The Instigator
unitedandy
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
Grape
Pro (for)
Winning
37 Points

Should the welfare state be abolished?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
Grape
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 25,591 times Debate No: 15249
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (81)
Votes (12)

 

unitedandy

Con



Definitions


Welfare state - "A welfare state is a concept of government where the state plays the primary role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. " (1)

Abolished - 1. To do away with; annul. 2. To destroy completely. (2)

Argument 1 Universal health care and the democratic deficit

Universal health care, free at the point of use for every man, women and child is a key component of any welfare state. Now it is relevant to my case in 2 ways:
a) Democratic deficit - Abolishing the welfare state would obviously include universal health care. In the UK, for example, such a position would not be feasible by democratic means. Ever since its inception, the NHS has been politically sacrosanct, with even the biggest ideological opponents (Thatcherism) positioning as defenders of the NHS (3). In recent years, this has been no different, with polls showing levels of support as high as 89.9% in Britain (4), and the protection of this valued service regarded as “one of the biggest electoral drivers” (5). In the UK, abolishing the NHS ( a major part of the welfare state) could not hope to receive anywhere near a majority of support, and as such, the abolition of the welfare state would lack democratic legitimacy. Indeed, no major party even dares campaign on the removal of the NHS as part of their manifesto, such is the level of consensus, both amongst the political classes and from the people they represent.
b) Health (6) - A WHO report (2000) found that countries which had universal systems for disproportionately better than those without, with countries like France topping the poll, the UK performing well at 18th (despite a relatively low level of GDP spent), while the US spent more than any other country, but languished behind in 37th. The findings of the report was to “extend health insurance to as large a percentage of the population as possible.” The report concluded that:

"In many countries without a health insurance safety net, many families have to pay more than 100 percent of their income for health care when hit with sudden emergencies. In other words, illness forces them into debt."




Argument 2 - Some economic reasons to favour a welfare state


a) The Labour market - Abolishing the welfare state tomorrow would see today's unemployment figures sky-rocket: social workers, carers, welfare rights officers and even many working in other jobs (through different schemes in 'workfare') would necessarily lose their jobs. Whole industries would be scrapped. Public sector employment in the UK (recently measured at 6 million) (7) would be drastically cut, resulting in the loss of several million jobs.

b) Knock-on effects - Also, those trying to find work would lose any income, would lose help trying to find work, and poor workers would lose any in-work benefits (such as Working Tax Credits). This would mean not only concentrated and constant long-term unemployment for many people, but the ability of workplaces to freely advertise vacancies and so would also be detrimentally affected. Housing benefits would vanish because there would be no welfare state. Such measures would see homelessness on a monumental scale.Lastly, even those who don't directly benefit from the welfare state may very well end up worse off: a huge surplus of labour would see wages plummet, and workers would be one step away from oblivion, with unemployment equalling no job, no income, no help to find work. So, who would benefit from such a move? Abolishing the welfare state would be an economic nightmare.

Argument 3 - Societal impact of purging the welfare state

a) Poverty (8)

“Empirical evidence suggests that taxes and transfers considerably reduce poverty in most countries, whose welfare states commonly constitute at least a fifth of GDP.”
The alleviation of both relative and absolute poverty in the West by the welfare state is nothing short of remarkable. For example, absolute poverty in the UK pre-welfare has gone from 16.8% to 8.7%, while relative poverty has shrunk from 16.4% to 8.2%. Also, interestingly, countries like Sweden (following the Scandinavian model) perform far better than countries like the US which focuses more on a traditional, capitalist approach, to the effect that relative poverty in Sweden dissipated by 10%, while in the US, the relevant figure crept down less than 2%.

Such figures show the stark differences between a pre-welfare state west and post-welfare state developed world, and show that historically, the welfare state has a record of alleviating poverty:

“The provision of welfare is one of the principal means of tackling poverty and social exclusion.” (9)

In fact, the sustained attack on the welfare state in the UK during the 1980s was met with a tripling of unemployment in the UK by 1997 (10).

b) Crime

“ In Britain, as in the US, an understanding of the pattern of crime is inextricably connected to an understanding of the political economy, not just of unemployment, but more broadly of the new inequality characteristic of free-market societies.” (11)
Taylor (1997) found that variables such as social changes, industrial changes and a rise in inequality (caused by economic ‘liberation’) have begun to erode “the whole apparatus of welfare state provision (that was working) in the public interest". His findings have largely been vindicated . A 1998 study by Hobbs and Dunningham found that “crime can be linked to marketisation” (12).
Such empirical data is also supported by micro-level studies on urban deprivation, in areas such as Ferguslie park in Paisley (13) showing a similar pattern, and if we accept that the abolition of the welfare state would impact localities disproportionately, we could well be looking at the ghettoization of places across the UK, with terminally deprived areas becoming poorer and its people desperate. This again will have a large societal impact, and must be accounted for by any system which seeks to replace the welfare state. We can be sure that levels of health would also nose-dive, with tens of millions losing access to free healthcare.

Argument 4 - Humanitarianism


Even if we ideologically despise the idea of welfare, the reality is that we either create a safety net, or we condemn a great many people to no means of living. Such a predicament would affect us all, and I think that the mere idea of erecting poor houses or not intervening with some sort of assistance would lead to catastrophe. Such affairs would weaken society in every way possible, but the reality of absolute poverty in the streets of a developed country should worry us all when proposing to get rid of welfare. In fact, the reason for the longetvity of the welfare state may just be that it is necessary to avoid such an outcome.

Conclusion

In order for Pro to win the debate, he has to both present a critique of each of my arguments, and to present a case of his own, which attempts to address the many problems we face if we were to abolish the welfare state.

Sources


1, 8 http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
3. http://www.totalpolitics.com...
4. http://www.guardian.co.uk...
5. http://iaindale.blogspot.com...
6. http://www.who.int...
7. http://www.statistics.gov.uk...
9. Sociology: Themes and Perspectives, 2004, Martin Haralambos and Mike Holborn, Collins. P277
10, 11, 12. ibid, P369-372
13. http://www.ashgate.com...
Grape

Pro

Introduction:

I accept Con’s definitions and do not offer any. I will argue my case by dispelling Con’s reasons for the welfare state and raising objections against it.

CA1: Health Care and Democracy

a) Popular support for a measure says nothing of its effect on the wellbeing of its supporters or its economic viability. In the United States, 74% of the population favored the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a number that has since fallen to less than 40% [1]. On the issue of economics, the common voter seems to be systematically at odds with both economists and actual statistics [2]. Democratic support is no measure of legitimacy, and regardless this is a debate about what should be done and not what is feasible. I am not required to contend that abolishing the state is immediately possible. Amassing popular support is a means by which the state would be abolished, not a prerequisite for beginning the task.

b) I agree with the finding of the WHO that extending insurance to a large percentage of the population is the solution to health care problems. Rather than doing this through laws that cripple insurance companies and instate unaffordable socialized policies, we can do this simply by allowing insurance companies to function on the market. Government restriction on insurance companies prevents them from selling insurance to all, especially the poor and high risk patients. [3]

CA2: Economics

a) Whenever an organization is closed down its employees lose their jobs temporarily, but this is only a short term effect. Many tasks performed by the government, such as garbage collection, road repair, and firefighting, will still need to be performed. Other individuals, such as tax collectors, will just find other work. The free market does not leave millions of people unemployed unless forced to by regulation. That government workers can use their skills more productively in the private sector is only a case against the state.

b) The abolition of benefits for the unemployed would be little disadvantage because the abolition of the state would eliminate the main barrier to employment. Minimum wage laws, licensing restrictions, required benefits, and other regulations are what keep people unemployed [4]. Con implies that without a welfare state people would never find jobs, but this was not a problem for the thousands of years humanity persisted without government control of the economy. Left to their own devices, people will find something productive to do because that is most beneficial to them.

CA3: Society

a) It is not remarkable at all that a system that defines a certain “poverty line” and then gives away that amount of wealth would reduce poverty; the question is whether this practice is beneficial. Welfare policies reduce incentives to work by reducing the income difference between not working and working. In the US, welfare costs have exploded continuously since welfare policies were instated. This reduces productivity dramatically, and even worse puts a crushing burden on the working and middle classes who pay the majority of the costs. Regressive tax systems, such as the retail sales tax, put most of the burden of paying for these programs on the lower classes [5]. A better option is to simply let people earn a living.

b) The idea of preventing crime through economic regulation is yet another example of the state trying to solve a problem it has caused. Government policies favoring big business over small business, housing and zoning regulations, and pure neglect to public programs in the inner cities (while robbing the poor through regressive taxation) have caused ghettoization in the first place [6]. Inner-city streets are in disrepair, useless schools only harm youth, and police are positively malevolent toward the people they are alleged protecting (but have no incentive to) [7][8]. The government’s prosecution of “crimes” such as drug use and prostitution further brutalizes these people. It is no wonder that these areas are violent and dangerous. I will also note that my later analysis will indicate that government is more criminal than any hoodlum.

CA4: Humanitarianism

a) Belief that poor people should have a higher standard of living does not entail belief that we must bring this about by any means necessary. It is possible to create a safety net that is not funded through theft and slavery. In any case, I will go on to demonstrate that the violence of the state makes humanitarian concerns favor the anarchic position.

C1: Consent and Force

a) All human interactions fall under two types: contractual and aggressive. A contractual agreement is one that both parties consent to and consider beneficial. An aggressive interaction is brought on by force and benefits one party at the expense of the other. The whole mechanism of the state is one by which people use aggression to live at the expense of one another, and this is the sole purpose for which it exists. It is inherently adversarial while a purely contractual society is inherently cooperative and voluntary. [9]

b) It is inherently impossible to justify nonconsensual action because argumentation presupposes consent. We debate to convince others of the validity of our position, so it is not logical that one could be convinced that he ought to be forced to do anything. At most, he could be convinced to do it willingly. Calls for violence, as in the taxation of the state, rest only on the point of a gun. A society of unjustified violence is incompatible with the growth and development of human culture and wealth. [10]

C2: Power and Violence

a) It is impossible to prevent a massive organization with a monopoly on violence from getting out of hand. The amount of power given to the state cannot be trusted to anyone and will only be used to violate people’s rights. The state restricts drug use, free speech, and gay rights, and it has a history of promoting discrimination, slavery, and other forms of bitter oppression. It even goes so far as to regulate toilets. [11] There is no way to ensure that an organization as powerful as the state cannot escape its chains and crush human freedom.

b) There is an inherent connection between the welfare and warfare state. It is only through the massive, forced organization of the state that the disaster of war is possible. Total war labels innocent people as targets and leads to the murder of millions. The idea of a state powerful enough to control the economy not acting in a brutal and aggressive way is a pure fantasy; the powerful will always use violence to achieve their goals. Abolishing the state diffuses power and renders such destruction impossible. So incalculable is the suffering brought by war that it alone is sufficient to call for the end of government.

C3: Rule, Control, & Economics

a) Democratic or not, the state will always been run by the elite class of society and operate in the interests. The nature of the state brings about a natural ruling class. The state may help others (to get support) but it always operates in the interests of those who rule it. That is how we see innocent lives and collective resources thrown away to support the interests of the elite, as in the Iraq War. [12]

b) The incentive structure of the state is broken. Its rulers benefit from votes and not from proper policy. They will use the state for their interests while duping the public into believing that they are acting in their interest. The state is inefficient because it lacks a profit motive and accountability for failure, and often behaves positively antisocially. [13]

Sources:

[5] ibid
[6] ibid
[10] ibid
[12] ibid [4]
[13] ibid

Debate Round No. 1
unitedandy

Con


Introduction

Before I go on to address Pro’s point specifically, I would like to make some general comments. Firstly, Pro rejected my challenge of offering an alternative to the welfare state, instead adopting a vague anarchistic approach which sees the state as a whole as problematic. This is akin to the novice who promises not to lose a game of chess against Bobby Fischer . . . by never moving a piece! (1) It also deprives the voter of a choice between 2 tangible alternatives. This lack of a positive case also makes Pro quickly leap into utopianism, and we see this with his unrealistic expectation of the success of the free-market. Lastly, Pro relies heavy on general statement & speculation, rather than on concrete examples, which we see throughout his first post, and which I will deal with below.

The debate seems to have divided between 2 key components, and this will be the focus of the debate:

How we justify our ideological positions which characterise the position we hold (our theoretical approach to the welfare state)

How persuasive we are in addressing the concerns of the welfare state as it exists (our empirical analysis of the welfare state)



A1 - Health care & the democratic deficit

The dichotomy above immediately comes into play here. While I partly defended universal healthcare both on empirical grounds (WHO report) (2) & on theoretical grounds (popular sovereignty), Pro attacks both of these. As far as the empirical basis for state healthcare, Pro argues that government regulation prevents the US system from working efficiently. Notice that to combat the statistics that the WHO report gives, all Pro does is speculate what might happen if the free-market can act without intervention. Take the UK & the USA as comparative examples of a predominately state system and a predominately market-based one: Britain’s socialised medicine has universal healthcare to all who seek it, prises better results, spends less on GDP, while the US system has millions uninsured, worse results, yet spends over double of its GDP on it (3)(4)(5). While Pro speculates on what might be the case, in the UK we have a tangible example of an affordable, effective, efficient and compassionate healthcare system,& it more than measures up to the system in the US. In fact, the country deemed to have the best healthcare system in the world was France, another state-run system . These are not anomalies, & as the report suggested, only by adopting these measures has healthcare demonstrably improved on this scale. While Pro merely speculates, we must act on the empirical data we have, & the trend for better healthcare favours that of a state system, thus supporting not merely the continuation, but indeed the growth of a welfare state (6).

As for the theoretical side, Pro does not dispute the popularity of socialised medicine (90% in the UK) (7), but claims that this is “no measure of legitimacy”. I cannot disagree more here. Indeed the word “democracy” itself means people power (8), so it certainly gives us some basis for the welfare state. As for comparing it to the Iraq War, again taking Britain as an example, 63 years of continuously overwhelming support is hardly comparable to a couple of years of much less established support. It certainly seems that unless Pro can give us a reason to reject the overwhelming consensus for socialised healthcare, as well as the supporting empirical facts to substantiate the case, then we have no choice but to conclude that the welfare state should continue performing this function.

A2 - Economy


On the economy, Pro again makes a number of mistakes here, both empirical & theoretical in nature. Firstly, he concedes the short-term economic tsunami as a reality (literally unemployment and homelessness in the millions) but promises that by adopting pure free-marketeering, the economy will correct all the problems caused by the state - unemployment being the most pressing concern. Ironically, even Friedman recognised that free-markets necessitate unemployment (NAIRU), so his theoretical approach is suspect here. Unfortunately, this means, contra Pro, there will be NECESSARILY millions of people out of work permanently (9), and this doesn’t even consider the make-up of regions and so on, with problems like structural unemployment, the problems caused by Schumpterian creative destruction and so on (10). Lastly, Pro says that essential services like the police would continue, but isn’t this a state of sorts? Things which are currently performed by the welfare sector (specifically social work) would only be transferred to the police, who would be unqualified, overstretched and better yet, as my A3 suggests, would see crime increase, so would be doing 2 jobs at the same time, where the world load would massively increase in both. Ironically, the only way to manage this would be to have a proxy welfare state!

On the empirical side, the idea that the minimum wage is a barrier to employment again is just speculation in the face of empirical data. Again to use the UK as an example, the minimum wage introduction has had “little or no impact on employment”, which is why opposition to this in Britain has dissipated (10). Lastly, the role of social inclusion actually increased employment far more than the free-market orthodoxy of 1980s Britain, with New Labour’s positive welfare state reducing unemployment “to the lowest level in 30 years”, with poverty for all groups in society falling and vulnerable groups better protected than by laissez-faire economics, according to an LSE report (11). Again, the evidence favours the welfare state .

A3 - Society

On societal impacts, Pro doesn’t address either of the studies I mentioned in reference to poverty or crime but again criticises government while speculating on what might be the case if the free-market had its way. Unfortunately, as the studies indicate, it is increasing the role of the free-market that seems to correlate with poverty and crime, not more, and no amount of baseless accusation changes this fact. Unless Pro wants to base his argument on some statistics, instead of merely cataloguing his discontent, I suggest we follow the evidence presented where it leads.


A4 - Humanitarianism
On humanitarianism, I think we have seen that abolishing the welfare state would not only necessitate mass short-term poverty, but would ultimately (and Pro seems to accept this) require the forceful suspension of democracy. In fact to see this, we need look only at the Chilean experiment, where free-market capitalism (as advocated by Friedman) replaced democratic governance, resulting in a dictatorship where, as :

“People were in prison so that prices could be free.” (12)


Conclusion
Next round, I’ll try to look more in detail at Pro’s additional 3 arguments, but we can see with all of them that again they are offering platitudes rather than data. Besides, many of the points have been touched upon already. The arguments offered thus far by Pro however have been heavy on speculation, light on substance.

Sources
12) The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein p116
Grape

Pro


Introduction:

I would like to note that the resolution does not call for a weighing of alternatives and only for an assessment of the welfare state. I think my alternative was quite clearly implied: a stateless society of spontaneous organization. I cannot propose a concrete plan for such a society because the lack of central planning is the point. Secondly, I will comment on the claim that my arguments are speculative rather than empirical. As I will contend in detail this round, my approach is to provide explanations for phenomena instead of trying to draw general conclusions from specific data. Con provides limited data from a few examples and concludes that this is the general working of all events while I focus on a theoretical approach to what is expected in a ceteris paribus scenario. While he criticizes my approach as “heavy on speculation, light on substance,” it is he who lacks substance: he provides statistics and concludes without offering explanation that they prove everything, leaving me with nothing of substance to contest.

CA1: Healthcare

Con does not defend socialized healthcare on theoretical grounds at all by noting that people support it. That is not an economic defense; it is a statement about the opinions of people. He has provided no theoretical explanation of why state systems should be more effective generally. The libertarian solution to healthcare calls for deregulation of insurance, licensing, and drugs and reduction of subsides. Deregulation increases supply and lowers costs, increases availability, and incentivizes investment and innovation. Reducing subsides reduces what is subsidized [1]. These are principles that apply always and generally. Con’s entirely empirical arguments fail to account for the higher wealth of socialized countries (independent of their socialism), social and ethnic differences, and a host of other unknown variables. In principle, we can never understand all the complex variables at play and so mathematical economics without a sound theoretical framework (which Con has not given us) is a game of guessing and assumption akin to using physics to model every water molecule in the ocean to predict the tides [2].

I don’t understand what Con is even trying to prove with the consensus argument. Popular support does not make sound economics. Just because many people agree on a policy does not mean it’s a good idea or that it’s morally just. The differences between this argument and two lions and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch exist only in degree, not in principle.

CA2: Economy

Despite his reduction of basic economic theory to “speculation” Con makes no small number of assumptions and wild predictions himself. Privatization does not entail firing everyone and starting again; ownership of existing organizations can be transferred. The welfare state can be abolished in steps so unemployment is not sudden. It is absurd to conclude from the theory of natural unemployment that a large percentage of former government workers would be unemployed forever. Given their skills, it’s likely their unemployment rate would be below the base rate. His assumptions about how private police would work are unfounded: private groups accountable to consumer demand are more effective than public groups funded by excision rather than consent. If they are freely funded and do not force their service on others they are not analogous to a state.

In his defense of the minimum wage, Con once again asks us to disregard theory entirely and trust statistics alone to explain unimaginably complex systems. The Austrian theory suggests that if a worker is paid according to his marginal productivity, there is a disincentive to hire him if he must be paid more than this. Hence, the minimum wage causes unemployment among unskilled workers ceteris paribus [3][4]. In wealthier nations like the UK, employers may be willing to take this cost (human capital is scarce and expensive anyway) but that does not negate the theory.

Con totally ignores the point that licensing and other rent-seeking behavior causes unemployment and reduces productivity and is possible only through the welfare state. He also does not address how humanity persisted without economic disaster before the welfare state. The Roman Empire sustained levels of productivity unmatched until the 1700’s and its economy only faltered when it adopted proto-welfare policies [5]. The welfare state did not even exist before the last hundred or so years.

CA3: Society

Con has no response whatsoever to the charges I brought against the state. I explained actual causes and effects and the relations between events in order to provide an understanding of how society can be expected to work. Con just asserts that the welfare state is working and markets cause crime and thinks that this claim is validated because he cites a book. Well, I don’t have the book and no explanatory claims have been made for me to challenge. I also cited a book [6], which can be read in pdf, that offers a number of explanations for these phenomena. Rational explanations are a better means of understanding the issues than unquestioningly accepting what “seems to correlate.” Voters should basically consider this point dropped by Con because he ignored my arguments and expected me to somehow disprove statistics I don’t have access to. His stated claims are pure assertion with no backing whatsoever.

CA4: Humanitarianism

This response amounts to a nonargument. Con’s only points are his failed analysis of unemployment (Schumpeterian creative destruction causes permeate unemployment, abolishing the state would do this to millions of people) and his uncritical acceptance of democracy as an inherent good. His comparison of corporatist dictatorship to free market anarchism is nonsensical: authoritarianism is as antithetical to true capitalism as socialism. I think the humanitarian results of socialism in the 20th Century go without mention [7]. My arguments pointing to the violence of the state have been ignored thus far, so humanitarian concerns still strongly swing in my favor. Anarcho-capitalism increases freedom and productivity and decreases violence and repression in principle.

Conclusion:

Con centers his defense of the state on the petty concern that temporary unemployment results from social reorganization (a problem he has hyperbolized) and unexplained data indicating some correlation between freedom and certain problems under certain circumstances. He has ignored most of my arguments entirely because I used theory rather than raw numbers to make them. I have provided good reasons to believe that freedom solves problems and the state creates them ceteris paribus and that statistical evidence that shows otherwise is the result of other variables. If we count 2 fish in a tank and 2 in another, then merge them and count 5, we have not miraculously disproven the theory that 2+2=4. We have some error in our data. The same is true in economics: we can learn from data, but the data must conform to a theoretical framework. Con proposes no mechanisms by which anything works. His statistical approach is so unsound that I could, by the same logic, counter by noting that 100% of people in welfare state societies die and there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case in pure anarcho-capitalism. The theory that all people eventually die would be dismissed as groundless speculation.

Ironically, Con cites a number of sources that contribute nothing to the debate, including a needless (amoral) explanation of what democracy is and a Wikipedia article on a chess player.

Sources:

Debate Round No. 2
unitedandy

Con

Intro

The point of this debate was to determine the viability of the welfare state. Implicit in this is both that there can be an alternative to it, and that this alternative should be favourable to the welfare state. The nature of any decision is that of choice, and as Pro has provided us with nothing but purposely vague statements about what the abolishment of the welfare state would mean, I contend that he has not fulfilled his part of the debate, as readers will not be able to determine whether getting rid of the welfare state would be beneficial - because Pro has admitted he can provide no such argument. Therefore, he is forcing the readers to choose between an implemented and demonstrable system which has been a part of the fabric across the globe for decades, or his own vaguely expressed, theoretical brand of anarcho-capitalism which he cannot even claim has any practical value at all. One cannot compare real-life systems with pure utopianism.
This utopianism is all to clear to see when we consider that Pro has absolutely no empirical data to base his economic theory on. The idea that this is a serious alternative to the welfare state is laughable. Economic statements with absolutely no empirical basis to back them up are about as useful as a catflap in an elephant house. They are just blanket ideological statements which we have no way determine are relevant to reality. On my empirical case, he calls it “limited”, and asserts that I am generalising from what may be the case. But the fact is that all of the empirical data I have given has been supplemented by quotes from the reports and studies themselves, and all the conclusions I have given have been based purely on the data. Also to call the WHO report (1) for example limited while providing no empirical data of your own is patently absurd, especially when he substitutes this for flowery rhetoric.

A1 Health and democratic deficit

Pro here tries to explain away the WHO report (2) by asserting that things like the comparative wealth of socialist countries should be taken into account. Firstly, the fact that these countries are so disproportionately wealthy should maybe tells us something about the welfare state itself. But as I pointed out earlier, the UK for example gets BETTER RESULTS with its healthcare system with HALF the spending that the US does (3). This is reflected by the enormous amount of support it has across the board politically, to the point where I personally know of no political party which opposes it in Britain. Now, to compare this with a vague and vacuous idea is just nonsense. On the one hand we have a system in place which works efficiently and universally, with popular support and saves lives on a daily basis, and on the other we have an idea with no empirical support provided and which is based on pure speculation. Lastly, the fact that it has the overwhelming support of the people (4) (e.g. UK) means that in order to abolish the welfare state, one has to abolish democratic legitimacy.

A2 - Economy

Abolishing the welfare state would unfortunately necessitate mass unemployment. For example, the NHS is 3rd biggest employer in the whole world, with 1.3 million employees (5). Now while I accept that the market would no doubt step in to replace some employment, as you yourself said, profit motive would determine employment, so it would necessarily limit itself. Also, with things like social work having no obvious monetary value, these services would disappear by your own reasoning. Again, NAIRU (6) explicitly dictates that not only would there necessarily be unemployment, but that without the welfare state, there would be absolutely no support to the unemployed, which traps unemployment, particularly in certain regions, demographics and so on.
On the minimum wage, Pro pits theory against fact, saying again that it’s too complex to trust the research. But the fact is that the conclusions of the Austrian school is disputed by many economists, like Pierro Saffra (7) and others who argue that “even given all its assumptions, is logically incoherent.” (8) The best way to test it therefore is an analysis of the real-world. I gave empirical data in my last post to justify my position, and Pro again relies solely on speculation.


A3 - Society

Pro here admittedly doesn’t interact with my case at all here, with his excuse being that he has no access to the studies. Firstly, my poverty case was almost exclusively taken from the net. Secondly, the least he could do would be to provide some empirical analysis of his own, but he just gives these huge blanket statement. Lastly, he seems to criticise the conclusion I gave WITHOUT READING THE STUDIES. Again, this is nonsense and I’m more than happy to let the voters decide between serious primary sources and Pro’s own opinions.

A4 - Humanitarianism

Again, things like mass unemployment and the forceful suspension of democracy should make one hesitant about adopting the welfare state. Ironically, his point about communist regimes (despite his conflating this with socialism) is evidence of this as well. The only way to abandon the welfare state in many areas would be to forcibly do so, and this amounts in the worst possible results, as even Pro documents.


PRO case

Consent - The welfare state gains its consent with popular sovereignty, the mechanism of legitimacy in democratic society. The welfare state gains its legitimacy through popular support.
Violence and Control - While Pro again merely assumes that a state is necessarily violent and unaccountable, I see no relevance with this and the welfare state. States which are firmly accountable to the people through direct democracy would solve both these problems at a stroke, and as a working example, look at countries like Norway, who have a firm commitment to social justice, while having a far better record than the US, which has the less welfare and far more violence.

Summary and conclusion

On the arguments, I think I have shown that while the welfare sate can be supported theoretically (it exists within the confines of a democratic system) and empirically (the studies and reports justify its effectiveness in dealing with societal problems, all Pro has done is provide a fairly vague ‘what if’ scenario, which betrays the very serious threat that the Austrian school could possibly pose to the welfare state. The fact that he has provided no blueprint for voters to favour shows that the choice is clear: keep the welfare state or chance utopia.
On conduct and sources, I think the fact that Pro repeatedly refused to offer a tangible account of his system counts against him here. Also, his petty remark about my sources at the end of his last post (which were used to illustrate an analogy and to source the literal meaning of “democracy” to prove a point about democratic legitimacy) is where irony meets absurdity. While I provided a wealth of information from a variety of different places, Pro numerously cited whole books to replace arguments. This failure to source information properly is almost severe as his constant reliance on the same sources and the same thinkers.
In conclusion, even if the welfare state was inadequate in any number of ways, it might still be the best option. The fact that Pro never provided one leaves us guessing as to whether to abolish the welfare state, even conceding his whole argument against it. However, I think I have shown both a mixture of political and economic reasons to keep the welfare state, and that the criticisms are poorly based.

Sources
Grape

Pro

Introduction:


I have called for anarcho-capitalism as an alternative to the welfare state and made that point clear throughout my arguments. I cannot provide a plan for an unplanned society, that society would be governed by the laws of human action. I have not claimed my system is utopic, only that it is superior to the one in place. Con’s demand for empirical data is fairly unreasonable since no anarcho-capitalist society yet exists. Would this be considered a good case against democracy in the days before it was implemented or would we take the superior theory of democracy over dictatorship as enough? I am simply calling for the very same step. In any case, I was never explicitly required to argue for anything besides society sans the welfare state; that itself is an alternative. Throughout the debate, I will maintain that I can use economic laws as arguments without having to do a scientific test of anarchism in my back yard. Con’s insistence on using only pure data without even allowing thorough analysis and alternative interpretation is just taking advantage of the fact that only the status quo is subject to direct observation. His approach makes heterodoxy impossible while he demands it of his opponent.


CA1: Healthcare

Still no arguments from Con. He implies but cannot show a causal relation between wealth or healthcare efficiency and socialization to explain the corollary relation shown by the data. I provided an economic analysis of healthcare and suggested reasons for a private alternative [1], which he ignored. For the majority of this point he just continues his long ad populum as though it is an economic theory. No matter how many people agree on something, logic is needed to demonstrate its validity.


CA2: Economy


Con continues the same unemployment line even though it was already dealt with. People who work in the NHS could just work in private health service, minimal unemployment would result. Without subsidies to unemployment, unemployment would actually go down (because, as noted previously, subsidies increase what is subsidized). [2]

Con has no rebuttal on the minimum wage. He tells us someone disagrees with me, which is not an argument. No reasons why the Austrian position is wrong were provided. I explained why the statistics are misleading and are subject to interpretation, but Con chose to ignore my explanation and flatly insists that the data paint a perfect picture of reality.


CA3: Society


Referring to Round One, we see that Con’s sources 9-12 are from the book Sociology: Themes and Perspectives. His statistics for this point come from there. I cannot interact with those statistics because I do not own the book. I will note once more that I cited an economic analysis of the state’s effect on poverty and the downtrodden and was submitting valid alternative theories, not my own arbitrary opinions. Why does Con think he can blandly assert ‘crime can be linked to marketisation’ and cite a book to justify it, but I cannot counter with evidence from another book that government action is harmful? Con falsely interprets own statements as objective and mine as subjective when there is no difference between them from a neutral standpoint. Unlike Con, however, I backed my observations with some analysis instead of blindly relying on statistics. Con gives us no reason why marketization actually causes (not just correlates with) social problems while I cited and explained policies of government intervention that directly contribute to social problems.


CA4: Humanitarianism


Con’s continued reliance on the unemployment ‘problem’, which is probably the least convincing of his arguments, and his unquestioning acceptance of democracy both ruin this argument. There is no reason to believe democracy is inherently more humanitarian than anarchy. Con’s outrage about the inability of people to force their wishes on others is unfounded. His comparison of anarchy to dictatorship is much less credulous than my comparison of socialism to communism, for obvious reasons. Democracy and dictatorship are most properly grouped together: both allow for the use of aggressive violence while anarchy does not. I have cited on my CA3, C1, and C2 that the state directly harms people and that it hurts the economy on CA1 and CA2, so this arguments should favor the anti-state position.


C1: Consent and Force


Popular support does not match the definition of consent I used in Round One at all. Five of my neighbors consenting to something is not equivalent to me consenting to it; consent is an individual decision. A society in which my neighbors tax me is clearly aggressive, not contractual, because all parties must agree (not 51% of them). Apply this line of reasoning to, say, sex, and we see why Con’s approach to consent is a disaster. Con does not even attempt to challenge my moral framework, which completely destroys his first three arguments because they all call for nonconsensual government action against people’s property.


C2: Power and Violence


Con offers no logical rebuttal to my argument that the state is unaccountable beyond, ironically, his opinion. This is no state existing now or ever that does not violate the ‘non-economic’ rights of its subjects. Nowhere is it legal to have a gay heroin orgy in your front yard despite the full permissibility of such behavior under the legal framework I outlined, which was not challenged by Con. Prevention of this activity must be carried out through violence against innocent people, which is immoral and reduces their quality of life. This behavior is inherent of the state. A nation’s stated commitment to civil liberty is meaningless if is not carried out. Con’s comparison of the US to Norway is odd because are both welfare states. I have little to say because he has made basically no arguments. He claims (with no logical support) that governments can be held accountable and controlled to prevent this, which leads me to my next point…


C3: Rule, Control, and Economics


Totally dropped by Con. He has no response to my charges that the state has a demonstrably failed incentive structure which encourages exploitation and plunder rather than capital development. As Hoppe explains in A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, caretakers (rather than owners) of goods will exploit them for personal gain rather than enhancing future value [3]. He has no response to the fact that the state creates a natural ruling class. While in democracy the people theoretically have power, control is still essentially oligarchic. The wealth of US Senators shows this point rather clearly (they’re mostly millionaires) [4]. There is virtually no statist society, from the most to least free, in which this is not the case. I could go on to argue about the ineffectiveness of democracy in holding leaders accountable both in practice and theory [5], but Con has no rebuttal to my case anyway.


Conclusion:


Con has no theory to support his system and he provides us with no framework in which to interpret evidence. He ignores any alternative interpretations or explanations of the data and insists that only his is correct without providing any economic analysis to indicate why this is the case. His standard for evidence requires experimental testing of systems that cannot be controlled and are too complex to properly understand in this way. My heuristic provides a far better method of analyzing and evaluating complex and abstract issues. I maintain that Con is only presenting the image of scientific legitimacy through inflating his bibliography and creating false pretenses of objectivity. He has no economic framework whatsoever to make us favor his interpretation of what are essentially numbers. I have sufficiently demonstrated that the welfare state is deeply flawed and that society would be better off without it.


Sources:


[1] http://tinyurl.com...

[2] ibid

[3] http://tinyurl.com...

[4] http://tinyurl.com...

[5] http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 3
81 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by unitedandy 5 years ago
unitedandy
Yeah, I think there were definitely things we both could have expanded on, and I definitely agree about your R1 arguments, but such is the nature of learning. I think it was also ridiculously ambitious to try and cover the whole welfare state in such a debate, and this accounts for some of the problems we both faced during the debate. Cheers anyway, and hopefully we'll debate again in the future sometime.
Posted by Grape 5 years ago
Grape
I think I handled some issues rather poorly and some issues rather well. You definitely won the healthcare argument; I think a major issue was that you didn't spend much time on my round one arguments.
Posted by unitedandy 5 years ago
unitedandy
Well done Grape. Looking back on the debate, there are definitely things I would change, but such is the nature of hindsight.
Posted by i8JoMomma 5 years ago
i8JoMomma
this government should be abolished.they suck and don't know what they are doing besides steal our money and give it to the towel heads
Posted by Grape 5 years ago
Grape
I addressed that issue in a PM to socialpinko.
Posted by darkkermit 5 years ago
darkkermit
Did lionheart even read the debate? Just cause he changed his vote, doesn't mean it isn't votebombing. It just means he's switching sides.
Posted by Grape 5 years ago
Grape
Lionheart has fixed his vote and I am about to let socialpinko know that he can uncountervotebomb. Unitedandy, if you think that Lionheart's vote is unfair you can handle it how you see fit. It was difficult enough for me to get this far.
Posted by Grape 5 years ago
Grape
Now that Lionheart's misdirected votebomb has been balanced, is there any more contest over votes or can we consider this point legitimate? Spinko, be sure to change your vote to unitedandy of Lionheart realizes his mistake and changes.
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
I'm going to ask a couple people to vote 7 to counter lionheart so my vote will count and we'll have an accurate score.
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
Part 1

Alternative

I'll keep this short; Grape offered Anarcho-capitalism as an alt. He may not have directly come out and said it, but it was heavily implied in his own constructive where he criticized the state in general.

Democracy

I think Grape misconstrues UD's argument here. Con didn't say that because the people support it, it means its right. He argues that to abolish welfare in spite of the public support would go against democratic principles. While Grape definently showed that support =/= right, it wasn't exactly responsive to the argument UD actually made.

Health

UD lost this right in round three. All he really did here was restate his original position, especially on how UK spends less money. He did not respond to Grape's counter-argument that there are other variables that can account for socializd nations having better results in health care. Also, while UD initially argued that pro's argument about the free market is mere speculation, once Grape said that deregulation has certain effects "always and generally", con would drop that too. Clearly deregulation's benefits are not speculation if it almost always happens.

Economy

Con just kills me here when in round three he refutes the Austrian theory by saying that "X economist disagrees". No analysis of his own, and no warrant behind the quote either. Its established that minimum wage is bad.

Furthermore, con would only attack minimum wage, dropping license restrictions and benefits. This means any unemployment caused by affirming would be counteracted by new people being able to get jobs.

Furthermore, con drops the argument that economies did just fine before welfare. Also never responded to the gov. and social workers being able to find new jobs given their skill set, so unemployment wouldnt even be a problem. Also I buy the argument that welfare can be abolished in increments, as this is never really responded to either.
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by DylanAsdale 5 years ago
DylanAsdale
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Vote Placed by Bob_Gneu 5 years ago
Bob_Gneu
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Reasons for voting decision: Dont really care =)
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
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Reasons for voting decision: Lionheart withdrew his vote so I will as well.
Vote Placed by Lionheart 5 years ago
Lionheart
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Reasons for voting decision: Due to confusion over my previous RFD... I withdraw all my voting points in this debate. Sorry for the confusion.
Vote Placed by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
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Reasons for voting decision: Pretty good overall
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 5 years ago
quarterexchange
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro showed that welfare does not necessarily bring citizens out of work and was overall destructive to the economy. This was a very good debate and I wouldn't be surprised if these competitors ended up being neck and neck
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments
Vote Placed by Staerkel 5 years ago
Staerkel
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made ore convincing arguments. con often contradicted his own case.
Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 5 years ago
Cody_Franklin
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD coming in the comments.
Vote Placed by J.Kenyon 5 years ago
J.Kenyon
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments.