leave their money to their children. However, this idea is simply based on misconception of the nature of corporations. Corporations are not single sentient entities, they are owned by many, often thousands, of stock holders. (I'm sure my opponent knows this, but I've found that most people know this fact academically, but don't think through it's implications) These stock holders own and control the corporation. And these stock holders can do what they will with the income generated by their company, namely, spend it. The stock holders spend their money things they want or need, and leave their money to their children when they die. Thus, the profit of corporations is disseminated, and the corporations are broken up when they are no longer profitable.

Admittedly, Adam Smith lived in a time when perfect knowledge concerning a product was more attainable than it is today, however, I believe that Adam Smith actually claimed that perfect knowledge was ideal, not a functional necessity. If I am wrong about this please include a direct quote from Smith saying that perfect knowledge is necessary.

On advertising, companies would not be allowed to lie about their products, because to do so would be fraud and punishing fraud is part of protecting property rights. This would NOT be government regulation, because there would be no rules or guidelines imposed on advertisers by government, only punishment for those who committed fraud. There is a difference between government regulation and enforcement of justice. (For example, a society might have no regulation on firearms, but still punish those who used firearms to commit crimes.) Thus, because property rights would be upheld, (government would intervene as soon as a consumer paid for what was advertised and received something else) consumers could not be lied to with impunity.

Finally, my opponent claims that standard oil was not a true monopoly, but the De Beers Diamond company was. At its height, De Beers only controlled about 90% of the diamond market. (2) Standard Oil controlled 85%. While there is certainly a difference between a true monopoly, and what is simply a very large company, I maintain that only government intervention can create true monopolies.

My opponent mentions both AT&T and De Beers. While it is true that both came to be the biggest fish in their respective pools, neither completely took over their industry, but I think that the issue of the formation of these companies is even more important. AT&T was given its monopoly by the government, (3) and one should proceed cautiously when claiming that a company that formed in a place and time when an imperialist government exerted huge economic control and forcibly exploited native Africans could have been expected to form in a libertarian society. Also, the De Beers company was able to eliminate competition through use of the government and military during the 2nd Boer and 1st World wars, (2) a distinctly non-libertarian development.

I think I have shown that a) my opponent's claim of "corporate aristocracy" is not meaningful (or at least unclear) b) that the wealth of corporations is indeed disseminated c) that, in the interest of protecting private property, a libertarian government would punish fraud, but would not need to create regulations, and d) that my opponent's examples of monopolies were actually government endorsed (or government created) and are thus poor examples.

I will be interested to read what my opponent has to say on these points.

1. http://dictionary.reference.com...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
tylergraham95

Pro

I thank my opponent for an excellent, challenging, and fun debate and for his replies.

Although I did not think that clarification was necessary, I will humor my opponent and attempt to describe to him my point regarding Corporate aristocracy in a way that he will hopefully find easier to understand.
I'll begin by talking about corporate person-hood. A corporate aristocracy can form through the concept of corporate person-hood. Although the traditional definition of aristocracy referred to human individuals, individual corporations would have the ability the form an aristocracy through economic power and control. The fourteenth amendment of the united states of America has been used to establish corporate person-hood. This is what allows corporations to be protected by law, granting them freedom of speech. This was a major reason for the decision of the Citizens United Vs. The Federal Elections Commission in 2010. Corporations are defined as people by the 14th amendment and therefore had the right to free speech, but I digress.

The lack of regulations pressed upon it by the government is what allowed the East India Trading Company to form the pseudo-oligarchy that it did. Corporations do not disseminate wealth over time. Investors make dividends but the company grows, increases its GDP, and therefore increases its influence in the economy. The company loses some investors, gains new ones, makes profits, expands, and then increases its power as a company. Governmental regulations prevent monopolies from forming this way, especially in necessity areas such as Power, Civil Services, and Food. Without regulations, the economy could be totally controlled by just a few banks and corporations. The US government has used governmental regulations in order to combat the problems that Laissez-Faire Economics spawns. My opponent claims that because a Company controlled only 85% or 90% of a market, that they weren't really in control (or monopolizing) it. I would like to make the point that if you control 85-90% of any kind of supply that was in demand, you would have a fairly considerable control over the product. If a company was allowed to have this power with oil or food, they would hold a Sword of Damocles over the government.

My opponent's beliefs regarding Adam Smith's economic ideals, though convenient, are not true.
"The real price of every thing," says Adam Smith, "What every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. What every thing is really worth to the man who has acquired it, and who wants to dispose of it, or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save to himself, and which it can impose upon other people. That this is really the foundation of the exchangeable value of all things, excepting those which cannot be increased by human industry, is a doctrine of the utmost importance in political economy."(1)
It is implied by Smith that in order for Laissez-Faire economic trade to be fair, proper, balanced, and avoid Corporate Oligarchy, perfect knowledge of the products value is of "Utmost importance"

Furthermore my opponent contradicts himself. He creates a government regulation that would not be included in Laissez-Faire economics regarding advertisement fraud. He furthermore claims that his regulation his in fact not a regulation, but instead a punishment for those who do not follow regulation. Regulation being legally defined as "A rule of order having the force of law, prescribed by a superior or competent authority, relating to the actions of those under the authority's control."
I would say my opponents proposed plan regarding the prevention of fraud would fit this definition perfectly.

My opponents "Biggest fish in the pool" metaphor, though eloquent and entertaining, is inaccurate in use. If, as the metaphor suggest, there was a fish in a pool that ate and controlled 90% of the food (the food in the metaphor being GDP in industry) then would there be any chance that the other 10% of fish by mass and food would have any chance of toppling the fish that is nine times larger than all of them combined? Would this not mean that the big fish was the dominant ruling fish? Furthermore my opponent fails to address regional monopolization. Although one company may not control 100% of an industry world-wide, they can still have 100% control in a region, and therefore hold sway over that region. AT&T did not have 100% control of the Telephone/Telegraph industry worldwide, or even in North America, but they did have enough control in the United States for the government to take action against them.

I believe that I have won this argument because I have sufficiently disproved all of my opponents contentions, and counterpoints. Furthermore, I have created overwhelming support and evidence for my own contentions, and proved to fullest extent of my abilities that the affirmative of the resolution is the more convincing argument.

1. Smith, A., 1976, The Wealth of Nations edited by R.H. Campbell and A.S. Skinner, The Glasgow edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, Vol. 2b, pp. 47.
2. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

I would like to close by lending massive thanks to my opponent! This was a really great debate to be introduced with! Thank you for your time and effort! I look forward to further debates with you.
Victorian

Con

This has been my first real debate and I've enjoyed it immensely. Thank you for taking the time to have such a thoughtful discussion!

Corporations may have some legal status as persons, (I don't agree with this classification, but that's beside the point) but this does not mean that they are analogous to persons in the ways that would be necessary to form a "corporate aristocracy". The problem with common assertions that corporations are nefarious or deceitful, or, in the case of my opponent's claim, that they would form an aristocracy, is that corporations are not single minded conscious entities. By their very definition, they are owned by many people, and therefore, large numbers of people make the decisions for the company. Most cases in which corporations are said to be acting nefariously are actually just unintended consequences that naturally result from having decisions made by such a large group of people, rather than actual calculating and nefarious intent. An aristocracy cannot be made up of corporations because THERE WOULD BE NO INDIVIDUALS TO BECOME ARISTOCRATS. Corporations, contrary to the popular misconception, are not individuals, they are large groups, sometimes, enormous groups. Therefore, the idea of "corporate aristocracy" does not make sense within the definition of aristocracy.

The East India Trading Company was given enormous power by the government, and many of its shareholders were members of parliament.

Remember, when a corporation makes a profit, either that money is paid to the investors in dividends OR it is put toward the growth of the company. Or some combination of the two of course. However, it is important to remember that there is a point when it is more profitable for the investors to break up, or stop growing the company. This is the reason that monopolies are incredibly rare in the free market; government regulations certainly create some monopolies, and it is not at all clear that they prevent others. Thus, I think that the claim that in a pure capitalist system, a few banks and corporations would dominate the economy is simply untrue, and unsubstantiated by historical evidence. I would also like to point out that in the current system, the economy is dominated by one bank; the Federal Reserve.

If a company controlled 90% of a certain product, it would indeed have considerable control over that product, but the point is that it could not abuse that power without almost immediately losing ground to its competitors, and there are few situations in which abuse of power would have any benefit to the investors in the first place. Also, in a libertarian society, there would be little to be accomplished by holding a sword of Damocles over the government because the government would have very little power.

I think that my opponent draws an inaccurate conclusion from the passage he cites from the Wealth of Nations. To me, this passage very clearly explains how the idea of trade for mutual benefit is what drives a capitalist economy. I do not see how my opponent derives his claim about perfect knowledge of products from this passage.

A libertarian government would protect property rights. This would naturally include punishing fraud as it is a violation of contract. Remember, a libertarian government would only interfere in economic affairs at the minimum required for peace and property rights. Clearly, this includes punishing fraud. There is also an important distinction between a regulation and a law. A libertarian government would not set rules for advertisers, and then send out inspectors to catch those who did not follow those rules. That would not be libertarian. The crime would be the actual fraud, not the failure to comply with certain arbitrary rules. Thus, in the same way that imprisoning murderers is not gun regulation, punishing fraud is not regulation of advertising.

If the fish starts biting the hand that feeds them (the consumers) that hand will start feeding the other fish (the competitors) and they will grow. Corporations, unlike fish, cannot physically attack each other. A large corporation must continue to give the consumer a good deal, or the consumers will turn to competing companies.

If there were a regional monopoly, and the monopolistic company exploited that power, competing companies would have an incentive to develop into that region.

I believe that I have satisfactorily disproved all of my opponents contentions, and thus established that the Con position is more valid. It will be up to the voters to decide!

Again, I thank my opponent for a great debate!
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
CONCLUSION:

This was a great debate. There were flaws, namely poor sourcing (over-reliance on wikipedia, and sources that did not corroborate key assertions) that ended up severely discrediting discussion on monopoly on both sides...regardless, overall this was one of the most thought-provoking debates I've read on this website in a long time.

Prose and style were excellent on both sides, which added to the enjoyment of this reader in particular.

Arguments are incredible difficult to score, and this is when I am thankful I have parsed my thoughts in detail.

PRO argued that the main flaws were a propensity towards a corporate aristocracy that would eventuate into a monopoly. CON argued that any oligarchy, if one were to form, would be a benign if not advantageous version stemming from a meritocracy. I think both sides made great points supporting both interpretations, which would lead me to conclude that such a corporate aristocracy would more than likely be meritocratic.

On the transition to monopoly, I will simply assert (since CON brought it up) that Standard Oil was a monopoly that formed without government regulation, and that for CON to assert that Standard Oil was not a "true monopoly" or what not is somewhat absurd. Therefore, monopolies can form without government regulation, and they can only be broken by government regulation.

The Greenspan article paints Standard Oil as a benevolent monopoly subject to competition. I find this somewhat ludicrous, and will accept that monopolies like DeBeers can fix prices and deter entrants.

Therefore, how I see this debate evolving is that PRO's contentions are correct (and corroborated by CON) that laissez faire => oligarchy => monopoly...this structure is largely benign at the oligarchy level, but become problematic once monopoly is achieved. Arguments PRO.

Very close debate, so I will score conduct and S&G to CON to even it up. Great debate.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
17) CON: "Remember, when a corporation makes a profit, either that money is paid to the investors in dividends OR it is put toward the growth of the company."

Yes, and it is through the growth that the corporation establishes itself as an aristocracy...

18) CON: "However, it is important to remember that there is a point when it is more profitable for the investors to break up, or stop growing the company"

This logic applies to aristocracies consisting of noblemen too though, yes?

19) CON: "If a company controlled 90% of a certain product, it would indeed have considerable control over that product, but the point is that it could not abuse that power without almost immediately losing ground to its competitors..."

Overall, IMHO I found the quality of discussion on monopoly was poor, due mainly to sources that did not corroborate prime assertions on both sides. On CON's logic here, it flies in the face of standard economic theory about monopolistic pricing practices, so I will dismiss it off-hand.

20) CON: "To me, this passage very clearly explains how the idea of trade for mutual benefit is what drives a capitalist economy. "

Amazing how we all interpret the Adam Smith passage differently, lol.

21) CON: "The crime would be the actual fraud, not the failure to comply with certain arbitrary rules. "

But laws on fraud themselves are "arbitrary rules", yes?

(conclusion next)
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
11) CON: "if there were a government apparatus with enough discretionary power to be worth taking over, the society would not be libertarian. "

But...is force projection, the hallmark of even an libertarian government, valuable in its own right? Can government action lead to private profit?

12) CON: "If I am wrong about this please include a direct quote from Smith saying that perfect knowledge is necessary."

This is a valid request.

13) CON: "...punishing fraud is part of protecting property rights. This would NOT be government regulation..."

This is such a thin line. What about advertising like "ALL NATURAL" for processed foods, or "LOW FAT" for granulated sugar? Is this fraud? Would this require regulation?

14) PRO: "I'll begin by talking about corporate person-hood..."

At this point, I will accept PRO's reasoning on corporate aristocracies, especially since another critique he had dealt with monopolies, with the corporation being the natural heir through this argument. The EITC was a convincing example.

15) PRO: "It is implied by Smith that in order for Laissez-Faire economic trade to be fair, proper, balanced, and avoid Corporate Oligarchy, perfect knowledge of the products value is of "Utmost importance""

This does not flow from the quoted passage of Adam Smith, which talks about the labor-value of a commodity (scarily a Marxist precursor).

16) CON: "The East India Trading Company was given enormous power by the government, and many of its shareholders were members of parliament."

I suppose this is debatable, although if memory serves, the EITC armies were all privately funded.

(con't)
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
4) CON: "For two years, Standard Oil owned 85% of the oil market, but it could not raise prices without losing ground to its competitors. (3)"

Source does not corroborate.

5) CON: " It is government intervention, such as the subsidization of Western railroads during the gilded age, that creates coercive monopolies, not the free market. (4) "

Although the source is a blog post, I'll let it slide given it's quoting an Alan Greenspan essay, which I assume is the desired linked content by CON.

6) PRO: "Corporations can gain control over certain necessity industries and monopolize products and services and form an oligarchy not through hereditary aristocracy but instead through corporate aristocracy. "

Fascinating counterargument. Not sure exactly what to think of it.

7) PRO: "A true example of a monopoly is that De Beers family monopoly on diamonds. "

Interesting. So, only natural monopolies would naturally form in this lib/cap economic society?

8) PRO: "Government regulations have always been necessary throughout the years to prevent monopolies. AT&T had to split, and Teddy Roosevelt split countless companies in the interest of a more fair economy."

So PRO is advocating a mixed economy over laissez faire.

9) PRO: "The family used their massive control over diamonds to overcharge, and even fund terrorism and other horrors (I.E. Conflict diamonds). (1) (2) (3)"

Terrible sources - wikipedia, a blog post about someone getting married, and an article about diamond appraisals irrelevant to the assertion.

10) CON: "Corporations are not humans. While they can spend money and issue statements, they cannot have education or social prestige."

Good counter.

(con't, excellent debate so far)
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
1) PRO: " I would contend that only one psychopathic businessman with a strong company and no regulations holding him back could set his company on the course to monopoly. "

Hmm..so only psychopaths become monopolistic? That seems a bit much. All businesses are going to be competitive and thus confrontational, but that doesn't mean that businesses, especially ones that are able to capture all of demand, are not attuned to their customers.

Overall, nice opening PRO.

2) CON: " Second, simple logic tells us that our hypothetical aristocrat could never have more than one child (or, in some cases, two children) without diluting his or her wealth. This clearly shows that the kind of hereditary aristocracy postulated by critics of the Libertarian economic theory is simply not a logical outcome of the free market."

I don't see this "simple logic" given the prior statement "One of the most common objections to the free market system is that it will lead to the formation of an enormously wealthy upper class..." meaning that those within this system would continue to aggregate wealth, essentially "money begets money".

3) PRO: "Thus, in a constitutionally limited government based on Libertarian principles, the rich have very little incentive to take control of the government, and even with control of the government, they would not have the power to oppress the people."

Hmm..this is interesting. So, if the army of this libertarian government was used for capital gain (let's say claiming an unclaimed gold mine and thus adhering to non-intervention and non-aggression), thereby profiting those holding the reigns of government while leaving those outside in a more relatively disadvantageous position, you'd be ok with that?

This would still seem to support an libertarian oligarchy, although you make a good point about it being a meritocracy.

(con't)
Posted by Shadowguynick 3 years ago
Shadowguynick
1.) Leads to Oligarchy- Lack of regulation leads to the ability to form a monopoly. Con attempted to argue that Oligarchy isn't part of a libertarian society, but this refutation is irrelevant, since we are examining if a libertarian society will lead to this, not if it condones it. Another refutation was that since corporations are not individuals, they cannot be aristocrats, and therefore cannot become an Oligarchy. I see this as semantics, as the "definition" of aristocrat is rather unimportant, only the implication of an entity being essentially an aristocrat. This also leads to the idea that since the government would have little control, therefore the companies would want little to control. However, this is not true either. There is still much to be gained by controlling the government, such as the prevention of fraud that con brings up later.
2.) Con sort of walked into a hole here. If the government can stop fraud does that mean corporations have incentive to control the government? If not then can corporations lie to their consumers? Even without lying outright companies TODAY can stretch the truth. How far until it's fraud?
3.) Con makes the assertion that monopolies need the government to happen, but never addresses how they need the government. He also does not seem to understand how monopolies happen. A monopoly can occur a few ways, either when one company owns essentially all the manufacturing capability of one product, or produces it so well that competitors are left in the dust. Large companies tend to buy out small ones to gain more, and add to the monopoly. Without regulation a company can do this until there are no companies to oppose it.

Good debate overall though :)
Posted by Victorian 3 years ago
Victorian
No problem. Although there aren't really any hard and fast rules, debates are usually exclusive to the debaters, and the comment section is usually about conduct, points not brought up by either debater, etc. or other comments on the debate (usually after it is finished). If you're looking for a more informal format where everyone contributes, you might want to try the forums.
Posted by CorOdin 3 years ago
CorOdin
My apologies, I am new to Debate.org, and I did not realize that the debates were meant to be exclusive to the debaters.
Posted by Victorian 3 years ago
Victorian
Thank you CorOrdin, but I am debating the con position in this debate, not you.

I would also like Tylergraham to know that I did not read CorOrdin's comments until after posting my first round arguments.
Posted by CorOdin 3 years ago
CorOdin
Do consumers have perfect knowledge about their products? [Part 2]

Continuing my last post, I would like to remind you that the world works on supply and demand. Is there demand for safe food? If there is, than companies will strive to meet that demand in one way or the other. This is true for every realm of human life, within reason.

Also, it is important to know that while consumers don't always know exactly what they are buying - this isn't really a problem if they are happy with their purchase. If they believe that they have come out better from the deal, then they will continue to make the deal. If they are dissatisfied with what they got - then they will no longer provide the company with their money. If you wish to inform them that they are better ways to spend their money, then there is nothing stopping you.

Is false advertising possible in laissez-faire economics?

Of course it is. But it's a fallacy to think that there is a system that can stop humans from lying. No amount of legislation will end our capacity to lie. I think the more important question is if consumers will have recourse to the law if false advertising occurs. If private property rights are truly being protected in a laissez-faire system, than false advertising could and would be punished. If I give you my money and you promise to give me a teddy bear, wouldn't it be stealing if you instead gave me a musk ox? I upheld my end of the contract, but you failed to uphold yours. So my private property rights would have been violated, for you stole from me by taking my money without compensating it. You would be duly punished under a laissez-faire system.

Is the board game Monopoly a fair representation of capitalism?

Put simply, no.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
tylergraham95VictorianTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments, great debate. S&G and conduct were excellent on both sides, I merely score them to CON because I found this debate to be exceptionally close.
Vote Placed by Shadowguynick 3 years ago
Shadowguynick
tylergraham95VictorianTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct is a tie. Both were polite. S/G is a tie. Both had impeccable spelling. Arguments goes to pro. As this is a rather long debate I will break this down into the contentions brought up. This will be posted in the comments. Sources are equal.