The Instigator
DirtyIronSam
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
38 Points

Pure Socialism is far Superior to Captitalism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/21/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,492 times Debate No: 7923
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (6)

 

DirtyIronSam

Pro

Many people believe that socialism means government or state ownership and control. Who can blame them when that is what the schools teach and what the media and politicians say? Worse, some people and organizations that call themselves socialist say it, too.

Socialism is something entirely different. After all, we have plenty of government or state ownership in America today, but who would argue that America is a socialist country because of it?

This is a capitalist country, not a socialist one. Yet many cities own and run their own hospitals, libraries, transportation systems and utilities. The public schools, state college and university systems are government owned. The federal government owns and controls the FBI, the CIA, the army, the navy, the air force, the U.S. Marines and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Why, it even owns all the national forests and national parks. Yet, who would call these institutions examples of socialism? Who would say that today's government is socialist because it owns all of these things?

The people control the government you say? Well that my friends is an unbridled, blatant lie. Who here has not heard of the Electoral College? This system, when thoroughly examined, fully gives government officials the right to completely disobey the Will of the People when selecting the President. Congress its self is a limitation to the power of the People. The House and Senate single-handedly design every law made without even asking or considering the public. Pork belly politics and inconsideration for the masses have established a crippling national debt that has essentially enslaved not only our generation but our posterity.
Under socialism the workers who operate the industries and services would collectively own and democratically manage them. In each factory and other workplace, the rank and file would elect their own immediate supervisors and management committees. They would also elect representatives to local and national assemblies of the industry or service in which they work and to an all-industrial congress to coordinate production and distribution of all goods and services throughout the country. In short, socialism would replace the political government run by politicians with an industrial government run by workers and their elected representatives.
Instead of a senator from California or a representative from New York, there would be worker-delegates from the automotive industry, from the transportation systems, from the mines, from the clothing factories, from services such as restaurants, hospitals, schools and so on. These representatives would have the single task of deciding what should be produced and how best to produce it.
Today, the owners of the factories have almost absolute power over their employees. They can fire whomever they please, whenever they please. They can close the plant down and move to another state or another country. They can even order their workers to manufacture something worthless or harmful. In short, they have all the power of dictators—economic dictators.
Socialism means economic democracy. Instead of voting once every two or four years for politicians, workers would be making decisions every day where they work and in the field in which they are most qualified. Here is where their vote counts because it vitally affects their own personal lives.
When we use the word "worker," we mean everyone who sells his or her labor power, or ability to work, at so much per hour, or so much per week, to a capitalist employer. Coal miners are workers, but so are musicians, scientists, nurses, teachers, architects, inventors and mathematicians.
RoyLatham

Con

1. Pro's definition of "socialism" is in error. Googling "define socialism" produces a list of definitions: http://www.google.com... Every one of the definitions includes state ownership of the means of production. There is nothing remotely similar to what Pro describes. Pro is arguing along the lines of "Everyone thinks a cat is a small furry animal, even cat lovers. However, I know that a cat is really a large yellow snake." Nonetheless, I will accept Pro's definition of "pure socialism" as he has defined it, for the purposes of the debate. I contend his proposed system is inferior to capitalism.

2. Pro asks, "...we have plenty of government or state ownership in America today, but who would argue that America is a socialist country because of it?" The question poses the false choice between a country being all capitalist or all socialist. The US is a mixed economy, having both socialist elements and capitalist elements. That describes most economies in the world. There are a few completely socialist countries, like North Korea.

3. Pro asks if all the institutions he names are examples of socialism. Insofar as they are "means of production" they are, but not all institutions are means of productions. Courts, for example, are not means of production, so they are neither socialist nor capitalist. It doesn't matter for this debate, because we have a mixed economy. The government is not socialist because it owns some means of production, like, of late, General Motors. It is mixed.

4. Pro asks, "The people control the government you say?" Yes, they do. Pro asserts that the Electoral College allows the will of the people to be disobeyed. This is false, because the elected representatives of each state determine the Electors for that state. Therefore, they are controlled by the people. Moreover, while it is possible that an elected representative might not reflect the will of the people, either entirely or on some particular issue, Pro's system has exactly the same characteristic. Pro's system depends upon elected representatives.

5. Pro asserts, "The House and Senate single-handedly design every law made without even asking or considering the public." This is false. Most important issues have public hearings where testimony from outside of government is sought and considered. Public officials have websites and newsletters, and issue public statements and press releases. In response they receive e-mails, faxes, and phone calls. Public officials also get polling data that reflects public sentiment, and there is every evidence they are riveted on polling data, especially during elections.

6. Pro describes his system, "In each factory and other workplace, the rank and file would elect their own immediate supervisors and management committees." This is both immoral and economically disastrous:

a. It is immoral because there is no respect for ownership of property. Whoever puts in the capital ought to have the right to determine how it is used. If the workers put in all the capital, then there is no conflict with capitalism. They receive shares of stock and vote for the Board of Directors that appoints the management. There are many examples of employee-owned companies, and there is nothing socialist about them. If the company fails, the employees lose their investment. If it succeeds they benefit. However, deciding how to use someone else's money is grossly unethical. The employees can decide to bleed the company dry if they think they can gets jobs elsewhere.

b. It is inefficient because employees generally do not have the experience or training to select the best management. Efficient management must hire and fire based upon productivity, and they must reward and promote based upon productivity. Union voting patterns show that workers prefer having rewards and promotions based upon seniority, with productivity counting for as little as possible. That's because each person naturally overvalues their own contribution.

7. Pro further specifies, "They would also elect representatives to local and national assemblies of the industry or service in which they work and to an all-industrial congress to coordinate production and distribution of all goods and services throughout the country." So there will be vote on how many toasters are produced, how many Pop Tarts, how many alloy flanges, how many new fashions, how many records by each singing group, and so forth through all the products society needs. The result of this is an economy like North Korea's. Whether the people determining production and distribution are elected or appointed by Dear Leader, there is no possibility that they will be up to the task. Whether a new fashion will be successful or not is far beyond the province of an Industrial Congress or the collective wisdom of the workers who sew it. It has to be up to a risk-taking capitalist who puts her money on the line in return for the chance of success.

Since no decision maker is remotely able to cope with the complexity of a free economy, the result is always to limit product availability. Only the state-approved clothing styles, automobiles, housing designs, and so forth. This is fatal to economic progress and fatal to individual freedom of choice.

8. The 20th Century abounded with experiments in Socialism, both democratic and non-democratic. Most of the new countries in Africa tried socialism (many democratic), India was a bold experiment in democratic socialism, the Soviet Union and China tried Communism. They all failed miserably. The book "Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism" http://www.amazon.com... amply documents the reasons. Pro supposes that the apparatchiks brought forth by his new system will provide the magic that has thus far escaped. Pro must explain why they will be astounding more brilliant in evaluating the million factors of supply and demand that drive a complex economy. He must explain how their intensity of focus and willingness to work will match that of capitalists with their own ideas and their own money at risk. It is clearly impossible.

9. Pro claims, "Today, the owners of the factories have almost absolute power over their employees. They can fire whomever they please, whenever they please." The employees have the equal power of quitting. They can go to work at another company or they can start their own business. There are about 18.6 million people in the US who are self-employed http://www.census.gov... The average time at a job in the U.S. is a mere 4 years http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com... Neither statistic suggests that employees are slaves. Rather it speaks to the importance of treating employees well to retain valuable talent.

10. Pro's system of representation solely by industry assumes that citizens have no interests other than their occupation. In fact, people in the Gulf States have a very strong interest in preparing for hurricanes, some states have great concern with freedom of religion, border states worry about drug trafficking and immigration, gun rights are important in states having many hunters, urban states worry more about terrorist attacks than rural states, and so forth. However, under Pro's system all representation is by industry. That means that the tire manufacturers representative will have to present positions on abortion rights, foreign policy, immigration, and every other position affecting voter sentiment. But why would somebody whose knowledge base is mainly tires, have studied all these other issues and have coherent positions?

Pro's system won't work. The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 1
DirtyIronSam

Pro

DirtyIronSam forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

My, my, what has happened to Pro's passionate belief in pure socialism?

I will expand upon one point before again waiting for Pro.

Pro's opening arguments did not even remotely address the role of capital in an economy. Failure to consider the role of capital is fatal to socialism. It is a law of nature that money available now is worth more than money some time in the future. Anyone who denies this fact is invited to send me all their money right now, and I'll have it returned out of my estate at some indefinite time in the future, without interest. That proposition is ridiculous because of the inherent time value of money.

An investor puts up the money to build a factory in the hope of getting the investment back with interest (or a profit). The return is in the future, so there is inherently some risk in the potential return. Therefore the investor must be compensated both for time value and risk. Socialism hopes to escape the risk by having the government build the factory, but the escape is an illusion. The government gets money from the general tax base, which means that all those taxed are unwilling investors in the government-owned factory. However, the taxpayers have no control over where to put their valuable capital. It is all allocated by bureaucrats who know nothing about what the market wants and who will be paid whether or not they make good choices. That's why all versions of socialism fail.

Other arguments are continued.
Debate Round No. 2
DirtyIronSam

Pro

DirtyIronSam forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

Arguments are continued.
Debate Round No. 3
DirtyIronSam

Pro

DirtyIronSam forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

Arguments are continued.
Debate Round No. 4
DirtyIronSam

Pro

DirtyIronSam forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

I refuted Pro's arguments thoroughly in the first round. Pro then forfeited four rounds in a row. It is bad conduct to post a challenge to a five-round debate then forfeit. It also leaves my refutation of Pro's arguments standing. Pro's system would put incompetent people in charge, incorrectly assumes that the only issues needing representation are economic ones, and virtually prevents capital formation. The system is naive and would be a disaster.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by wjmelements 5 years ago
wjmelements
I defaulted CON due to forfeits.
Posted by wjmelements 5 years ago
wjmelements
It is so sad that PRO is forfeiting...
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
feverish, My approach was to accept Pro's definition of "pure socialism" regardless. He could have called it "System X." Every form of socialism ever tried has failed miserably because they (1) destroy incentive, (2) put the incompetent in charge, and (3) ignore the time value of money. The time value of money is a law of nature, so ignoring it in an economy is like building an airplane while refusing to acknowledge gravity. It can't work. Christopher Hitchens is a good ex-socialist to read; the author of "Heaven of Earth" I mentioned in the debate is another ex-Socialist.
Posted by feverish 5 years ago
feverish
I think it's quite difficult to pin down 'pure' socialism as there are of course many different forms of socialism advocated by different parties and individuals.

If you can accept that it means: ownership of the means of production by the community as a whole, ( as my trusty Concise OED as well as some of the more established dictionaries on the google list define socialism) it then comes down to whether you mean the state that represents the community or the workers that actually comprise it.

It's definitely interesting to see that the google list of definitions (mostly wiki) seem to mostly be describing state socialism wheras Pro's model seems closer to guild socialism.

Can't vote on debates (grrr uk mobile) but maybe a good thing as I would potentially be torn between my personal opinions and the fact that Roy normally debates very effectively.

Respect to Pro for standing up for the workers regardless of his chances of winning this debate!
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Well, Pro has selected Marx, Karl not Groucho, for his icon.
Posted by alto2osu 5 years ago
alto2osu
The pro's definition of socialism sounds eerily familiar to utopian communism...rule of the proletariat, anyone?
Posted by I-am-a-panda 5 years ago
I-am-a-panda
The type of socialism shown by PRO here.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 5 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Socialism is effectively Mercantalism, and then Capitalism if we allow workers to take over. Because business makes money, and money grants power.
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 5 years ago
Justinisthecrazy
FASCISM, I just felt like saying it
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Kinesis 2 years ago
Kinesis
DirtyIronSamRoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Beautiful demolition of Pro, and forfeit.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 2 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
DirtyIronSamRoyLathamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I really liked Pro's idea of employees choosing management but Con showed why it is ineffective. Pro also seemed misinformed as to what socialism is. Pro loses arguments for that.
Vote Placed by mongoose 5 years ago
mongoose
DirtyIronSamRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by alto2osu 5 years ago
alto2osu
DirtyIronSamRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by wjmelements 5 years ago
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DirtyIronSamRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
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