Socialism does NOT work (a devil's advocate debate)
Debate Rounds (4)
I am challenging ChosenWolff to a debate, in which (I am a socialist) I shall assume the devil's advocate role and argue that socialism does NOT work, whereas my opponent will be arguing that it can. More specifically, I am arguing against what one might call state socialism (what most people think socialism is).
The definition of socialism is:
a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.'
Also, I might suggest what my opponent believe socialism is, as the idea of socialism is rather broad and socialists nevertheless vary in ideas radically (if you'll excuse the pun), more so than Hayek had predicted.
In this debate I shall mainly be arguing against what we might call 'orthodox' socialism, or state socialism according to the Communists, or 'planning' or the 'planned economy'.
Round one is for acceptance
Round two is for opening argument
Round three is for rebuttals/new arguments
Round four is for further rebuttals and conclusion
I await my opponent's response...
I accept. Like my opponent has stated, I wish to argue this definition
"a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole."
Thank you, thank you!
If I may start...
Sir Winston Churchill once said, 'socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, the gospel of envy'.
The socialists have promised freedom, economic prosperity, social justice, equality and peace. However, the attempt to build socialism or the practice of socialism has yielded societies that are opposite to the values mentioned above.
Firstly let us look at freedom. Socialists are collectivists. As per definition and by most people's view of socialism (i.e. 'the planned economy'), it requires the community be put before the individual, or the state controls everything on behalf of the people. The socialists are well-meaning individuals who want to do good and justice, but as human beings are complicated creatures, we simply will not cooperate with the plan set by the central planners which is supposedly good for us. The precedence of collective good over individual good, because it will allegedly benefit the individual, essentially destroys our personal freedom. Furthermore, the economic planning as well as distribution carried out by the socialists not only rob us of our individual creativity and our livelihoods (e.g. the peasants in the USSR and China being moved into the communes/collective farms, resulting in large falls in agricultural production). The large scale organisation of society for 'the greater good' also means that the planners must use the apparatus of the state or society to make individuals yield to the plan. Thus it is not surprising to see that most socialist economies are totalitarian- the USSR, Mao's China, Ceausescu's Romania, East Germany and North Korea among many others. The robbery of individual rights in a socialist, collectivist state was poignantly pointed out by Ayn Rand:
' Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group . . . and that the group may sacrifice him at its own whim to its own interests. The only way to implement a doctrine of that kind is by means of brute force—and statism has always been the political corollary of collectivism.'
The common justification is that Stalin had betrayed the 'true' socialist ideals, but socialism, the 'good' of 'the people' or the community, can only be achieved by using brute force to make individuals yield to the central plan.
On the point of economics...socialist economies are clumsy and unfair. The planners have to direct the individuals to every post, every profession etc. in order to carry out the plan, because capital and labour must be controlled so that the plan does not take a wild turn. It is believed by Marx that central planning will solve the problem of waste competition creating oversupply (negative externalities as we call it today) in a capitalist economy, because by directing the capital and labour to individual firms in the economy, wasteful competition could be reduced and the economy can grow, and so that goods and services are supplied to the people. Instead the reality couldn't be more different- the rigid planning system as well as overly idealistic targets, coupled with state coercion as an 'incentive' for the plan has resulted in a massive game of pretence where growth results are doctored. The rigid control in the name of the 'people' as seen in the Soviet Union has resulted in an effect called 'storming', where workers lay idle for the first 20 days of the planning month, then rush production to achieve quota, but create too many substandard products (Leslie Holmes, Communism: A Very Short Introduction). Machines lay idle as the managers of firms have not received any instructions and/or sufficient resources for production, resulting in more wastage. The problem in the socialist economy is that resource allocation is in disequilibrium, with some firms receiving more while others receiving less- the ones that receive more lay idle for much of their time due to disincentive, whereas the firms which receive less will lie about figures to avoid the secret police. The citizens of socialist countries rather cynically remarked, 'they pretend to pay us while we pretend to work' (source: Hammer and Tickle).
The socialist economies have failed catastrophically and the contrast between East and West Germany, North and South Korea could not be anymore greater.
Social justice and equality were certainly not delivered by socialism. In the former Soviet Union, party members received special privileges and access to party shops which were not allowed by non-party members. Other privilege of the planners include the authority he wields over the individual, as stated by Friedrich Hayek, the author of the Road to Serfdom:
'The power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbour and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest functionaire possesses who wields the coercive power of the state, and on whose discretion it depends whether and how I am to be allowed to live or to work'
In a capitalist society, when one firm fails us we can always turn to an alternative, and that we have choice of employment. On the other hand when the state or society is the monopolist of employment, investments, goods and services, we are totally at its mercy.
I'd like to end this round with another quote by Hayek from the Road to Serfdom:
'The last resort of a competitive society is the bailiff, but the ultimate sanction in a planned economy is the hangman'
F. Hayek, the Road to Serfdom
I now turn to my honoured opponent...
ChosenWolff forfeited this round.
I shall extend my argument.
Among the ranks of socialists there are those who are against freedom and organic growth, namely, Hitler and Stalin. Hitler was a socialist of course, it was he who said 'I am a socialist' in a conversation with Otto Strasser(http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk...). Genocide carried out in the name of socialism, be it Communism, National Socialism, Fascism, Baathism or Juche were all justified by the utopian delusions of the planners.
Again, returning to the argument at hand, Hitler and Stalin, the ultimate product of the failures to produce 'true' socialism, require sacrifice after sacrifice.
Furthermore, the socialist planners, having to tell what the people what to do for the plan, will be granted absolute authority. With so few individuals in charge of so many, the only way to succeed is by not subverting. In the words of Daniel Hannan MEP, 'you have to suck up to the few people at the top, be they the bishops, princes or commissars'. The socialist society is very much like the medieval serfdom with the planner 'lords' directing the people in the name of the 'greater good'. There is no freedom or opportunity of creativity under planning, thus the economy will suffer as a result.
Milton Friedman once said, 'who can say that the chains of the workers in the Soviet Union is weaker than that of those in the US, Britain or Germany?' (source: M'Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom).
I'd like to apologise for paraphrasing some of the quotes, but I hope my opponent understand the points made.
I now turn to my honoured opponent...
ChosenWolff forfeited this round.
Well, I hereby rest my case, comrade
Me and my opponent agreed to tie this over PM and comments. Attempts to g oback on this tie agreement, should not be listened, as I could of argued during this round. Thank you for being reasonable zommunist, and sorry for wasting your time. This debate will be deleted shortly.
DO NOT VOTE
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Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
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