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21 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
14 Points

Socialists living under the oppression of capitalism should avoid paying taxes.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/3/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,906 times Debate No: 5615
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (5)




The vast majority of public expenditure in a capitalist country such as the United Kingdom is spent on public services such as health, education and social security, which disproportionately benefits socially and economically disadvantaged members of society. (1) Since it is the interests of this section of society that socialists are most concerned in advancing, and these public services are mainly financed through taxation, it might seem logical that a socialist would be insistent that all economically active members of society pay their taxes in full. However, I propose that the contrary is actually the case.

My contention is that a true socialist would reject the current demeaning system of state benefits, that rob deprived members of society of their dignity by forcing claimants to effectively beg for means-tested state handouts and, instead, strive to create a socialist state where public services are provided according to need rather than ability to pay. The Socialist Worker Party's stance is:

"The present system cannot be patched up — it has to be completely transformed. The structures of the parliament, army, police and judiciary cannot be taken over and used by the working people. Elections can be used to agitate for real improvements in people's lives and to expose the system we live under, but only the mass action of workers themselves can change the system." (2)

The current state benefit system is used by supposedly left-leaning political organisations such as the British Labour Party to legitimise semi-democratic capitalist governments. On the subject of the universal healthcare provided in Britain (the National Health Service (NHS)) the Labour-controlled government says:

"The NHS is the Labour Party's greatest achievement. We created it, we saved it, we value it and we will always support it. Over Labour's 11 years in government, substantial and sustained investment in the NHS backed by vital reforms have transformed the service." (3)

I submit that socialists, even those that have an income well above the national average, have a duty to avoid paying taxes because that income helps keep laissez-faire regimes in power by enabling the government to provide half-baked public services, which deceive the public into believing that there is no viable alternative to "compassionate capitalism".

By withholding tax payments, and encouraging others to do likewise, the socialist movement can severely weaken the public finances and thus the social institutions they fund. This will, in time, create mass unrest amongst the proletariat, particularly amongst the most deprived citizens, subsequently creating the conditions necessary for a popular uprising and a revolution that will be successful in overthrowing the present capitalist regimes and replacing them with socialist governments that truly care for the welfare of decent, hard-working comrades and their dependents.

Pending such a coup d'�tat, however, charges lodged against socialists accused of tax evasion should be considered politically motivated and those socialists who receive custodial sentences for failing to pay taxes should be considered political prisoners, and should be released in accordance with international law. (4)



This isn't socialism you're proposing... this is just another &F#^*%$ version of revolutionary communism.

Revolution should only be supported if it leaves one with a significantly better country.

It won't, because:

1) In the first instance it won't because there are always losses with revolution. Many good things get wrecked and broken. Only stupid teenagers and other people who feel no ownership of the current society will enjoy this.
We should have faith that the people who write for are going to deliver us into a paradise, when every other such revolution has ended in depressing failure?

2) There are better ways of improving society.
One lobbies MPs, one gets petitions put forward, one VOTES.
Yes, I know this can be tiresome, boring even, however civilisation is only a few days thick (as shown by the Hurricane Katrina disaster) and in Britain you have a couple of thousand years at stake.
The UK, having given birth to nearly every social advancement since the Romans ruled... and these bad eggs are suggesting burning the nest?

3) The supporters of this idea are inept.
This is shown by their childish belief that the only solution is destruction and starting anew.
Clearly they are too damned inept to encourage a popular uprising, put together a petition or even vote in appreciable numbers.
Doubtless the commos [communists, dear thick-ohs] can see no other way forward - at least no other way resulting in them appearing at the top.
Not destined for success without a nasty conspiracy instigated by themselves.

4) Britain is already the world's 5th largest economy.
There are typically a small number of possibilities that lead to something better, and very many that lead to something worse. This is as true of revolutions as it is of mutations.
While money is not everything, it is a significant factor in peoples' lives.
How will you make people be better off in a capitalist world?
Giving to the lazy/dumb workers is not an incentive for them to change.
Taking from the hard/clever workers is not not an incentive for them to continue.
Educated English speakers are extremely mobile and will fly.

5) Too many people are already on the fiddle.
Like yourself, a vast proportion of people are already avoiding (if not evading) tax.
Effectively the grand plan has already been enacted.
(Why do you suppose VAT was invented?)

6) History suggests it will all turn to custard.
Come the revolution, after you've had your fun killing all the lawyers and guillotining the aristos, then comes the hard part:
doing a better job as an amateur than the professionals you've replaced.
If you don't improve things rapidly, you risk a counter-revolution - where you're up against the wall.

This would not be first revolution in Britain's history.
Allow me to re-animate it for you:
- You, a malcontent despite being fairly well-off decide the current regime needs to go.
- Through clever and devious means you succeed.
- You then impose your idea of utopia on everyone else (Cromwell's Puritanism) vs (Eggleston's Marxism)
- They don't like it! (Closed theatres, boring clothes, prayer all the time.) vs (heavy taxes, slackers being rewarded, earnest commo propaganda all the time)
- The rest of the Commonwealth (52 soverign nations) boycott you, probably the US too. The Russians and Chinese roll their eyes.
- You get chucked out (by Charles II's Supporters) vs (by Charles III's supporters (or William V's or Henry IX's))
- You get a cardboard burial, and worse yet, you suffer a posthumous "execution" at Tyburn.
- You are remembered as yet another [something ignominious] who failed to learn from history.
- Charles, William or Henry rules as King until convinced by politicians that playing polo is more fun.
- Things return to the status quo.

Damnable waste of time as well as innocent (and not-so-innocent) life.
Debate Round No. 1


With many thanks to my opponent for taking up this debate, I should like to address the objections he raided in turn.

1) Many things get wrecked and broken in a revolution…
Although I hope for a "Velvet Revolution", as free from violence as possible, my opponent is right, some things will be destroyed. Amongst them, the entrenched system of privileges accorded to the upper classes.

2) There are better ways of improving society…
Under the current electoral system, no political party can win a general election without substantial financial contributions of businesses or high net worth individuals, and the support of the mass media. As high-rolling tycoons and international media moguls tend not to be socialists, it will not be possible to achieve our goals through the ballot box.

3) The supporters of this idea are inept…
Most capitalist politicians adopt socialist principles in government, although they do not couch it in those terms, of course. Let's take two examples Firstly, the use of public funds to finance private banks and, secondly: agricultural subsidies. This is socialism except that the public makes the payments but take none of the profits.

4) Britain is already the world's fifth largest economy...
I believe in socialism, not communism. Free enterprise can flourish in a socialist state. Only the key industries will be taken under public ownership. However, no government can allow key industries to collapse. Utilities that are currently in private ownership such as water, electricity, gas, railways and airports will be re-nationalised.

5) Too many people are already on the fiddle…
But only the wealthy get away with it under capitalism. Consider a politician trying to raise election funds from high net-worth individuals. Do you think he is likely to get a fat check from a tax-fiddling tycoon by promising to crack down hard on tax evasion? Capitalists govern not for the benefit of society as a whole, but rather for their wealthy paymasters. That's the gap between rich and poor is getting ever wider. Under a socialist system, there will be a thorough review of existing tax legislation and all the loopholes that can be closed will be. This would only affect the wealthy, however, as most workers have taxes deducted at source by their employers.

6) History suggests that it will all turn to custard…
A country where the landed gentry own over half the nation's wealth, and are getting ever richer at the expense of ordinary, hardworking families is already "custard". If their excess wealth was redistributed amongst the rest of the population, every man, woman and child would receive a cheque for US$$124.881.00. (1) So, a couple with two kids would be almost half a million dollars richer at a stroke - I don't think that would be too unpopular.

I must take exception with my opponent's impression of socialism. The right-wing media always portray socialism as humourless, dull and oppressive, where the work-shy are supported by the state and freedom of expression is ruthlessly punished.

This is not case. Enterprise, culture and entertainment would be encouraged while everybody that can work will have to work – that means both the benefit-scroungers and the idle rich.

Naturally, the civil service will be retained to run the day-to-day affairs of state and the best political and economic minds would be drafted in to assist with strategic decisions, so there is no reason to suppose that the country could not be run efficiently.

Furthermore, I would make the following commitment to the people of Britain.

The People's Republic of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will remain a member of the European Union, NATO and the United Nations and all your human rights will be guaranteed.

There would also be regular, free and fair elections with opposition parties being invited to participate without let or hindrance.

Not that I'd expect them to be very successful.

"There now follows an election broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party:

‘Good evening. Do you remember that huge pile of cash you got after the revolution? Well vote Conservative and we'll take it all off you and give it to our posh friends so that they can sit around all day sipping champagne rather than go out to work like everybody else.'"

Now is the time to put an end the tyranny of the privileged classes and, instead, strive to create a society where there is true equality of opportunity and where hard work and creativity is rewarded. This cannot be realised through parliamentary elections – it can only be achieved if the workers rise up and seize the levers of power.



1) This revolution begins by hurting the people it seeks to help (and will continue to afterwards as well).
You are going to try to break the NHS, the Education system, all the infrastucture the poor rely upon.
The "upper classes" will of course be immune to this and many will flee before the revolution proper.
The educated and professional classes will move to NZ, AU, Ca, US etc.

2) No political party can win an election without vast amounts of cash because there is so little difference between the parties.
Go out into the street and see how many people can tell you half a dozen differences in policy.
Hardly anyone can here.

3) No, current politicians are not the people suggesting revolution.

4) Here I was trying to point out that Britain is already in a relatively good position and that it's easier to wreck than improve.
Nationalising privately-held utilities delivers them into control by people who get paid however poorly the utilities perform.
Think of Russia in the 1980s and 1990s.

5) Have a talk with people in the pub (when they're properly pissed [drunk]).
An amazing number of people are on some kind of fiddle. The rich just tend to do it with spare cash.

6) You believe that dishing out $125,000USD-odd to each person will be an irresistable attraction to revolution.
This is just fraught with problems.

Let's asks a fundamental question...

What makes the people in a country work?
The desire for people to better their lives through the accumulation of wealth.
Certainly if you stop paying people, most work comes to a rapid halt.
Once people consider themselves to be wealthy they spend the money (sometimes even beforehand) - so as to benefit from it.

After you've taken all the money from the rich (in some cases hard-working, careful savers), I expect:
- people will attempt to buy property that was formerly out of reach
result: property prices increase dramatically.

- vast numbers of people would try to go on holiday simultaneously (Spain will certainly support this revolution)
result: vast numbers of services shut down, much wealth goes to Europe and abroad.
Why bother working?
You could move to India, and with half a million and a little care, you could live like aristos for the rest of your lives!

- people will attempt to buy various goods they always wanted
result: the goods become vastly more expensive.
Overall result: rampant inflation, terrible balance of payments and loss of workers from many essential areas...
i.e. a country in a state of collapse with few skilled people left to try to fix it.

Quite frankly, anyone with a family and an ounce of sense would emigrate immediately to escape the disaster that would follow.

Just how you would get the money out of the rich is equally fraught with problems
- and that's if they're willing to comply! Perhaps some more about this next round.

The point I'm driving at is this;
the revolution is highly unlikely to happen, but even if it did, it would leave the country far worse off.
Therefore don't do it.
Therefore socialists should pay taxes and try to improve the country some other way!
Debate Round No. 2


Actually, I'm not sure what possessed me to start this debate. Certainly it wasn't the prospect of an easy win (a task made even harder by having a formidable opponent). I haven't checked, but my impression is that there are more capitalists members of this site than there are militant left-wing agitators! Never mind, though, I'm sure most members will vote on the quality of debate rather than their own personal opinion.

My opponent rightly pointed out that preceding the Revolution, the working classes would suffer more than the ruling classes. This, unfortunately, is a necessary evil - it would be for the workers' long-term benefit. The strategy is that the working classes would blame the capitalist government for their impoverishment and help to depose them (let's just hope they don't rumble my plan by reading this debate)!

He went on to make speculate that the revolution, for various reasons, would not be successful and that the system of government would be fundamentally flawed.

It is undoubtedly true that a socialist regime would face challenges, one cannot forecast "events", but let us not forget where we are right now, under capitalism.

The economy is in freefall, unemployment is rocketing, the value of pensions and house prices are plummeting, inflation is soaring and while the tax payer bails out rotten banks, fat cat financiers are feathering their nests will multi-million dollar "golden parachutes".

With regard to the point that it is not only the rich that are on the fiddle, but ordinary folk too – I fully concur. Who amongst us can honestly hold their hands up and say they have never tried to cheat the system? That's because nobody feels bad about swindling a government that cracks down hard on the pensioners that do a few odd jobs on the black, yet let the rich salt away fortunes in offshore tax havens.

Also, it is true that not everybody will be sensible with their $125,000 windfall – for sure, some will be reckless and blow the lot on having fun (good for the economy) or move abroad (reduces the housing shortage, making homes more affordable for first time buyers) but socialists don't, contrary to the popular misconception, want to dictate how people spend their own money – it should and would be up the individual's own discretion.

My opponent is right, of course, when he suggests there would be huge resistance to my plan from the richest 5% who would be worse off, but what are they going to do against the 95%, including all the soldiers and police officers, who are each going to be $125,000 better off?

So whether it's to create a fairer society or it's just for the money, I believe my socialist revolution would not only be popular, but also achievable.

Thank you.


An uneasy conscience must be nagging away at you.
As a CEO you must keep money, as a socialist you must give away money.
"I'm sure most members will vote on the quality of debate" [sardonic smile]

"the working classes would suffer" - "a necessary evil"
The equivalent must have passed Lenin and Stalin's ears and lips more than a few times.
The sort of thing lead to the death of Boxer ("Animal Farm").

"The economy is in freefall, unemployment is rocketing, the value of pensions and house prices are plummeting, inflation is soaring and while the tax payer bails out rotten banks, fat cat financiers are feathering their nests will multi-million dollar 'golden parachutes'."
All excellent ammunition against the current system.
However, to get rid of the current system is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Would it not be better to "Name and shame" these bankers (spelt with a "W")?
One could even take them to court - conspiracy to defraud the government.
Invent a new law: CEOs cannot be rewarded in the face of bad/poor deeds - this overrides any contract.

I'm not an ecomomist, my studies not progressing beyond Econ 101-102, but I can assure you, the effect of giving every living soul in the UK, 73,000 pounds sterling will probably give you an inflation rate second only to Zimbabwe's (currently over 230,000,000 %)
People's wealth will evapourate, and guess who will get the blame?
Rest assurred, the people you've usurped from power will ensure the populace knows.

Now let's investigate how you come upon the readies. $124,000USD = �73,000GBP

�73,000 x 60,780,000 people = �4,436,940,000,000 pounds ($7.57 Trillion USD)
This is to come from "The Rich".

Looking at: I notice 3 things:
a) There has been little (if any) change in wealth distribution over the whole period 1976-2003
b) The "Rich" refers to 50% of the country
c) You don't provide a source for figures for 2008; we presume you've extrapolated from past data.

- Things cannot have become dramatically worse for the poor over the past quarter of a century.
- You propose that we rob Peter to pay Paul -and Peter.
- The "Total Marketable Wealth" includes dwellings.
This means the ex-rich will have to buy their houses with their �73,000. Ye gads.
- You will surely have over 50% of the country against you,
i.e. everyone who has many dollars, plus everyone who has any sense. [sorry]
What's more this is the rich and powerful half with >90% of the resources, and nearly all of the organisation.
What's more this includes international media moguls (as you've mentioned) with their huge ability to persuade.

I really don't think anything like �4.4 trillion could be raised.
With so much of the UK being made available for sale simultaneously (land, houses, yachts, cars) the prices of all those things would drop dramatically. They would of course be mostly bought by foreigners at bargain-basement prices.
Even if the process was spread out, you just face different problems - e.g. how to compensate people who are waiting?

So there is loss in multiple ways:
1) You get a fraction of the money off the wealthy
2) The country is now owned (and therefore run) by foreigners with their own agendas, and
3) The poor half of the country generates unbelievable inflation when they try to spend their money.

And it's all so unnecessary.
Looking at UK history (usually preceding the rest of the world) the tendency over time is to move ever left and devolved.
• kingly power
• Tories
• Conservatives
• Liberals
•�(New) Labour
- and now even the cousins are beginning to see the light:

At the risk of repeating myself:
- the instigation is bad for the country
- the likelihood of success is next to nil
- the result of success would be utterly disastrous
- staying with the current course may well get you there safely anyway.

So pay your jolly taxes!!!
This attempt at vandalisng of Britain would be likely to end after little more than a few visits from the auditors.
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bones 8 years ago
I mean if we think about it, Karl Marx didn't come up with socialism. There has always been people wanting more and more power to rule over the lives of the masses. Jeremy Bentham was a good example of the beginning of the socialist movement. But all forms other than free market are socialism in some state or another. Theocracies, Monarchies, feudalism, oligarchies, all forms of socialism and all existed long before Karl Marx. And the same can almost be said of the free market. But no human came up with this. That has always been and it was what we started with. Maybe we need to really find our roots and start looking at the world praxeologically, instead of methodologically.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
I dare say whoever makes up the definitions can decide what is truth.
Perhaps you can point us to some well-founded definitions...
Posted by bones 8 years ago
There is no difference between communism or socialism methodologically, ideologically, or ethically. They are two words for the same thing. And i would further argue that socialism in its "truest" form, the utopian form that its followers believe in, is not even able to be attained. Your quote is dealing with socialist anarchy. There are two ways that people claim communism can happen, through total state control or no state. Which is odd when you think about it; they are no where near each other. Socialism is a complex ideology, but its roots are still simple to understand. My comment still holds to be correct, if we are talking about the statist form of communism.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
unfortunately "socialism" doesn't have a simple or clear definition.
Karl Marx described socialism as a transitional state between capitalism and communism.
Communism; "an egalitarian, classless, stateless society based on common ownership of the means of production and property in general" has never truly been achieved by any country, though it arguably has in small communes.
Posted by bones 8 years ago
In a socialist state all you do is pay your entire income to the state. Some people call these taxes. People who don't, don't understand socialism.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
A pleasure Brian,
If only everyone were so polite within debates! You probably deserve a few "better conduct" points.

The NHS is an example of the best way to improve the lot of everyone in society.
It is an improvement in the general environment. Everybody benefits.
Parks, youth centres, playgrounds, swimming pools, public art - all good for everybody. People like the city, tourism benefits, people (oddly) feel part of it all and feel it's theirs.

Hyde Park - fantastic place. It's like visiting heaven in July. Do you think it could of inspired "Hyde Park" in Sydney? Or "Central Park" in New York City? Or even national parks across the world?

Is it necessary for you business to be in London? You seem to spend a lot of time overseas.
Could your business be carried out elsewhere, or even online?
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
Good debate, Derek, thanks - I particularly take your points about inflation and the currency being devalued.

Still, something needs to be done to redress the balance in favour of the working and middle classes.

However if this is not to be achieved through a revolution; that means I will have to pay UK taxes in full in order to assuage my conscience.

But wait. No, what about my shareholders? If I move the HQ to London and pay corporation tax they will be worse off and, therefore, less able to donate to good causes such as charities supporting ethically-aware former company directors who went bankrupt because they weren't financially astute enough!

There we go, moral dilemma solved!
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
"An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market." (- According to the American Heritage Dictionary.)

Doesn't seem to to be incompatible with taxes. Maybe I missed something.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Um Eggleston.... Capitalism is incompatible with taxes. If you have to work to avoid paying taxes, it's not Capitalism that is oppressing you.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Brian, this isn't socialism you're proposing... this is just another flavour of revolutionary communism!
Why would you suggest getting into something that nearly universally recognised as a bad form of govt?
OK... I'd better debate you.
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