The Instigator
austinlaam
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
thett3
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

Socialism is more rational than Capitalism

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
thett3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/6/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,779 times Debate No: 40085
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (6)

 

austinlaam

Pro

We will be arguing the topic "Socialism is more rational than Capitalism". It is fairly self explanatory. If you have any questions about the topic post it in the comments and I will be more than happy to respond.

1st round will be just to accept.

1. If needed, site reasonable sources.
2. Proper grammar encouraged.
3. Act as civil as possible.
4. Have fun.
thett3

Con

Cool, present your case.
Debate Round No. 1
austinlaam

Pro

Thanks for accepting. First I would like to define the two political ideas.

SOCIALISM
A way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies.

CAPITALISM
A way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government.


*In a way, you could argue that these words could be subjective so I decided to give us a definition for a basis of the debate.

ARGUMENT:
Some may argue that just by looking at previous Socialist governments, they were a failure, therefore socialism is bad. I would like to address this argument for round one.

Now to address the idea that Socialist governments have failed in the past, therefore socialism is bad. In both systems there are people left to starve on the streets, but in capitalism, this is justified, but in socialism, this is because the system isn't working perfectly. Many socialist societies have prospered, but only for a very short period of time. This could be for a number of reasons. Most probable reason; The true Socialist government was plagued by corrupt politicians. If these corrupt politicians are taken out of the equation, socialism would be better than capitalism by a long shot. All people should be given an equal opportunity to succeed. Workers should have most say in their factory's management. The free market suffers from problems like tragedy of the commons. Government regulation is necessary.


SOURCES:
http://www.diffen.com...
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
thett3

Con

Framework:

Since we're looking at economic systems, what is "rational" should be judged by economic results. You can see quite clearly why capitalism is superior in this regard.

==My case==

I. Incentive structures

Capitalism allows individuals to pursue profit, and compete with each other for people's money in voluntary exchange. This creates a better incentive to invest your money properly and to innovate than does socialism where profit and loss are decided by those bureaucrats playing with money that isn't theirs. It's for these reasons that historically state enforced socialism has failed every time. Economist Hans Hoppe points out[1]:

“…public property government resources are unsaleable, and without market prices economic calculation is impossible. Accordingly, it must be regarded as unavoidable that public government ownership will result in continual capital consumption. Instead of maintaining or even enhancing the value of the government estate, as a private owner would tend to do, a government's temporary caretaker will quickly use up as much of the government resources as possible, for what he does not consume now, he may never be able to consume… “

This shows why socialism is bound to fail--a peverse incentive to spend and deplete capital is created because the loss/gain is not taken by the person/mechanism ultimately controling the industry. Beaurcrats and politicians cannot be trusted to act in accordance with the economic good, the vast amount of sheer unadulturated waste propogated by the government is evidence of that[2].

II. Empirical evidence

Luckily for us, lots of countries in the past have implemented socialism. Let's see if it made them any better off.

It's pretty clear which system comes out ahead in terms of economic wellbeing when looking at history. My opponent may argue that previous socialistic governments failed because they didn't implement this policy or that, or because they didn't use his particular brand of socialism, but this is a ridiculous assertion. If public control of the means of production can work, all of the brilliant minds in state socialist USSR, China, Cuba, and a myriad of other countries would've found a way. My opponent needs to provide some serious justification for his system, because indeed there's never been a worse system for human wellbeing that socialism as defined by my opponent. R.J. Rummel of The University of Hawaii estimates that communism has been responsible for over 100,000,000 deaths in the 20th century[3]. Now of course there is a difference between Communism and Socialism, but they are similar in the fact that the government controls of the national resources is in effects, and indeed since true communism is stateless so called "communist" regimes have much more in common with socialism than they did communism. No doubt Marx turned over in his grave at the atrocities committed by a misunderstanding of his ideals.

Rummel points out the common link behind all genocides, including non-communistic ones- is an overly powerful government. The leviathan is restrained by Capitalism as the wealth is held in private hands and without wealth the government can't have the level of control it does in socialism. So vote Pro for more genocide. My opponent needs some serious economic benefits to outweigh. Let's see how socialism stacks up economically.

In terms of economic well being I think there are three cases that are as close to controlled experiments as you would be able to get when comparing socialism to capitalism. East and West Germany, North and South Korea, and China and Hong Kong. Keep in mind also that the wealthiest nations with the highest living standard in the history of the world, the US and Western Europe, are liberal capitalist democracies.

Germany clearly saw a difference between it's capitalist and socialist sides. The East did so poorly that they had to build a giant wall through Berlin to prevent their citizens from fleeing to the capitalist West. Per capita GDP in the West was over double that of the East when they reunified (the equivalent of 22,000 Euros compared vs. 9,400 Euros), and so damaging was the socialistic experiment that even today the East is still catching up, and per capita GDP remains 30% below the level enjoyed by the West[4].

North Korea is an orwellian super-state that controls pretty much every aspect of it's citizens lives, certainly the economy. Are they any better off due to state control of resources? According to the National Review[5]: "At the moment, North Korea’s per capita income is less than 5 percent of the South’s. As the Atlantic Council’s Peter Beck puts it, “Each year the dollar value of South Korea’s GDP expansion equals the entire North Korean economy.”"

Hong Kong was under the control of the liberal minded, capitalist English empire until the late 1990s, after China had already undergone a socialitic transformation under a genocidal maniac who destroyed its culture. Hong Kong was allowed to retain it's free markets when it was ceded back to the Chinses in 1997. Today per capita GDP in Hong Kong is over 5 times that of China[6], about $52,000 compared with $9,200.


==Opponent case==

My opponent attributes all of the failures of socialism to corrupt politicians. First, there is nothing inherent in capitalism to prevent corrupt leaders from being elected, and the US government at least is very corrupt and corporatist, but because capitalism is so potent of a system we still have the highest GDP and one of the highest living standards in the world. You can actually turn this argument, because corrupt politicians have much less money to play with in capitalism than they do when they control the entire means of production.

My opponent then argues that leaving people to "starve on the streets" is justified under capitalism. First of all, most of the Western capitalist states have extensive welfare systems so this is false, secondly economic prosperity is so much higher in a capitalist society that the standard of living is so much higher that essentially no one starves, and third if starving people out on the streets is bad, we shouldn't look to socialism since a socialist government committed the Holodomor in the Ukraine, a forced famine that let to an estimated 3.5 milion people starving to death[7]. There were literally peasants dead from starvation in the streets.

My opponent then says that capitalism suffers from the tragedy of the commons--first, under pure capitalism there would BE no commons, secondly even if you buy this argument socialism suffers from the tragedies of genocide and poor economic perfomance. This outweighs.

Pro argues regulation is necessary. Capitalism just means the means of production are in private hands, it says nothing against the government making some regulations. Government regulation does exist in capitalist states and has for some time.

Vote Con.

Sources:

1. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2001. USA. 48. Print.
2. http://www.coburn.senate.gov...
3. http://www.hawaii.edu...;
4. http://www.theguardian.com...
5. http://www.nationalreview.com...
6. http://en.wikipedia.org...(PPP)_per_capita
7. http://en.wikipedia.org...;
Debate Round No. 2
austinlaam

Pro

Thank you.

I. Addressing Con's arguments.

- Con says that capitalism allows individuals to pursue profit, and compete with each other for people's voluntary exchange. With all do respect, Con is disrespecting all of the impoverished people living today as a result of Capitalism. The poor people now, in the United States of America, are poor BECAUSE OF CAPITALISM. Whenever business is included in Government, the poor man stays poor and the rich man stays rich. Someone who is born poor is most likely going to stay in that social ladder.

- Con insists on the (for lack of a better word) "cheap" arguments that Socialism has killed MILLIONS of people. I can also name MILLIONS of deaths capitalism is responsible for. If the con could, we should refrain from such childish arguments about death. In ANY government millions will die. We are debating what is more rational, not what government kills more people. Because my opponent has decided to plague the minds of our audience with death counts caused by socialism/capitalism, I shall provide some numbers myself. In fact look at the deaths that Capitalism has provided [1]: The millions who die of hunger every year, in a world that produces enough food to feed everyone. The millions who die from inadequate health care and preventable disease, including right here in the US. One estimate is that 18 million die every year from poverty-related causes. Also the BRUTAL colonization of African countries, which caused the death of millions. 10 million in the Congo alone.

- Con would like me to provide some economic benefits of socialism:
* Socialism creates an egalitarian society. Whenever people must work together for the common good of man, people have a fair chance. Everyone as equal rights an opportunities.
* Socialism allows workers to reap the full benefits of their own efforts and ends the institutionalized robbery of the very workers who are producing the wealth in the first place.
* Socialism ends the monopolies and tyrannies of mega-corporations which leads to poor people getting a bigger chance to live a good life.
* Socialism would free workers from wage slavery.
* Socialism would raise the level of education and health services and make them available for all citizens.

- My opponent states this, " First of all, most of the Western capitalist states have extensive welfare systems so this is false..." Does con not realize the are socialist ideas? The implementation of welfare and other social programs is a whole different debate, but in my opinion (IF used correctly) they are healthy for our society.

- My opponent states, "... secondly economic prosperity is so much higher in a capitalist society that the standard of living is so much higher that essentially no one starves...". Again, with all do respect, the Con is being completely disrespectful to all of the living impoverished men women and children who have fell slaves of the businessmen and corrupt ways of a capitalist society. If he could, could the con please name a country that is so perfect that "no one starves"? These are ridiculous assertions the con makes and out right wrong.

II. Pro's Arguments.

I have researched benefits of socialism. I have found 75 reasons socialism has benefited the United States [2]. I will list out some of these reasons in hope that the audience will kindly vote Pro. I am not meaning to just copy and paste these arguments, but they are incredibly convincing and I find that the people reading my arguments will like it.

* The Military/Defence
- The United States military is the largest and most funded socialist program in the world. It operates thanks to our taxpayer dollars and protects the country as a whole. From the richest citizens to the homeless who sleep under the bridge. We are all protected by our military whether we pay taxes or not. This is complete socialism.

* Police
- Ever had a situation where you had to call the police? Then you have used a taxpayer funded socialist program. Anyone can call the police whether they pay taxes or not. They are there to protect and serve the community, not individuals. This is complete socialism on a state level, but still socialism all the same. Would you rather have to swipe your credit card before the police will help you?

* Student Loans and Grants- Did you go to College? If you did, you family might not have been rich enough to pay your way through. So you got your education anyway through student loans and grants from the federal government at taxpayer expense. Of course you have to pay back the loans, but if not the government, did you know anyone else who was going to lend you tens of thousands of dollars? Probably not. So the taxpayers lent you the money and you paid it back with slight interest. The government grants you accepted were gifts from the taxpayer and the federal government that you did not have to pay back. Socialism got you through school.

* Court System - Whether it's the murder trial of the century or a case in a small claims court, the taxpayers of America fully fund our courts and legal process. You may pay for your own lawyer, but the courtroom, judge, and jury is paid for through socialist means.

* Health Care for 9/11 Rescue Workers - After beating back GOP obstruction, Democrats finally passed a bill last year to allow government to help 9/11 rescue worker's with their health care after many came down with horrible lung diseases from the toxins they breathed in rescuing people from smoldering buildings. These brave citizens risked their lives and health to help complete strangers. They deserve more, but covering their health care is a good start.

* FEMA - If Disaster strikes, FEMA is there to help pick up the pieces. As a part of homeland security and an agency of the federal government, they use taxpayer dollars to help cities, states, and towns recover and rebuild. I don't know to many private companies that could assist in disaster relief and ask nothing in return. Thank God for socialism.

* Government Scholarships - if you work hard in school and show true potential, our government will give you a scholarship towards college so you can advance your education. Your tax dollars have been used to send future doctors, lawyers, scientists, and even presidents of the United States to college.

-Small note, if you would like a full list of all of the 75 reasons, please check the sources.


III. Conclusion

Now, I think that all of you rely of these things or you may know someone who relies on these things. These are social programs that were created by socialists! How weird. The common man is affected by socialism and he doesn't even know it. In a truly Capitalist society none of you will get any of these. These are forms of freedom. These simple socialist ideas are a basis of true American freedom. The role of socialism in your lives is HUGE, and yes, you benefit from it immensely. VOTE PRO.


Again, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. It has been an interesting one. I also want to thank the viewers for reading this debate.

Please read the facts. Vote PRO.


Sources

[1] http://www.dailykos.com...
[2] http://www.dailykos.com...#

* http://www.socialistreview.org.uk...
* http://www.bergonia.org...
* http://socialistworker.org...
thett3

Con

Thanks for the debate.

==My case==

I. Incentive structures

Pro drops my argument on incentives and the card from Hoppe showing how absent the free market, economic calculation is impossible and capital becomes depleted. This serves to prove logically the empirical analysis I offered in my second contention. Socialism leads to bad economic results, you can negate right here as Pro failed to give any counter to this insuperable objection to his system.

II. Empirical evidence

Pro argues I am disrespecting the poor people by advocating Capitalism, however the very opposite is true. As shown by my arguments, the best deal for the poor people is to live in a market economy where individuals are free to invest. I offered three cases we can look to that are as close to controlled experiments as one could hope (all dropped by Pro). Has state socialism helped the common man? Absolutely not. Again, look the the GDP analysis I offered, there is an extremely distinct difference in the economic well being of the common man in each of these regimes, a difference that heavily favors my position. Pro argues that when "business is included in Government" economic mobility stagnates, and this is true. However this is a critique against corporatism, not Capitalism. While some Western democracies express some corporatist tendencies (and some socialist ones), the vast majority of the market remains free. The free market has done more to lift people out of poverty than any other system in history.

Pro characterizes my arguments on genocide and claims that we're debating what is "more rational" not which governments kill more people, but the economy is a social mechanism people use to maximize their well being--we're debating which incentive structure, Capitalism or Socialism does this. Clearly a system in which the power of the government isn't checked by that of the people in charge of the market, a system where men are not viewed as freeholders of property rights but rather as cogs in the national machine, fails to do this. Pro calls these arguments "cheap" and argues that he can name "millions" of deaths Capitalism is responsible for. I doubt seriously Pro can point out a Capitalist government that committed genocide--it's never happened. Let's see if his assertions stand up to scrutiny.

Somehow Pro argues that Capitalism leads to starvation. First of all, under socialism there is more starvation, even socially engineered mass starvation's like the Holodomor. Recall the dropped economic analysis-this is key, I solve for Pro's starvation impact more than he does because Capitalism enhances everyone's economic well being. Does this completely solve world hunger? Obviously not, but it's done a far better job that Socialism. Pro also argues that the brutalization of the Congo was a Capitalist policy. This is a perplexing argument considering that Capitalism is about property rights and private ownership of the means of production, and the crimes of Leopold II in the Congo involved stripping people of their property rights, enslaving them, and proclaiming the government (the King) as the rightful owner of the land, namely the rubber industry. You can see that socialist governments have committed most of the genocides in history, so vote Con for less genocide.

Pro gives a lot of one line impacts about why socialism is good, such as everyone will "work together for the common good" as if people are willing to work for less incentive (compare the per capita GDP's of Capitalist and Socialist countries). Pro is right about one thing though, under socialism people do have the same opportunities: none. Pro also makes patently absurd arguments like contractual agreements of labor in exchange for a wage is "wage slavery" and "stealing from the workers". I'm sure any actual slaves would be happy to live in the slavery Pro envisions, a world where they can freely sell their labor to the highest bidder. Pro also argues that socialism makes health care and education better with no warrant at all, he just asserts it. Ignore all these one liners.

Pro argues that welfare states are socialistic policies. First of all he's shown no contradiction between free/private markets and welfare states. 6 of the top 10 countries on the index of Economic Freedom[1] have pretty extensive and successful welfare states (Australia, ranked 3, New Zealand ranked 4, Switzerland at 5, Canada at 6, Denmark at 9, and the US at 10). Even if Pro is right, my impacts still outweigh. Capitalism without the welfare state is superior to state socialism with it's economic failures and genocides.

Pro misunderstands my characterization of the hunger argument--I'm not arguing no one starves in Capitalism, just that it's less so than Socialism. Remember the atrocities brought on by socialist states even before looking at their abysmal economic track record.

==Pro's case==

Pro gives a lot of short reasons to support socialism. Don't let him get away with this, I could laundry list assertions in favor of Capitalism as well. Even so, I'll address them to show where his arguments are flawed. I'm not really sure that the person who wrote Pro's article understands what Socialism is. As my opponent himself defined it, Socialism is all about the government owning the means of production. The bad news for Pro is that government services aren't all socialist. If the government owned the farms and sold food, that would be socialism. If the government decides to fund a police force, that is not socialism.

Military

Pro somehow argues that the military is a socialistic institution. Wrong. This is a government institution, and there's no inconsistency with a free market and the existence of a state, and the military isn't a factor of production. Pro tries to characterize this as a socialist institution since it defends even those who don't pay taxes, but this is absurd. The military is not a business, it doesn't fight in exchange for payment, it's a result of the governments moral obligation to defend it's citizens in a hostile world.

Police

Again Pro is arguing for the existence of a state. What does a commonly funded police force have to do with government ownership of the means of production? If these things are Socialist, then there can BE no Capitalistic governments and all of Pro's arguments are attacking a system that doesn't exist. It's strange that Pro calls my arguments "cheap" and then tries to characterize every social institution as socialism.

Student loans

First, part of the reason college tuition has gone up so much is due to government subsidies as LearnLiberty points out[2].

Secondly, again this is not socialism.

Court system

Courts have existed for centuries, the US legal tradition itself was inherited from the much older common law system in England. Unless my opponent wants to argue that Feudal England, a system completely based on inheritance and ownership of property, was a socialist country, this is an absurd characterization.

Health care for 9/11

The government rewarding social workers who do their jobs well is not socialism. Even if it is, my impacts outweigh this by several orders of magnitude.

Disaster relief

This is once again an example of the state protecting it's citizens. What factor of production does the government seize to relieve disaster areas?

Scholarships

Once again this is just a government policy, not it seizing control of private industry.


For Pro to win he needed to counter my arguments and show positive impacts from government control of the economy. He has failed to do so. Positive results from government are not examples of socialism unless they are examples of the government taking control of an industry. For why government action is not in conflict with Capitalism, see the analysis of the index of economic freedom.

Vote Con, as my opponent has failed to show good impacts of socialism. I show why it fails both theoretically and empirically.

1. http://tinyurl.com...
2. http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
All votes in Con's favor. Go America.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
@Z4RQUON

I wasn't trying to. Define socialism as communism, rather I was showing that so called "communist" regimes are much closer to socialism...your definition of communism is wrong. Communism is a stateless collective.

As for socialism being needed in a capitalistic economy considering the completely adverse definitions of the two systems, you'll need some powerful justification for that claim.
Posted by Z4RQUON 3 years ago
Z4RQUON
Socialism is not MORE rational than capitalism, rather it is the necessary component of a rationally operated capitalistic society because, when done properly, it actually bolsters competition.
Posted by Z4RQUON 3 years ago
Z4RQUON
Your definition of socialism is incorrect... socialism and communism are not the same thing.

Communism is when individual citizens do not own businesses or personal property, only the state does.

Socialism is when citizens donate, through taxes, to help each other afford medical care, paved roads, clean water etc.
Posted by austinlaam 3 years ago
austinlaam
Well the vote!! lol
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
thett3
Callum, would you like to debate which system is more rational?
Posted by CallumHatch 3 years ago
CallumHatch
I agree, socialism is far more rational than capitalism and is much easier to control. Nobody knows what could happen in the free market, therefore capitalism is far more unpredictable and a much less rational ideal than socialism which is far more easier to control and therefore a much more rational ideology
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by MoralityProfessor 3 years ago
MoralityProfessor
austinlaamthett3Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct was equal on both sides, as well as S&G. Both used reliable sources, which brings us to arguments. One major point that Pro continuously brings up is that capitalism causes poverty and doesn't help the poor. Con offers very good refutations and pro fails to prove that socialism would be any more beneficial int hat area, so vote to Con.
Vote Placed by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
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Reasons for voting decision: Con rebutted more effectively.
Vote Placed by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro relied on generalizations and Con was able to offer strong rebuttals. The examples Pro offered for socialism are not strongly opposed by even small government libertarians as Con pointed out. Con offered stronger sourcing to support her case. Arguments and sources to Con.
Vote Placed by Adam2 3 years ago
Adam2
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Reasons for voting decision: This one was a bit difficult. Both of them offered convincing reasons.
Vote Placed by Juris_Naturalis 3 years ago
Juris_Naturalis
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Reasons for voting decision: Con refuted Pro better than Pro refuted Con and Con made more sense.
Vote Placed by johnnyvbassist 3 years ago
johnnyvbassist
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Reasons for voting decision: Con showed that Capitalism was no less rational than socialism. All of Pro's points were addressed and adequately refuted.