The Instigator
ILoveCheese
Pro (for)
Losing
16 Points
The Contender
brian_eggleston
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

Ms. Harman's Equality Bill is a bad idea

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,364 times Debate No: 4515
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (9)

 

ILoveCheese

Pro

http://www.telegraph.co.uk...

This is nothing more than than feminist getting out of control. It will only make men angry at women, make everyone question the qualifications of any women in any postion, impose real costs on employers, create new costs on employers, distort the marketplace, etc, etc.
brian_eggleston

Con

My opponent has chosen as his sole reference a notoriously scurrilous source – the extreme right-wing Daily Telegraph, the media source that makes Fox News look like the North Korean Central News Agency!

The Telegraph has an agenda to distort the news to satisfy their political masters in the Conservative Party, no matter whether or not their coverage of events is fair or honest. Indeed, their reputation for honesty is not a good one. The former proprietor of the Telegraph, and former Conservative Party peer, the disgraced Lord Black, is a convicted criminal currently serving a six and a half year jail sentence for fraud.

Instead of the squalid piece of Tory propaganda my opponent referred to, please allow me to offer you an independent and impartial analysis of Harriet Harman's Equality Bill:

http://news.bbc.co.uk...

You see, Ms Harman isn't saying a woman who works 40% fewer hours than a man should, nevertheless, receive the same pay at the end of the week, not that nor anything like that.

The fact is that women, particularly in the City, suffer from indirect sexual discrimination. Much networking is done and many deals are struck outside office hours, when male colleagues and business associates play golf or go what the City boys call "whoring" (that is to say, visit lap-dancing clubs). A female investment banker or commodity trader with young children at home is unlikely to be invited to participate in such activities, and is unlikely to accept the invitation even if she was! Because of this, she will miss out on important deals and will be perceived as being outside the loop. Furthermore, if she complains about not getting promotion or the same bonus as her male colleagues she will be viewed as a troublemaker.

That is why Ms Harman has focused on this sector of industry in particular, asking the City to voluntarily address the problem of a 42% gender pay gap.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk...

The right-wing press are intent on spreading lies and misinformation. The aim of the wealthy media barons is to persuade the voters to elect a Conservative government who will then repay the newspaper proprietors for their support with generous tax cuts for the rich.

However, the Conservative-supporting press can only fool weak-minded people who are too naive to look beyond the sectionalist headlines. That's why I am confident they won't fool the astute and knowledgeable debate.org voters.
Debate Round No. 1
ILoveCheese

Pro

Tsk Tsk. You are shooting the messenger instead of the message.

Consider this concept:

Business are profit maximizing entities.

Do you agree?

I sure do. But what does this bill imply? It implies that they are not in fact profit maximizing! If women were as productive as men as a whole then they would be paid the same.

Note that she uses consolidated data, meaning she aggregates workers regardless of profession or circumstances. As a profit maximizing company, all one would need to do to make a huge amount of money is simply hire nothing but women until the pay between the sexes were the same.

Alternatively, all these smart ladies could get together and form their own company. With such a huge pay difference they could meet half way and get the benefits of a higher wage and lower cost structure than their competitors.

So somehow you need to explain why these companies that are 'discriminating' are leaving so much cash on the table and why all these underpaid women don't simply start their own company.
brian_eggleston

Con

In reply to my opponent's comments, I do indeed agree that companies are all about maximizing profit and for some companies this means putting profits before people, hence the need for regulation.

I started my own company way back in 1993 (that's right, not all company directors are frothing neo-cons) and I have always maintained that a contented employee will be a more loyal and productive worker. That's why I pay above industry-average salaries and accord my employees far more benefits that I am obliged to by law.

Furthermore, our clients tend to be very discerning and ethically aware and I am confident that they would not give us their custom if they discovered that our staff were not being treated fairly.

So, we can see that respecting workers' rights and being a considerate employer can make good business sense.

That said, we do not positively discriminate in favour of female employees, as this would, as my opponent rightly points out, breed resentment amongst our male employees and, thankfully, this is not what is being proposed in Harriet Harman's white paper.
Debate Round No. 2
ILoveCheese

Pro

Another aspect that I think should be pointed out is that positive discrimination is de facto quotas. We have seen this game being played in the US with some Universities (including my alma mater ).

Conceptually this is again another Marxist/Socialist notion. In this case we must define a disadvantaged group. We conceptualize a 'fair' representation. When that 'fair' representation does not show up in the area we are reviewing, 'action' must be taken to correct perceived current and past injustices.

Note that even though we do not use specific numbers in an express quota system, we are nevertheless quantifying an 'injustice'. If there are too few 'members of a disadvantaged class' then we are in fact counting members.
brian_eggleston

Con

I think my opponent and I broadly agree that positive discrimination is a blunt instrument and, in essence, undesirable. I very much regret that society finds itself in the position where the Government and other organisations have to resort to positive discrimination in order to combat institutionalised discrimination.

Take top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. The Government has been encouraging them to accept more students from less affluent backgrounds for years, yet students from deprived families are even more underrepresented than ever. Is it possible that young adults with working and lower-middle class parents are inherently less academically gifted than youths from wealthy families? Or is it, as seems more likely, that the Universities regard the Government's advice as an attempt at "social engineering" and there is no small measure of snobbery at the heart of their admissions policies?
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MC_HARMAN 6 months ago
MC_HARMAN
That's funny, I don't have a relative named Harriet...
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Brian, the Daily Telegraph may appear right-wing to you, me and most of the rest of the World,
but I think you'll find most US citizens (and even people in this site) regard it as moderate.
;-)
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
"I think my opponent and I broadly agree that positive discrimination is a blunt instrument and, in essence, undesirable."

Clarification: Did you forfeit?
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
So, we can see that respecting workers' rights "

Rights? No one has a "right" to a job, nor to a salary no one wants to pay them, nor to benefits no one wants to give them. Changing whether you want to, of course, alters the practical consequence of their rights (making those things part of their property as long as your contract with them exists), though it does not alter the fundamental nature of that right, that in order for it to exist they either have to contract for it or create it themselves from scratch.

"
That said, we do not positively discriminate in favour of female employees, as this would, as my opponent rightly points out, breed resentment amongst our male employees and, thankfully, this is not what is being proposed in Harriet Harman's white paper."

Your "independent" source repeated her phrase: "Female part-time workers also still earn as much as 40% less than their full-time male counterparts, Ms Harman has said. " Implying that's a bad thing and something the bill tries to correct. It's not good form to say an accusation is a lie and then prove it yourself.

Also: ":The bill is also set to allow companies to discriminate in favour of female and ethnic minority candidates of equal ability,"

This would not be of course a problem to me if it allowed the reverse- a business is solely the property of it's owner, and they have the right to discriminate in whatever disgusting way they see fit, as long as they don't violate their contracts in doing so.But as it stands, in allowing one and not the other, the government is effectively subsidizing the former.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Not just you.

"and for some companies this means putting profits before people"
There is no such thing as "profits before people." There is one's own profits (i.e. whatever advances oneself as a person) before OTHER people, which describes ALL moral ventures. Corporations have a right to make themselves the beneficiary of their actions,so long as they do not violate the rights of others (which, once those rights are properly understood, are not profitable to violate anyway.) And business profit simply means "Creating more than one's costs," which is by the way a necessary function, the entirety of civilization would collapse without it.

"hence the need for regulation."
No, hence the need for no regulation- it destroys profits and thus civilization, which is based on profits (just try building a city, or having a set of enforceable laws, without someone creating profits somewhere. The Soviets did, it didn't work out too well, they had to compromise and let some people make profits while pretending not to to even last as long as they did).

"

I started my own company way back in 1993 (that's right, not all company directors are frothing neo-cons) and I have always maintained that a contented employee will be a more loyal and productive worker. That's why I pay above industry-average salaries and accord my employees far more benefits that I am obliged to by law."

That is your right. It is not your right to obligate others to do so, especially if they are in businesses where your reasoning does not apply (high turnover rate perhaps).

"Furthermore, our clients tend to be very discerning and ethically aware and I am confident that they would not give us their custom if they discovered that our staff were not being treated fairly."
Define "Fairly."
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
Is it just me, or was CON R2 non sequitur?
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
So, you say the source is biased... and someone whose avatar tells us that it isn't a contradiction to "Smash the state" and "Support socialism (the STATE control of the means of production)" is going to tell us what is unbiased eh?
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
You read "sectionalist headlines."

I meant to write "sensationalist headlines"

That dratted interfering spellchecker!
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
This debate is based on right-wing propoganda published by the notoriously biased Daily Telegraph and it cannot go unchallenged.

Expect my response anon!
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
(note: Employers do tend to benefit more from full-time workers even per hour, since the various costs of changing shifts are reduced, schedules are easier to arrange, and it accumulates to just plain more experience)
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