The Instigator
Burnham.Kaleb
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Maddierichardson
Con (against)
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0 Points

Socialism will bring about a more just society

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 533 times Debate No: 71496
Debate Rounds (4)
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Burnham.Kaleb

Pro

Social will bring about a more just society.
Maddierichardson

Con

Socialism: the road to mediocrity.
Debate Round No. 1
Burnham.Kaleb

Pro

It can be assumed that by claiming socialism will bring about a more just society, we are comparing socialism to the current system in the United States, capitalism. So, I would like to provide definitions for both of those terms as defined by Merriam-Webster:

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

Also, I feel that it is necessary to define the word "just" as used in the title of the debate:

Just: based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair

In other words, this debate may as well be called "Socialism will bring about a more fair society."

With the current system of Capitalism, the wealthiest men in the country (top 1%) own 34.6% of the nation's wealth, while the bottom 80% own just 15% of the wealth. These are the bankers, the investors, and the CEOs, arguably the least productive members of society. The most productive people in the society are a part of the labor force, the ones hired by the CEOs to work and make them even wealthier. In a socialistic society, all the major industries are controlled by the government and the nation as a whole. This eliminates the private enterprises that lead to wealth inequality and the unfairness that exists today. We have discussed in class whether men such as Rockefeller and Carnegie were robber barons, and our consensus was that they were. With socialism, there would not be a need for that debate.

Goverment ownership would not take away incentives to work hard. In fact, socialism rewards those who work the hardest. Having a socialistic society would not only take away unfair advantages had by those at the top, it would encourage hard work.
Maddierichardson

Con

Socialism was intended to prevent the wealth gap that comes along with capitalism and lessen the abuse of the dollar driven government but fails for two major reasons:

1) Socialism discourages work and effort by shifting consequences onto others resulting in a society whose goal is to produce products for its citizenry's needs that lack quality. Innovation and competition are stifled and mediocrity becomes the norm.
2) It restricts freedoms of the individual

With the first reason, socialism takes from people who would advance in society and gives to those who don't. It attempts to promote equality, yet a higher social class always ends up emerging, as well as, a ruling party rarely ends up treating all citizens fairly by making decisions necessary for everyone to get a fair and equal chance. This leads to the ruling government having all the power and the citizens effectively having no say in the economic pursuits of the nation.

Secondly, it is believed that human right include owning private property, controlling one's own destiny, and competing in the business world. However this is impossible with socialism. Socialism is associated with infringement on one's individual liberty.

Socialism is the road to mediocracy.
Debate Round No. 2
Burnham.Kaleb

Pro

"Socialism was intended to prevent the wealth gap that comes along with capitalism and lessen the abuse of the dollar driven government"

This is the definition of a just and fair society...

"1) Socialism discourages work and effort by shifting consequences onto others resulting in a society whose goal is to produce products for its citizenry's needs that lack quality. Innovation and competition are stifled and mediocrity becomes the norm."

Socialism in no way discourages work. You are thinking of communism. With socialism, the hardest workers get paid the most, not the people who lay back and pay people to do everything for them. This system is far more just. People get paid for the work they do. If they produce poorly made products, they will be poorly paid. If they do not work, they will not be paid. It cannot be any fairer than that.
Innovation does have a real possibility to be lessened, though it will still occur. To counteract this, if someone comes up with a great innovation, they could be rewarded profusely for it, as it has greatly benefitted society. Domestic competition will be totally eradicated. There is no need for it. Governments would work on a profit margin just large enough to stay functional and protect the country.

"2) It restricts freedoms of the individual"
The only freedom that would be restricted is the ability to own a business. I'll admit, that is a fairly large restriction as we are used to the capitalistic society in the United States. However, it also prevents the large wealth gaps that you, yourself, said was the intention of socialism. The wealth gaps do not exist for the reason that most people are lazy.

"This leads to the ruling government having all the power and the citizens effectively having no say in the economic pursuits of the nation."
No.
People have a say. People have all the say. The government would manage businesses, but if the majority want a change, it will happen. There is a great deal of democracy that comes with socialism. Of course, it could be thought that the people in power could attempt to extend their boundaries for personal gain. However, the relatively few people that would be in government would be no match for literally everyone else in the country. There would be no government backing by robber barons and wealthy elites because they simply do not exist. Change would come much faster, once again leading to a far more just society.

"... it is believed that human right include owning private property, controlling one's own destiny, and competing in the business world."
Private property and business competition are exactly what leads to wealth gaps and the unfairness in capitalistic societies. People would still retain the right to retain their own destiny. In fact, they would have more control over their life. There would be direct correlation between hard work and higher pay. People would not be stuck grinding a nine-to-five just to pay off their high interest rates. There would be large amounts of motivation to work, and work hard.

"Socialism is associated with infringement on one's individual liberty."
1) Citation needed
2) You are digressing from the argument. The topic is whether socialism will bring a more just and fair society, as in preventing wealth gaps. Not one without individual liberty. Besides, our liberties are being infringed upon all the time, just not in such a dramatic way.

Socialism is the road to mediocracy a completely equal society where people control their own destiny by determining how hard they want to work.
Maddierichardson

Con

You are thinking of communism."

Communism is indeed a more extreme version of socialism.

Socialism doesn't discourage work directly. It pays according to effort but through wealth distribution, the same money that the harder workers earned, is given to those making their way by. Winston Churchill once noted, "The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." This being said, a socialist society forces the many to suffer in order to make it easier for the few. Socialism discourages working harder and getting a higher education because the unproductive are guaranteed a living minimum.

"Domestic competition will be totally eradicated."

Without competition our society is incapable of moving forward. Competition is what drives an economy and makes it prosperous. There will be an absence of innovation due to the lack of competition and opportunity. In a worse case, innovation and change would be stifled and in the best case, it would be slow in coming.

In addition to the economy, every aspect of the economy would be determined by the government. In a socialist economy, everything is controlled by a centralized body. The economic components and all enterprise belongs to the state. Because much of the economy is controlled by the state, the ability for an individual to break out and pursue aspirations and dreams is signficantly reduced. This is akin to holding a race where the goal is just to finish; no one strives to win. The former USSR was a socialist society and their lack of enthusiasm resulted in a nation that could barely provide a loaf of bread to their society. Although the former USSR was known for producing mass quantities of products, the quality of those products was of poor quality. Not until the fall of the USSR and the change in economic systems did they really produce "world-class" products. Much of this can be traced directly to the change in economic strategies.
Debate Round No. 3
Burnham.Kaleb

Pro

"It pays according to effort but through wealth distribution, the same money that the harder workers earned, is given to those making their way by. Winston Churchill once noted, "The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." This being said, a socialist society forces the many to suffer in order to make it easier for the few. Socialism discourages working harder and getting a higher education because the unproductive are guaranteed a living minimum."

This system you described sounds exactly like the same one we have today. Welfare, food stamps, etc. Wealth distribution is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it is necessary for those who are physically unable to work or have another serious condition which prevents them from being productive. However, if someone simply chooses not to work because they do not want to, they would not receive any compensation. As everything is managed by the government for the benefit of the nation, not for profit, there would always be jobs for those who wish to have money.

Notice that I said everything is managed by the government. The government does not have direct control over absolutely everything. All businesses and factories would be a communal project, overseen by a larger body since everything needs a leader. The system would be even more democratic than the system we currently have.

"Without competition our society is incapable of moving forward. Competition is what drives an economy and makes it prosperous. There will be an absence of innovation due to the lack of competition and opportunity. In a worse case, innovation and change would be stifled and in the best case, it would be slow in coming."

What do you mean by "moving forward?" Yes, innovation will be hindered. That progress will be slower. In a socialistic society, the objective is not to become a prosperous nation. It is simply to make sure that everyone has a means of acquiring wealth on a level playing field. Nobody has an unfair advantage or becomes lucky, and no one gets the short end of the stick and is stuck in poor neighborhoods and environments. It is fair; it is just.

"Because much of the economy is controlled by the state, the ability for an individual to break out and pursue aspirations and dreams is signficantly reduced. This is akin to holding a race where the goal is just to finish; no one strives to win."

Again, the economy is not controlled by the state. The state just manages.
Individuals are still free to do how they please. No one is forcing them to do anything. The only aspiration that is reduced is the ability to own a private business. Also, I find that analogy completely unrelated. Yes, there is no competition in the economy. However, people still need to work. It is as if there was a race that rewarded cash based on how fast an individual could complete it.

The USSR could arguably be considered a communistic society. There were multiple reasons why the nation encountered issues as well, such as that an extremely large portion, estimated at over 50%, of their goods were going to the military. One can only imagine how much was left for the rest of the population.

It is interesting that you brought up a real-world example, specifically one of the few that could be argued was communistic and totalitarian. What about the countries that could actually be considered socialistic today?

China
Denmark
Finland
Ireland
Canada
New Zealand
Belgium
Netherlands

While not entirely socialistic, these countries contain large amounts of socialistic ideals; they are doing amazingly well. They have extensive welfare systems (like free health care). They are far more equal than the United States. The people are happy and the nations are prosperous. They even have some of the highest living standards in the world.

Much of my argument has been on an entirely socialistic society. However, one does not have to look far to see that even the implementation of some of these ideals has produced far more equality in their respective nations than the United States and, I dare to say, most capitalistic societies have ever contained.
Maddierichardson

Con

Those countries you mentioned above all have a variation of a socialistic society, but to what expense does that come? In return, those countries pay higher taxes that take even more wealth from the people and the revenue collected is used in turn for government programs such as healthcare and not wealth distribution. Which benefits society but does not necessarily spread equality throughout it.

Therefore, I stand by my statement: socialism is the road to mediocracy.
Debate Round No. 4
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