The Instigator
Neuhaus1994
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
JamesMadison
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points

Socialism is better than capitalism

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Neuhaus1994
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/16/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,560 times Debate No: 25155
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
Votes (3)

 

Neuhaus1994

Pro

I will argue that socialism is better ideologically, and actually, while con will prove that capitalism is better than socialism, in the regards previously mentioned. This is meant to be a straight forward fundamental political debate.

Rules of conduct
1.No talking of religion in the debate.
2.No examples without a cited source.
3.No rambling, to express personal views, only facts, and political philosophy.

Socialism is defined as: an economic system characterised by social ownership and cooperative management of the means of production, and a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, direct public ownership or autonomous state enterprises.[1]

This does not include Leninism, Marxism, Maoism, or any other version of communism. This is a debate on socialism.

Rounds
1.Acceptance, and further definitions. That means that con must furnish his/her own definition of capitalism.
2.Opening statements.
3.Rebuttals.
4.Conclusions.

Note:I have limited the text to 4,000 characters.

I look forward to an enlightening debate.

Works Cited
[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
JamesMadison

Con

I agree and look forward to this debate. I also agree to Wikipedia's definition of capitalism:

"Capitalism is an economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit. Competitive markets, wage labor, capital accumulation, voluntary exchange, and personal finance are also considered capitalistic."[1]



Sources:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Neuhaus1994

Pro

The majority of my debate will focus around the ideals of capitalism, and socialism, because my defence of socialism has no real examples to draw from, since no real socialist system every existed.

1. Social Inequality is minimised. The vast collection of capital would not be allowed in a true socialist state, while capitalism would promote the acquirement of "excessive wealth." In preventing the rise of a higher class there would no longer be a system in which people with far more capital would be able to exploit those with far less capital.

An example of such an instance would be the exploitation of minimum wage factory workers, by an employer. The employer in the capitalist state would have free reign to control the worker, by threatening to cut the worker off from the "subsistence capital" that they need. The worker then has no such way to advance in society due to the fact that all capital would be going to the survival of said worker. Therefore the system of the capitalist exploiting the worker would go on perpetually. Also in a capitalistic state, unions would not be allowed, and would be labeled as "socialist." In a socialist state the employer would have all excess profits be diverted to the worker so that the worker would have capital to both subsist, and to better themselves, and thus break the chain of exploitation.

2.Political freedom would be better preserved. The capitalistic system of allowing complete economic freedom is inherently damaging to the freedom of the people without capital. In socialism money would not be equated with power or freedom, but would be treated as a simple medium of exchange.

For example in a capitalistic society a worker exists. that worker is relatively poor while his neighbor is vastly wealthy. the worker if he desires to run for political office would be allowed to, but in the event that his rich neighbor wished to also run for election, but was not as qualified, would still be able to win simply due to his vast amount of "capital influence." The socialist state would not allow such blatant exploitation, and would allow both people the same opportunity to voice their opinions, without one of them skewing the results of popular opinion by using capital. In this way political freedom is guaranteed, while capitalism reserves the guarantee of political freedom to the person or group of people with the most capital.

3.Rights in general would be better preserved.

For example in the capitalist system the court system would be run by the state. the court would then be influenced by the people with the most capital, through things such as better lawyers, while the people with less capital would be at an inherent disadvantage. Therefore freedom and equality would not exist. In a socialist system the courts would be run by the state, and would not allow the expenditure of capital to influence decisions, because the use of capital for judicial means is strictly prohibited by he socialist state.

4.The economy would be better. In a capitalist state the fortunes of the economy and thus the lives of the worker are in the hands of the few, while socialism would give the reigns to all.

For example any economy in existence exists with the rules of supply and demand. The capitalist system lowers it's own demand by reducing the number of people with capital, by incessantly creating a wealth gap. this is evident by the fact that when poverty increases demand decreases. Capitalism has no solution to this problem. The only solution is a socialist solution. That is to say to re divert excess capital to those that needed it. Therefore people that previously provided no demand, now have the ability to create demand, through spending their capital. This then forces supply to go up, and therefore the means of production must increase. This means that unemployment decreases, and the productivity of the state also increases.

Works Cited:
No sources were needed




JamesMadison

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this debate and will lay out my opening arguments this round.


Capitalism Does Work

I would like to start this debate by pointing out that capitalism does work. It works in increasing economic growth and average income. It also works in increasing things like life expectancy, political freedom, and education.

In a study titled "Two Cheers for Capitalism?", Peter Leeson notes that countries that have become more capitalistic over recent decades have seen more income growth, higher life expectancy, more education, and more political freedom. Meanwhile, countries that have become significantly less capitalist, have seen stagnant income growth, less life expectancy, less education, and more oppressive political regimes [1].


Why Capitalism Works Better than Socialism

At the core of capitalism is voluntary exchange, competition, decentralized control, and incentives. Basically, the idea is that the government provide a currency, a few basic "non excludables" (military, police, basic safety net, etc.), and set some basic rules (contract enforcement, copyright, property protection, etc.) but then allow individuals to do the rest through individual exchange.

Now, critics often charge that capitalism is based on "greed". They are wrong. Capitalism is based on voluntary exchange. Individuals and groups exchanging goods and services without state coercion. Often times, it is true that the exchange of goods and services is in the self interest of both parties involved. This is known as mutually beneficial trade.

However, in this context, self interest is a good thing. Imagine one person has two televisions and the other person has two computers. If both of these individuals agree to trade one television for one computer, then it would be in the self interest of both of these two to do it. And, it would make both involved better off. That is the key to voluntary exchange. Now, a socialist could argue that both of these individuals are being greedy, but that does not change the fact that all parties are better off.

Capitalism is basically voluntary exchange on a large scale. Corporations that exist independant of government only got their through selling their goods and services on a free exchange. And, if people like what they sell, they can grow into a large corporation. So long as they don't get ties with the state, this is good for society.

In a word, capitalism is the free, voluntary exchange of goods and services in a society. It works because every exchange is good for all parties involved.

In contrast stands socialism. Socialism is basically a state run economy. The state uses coercion to forcefully take income from some to give to others. It runs industries not by free exchange and competition but central planning and force.

This means that industry in socialism is not based on consumer demand but what bureacrats think is right for society. Perhaps more importantly, socialism does not allow industry to fail. This is protectionism at its worst. It props up the old industry with precious resources. This keeps resources from being moved to new, more efficient and productive enterprises. It keeps entrepeuners from having the ability or drive to start new businesses or ideas.

In the end, socialism does not work in practice or in theory.



Sources:

[1] http://www.peterleeson.com...


Debate Round No. 2
Neuhaus1994

Pro

I would now like to examine con's arguments, as per the rules of the debate.

Con states: "It (capitalism) works in increasing economic growth and average income. It also works in increasing things like life expectancy, political freedom, and education."
Refute: Con makes the point that the economies, and so the lives of the people under such economies are better. That statement without proof is only conjecture, but con has provided us with a source. That source states that the move to capitalism has driven the economies of foreign nations forward. I then must ask, what were they previously? The answer is that is cases such as China they moved from an authoritative dictatorship, to a more relaxed "controlled capitalism." It seems to me, and I believe I can safely say that con has the terms socialism and "ruthless dictatorship" mixed up. The article that he has cited, recalled instances of former dictatorships, and pseudo-socialist countries collapsing into capitalism[1]. For that reason the source is invalid, and therefore con's statement is also invalid.

Con states: "Capitalism is based on voluntary exchange."
Refute: The crux of con's argument, that capitalism is based on voluntary exchange, that is mutually beneficial. This is bluntly false in the actual world.
Counterexample: For example the entirety of the lower class need materials to survive. The corporations, and businesses have the manufactured materials. The corporations need labor. The corporations then trade goods for labor. The worker receives the materials to stay alive, while the corporation takes advantage of the fact that they need their goods. In this case both people are subsisting, but the worker is not benefiting he/she is just being kept alive to provide labor for the corporation, while the employer is reaping all the excess benefit of the worker's labor. The worker's actions are not voluntary, because without the labor contract he/she cannot survive.

Con states:"So long as they (corporations) don't get ties with the state, this is good for society."
Refute: Con says that the corporations can only benefit society if they are not attached to the state. This statement is conjecture. A modern non-bureaucratic state can in theory, and actually be very well run by the state, so long as the statesmen have a vested interest in the welfare of the state. Since socialism would promote free elections, and ban "election rigging" by means of eliminating capital from the election process the state would actually be a far more trust worthy entity. Therefore in many cases the state would run corporations better, in that they do not have a profit motive.

Con: "In contrast stands socialism. Socialism is basically a state run economy. The state uses coercion to forcefully take income from some to give to others. It runs industries not by free exchange and competition but central planning and force."
Refute: Con's paints socialism as a ruthless domineering entity that destroys freewill, and eliminates free exchange and competition, then he also makes the bold statement that socialism is based upon central planning and force. Let us first examine when he says that the state would use coercion to take income from some and give to others. That coercion that is stated would be in the form of moderate taxation of the people, on a graduated scale. The state run economy, would be an economy of state run corporations, and small businesses propped up by the state, in order to be given the chance to succeed. That elimination of competition, would be the competition between various state run corporations not for profit, but for the best product. In short, socialism would have the beneficial aspects of capitalism, but would be contained within the state, instead of in the hands of reckless self interested citizens.

Things to remember:
1. Socialism does not equal either bureaucracy, or dictatorship.
2. In most cases voluntary exchange is not voluntary.


Works Cited:
[1]] http://www.peterleeson.com......



JamesMadison

Con

An analogy that I often use to explain why countries that call themselves socialist are relevant to the debate over socialist is to imagine a man who says to his friends that, if he jumps the right way, he will fly. So, he runs and jumps off of something. Not surprisingly, he falls and gets hurt very badly.

So, his friends all tell him that he was obviously wrong and he could not, in fact, fly. The man then looks at them angrily. He insists that of course he can fly. He just didn't jump the right way or the conditions weren't right. Some of his friends are convinced by his argument. So, they try jumping too, but they all fall and get hurt the same way he did.

Finally, somebody asks the original man what makes him think that he or the other people can actually fly when they fall every time. His answer is that he knows he can fly because, when he described what would happen before he jumped, he can fly.

Of course, the man in this story sounds insane to anyone who reads it. But, amazingly, this is basically what socialists are saying today. Every socialist country has failed miserably. And, this is perfectly in line with what the capitalists have said all along: socialism doesn't work and, the mythical socialism that we hear about in books, could never exist. But, to the socialist, the very fact that socialism in practice does not match what their literature said socialism was supposed to look like in practice is evidence that it has not been done right.

It would be different if we had one large scale example of real socialism working well over the long run. Then, we could actually argue over the merits. But, until that examples comes, it seems that the capitalists were right all along.

Now, socialists can go on and on about how every socialist state had dictatorships and whatever else. But, of course, if you had read Hayek and other anti socialists, this is exactly what you would predict: socialism inevitably leads to dictatorship.

Now, on to my opponents R1 arguments:


Inequality

My opponent claims that socialism reduces inequality. However, he does not even establish that less inequality is necessarily better. If this is not established, this is a useless point. Furthermore, my opponent also does not offer any empirical evidence to support this.


Political Freedom

My opponent claims that socialism would increase political freedom. This is astounding. After all, the implementation of socialism has, in every instance, involved brutal political repression. Now, my opponent would claim that this is becaus they aren't "really" socialist. But, as I explained above, this is not really an adequate response.

Also, in R2, I provided evidence that capitalism INCREASES political freedom.


Rights

My opponent claims that socialism would be better for rights. The question is: what rights?

Property? Liberty?

It's hard to think that socialism is equated with any of the things we think of as rights. Again, we have to look at the evidence. Although I offered evidence in R2, it does not take a historian to know socialist states have not been stella in terms of rights.


Economy

My opponent claims socialism would be good for the economy. An astounding claim with only theory to support it. It is not surprising that theory, and shoddy theory by the way, is brought up. After all, socialism has been an economic disaster. I showed this in R1.

Evidence matters here. But, as far as the theory goes, it is based on demand. But, my opponent must remember that capital accumulation is required to have long term growth in the economy. This means saving. Economies are driven by investment and productivity, not demand.

And, as far as the economy goes, what does my opponent have to say about central planning? Incentive problem?

These are major problems for socialism.



Conclusion

Sorry, I rushed on this round. I look forward to R4.
Debate Round No. 3
Neuhaus1994

Pro

I hope to conclude my arguments as per the rules.

Socialism has never actually been tried! This is a major point that must be mentioned. In the USSR the revolution was the result of mass starvations, and the leaders of the revolution created a facade of caring for the people. This facade was communism. They had no intention of actually adhering to this plan, and in fact latter on Stalin blatantly stated that communism was the greatest lie that his people were told. This pattern has been repeated in the DDR, VRP, VRB, DPRK, and the PRC. One more example is North Korea. While they are communist is name they obviously are not in practice, nor is any country that claims to be communist/socialist. Once again con states that socialism has been tried and has led to dictatorships. The dictatorships arose because socialism was not arrived at properly. It is clearly stated in all socialist (not communist) ideologies that socialism must be arrived through a peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism.In this regard, this has never happened. All so-called socialist states came about due to violent revolution, and extreme poverty. To build socialism off of that foundation would be lunacy, because socialism needs a stable, well off society, that is educated in order to succeed.

Uncontrolled capitalism leads to oligarchies. I would like to recount the cases in which capitalistic countries that had no finacial restrictions collapsed into oligarchy. The Weimar republic collapsed into the third reich. Poland after WW1 became a state run by the military leaders. South Vietnam collapsed under the scandal of monopolization of power amoung the wealthy. America during the gilded age had only millionaires in the government, and monopolies destroyed almost all other independent business. My point is that any form of unchecked capitalism will cause an intense monoploization of power, thus destroying freedom, as has been seen in many cases.

Con states that inequality is not bad. This statement is false. Inequality is the root of all social unrest in all of history. It is in this way that socialism has the support of history, while capitalism has to rely on theory, and incomplete facts.

Con states that a system based on social justice, would not increase political freedom. This is notion is ridiculous. One just has to look at the U.S to see the political restrictions. There are only two viable parties, while in other more socially liberal countries such as Germany there are six, or more.

Con states that socialism "has not been stella (I believe con was trying to spell stellar) on rights." My reply to this is that in theory socialism is all about the empowerment of the individual within the community.

Con makes the bold theory that economies are not based on demand. This flies in the face of all reason, and the very rules of economics. It is during the times when people are saving that the economy is in recession, while when people are spending the economy is doing well. Therefore one can conclude using simple logic that demand must be the primary incentive to increase productivity.

I would also now like to respond to con's question about the incentive problem. My answer is that money would still be the incentive. It is as simple as that. People just would not be excessively wealthy.

Important Points
1.Do not be fooled by con's attempt to vilify socialism with false examples.
2.Socialism is undeniably better in theory.
3.The elements of socialism that have been tried in advanced economies have been effective.
4.Socialism does not led to dictatorships, if the population is well educated, and moderately wealthy, such as in America.
5.Socialism has never been tried, however there have been dictatorships that have used socialist propaganda to cover up there evil doings.

I would like to thank my opponent for the debate, it was fun.

Vote Pro!


JamesMadison

Con

JamesMadison forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Final Revised RFD: Both sides committed a few mistakes...Con decides to directly challenge Pro's arguments after a discussion on capitalism, and often appeals to history, which contrasts sharply with the emphasis on ideology, but not entirely; Pro, however, fails to assume the mantle of empirical evidence to justify the very basics of his own position, for theoretical statements are not all sufficient to permit evaluation (empirical evidence as opposed to trends or characteristics derived from history, as seen in a few moments in Con's case).

Now, it is true that economics is secondary [and as I reiterate, "the framework offered by Pro did not negate political restraint associated with restrictive state ownership of industry, which does negate the arguably economic aspects, with the aforementioned absence of any empirical evidence weakening the rest of the case"] to the arguments on political rights and inequality. Con responds, in the context of the debate, poorly by refusing to directly appeal to the ideological nature of the debate, instead casually dismissing the statements by virtue of history, with the only other pertinent response being the lack of specification of rights and the true wrong of inequality (a superior response would have been that inequality is subordinate to the other political virtues of the system)...The economic aspects thus remain in Con's favor, in the dichotomy between customer demand vs. the interests of the state, with Pro's response only demonstrating an voluntary exchange that does not encompass the entirety of the scenariom to demonstrate.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
The political aspects are thus weakly established (Con's response to the state's interest does not eliminate the possibility of good management, for he could have shown that placing the interests within the state possessed a far greater risk than that within capitalism), while Pro's initial arguments--the equation of money with power glances more to cultural notions and would not entirely refute the spectrum of rights inherent within a capitalist country, and his responses by attempting to break associations with political countries could have been easily refuted. On the other hand, the criticism of the judicial system were weak and cursory at best, but not effectively handled to the entire extent by Con, who could have demonstrated that by virtue of common political associations (which in actuality, Pro entertains), such a flaw is minor.

Consequently, the debate is tied in arguments; neither side exploited to an entirety, or even fully an adequate level to combat the two, with a few simplicities, other sides, and so forth virtually ignored. However, it should be noted that it is not a stretch; a debate is not judged based on the errors of the case when one must considers the performance. Of course, this is a narrow victory based on the importance of such a fact alone, and would not have been agreed upon with such vacillations.

I apologize if I seemed to be intellectually dishonest but was still deciding upon announcing a winner or making it a tie.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
This will be the final and most sensible verdict for this debate. I apologize for my vacillations though there was one strand: Con did not win entirely.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
As a note about the emphasis on the empirical, as contrasted to the ideological nature of the debate, I'll only mention that such is a minor flaw (thus qualifying my statement) but still an admitted weakness. I downgraded it however, in net result, from being a powerful factor in deciding who won the debate...
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
Sources: Goes to Con since he was the only one to actually use a source (in defense of his claim for the betterment of social conditions by transition to capitalism). Pro also posted this source in the next round but only to quote the article Con posted. Conduct: Goes to Pro as per Con's forfeit in the last round of the debate.

Arguments: Con's arguments concerning the incentive problem were never actually explained. He simply mentioned it. Besides that Pro refuted the point with the fact that money and wealth itself is not being eliminated. The State is simply curbing the mount of wealth in one's hands. Whether this is a good thing is another matter but the incentive problem doesn't hold much weight in light of it.

I think Con relied way too much on trying to draw on historical experience with "socialist" countries. Besides the fact that Pro explicitly differentiated evolutionary from revolutionary socialism. Pro actually criticized various Marxist theories of socialism for their violent and revolutionary nature seeing as they have inevitably lead to dictatorships. Therefore Stalinist Russia or Maoist China cannot be used as examples against Pro's conception of socialism.

Con also failed to effectively refute Pro's point regarding voluntary exchange and coercion. Con sply claimed that voluntary exchange ex ante benefits both parties which is reasonable. However, Con's analysis fails to take into account the conditions surrounding the reasons people make various conditions. The fact that capital is generally in a superior bargaining position relative to labor was never refuted by Con.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Apologies for my vacillations, but I have settled on the original revised verdict I reached.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Essentially, Pro narrowly wins, in my view. I am willing to change such a view with further reflections.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Read revised RFD and then my RFD. The revised RFD complements my thirdly revised RFD, with the exception that Pro's arguments were slightly more convincing and untouched.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Read from top to bottom.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Revised RFD: Both sides committed a few mistakes...Con decides to directly challenge Pro's arguments after a discussion on capitalism, and often appeals to history, which contrasts sharply with the emphasis on ideology, but not entirely; Pro, however, fails to assume the mantle of empirical evidence to justify the very basics of his own position, for theoretical statements are not all sufficient to permit evaluation (empirical evidence as opposed to trends or characteristics derived from history, as seen in a few moments in Con's case).

Now, it is true that economics is secondary [and as I reiterate, "the framework offered by Pro did not negate political restraint associated with restrictive state ownership of industry, which does negate the arguably economic aspects, with the aforementioned absence of any empirical evidence weakening the rest of the case"] to the arguments on political rights and inequality. Con responds, in the context of the debate, poorly by refusing to directly appeal to the ideological nature of the debate, instead casually dismissing the statements by virtue of history, with the only other pertinent response being the lack of specification of rights and the true wrong of inequality (a superior response would have been that inequality is subordinate to the other political virtues of the system)...The economic aspects thus remain in Con's favor, in the dichotomy between customer demand vs. the interests of the state, with Pro's response only demonstrating an voluntary exchange that does not encompass the entirety of the scenariom to demonstrate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Man-is-good
Neuhaus1994JamesMadisonTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Final verdict. After hours of thinking on this, I've decided to settle back to voting for Pro; Con's explicit failure to combat the political aspect, which was the crux, proved fatal, and thus left the bulwark of such arguments standing. (See full exposition as provided in the comments).
Vote Placed by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
Neuhaus1994JamesMadisonTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Neuhaus1994JamesMadisonTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for FF. However, I found pros economic argument lacking, and as con stated it lacked any observations. Theory is good, however no evidence exists for socialism. Con showed this evidence does exist for capitalism, winning the point. Pro failed to show it even worked in theory. Con argued economies are driven by greed and production. He then showed socialism ruins these incentives. Con wins the debate.