Prosperity of government through capitalism
Debate Rounds (3)
Although capitalism is often thought to be a source of inequality - which I concede is true in several cases - it has also been proven to be a tool by which economies can achieve tremendous results. The United States economy is a prime example of what capitalism has to offer. Yes, there are the obvious negatives to the United States economy. Unemployment is higher than it has been in decades and until just recently, the stock market had not been performing to expectations either. However, these events are merely cyclical and, according to historical trends, unemployment rates will drop and the stock market will inevitably rebound to prior levels.
Utilizing capitalism as the main economic system, the United States will be able to exceed our goals. Entrepreneurship, which is one of the main ideals within capitalism, enables small businesses to triumph in a market economy, thus creating jobs and lowering unemployment rates. Assuming a company begins to function at a high level and that there is enough demand for its product, a company may begin to bring money into our nation's economy.
Government-funded programs, on the other hand, are holding back individuals from excelling in their own right. They do provide sustenance for those who are otherwise unable to provide for themselves, but how well do they even do that? An article published by the Cato Institute in 2006 explained that although "the federal government spent more than $477 billion on some 50 different programs to fight poverty" in 2005, the poverty rate remained at 12.6 percent in 2006. It seems to be somewhat apparent that this money was either not used properly, or was just not sufficient to reduce the poverty rate. By providing just enough for those who are considered to be in poverty (average threshold for a family of four in 2008 was $22,025), the government is NOT providing these individuals with any way to get out of poverty but instead confirming the theory of cumulative disadvantage.
Definitions for this debate:
1. entrepreneur - A person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a business venture
2. empower - (a)to give power or authority to; authorize, esp. by legal or official means
(b)to enable or permit
3. capitalism - an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth
*This debate is not meant to be about specific programs, although they may be brought up in the argument. The debate is intended to be an argument of differing views with regards to the general strategy for economic prosperity for both individuals and the government as a whole.
As a market force:
Capitalism assumes everything is a commodity, which is why it has failed the United States in the past. The system demands profit, and therefore treats labor as a commodity. At the turn of the century this meant deplorable working conditions. In the modern age it translates to jobs of all kinds being exported to foreign countries. We use ‘Made in America' as a prideful statement, but it is becoming ever rare. Many times, those with American pride are the very individuals propagating ideals of capitalism, and the two realities are frankly at odds. When other countries have the manpower to create goods at a lessened cost, capitalism will always choose that option. Eventually, power will shift to other nations and our own economy will pay the price for it. We are simply unable to match the competition, as we should be. Our own history has taught us the cruel reality that results from purely capitalist society, and we should shy away from any future that repeats that devaluing of labor and resources.
As a social force:
Capitalism promotes production of goods. The more willing the consumer is to purchase new items, the more a business will make, and the more that consumer will eventually obtain. It is a cyclical relationship which has escalated to new heights. Materialism has always been a problem with society; He who dies with the most wins. Unfortunately, this mentality fosters detachment and lack of empathy. When we become so concerned with ourselves, it is easy to lose sight of others' needs. This flaw in human nature is visible under all conditions, but is particularly fostered by capitalism. To lessen the evil one must not give it extra room to grow.
Capitalism and the ensuing materialism thrive on the idea that those who do not have enough got that way through their own means. Though this may be true in some situations, it is unfair to judge all by the standards of a few. This leads to further social degradation of the poor, and a lack of empathy (brought on by social acceptance of said empathy) which is crippling to those in unfortunate situations. In an ideal world, individuals in positions of power would lend a hand to those in need of service. In lieu of this, the government must provide services such as welfare and subsidized housing.
I concede that there is mismanagement of the funds directed towards some of these programs, but that does not inherently mean that the programs themselves are without merit. A reallocation of these funds may be necessary, but that is not capitalism.
There may be some middle ground to be reached, but the ultimate striving towards capitalism is not the answer. The long-term health of a nation resides in its ability to provide for all of its citizens. Capitalism itself leads to further stratification of classes and crippling economic conditions.
One factor that must be considered is the degree of offshoring. In 2004, at a time when outsourcing was becoming more and more popular, a study was performed showing that "For the past 15 years, corporations have moved jobs to the United States at a faster rate than jobs have left, for an 82 percent increase in insourced jobs compared to a 23 percent increase in outsourced jobs". It is logical to assume that, with more competition entering markets all across the board, outsourcing has become more prevalent since 2004.
However, offshoring can be incredibly beneficial to a company seeking to improve their standing in the market and is often a result of a company's desire to reduce costs. By lowering the overall costs incurred by the company, additional funds are freed up and often redistributed to other areas of the organization. The initial impact of outsourcing jobs to other countries may be detrimental to those who are immediately affected by the move, but when considering the long-term effects, the job loss is a small price to pay for the increased profitability and efficiency of a company. In due time, these improvements within the company will allow for growth, thereby creating more jobs and strengthening the economy.
If a company were to keep the outsourced jobs here, it would be forgoing an opportunity to improve its status as well as essentially eliminating itself as a competitor in its respective market. My opponent claimed that "power will shift to other nations and our own economy will pay the price". Considering that the ‘other nations' already have the cheaper labor available to them, it seems apparent that, in order to stay competitive and powerful as a nation, we must export some jobs to other countries.
As for a social force, capitalism may be seen as the enemy for some, and a friend for others. My opponent points out that "In an ideal world, individuals in positions of power would lend a hand to those in need of service. In lieu of this, the government must provide services such as welfare and subsidized housing". I agree with a portion of my opponent's statement – in an ideal world, everyone would be more altruistic and always lend a hand to someone in need. But we are not living in an ideal world (depending on what one defines as ‘ideal'), so we must consider a few things.
Should the government provide more for individuals, people would be less inclined to donate themselves. In a piece done by ABC News in 2006, it was found that "people who believe it's the government's job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away." You cannot blame these people though, because they feel that it is no longer their duty to care for their brethren. I am not advising that we abolish all government programs and rely solely on charities to support those in need, but one might wonder how effective it would be. It was also found that "people at the lower end of the income scale give almost 30 percent more of their income" than those who earn more than one million dollars a year. This may seem rather contradictory to my previous statements, but those "with incomes exceeding $1 million (about 7 percent of the population) make 50 percent of all charitable donations". They do not donate as high of a percentage as some other groups, but in the end, their money goes farther.
Again, capitalism may be defined as "an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations". By restraining capitalism, we may be handicapping the ability of the people at the "lower end of the income scale" to rise to the top, where they may continue to contribute greater percentages, and in turn help out more people than they would have been able to otherwise. Through government regulated and funded programs, those people in the lower end may stay in the lower end and not have an opportunity to give back even more to their community.
Capitalism remains an effective method for increasing productivity and prosperity of governments. Yes, it may cost the occasional outsourcing of jobs to other countries, but provides a stronger economy and more jobs in the long run. I will concede that capitalism is a source of some social stratification in today's society, but the matter of eliminating stratification and class struggle is an entirely different matter. Regarding stratification, however, capitalism can provide individuals with greater social mobility than can government programs. Assuming a percentage of the aforementioned ‘lower end' individuals achieve success (in a capitalistic sense), they will then be able to contribute far more to "those in need of service".
As stated before, Capitalism encourages shift to foreign markets because of decreased material and labor costs. My opponent states that outsourcing is necessary to stay competitive in a global economy. However, I encourage contemplation on the overall effect of this. At what cost, and for what period of time, do we allow the domestic market to suffer while companies build their strength overseas. It seems unreasonable to wait out economic trends when it may be within our power to shift public focus and provide for citizens, here and now.
Another good point addressed was how inclined people are to donate money to charitable organizations when the government already has such programs. To clarify, I am advocating a shift towards greater mandatory distribution of wealth. This would be in the form of higher stratified taxes, only because it is completely within the means of most people to give more than they do. No matter how inclined people are to donate, they will, thus alleviating some of the inequality while sidestepping resistance to charitable donation. A difficult agenda for many to come to terms with, one necessary for the betterment of local communities. In this vein, the taxes should be at the state level, to ensure morale does not drop too significantly, which would also be detrimental in the long run.
It is precisely through well run programs by the government that people in lower social classes will be empowered to better their situation. Serious discussion about ensuring that a level of motivation is built into the system is necessary, but it is certainly not the programs themselves that keep people from rising from their current situation. The issues of personal motivation and government programs are separate and should be dealt with as such.
My opponent suggested that by offshoring jobs, a company may "experience increased profits in foreign sectors" which would then prompt the company to "explore that market further". Generally a company's need to outsource to foreign sectors is not an attempt to increase profits, but instead an effort to cut costs or find skilled workers. Therefore, the idea that a company will experience a power shift is virtually irrelevant when speaking of outsourcing to other countries.
My opponent calls for a "shift towards greater mandatory distribution of wealth", likely resulting in the implementation of progressive taxes. In theory, this would be an excellent way to even out society and help everyone to lead a decent life. On the other hand, this distribution would essentially eliminate meritocracy. By doing so, people would be less inclined to strive for greatness because, in the end, they will not achieve much more than everyone else.
The United States economy, to this day, has thrived on the ability of the individual to achieve greatness. By distributing the wealth more evenly, we would see that the rich, the poor, and the middle class would experience a significant drop in morale, as well as a probable lack of incentive to work hard. It seems apparent that people are asking themselves why, with the government doing things for me – as my opponent suggests – would I do it myself? The earlier example of charity is a prime example of this; only when people feel that something is not being done properly will they do it themselves.
Finally, I would like to address my opponent's final statements. She concludes that government programs will provide people with a way to better their situation, but that a level of motivation should be built into the system. This motivation will not come from taxing the rich more; this motivation will not come from increased food stamps; this motivation will not come in a society where people believe the government will provide for them. Should motivation be defined as "the act of being provided with an incentive", then government handouts will not be sufficient. The lower end individuals, who are lower end for whatever reason, must be provided with incentive. Capitalism – an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations – provides this incentive. It is necessary that the individual work for their goals, and upon achieving them, they may reap all the benefits. This attitude of individual success, combined with the advancement of companies new and old alike, provides federal and local governments with the greatest chance at prosperity.
meritocracy – social stratification based on personal merit
gmhopkins forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by cwbaker2 7 years ago
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