I have not been very active on debate.org recently, and I hope to reenter the stage with more profound and broad issues. Here, I will be arguing in favour of Social Democracy, and my opponent will be arguing against it. Each side will have 72 hours to write an argument, there will be five rounds, and each argument has a limit of 10,000 characters (the maximum). There will be open voting for a month after the last argument has been posted. Sources must be cited in one way or another, either by simply posting the link or in the MLA format. I hope to be courteous and not digress too far from the central point of this debate. Social Democracy is an economic system and political system, and I hope to point not only to Europe and Canada as success stories but also make the case that it could work here in the United States. Let us begin!
Let me thank lyokowarri0r for accepting this debate about Social Democracy—which, for the purposes of this debate, we will define as “Socialism achieved through democratic means.” Now, as I look at my opponent’s profile, I see he is in support of Socialism and against Capitalism, which is a stance farther to the left than my own. I still welcome him to debate against me, and in fact, the best debaters are often those that could, if they tried, argue the other side. I wish him luck.
I will organize my arguments in the following manner: First, I will start off with some statistics about successful social democracies, primarily in Europe, as well as Canada and Australia. I will start on an easy note and simply warm up to a main argument. Secondly, I will go in depth about the failures of Western Capitalism here in the United States. And thirdly, I will weave the first and second arguments into a case for implementing Social Democracy here. May I note that part of this argument is pasted from an essay I wrote for my English class a few months ago.
Point One: Social Democracies Around the World
First, let me list the ten happiest countries in the world according to Discovery News.
Though economics plays a major role for these countries’ success and happiness, culture also plays a part in it. These nations are in many ways more collectivist than we are. They see it as “we” and not “I.” Most, if not all, of the above nations can be classified as some form of Social Democracy. Now granted, where is the United States on this list:
17. United States (7.082)
I do not require a source for this, but indeed it is common knowledge that we have the largest gross domestic product of any nation.
Let me cite another debate of mine, in which I argued in favour of a Sanders presidency: http://www.debate.org... I cited Canada’s success with single-payer healthcare, an element of Social Democracy.
Point Two: The Failures of Western Capitalism
“Capitalist market economies open to trade and financial flows may be the worst economic regime,” (Roubini). Many Conservatives ignore the fact that a lack of regulation and a lack of a social safety net will actually hurt people instead of help them. They also like to paint heartfelt Progressives as Marxist Socialists. “While this crisis does not imply the end of market-economy capitalism, it has shown the failure of a particular model of capitalism. Namely, the laissez-faire, unregulated (or aggressively deregulated), Wild West model of free market capitalism with lack of prudential regulation, supervision of financial markets and proper provision of public goods by governments.”
Any time laissez-faire has been attempted and governments strode towards it, chaos arose. “It is clear that the Anglo-Saxon model of supervision and regulation of the financial system has failed,” (Roubini). England has moved closer to laissez-faire in the nineteenth century, but no one, excluding enterprise owners, profited. “It relied on several factors: self-regulation that, in effect, meant no regulation; market discipline that does not exist when there is euphoria and irrational exuberance; and internal risk-management models that fail because, as a former chief executive of Citigroup put it, when the music is playing, you’ve got to stand up and dance.”
Yet, abolishing the classes would prove to be difficult, needless to say, also very unlikely to succeed. We are not Communists. That is why our approach must be directed towards the enterprises and the services public systems can provide, creating the environment where one can flourish, where liberty can thrive, and where Utopia can be fully realized. And in this world, we would see the gaps between the classes reduce to interstices, not massive, massive schisms and rifts stealing from hard-working people wealth, power, liberty.
Now, the above, in many ways, is just an idealistic appeal to the progressive, grassroots base. But where do we draw lines, and what specifically will be the structures and functions of a people’s government, and what philosophy will we as a national society adhere to in regards to labour and entitlements and the like?
Point Three: The Case for A New System in the United States
I recently had a debate on single-payer. Let me simply link my arguments here: http://www.debate.org... My arguments are in the second and last round. I was dealing with a troll there.
Many proponents of pure Capitalism (and laissez-faire) forget that deregulation gives birth to financial crises and even worse poverty. It is sad to see most Republicans incapable or unwilling to acknowledge the issues they face and their severity, “[e]specially [George W.] Bush, our CEO president, who lays the blame not on the failures of the marketplace but on past administrations and corporate greed” (Huffington). The marketplace. Small business. Corporations play a massive role in the destruction of our economies and our natural world, but small business must also be put in line and must also play by a set of rules.
In his article Why Western Capitalism Has Failed Us, Ray Williams continues: “But we also know that transitioning to some kind of a new economy—and, probably, a new governing model to match—will be a civilization-wrenching process. We're having to reverse deep and ancient assumptions about how we allocate goods, labor, money, and power on a rapidly shrinking, endangered, complex, and ever more populated planet. We are boldly taking the global economy—and all 7 billion souls who depend on it—where no economy has ever gone before.”
"The Happiest Countries in the World : DNews." DNews. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.
Roubini Nouriel. “Laissez-Faire Capitalism Has Failed.” Forbes. Forbes.com. Web. 4 March. 2016.<http://www.forbes.com...;
Williams, Ray. "Why Western Capitalism Has Failed Us." Psychology Today. PsychologyToday.com Web. 29 Feb. 2016.<https://www.psychologytoday.com... >
Now this debate is about social democracy. I am fine with the way my opponent has defined it but if I my add to it. The word socialism is used a lot lately without a strong understanding of what it is. Socialism is defined by Google as a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. I would like to state that there is no socialist government as socialism implies that there is no government; the economy and policy is decided by everyone. So when we speak about social democracy, we say that we want to come close to this in democratic means. But the issue stands as there is no real social democracies that have achieve true socialism.
With that said, I would argue that socialism is simply not achievable foe the United States because of our overall temperament and the size of our country. As a country, we but the idea of "I" higher than the nation or "us". This has been with us since out inception and it will be difficult if not impossible to get rid off. Without the support of the masses, socialism cannot be done democratically. Also, America is a special place and it is difficult to compare it to other countries. We have over 300 million people living here with all different ideologies, race, ethnicity, and origins. My mother immigrated from Peru which is much more socialist than America. I go back every year and see mass poverty and a corrupt government. The problem is that socialism is defined as no government but can only really be achieve by violent revolution or big government; and we have seen time and time again that when the government becomes unchecked, it grows corrupt with power.
I would also argue that socialism does not work in the way we intend. The economy is complex and when we try to change it to our whim, we end up making the problem worse. We can see this best in the stag-flation crisis in the 1970's. The economy slowed to a halt and the Federal reserve responded is lowering interest rates and flooding the economy with money and welfare programs to kick the economy back up. The result was rapid inflation and a scare that the economy was about to crash. People would not spend their money and banks would not give out loans in fear of a collapse that would make the money worthless. The fix? A new chairman of the Federal reserve. He raised interest rates and cut spending which caused a small rescission... but inflation also stopped. In time the economy recovered as it always does. This whole event could have been avoided if the government stayed out of the economy. There are countless examples of government intervention causing inadvertent problems later.
We are successful as a nation and will continue to grow and be the best. We as a nation would never allow a social democracy to develop and even if it does, it would be bad for everyone.
Forgive me for not refuting your points earlier. I have a little more time now.
My opponent, lyokowarri0r, sites no sources in this debate, so keep in mind that his arguments have no evidence attached to them here.
My opponent seems to presume that I am a Socialist of some sort and that I would like to try that system here. I believe it was the implication that I am in favour of a Scandinavian-style, Dutch-style, UK-style, Canadian-style social democracy as opposed to state socialism and Marxism in Cuba, the USSR, China, and North Korea.
My opponent makes no effort to challenge the successes and effiencies of other social democracies.
Really, there is no argument here. My opponent expresses uncomfortability with the concept of Socialism. Actually, I notice now that I should have rephrased my definition. I mean that I am still a Capitalist but seek a strong social safety net. Denmark is freer than many countries in terms of its markets and enterprises.
I would write more and flesh out my thoughts, but I have to go now.
The pro speaker defined social democracy is the beginning of this debate and I have rightfully attacked that. Now it seems he no longer cares for that definition and has changed it to suit his side which is not fair. The pro side has brought fourth many statistics on countries that have social democracies, but he has been unable to explain what these really mean. Happiness is very subjective and cultural difference must be taken into account. I do not need to challenge the success of other governments. The debate is whether to install it here in the United States. The cultural, cognitive, and biological diversity unique to the united states makes it impossible to mimic the social democracies of Europe.
The burden of proof lies with the pro side, and that side has failed to give specific reason why the US should change to a social democracy. He has brought up the success of other countries but this has limited applicability.