The Instigator
Liberator
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
ArtTheWino
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

The Free Market

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/4/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,250 times Debate No: 12475
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (4)

 

Liberator

Pro

The Free Market is simply the sum total of voluntary exchanges bounded by private property rights. Socialism, therefore, is the sum total of coerced exchanges bounded by the will of the government. I think those two sentences speak for themselves as to which one is better, the better one being, of course, the Free Market.

This is a simplistic start, but it's my first debate on here, so whoever may choose to challenge me, step forth, and good luck.
ArtTheWino

Con

I gladly accept this debate, however I must ask several questions to the Pro before a legitimate debate can be made:

What style of government are we to assume relevant?
Is this country part of a global economy or isolationist?
Does the "free market" that the Pro speaks of have any government regulation at all? If so, how much?

While I understand that a full round of this debate has been mitigated because of this CX, I feel that it is necessary to get a feel for the parameters.
Debate Round No. 1
Liberator

Pro

It's okay. You've not "wasted" a round, considering the only manner in which I knew how to begin was that of being vague. You're questions were indeed legitimate.

What style of government are we to assume relevant?
Is this country part of a global economy or isolationist?

To answer BOTH these questions, let us suppose it is one nation that spans across an entirely fictional planet, which, for the sake of discussion, we shall call the planet of Nova. That nation will have a constitutional Republic like that of the United States.

Does the "free market" that the Pro speaks of have any government regulation at all? If so, how much?

I personally wouldn't call it regulation, but if one sees government enforcement of private property rights, rule of law, and freedom of contract, as well as the protection of individual life and liberty from violence and coercion count as regulation, then yes, but only to that extent, since those are the standard conditions of a free market.
ArtTheWino

Con

Fair enough. I thank the Pro for expediency and thoughtfulness.

I'd like to frame the majority of my case around two ideas: that Capitalism depends upon cheap markets and, therefore, cannot survive under a global superstate and that the combination of a free market and a republic leads, inexorably, to corruption.

1. Capitalism cannot survive under a global superstate.
According the the philosophers Karl Marx and Friederich Engels, capitalism depends upon the perpetual finding of cheap markets; a brief recall of history can pay testament to this. At the beginning of colonial America, it was America itself that was the cheap market. After the death of mercantilism, slavery was the cheap market in the States, followed by China after the Civil War. The US further invested in cheap markets in Asia while Europe used Africa. Two powerhouses quite literally carved up the world worse than two world wars had. Currently, the US employs any number of small Asian countries to produce its goods (just consult Nike).
What this means is that, if the entire world of Nova operated under a solitary government (which, assumingly, provides adequate resources to its citizens), there would be no cheap markets to exploit. This would cause prices to skyrocket exponentially, as labor costs rise to meet product costs, and vice versa. Clearly, it cannot work.

2. A republic cannot remain intact under a free market.
The philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau knew that isolated power led to increased chance for corruption (John Locke must have missed that particular memo). A republic is essentially a glorified oligarchy, whereby all the power in the country is concentrated in a small group of people. To use the US example again, 535 people are a whole lot easier to bribe than over 300 million, such as in a direct democracy as Rousseau advocated for, or one supreme dictator as Hobbes posited. Especially in a global superstate, a republic is a bad idea when mixed with capitalism.

Bribery is the ultimate downfall of capitalism. It led to the Great Depression of the 30s and will lead to further corruption in the US because of the potential for fortunes to be had. There are two solutions to this problem: a capitalist leviathan or a socialist democracy; take your pick. One thing is for sure, though: the solution cannot be the lethal combination of a republic and capitalism, especially in a superstate where capitalism is doomed to fail to begin with.

I do thank the Pro for what I am hoping will be an intense debate.
Debate Round No. 2
Liberator

Pro

By assuming this planet of Nova is one, single "superstate," we assume there are no national borders. As such, it would be no different if national borders WERE recognized, but that there was absolute free trade between nations, free trade being a cornerstone of the free market. This was precisely my point in making Nova a single country.

Now, it is indeed a fact that capitalism depends upon cheap markets, but two things need to be kept in mind: (1) "cheap markets" is not limited to exploitation of human individuals, nor does it exclude that which is domestic, and (2) the free market's dependence on cheap markets is precisely why the system works so well and drives down prices.

Forgive me for distracting away from my hypothetical example of the planet of Nova, but let's examine how capitalism arose in the real world. About two hundred years ago, before the rise of Capitalism, an individual's status was fixed from the beginning to the end of his or her life. If he was born poor, he died poor, and that was just it. However, as the population of poor grew in the countryside of England, there was really nothing for them to do. So they began making products and producing services that were affordable to more than just those within the aristocracy. This, meaning the exploitation of "cheap markets," is how the free market began, and its a system that has brought every developed country in the world to the standard of living it has today. (Mises, Ludwig von. Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow. Auburn, AL: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1979. 1-3. Print.) The same thing is happening currently in countries like India, as well as China, where the private sectors are being allowed to flourish.

The U.S. does employ many Asian countries to produce its goods, but this is precisely due to the lack of the free market to even EXIST. The "cheap markets" being used in these Asian countries could easily be found domestically were prices not driven so high by taxes, minimum wage laws, and regulation, all three of which are not found in these Asian countries to the extent that they are at home.

A constitutional republic, if set up correctly, is the system that guarantees the protection of private property rights far better than any other, and property is of course another cornerstone of the free market system. A nation with a purely democratic government run by majority rule is not a good idea. In pure democracy, the individual is disregarded for the "greater good of the greater number," where 51% imposes tyranny over 49% of the population. An example would be if the majority voted to have all people over the age of 65 to be put to sleep because they were considered to much of a burden. These sorts of systems don't last long anyway, since demagogues can easily whip up the passions of a mob. As for dictatorships, a capitalist system would only work as long as the dictator recognized property rights. Putting that much trust in anyone is very risky.
ArtTheWino

Con

Since the debate has centered on two main issues, that is what I will argue.

Cheap markets
The reason this argument goes to the Con side is that, under a supranational government, there would be no cheap markets to exploit. My opponent argues that a "cheap market" does not necessarily mean the exploitation of humans. However, that is exactly what is required for the system to work. My opponent spoke of taxes, minimum wage laws, and regulation as causes of the US' need to go abroad. I ask, though, are none of these things going to exist in Nova? And if we are operating under a supranational government, wouldn't these regulations apply everywhere? If so, then the cheap markets that my opponent agreed to be "precisely why the system works so well and drives down prices." Furthermore, as the quality of living improves in the host country (read: the US), those regulations automatically get put in place on par with the living increases. This is precisely the reason companies go abroad to begin with. In the supranational government, this would not happen and, therefore, the terribly spiral I spoke about in my first point would occur.

Constitutional republic
I would like to ask my opponent what the difference between a direct democracy and representative democracy is, other than the fact that more people are represented in the former. The first rule of government is to give the people what they need, and what better way than when people actively say what they need? Moreover, Rousseau does not argue for "majority rule," like a republic does (where, ironically, the tyranny of the majority reigns). Rather, he argues for a "collective will" approach whereby the entire society decides what is best for the entire society. If the entire society has access to the collective wealth of that society, then it is naturally just.
Conversely, as I brought up before, a constitutional republic leaves far too much capital at stake with too few people. Bribery is a common place; simply consult a history book of American history in the late 19th Century. Especially with such a large amount of capital as in a superstate, we must turn to a political and economic pairing that reflects it. That pairing is a socialist democracy.
Debate Round No. 3
Liberator

Pro

I have yet to be presented with an argument, or rather, an example, as to how "there would be no cheap markets to exploit" under a supranational government. As I've said, the reason the U.S. goes abroad to find "cheap markets" is precisely because of the lack of government intervention in those countries that drives up prices (i.e. the existence of a free markets in those countries).

"My opponent argues that a 'cheap market' does not necessarily mean the exploitation of humans. However, that is exactly what is required for the system to work."

Again, I have yet to be presented with an argument or example which I haven't already negated that supports this statement. Notice that at the beginning of the debate I defined the free market as "the sum total of voluntary exchanges bounded by private property rights." "Voluntary exchanges" is the key phrase here. Let's face it; humans are naturally selfish. They will generally only go out of their way to help others provided that they have met their own desires first. But this is precisely why capitalism works. I have something you want, and you have something I want, so we exchange in order for us both to be happier. Provided the exchange is voluntary, I see no way in which one of us is being "exploited" by the other.

"My opponent spoke of taxes, minimum wage laws, and regulation as causes of the US' need to go abroad. I ask, though, are none of these things going to exist in Nova? And if we are operating under a supranational government, wouldn't these regulations apply everywhere?:"

Why should these things exist on Nova? And why should regulations exist AT ALL - anywhere - under a supranational government? Remember, I've made no mention of a free market consisting of anything other than "the sum total of voluntary exchanges bounded by private property rights."

"Furthermore, as the quality of living improves in the host country (read: the US), those regulations automatically get put in place on par with the living increases."

First of all, those regulations don't get put in place "automatically." Government (yes, government) places them there. Second of all, by saying "as the quality of living improves in the host country," you are already admitting what are essentially the benefits of a free market system.

I've already explained to you why direct democracy doesn't work, so I'm not going to go over that again. Direct democracy DOES NOT represent more people; it merely represents the majority (i.e. mob rule). It's a collectivist system that flies right in the face of individualism.

The first rule of government is NOT to give people what they need; simplistically put, the role of government is simply to protect the individual from violence and coercion on behalf of his or her peers, and to defend the homeland from enemies from abroad. In a free society, the rest is left to the private sector, which does a far better job at providing people with what they need.
ArtTheWino

Con

I have one (in my opinion, obvious) point to make: the reason I cannot provide examples is because nothing of the nature we have debated has ever occurred in human history. We must use philosophy because facts do not exist. It is that point which forms the bulk of this argument.

1. My opponent has provided no economic philosophy to argue.
My opponent's arguments have been based on vague assertions with no real backing, fact or philosophy. The arguments seem as though taken from a WWII propaganda reel. The philosophies of Karl Marx and Friederich Engels have to be the paramount weighing factor for the sole reason that my opponent has provided no alternative.
Furthermore, the trends that both my opponent and I agree on to have existed in the past (the pursuit of cheap markets) apply more to Marx than to my opponent's propaganda, even if we are to accept it. The reasons behind the aforementioned trend cannot be completely explained either way; the only known fact about it is that it happened and continues to happen. Marx noticed it and formed a logical reason behind it, one that my opponent agreed with in his first rebuttal. Anything more than that - such as low government interaction - can only be conjecture. In summation, it is the fact that my opponent agreed with a causal argument and could only expand with a correlative argument that causes the majority of my opponent's case to fall.

2. My opponent has provided no governmental philosophy to argue.
Once again, my opponent has the audacity to counter centuries-old philosophy with a simple wag of the finger. My opponent claims that I have provided no evidence to back up my claims, when it is in fact my opponent that does not provide the evidence. The philosophies of Rousseau and Hobbes form the basis of many modern governments in the world today. Their validity is not in question here. Rather, it is the validity of arguments with no backing that is.

Until my opponent can legitimately attack the philosophies I have proposed, my opponent has no case. For that reason, the Con has won this debate up to this point.
Debate Round No. 4
Liberator

Pro

Liberator forfeited this round.
ArtTheWino

Con

My opponent has obviously ceded the round to me, but let me make out some quick points which prove why the Con has won the round:

1. My opponent provided no ground to debate because he lacks philosophy.
2. The debate did not grow, as the Pro focused solely on refuting my attacks and not progressing the round with new evidence.
3. The Con side has philosophical backing which proves that a capitalist republic cannot survive on this planet "Nova."

For those three reasons, vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by ArtTheWino 7 years ago
ArtTheWino
Please, voters, keep your biases at the door. If you notice, I absolutely agree that free market capitalism works better than socialism. However, it's not our opinions that count; rather, it is who debated better that does.
Posted by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
InsertNameHere
Excuses, excuses. Tisk, tisk... lol jk.
Posted by ArtTheWino 7 years ago
ArtTheWino
I'm sorry for the atrocious post last night. It was three in the morning.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by NiamC 3 years ago
NiamC
LiberatorArtTheWinoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by mcc1789 7 years ago
mcc1789
LiberatorArtTheWinoTied
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Vote Placed by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
InsertNameHere
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Vote Placed by ArtTheWino 7 years ago
ArtTheWino
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