The Instigator
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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Socialism (new challenger)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/4/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 723 times Debate No: 67827
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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I witnessed a previous debate where Hunts had debated an opponent who forfeited. I re-challenge Hunts in a debate over socialism. It'll be 4 Rounds.

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening arguments
Round 3:Rebuttals
Round 4: Closing arguments

As con/against I will be arguing for socialism's opposing ideology, capitalism.


I accept of this debate. First I will give a definition of both socialism and capitalism.

Socialism- A social and economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system.

Capitalism- An economic system in which trade, industry, and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned and operated for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, competitive markets and wage labour.
Debate Round No. 1


First off I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting the challenge, and may the best debater win.

Opening arguments:

As con I will be arguing against the economic system of socialism, and in favor of the economic system of capitalism. Such elements of a capitalist system include
-Private property rights
-Business competition
-Little to no government regulations
-Little to no taxation
-No welfare to individuals or corporations
-A very decentralized banking system
-Free trade
-Investment freedom

#1. Economic liberalization promotes economic growth:

Economic liberalization (aka Capitalism or a Free Market) has been proven to promote economic growth and prosperity. For example, a study conducted by Swedish economists states:

"The most recent studies find a significant negative correlation [between government size and growth]: An increase in government size [measured as gov spending as a % of GDP] by 10 percentage points is associated with a 0.5 to 1 percent lower annual growth rate" the research is rather close to a consensus: the correlation is negative and the sign seems not to be an unintended consequence of reverse causality in the sense that government generally expands during economic downturns" (1).

Other studies have found that increase in government size (measured as gov spending as a % of GDP) leads to negative trends in employment rates (2)(3). Economists from the University of Delaware used data from 20 OECD countries over three decades and examined how government spending as a share of GDP affects the unemployment rate (when accounting for other relevant factors). Their findings conclude:

"We find that increases in government outlays hamper economic growth and raise the unemployment rate. Moreover, different types of government outlays are found to have different effects on growth and unemployment, with transfers and subsidies having a larger effect than government purchases. In addition, Granger causality tests suggest unidirectional causation from government outlays to economic growth and the unemployment rate" (4).

Research also finds that "on average, creation of 100 public jobs may have eliminated about 150 private sector jobs, slightly decreased labour market participation, and increased by about 33 the number of unemployed workers" (5).

Studies have also shown that countries with higher taxes face slower economic growth (6)(7). Research has concluded that, "Corporate taxes are found to be most harmful for growth, followed by personal income taxes, and then consumption taxes. Recurrent taxes on immovable property appear to have the least impact. A revenue neutral growth-oriented tax reform would, therefore, be to shift part of the revenue base from income taxes to less distortive taxes such as recurrent taxes on immovable property or consumption" (8).

#2. Free markets and air pollution:

Recent research conducted for the Fraser Institute examined data from over 100 countries which spanned the course of a decade. After controlling for the effects of income, political freedom, and other confounding variables, they found a robust negative effect of economic freedom on air pollution (defined as the concentration of fine particle matter in the air) (9).

#3. Capitalism and happiness:

A number of studies find that economic freedom makes people happier, for example, results from a study based on data from 86 countries over the 1990"2005 period suggest that overall economic freedom has a significant positive effect on subjective well-being (10). Another study finds that, "Economic freedom, therefore, not only makes people richer, but it also makes them happier" (11). Other research has come to similar conclusions (12).

#4. Capitalism and Education:

According to a review of over 60 studies on the matter:

"In more than 150 statistical comparison covering eight different educational outcomes, the private sector outperforms the public sector in the overwhelming majority of cases. Moreover, this margin of superiority is greatest when the freest and most market-like private schools are compared to the least open and least competitive government systems (like those in the U.S)" (13).

The evidence overwhelmingly supports the belief that a free market in education would foster greater educational outcomes:

"Twelve empirical studies have examined academic outcomes for school choice participants using random assignment, the "gold standard" of social science. Of these, 11 find that choice improves student outcomes"six that all students benefit and five that some benefit and some are not affected. One study finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found a negative impact" (14).

#5. Comparison of economic systems around the globe:

Many supporters of a socialist economic system typically look to the European model. This is known as the Nordic Model. These countries are seemed to be used as proof that socialism actually works. It"s worth noting that the Nordic model, or Nordic capitalism, combines a large welfare state with free market policies such as openness to trade, minimal regulation, etc. In fact, the Scandinavian countries are far from socialist, they rank among the top on the Fraser Institute"s Economic Freedom of the World Index (15).

Here are their rankings:

Denmark: 14th freest market economy in the world (out of 152 countries measured)

Finland: 7th freest market economy

Iceland: 41st freest market economy

Sweden: 29th freest market economy

Norway: 31st freest market economy

For comparison, the United States: 17th freest market economy

For comparison, China: 123rd freest market economy (not free and not exactly a market economy)

While it is true that the Scandinavian countries have large tax burdens, and it is true that these countries experienced rapid growth in the 1990"s, it is not true that they are proof that a large tax burden does not harm economic growth. In fact, in order to examine how taxes affect economic growth, it is necessary to account for other factors which affect economic growth as well. For example, openness to trade, the size of the economy in question, inflation, and other factors all affect economic growth. If we don"t take these confounding factors into account the correlation is meaningless, as is the claim that Scandinavian countries are proof that taxes don"t harm growth.

Also, high levels of social trust are found to increase economic growth significantly, and the Scandinavian countries have some of the highest levels of social trust among developed countries (16). Research also finds that countries with higher levels of social trust also have lower business and credit market regulations. While many supporters of socialism see Denmark as a country with their ideal tax structure (extremely high rates), Danish economists actually think the U.S is the model to follow. According a study by Danish economists:

"Our results indicate that along the intensive margin the Danish taxation generates an overall efficiency loss corresponding to a 12 percent reduction in total income. It is possible to reap 4/5 of this potential efficiency gain by going from a high-tax Scandinavian system to a level of taxation in line with low-tax OECD countries such as the United States." (17).

Due to lack of room on my character count, I will put my sources in the comment section. Once again, thank you so much for accepting, and I'm looking forward to a fun debate!


#1- Every developed country has some form of socialism.

Every developed country, excluding the USA has free universal health care. The reason is that these countries have accepted the fact that this health care system is the most fair for everyone as a whole. In all the countries there is some form of welfare, which is a very socialist program once again.

Adam Lusher, a reporter for the Sunday Telegraph compared many different countries. His conclusions were that the place with the highest life expectancies were the more socialist countries. The top two were the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, with 80 years old.

#2- Capitalism causes greed.

In a capitalist society only the 1-2% can get ahead while the rest are stuck on the bottom. Once these people are on the top why would they want to let anyone else up there with them? THEY DON'T! Meanwhile the bottom 98-99% are being told if you work hard you will also one day be up here with us.

#3- Socialism is for the greater good in society.

In America the leading cause for bankruptcy is health care bills. This year alone, around 2 million people will declare bankruptcy due to PRIVATE health care. Capitalism also hurts the elderly as they need to use the hospital more than others, however with very little income may seniors can not afford this medical treatment and therefore are suffering more each day.

#4-The boom or bust

In capitalist societies there is either a boom or bust which when it is in a bust time it creates recessions or high unemployment rates. See the link for more.

The main problem with capitalism is that only the one percent can get anywhere while the rest struggle to make ends meet because they need to pay for free market things such as health care, a human right.
Debate Round No. 2


In this round I will be providing my rebuttals to Pros arguments in the previous round.

“Every developed country has some form of socialism.”

While this may be true to a degree, it is fallacious to equate this with the success of these countries. For example, according to the

As I mentioned in my opening arguments, many of these so-called ‘socialist’ governments have very economically capitalist policies. This is even more so than America’s economic system. Let’s dig deeper into this. According to both the Heritage Foundation’s index of economic freedom and the Fraser Institute’s index of economic freedom, here is a *rough* average of the world’s 20 most economically free countries in order(1)(2).
1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. New Zealand
4. Switzerland
5. Australia
6. Canada
7. Mauritius
8. Chile
9. Bahrain
10. Denmark
11. United Kingdom
12. Finland
13. Estonia
14. Ireland
15. United States
16. Taiwan
17. United Arab Emirates
18. Germany
19. Sweden
20. Jordan

As you can see, the United States is far below many of the other countries that have Universal Healthcare. While these countries have very socialistic policies, they are obviously more economically free than the United States. As I pointed out in the previous round, this is because many of these countries follow the Nordic Model of socialism. This means that countries still have strong property rights, investing freedom, free trade, minimal regulation, etc.

Also, as I pointed out in the previous rounds, much of this economic growth can be related to the high social trust in these countries, and not necessarily the socialistic policies (3).

“Capitalism causes greed.”

When my opponent addressed this point, he made many unfounded assertions. Such as most of the wealth being given to the 1%, and how the 1% doesn’t want anyone else up there unless they work hard. There is no evidence provided by pro to prove these points. Also, as I pointed out in the previous round, there is a huge relation between economic freedom and economic growth, and how more government spending and tax burdens are related to higher unemployment, and slower economic growth (4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11).

“Socialism is for the greater good in society.”

With this point, pro made the assertion that the United States’ healthcare system is private. This is far from the truth. In a private healthcare system, there would be:

-No occupational licensing in the medical field (12)

-No FDA to regulate medicine (13)

-No regulations toward health insurance agencies (14)

-No Medicare or Medicaid (and now the ACA) (15)

All of the above things are simply just different types of regulation on the healthcare industry, which makes this system far from a private system. It is a highly regulated private system.

“The boom or bust”

Pro made the assertion that capitalism causes boom and bust cycles, but the opposite is true. Boom and bust cycles are a result of government monetary policies. When the Federal Reserve basically creates money out of thin air and artificially lowers interest rates, there is overinvestment (aka malinvestment). This increased economic activity is what creates this ‘boom’. Once all of these bad investments and grand entrepreneurial projects fail, and none of these projects are actually backed by real savings, it becomes a bust. These are projects that would normally not be pursued, had the interest rates been set at their market equilibrium. More on this: (16)(17)(18)(19).

“The main problem with capitalism is that only the one percent can get anywhere while the rest struggle to make ends meet”

This is another unbacked assertion made by pro, and it is purely based on opinion currently.

“they need to pay for free market things such as health care, a human right.”

This is an opinion of pro as to what a human right is. When you look at a lot of political philosophy and ethics, you will find that the three basic human rights are life, liberty, and property. If something must be taken from one person to be given to another, it is not a right. Therefore, if one must be forced to pay into a system that provides free universal healthcare, it is not a right, because you must deprive one person from their right to their property. More on rights here: (20)(21)(22) (23).

14. reports 2013



Pro made the assertion that the United States" health care system is private. This is far from the truth."- Private health care or private medicine is health care and medicine provided by entities other than the government. That is the definition of private health care. In the USA private companies are the ones who sell insurance.(1) (2)

"Such as most of the wealth being given to the 1%, and how the 1% does not want anyone else up there unless they work hard. There is no evidence provided by pro to prove these points."- In 2007 the richest 1% of the American population owned 34.6% of the country's total wealth, and the next 19% owned 50.5%. Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country's wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%. Financial inequality was greater than inequality in total wealth, with the top 1% of the population owning 42.7%, the next 19% of Americans owning 50.3%, and the bottom 80% owning 7%.(3)(4)(5)

"they need to pay for free market things such as health care, a human right."

"This is an opinion of pro as to what a human right is."- Denying someone the right to health care takes away life, what you said is a human right.(6) If you have a pre-existing condition almost all insurance companies will not cover it. Now is that fair to make someone suffer with a disease that they could not control like asthma or epilepsy?(7)

In your opening statement you stated you would be arguing for "little to no taxation." Now how do you suppose public roads, schools, hospitals would be built? You may say have no publicly funded things, however how do you suppose people with little wealth could afford to attend school or visit the hospital without worrying about debt. Without taxation there would be no central government and therefore no laws. This is much like in ancient Rome before the Dark Ages which also led to inflation and job loss.

"more government spending and tax burdens are related to higher unemployment, and slower economic growth"- Let us look at the Eisenhower Interstate System, which was a GOVERNMENT FUNDED highway that in fact caused for economic growth and created many jobs.(8)(9)
Debate Round No. 3


Once again I'd like to thank Pro for accepting and may the best debater win! In this round I'll be presenting my closing arguments.

"Private" Health Insurance:

Although health insurance today is issued privately, we are far from a private, free market health care system, which is the point I am making here. There are many laws, regulations, and restrictions placed on the health care industry currently (1). In a free market capitalist system, this would not be the case.

Income Inequality:

A study conducted by a Harvard researcher actually finds that income inequality, while being detrimental in poor and undeveloped countries, actually encourages economic growth in developed countries such as the United States (2). There is more evidence to support this claim. For example, economist Patrizio Pagano examined the direction of causation in the relationship between income inequality and economic growth using a method known as a Granger Causality test (3), which establishes “predictive causality”. According to the causality tests he ran, income inequality causes slower economic growth in poor countries, but it increases growth in developed countries (4). Economists from the OECD, Harvard, and Australian National University examined 12 developed nations over several decades and conclude: “After 1960, a one percentage point rise in the top decile’s income share is associated with a statistically significant 0.12 point rise in GDP growth during the following year" (5). According to research from a Spanish economist: “[My] results suggest that income inequality and economic growth are positively related when country specific effects are taken into account" (6). To add onto this point, as I pointed it out in previous arguments, economic growth increases overall wealth and reduces poverty and unemployment (7)(8).

Definition of healthcare: the maintenance and improvement of physical and mental health, especially through the provision of medical services. (9)

Definition of health insurance: A type of insurance coverage that pays for medical and surgical expenses that are incurred by the insured. Health insurance can either reimburse the insured for expenses incurred from illness or injury or pay the care provider directly. (10)


Three natural rights are life, liberty, and property. This means that no matter who you are, where you are from, what color you are, what your beliefs are, etc. These are three things that will always be with you, and cannot be taken away through force (11). As you can see, health insurance is not a right. This is because you must deprive others of their rights to fulfill the "right" to health insurance. Basing arguments for the right to health insurance on emotional levels when referencing those who are ill who cannot somehow get insurance is an appeal to emotion fallacy (12). It is an illogical argument.

Society without taxation:

A society without taxation could very well exist. We see products and sectors of society that are currently paid for without taxes that are thriving. Such examples would include:
Cell phones
Internet (while you could argue that the government invented the Internet, it was actually being developed before the government got involved(16))
And many, many more.

It's not like we see millions and millions of people in America suffering because of "high costs" in these sectors. As a matter of fact, prices for these goods/services can actually be very low, and run extremely efficient, yet government infrastructure and public schooling is beginning to degrade (13)(14).

As a final closing argument, I would like to point out that I shared numerous studies and cases in favor of economic liberalization and how it spurs economic growth as compared to government funding and progressive taxation, and my opponent used one example, one which is not as great as it is made out to be (15).

Once again I would like to thank Pro for a great debate!



Thank you con for the debate I had a lot of fun, I tried my best.

In a capitalist society great advancements are made in the quest for improving products and services in the face of making more profit. This all sounds wonderful, but that is based solely on the economic perspective, and not reality.

Capitalism pits one another in a race to reach a fictitious goal " that of wealth. In order to succeed in a purely capitalist society one has to compete against others, and thus a conflict arises between people or groups in the pursuit of money.
Money is the obvious driving force of capitalism, yet it has been shown time and time again that rarely does money actually bring happiness, in fact, it always puts happiness just a few steps ahead of you.

A survey asked people whether they were content with their income " the overwhelming majority made the claim that they would be happy if they made their boss" income. Which you would expect, but it doesn"t matter how much money you make " you desire more, and have the illusion that once you hit a certain amount, you will be OK with that amount, however...... We are human, and we do not work like this.

Capitalism, in a growth-society, demands the majority of one"s waking life to be put to work, but usually not "natural" work in which the body has been evolved to fit into " but rather work done behind a desk, or using odd machinery, or repetitive tasks that burden the mind.Here is where capitalism stops being an ideal heaven of advancement and growth, but rather destroys that in which it claimed to improve " the life of the worker.

Specifically in our capitalist societies, growth is not optional " it is obligatory " but we all know that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. Thus our "Business As Usual" paradigm will, at some point, necessarily slow, or come to screeching halt. For the destruction and use of natural resources is unsustainable, and growth not only of wealth but of population is impossible forever.

Not only does all this raise the eye-glass to the problems of what seems a great economic practice, but it is also a fact that happiness is not dependent on money, wealth, or advancement in technology. In fact, it seems to be the opposite " the more advanced and reliant we become on technology, the more separated we become from each other.

Next time you think something like capitalism is so simple and make a claim ever of "What could be wrong with that", please " nothing is so simple.
Debate Round No. 4
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