The Instigator
David12N
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Capitalistslave
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

The Job Guarantee Is A Good Idea.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Capitalistslave
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 398 times Debate No: 101360
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)

 

David12N

Pro

The Job Guarantee would guarantee everyone was offered a job. The government could do this by funding the expansion of the public sector, creating the jobs to do, expanding not for profit employment etc.

I currently believe this would be better than things like Job-share, natural private market job creation and the current public system of helping people get work. It might also be cheaper than some other approaches. I am arguing that this should be included in the government's response to unemployment. It is not a silver bullet but I think it should be a major part of it.

Happy to be convinced otherwise.
Capitalistslave

Con

Do the ends justify the means?
I'll admit that this program would have a good end: bringing unemployment down to 0. However, the means through which this is achieved is essentially through coercion and force. In order to pay for the jobs that the government would be offering these people, they would have to tax other people. In other words, they would have to steal money from some people and give it to their employees. Even though it's a good end, I don't believe it justifies the means. Some people may believe it does. However, we all consider charities to be wonderful organizations. Yet they do not operate on the basis of forcing people to give them money to give it to the needy. They always operate on a voluntary charitable donation to give it to the needy. The government does not do this, and this is my first issue with this job guarantee program. I'm sure we would have issue with charities stealing from some people to give to others, so why should we tolerate the government doing that?

There is an alternative solution to ending unemployment
A transition to a different economy than capitalism could definitely bring unemployment down. One such economy is known as cooperative individualism. Cooperative individualism is an economic system in which worker cooperatives are the dominant business structure in the society. Since 89% of people don't know what a cooperative is[1](let alone a worker cooperative) I'll provide the definition since you and/or voters likely don't know what they are. "A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled business."[2] And a worker co-op is "a cooperative that is owned and self-managed by its workers."[3] Now, how would this bring unemployment down? Well, it's simple As you can see here, the average number of positions or employees a worker co-op has is 16[4](found by taking the number of cooperatives and dividing by the employees in those coops, so 12.6 million/770,000) and comparing it to the average for the traditional business, it is greater, where the traditional business has an average of just above 4[5]. Since worker-cooperatives generally do what is in best interest of the workers, they always try to offer more jobs than traditional businesses would. Traditional businesses would employ the minimum amount of people necessary to get the job done, while worker co-ops, on the otherhand, would have more interest in employing people for the sake of employing them. This, in turn, would increase the amount of jobs if worker co-ops were to be the majority in a society. Thus, unemployment would decrease, and would likely be at or close to 0%. If cooperatives were able to maintain the average of employing 16 workers and became the only existing business model, that would quadruple the amount of jobs out there, which is more than enough to end involuntary unemployment. In reality, we only need to increase the number of cooperatives in general though to a certain point to have more jobs.

So, how would we go about transitioning to cooperative individualism? I'd say the first step is to educate people on this topic. 78% of people who do know about cooperatives, prefer to shop at those than traditional businesses[1], and since 89% of people don't know about them, just telling people about them would increase the amount of people who shop at worker coops, and thus bring the demand for worker coops to sky rocket and the worker coop sector of the economy would likely boom, resulting in a decrease of unemployment since more jobs would open. There are some other things that hold worker coops back from booming in the economy(such as how most people are ignorant about them), but by all means they should be booming if not for these factors(some other factors include that banks have an unfair bias against worker coops and pretty much never loan to them, the government only ever bails out capitalist businesses, whereas if they were allowed to fail, people may search for an alternative to the capitalist business model, etc). They are much more succesful than traditional businesses, and people prefer to shop at them like I said. I'm not going to offer specifics here about worker coops because that would be getting a little off-topic, but if you're interested, I'll link to a previous debate I had where I brought them up and pointed out how they are much more successful than traditional businesses[6]. While this debate I linked to is about capitalism, I specifically mention worker coops in it and bring up facts about how they are more successful than capitalist businesses.

There's a potential for the government to choose to give specific people jobs and not others
What will force the government to provide a job equally to each of the unemployed? What if, for instance, because there are conservatives in charge of the government, they choose to only employ conservative people and leave liberals unemployed? Or vice versa if the government is liberal? What exactly would prevent that? What exactly holds the government to offering a job for all of the unemployed? Additionally, there could be other ways the government wouldn't offer jobs. Suppose we do have conservatives in power at the time, and there are a lot of illegal immigrants who are unemployed in our country. I doubt conservatives would be willing to have the government offer them jobs. Now, maybe you think it's a good thing not to give them jobs, since they're illegal. Well, there could still be other cases where you think, maybe someone should be given a job but the government doesn't think so. Ex-felons usually have a hard time getting a job when released from prison. Would the government offer them jobs? What if they decide not to give ex-felons jobs? I just don't see how the government would be compelled to offer everyone a job. They could be very picky about it.

Local governments would likely be better at implementing such a policy
I am very skeptical of the federal government offering programs such as this one. It's easy to argue that the federal government is more estranged from the average citizen and doesn't know all of the citizen's needs and wants. Local governmetns are more likely to know what their community needs and would be better at implementing ideas like this. It's much easier for a person to go to a city council meeting and talk with their city representatives than to commnicate with their congressperson. Additionally, that's only one congressperson you can talk to. In order for you to have a policy that you individually need, you need to concince majority of congress to go with it. A person can't do that as easily as they can convince their city council. Thus, I think a program like this should be implemented on the city, maybe even the state level, if we have to have it. I would still prefer to not have it, but I am even more opposed to the idea of the federal government doing this than the local governments.

Sources:
[1] http://www.geo.coop...
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.un.org...
[5] https://smallbiztrends.com...
[6] http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 1
David12N

Pro

Thanks for accepting the debate.

I would disagree that taxation is force and coercion. If it is a freedom argument I would say my metrics are, if it is not an actual dictatorship one is not doing too badly. If Amnesty International has not taken up your cause we are okay, I would say pre-income tax in America people were not freer just because of the lack of income tax. I would argue that they may have been less free. Poverty was higher and poverty can limit freedom. It limits what you can do because one can't afford it, etc. So the income tax led to more money and more social programs, etc.

I would also argue that tax is the price you pay for being part of society. Membership dues.

Both a Job Guarantee and Cooperative Individualism would be hard to fully implement in current society but I would argue that a JG would still be better than a CI. For one, CI requires a new eco-system. Managing people into groups, and ensuring enough groups to get the unemployment rate to 0, The JG can just extend existing systems. Expanding the existing public service for example. Expanding not for profits etc. I would also argue that the CI's are under no obligation to hire everyone like the JG. One of the benefits of the JG is that it is about ensuring everyone has a job {and that includes ex-cons etc}. This does not automatically happen under an CI. One also has the issue that the co-operative model may in itself be flawed. Workers working together may not work in practice. Whereas, the public service and not for profits are a little more proven. Not without issues of course.

I would also point out that a government lead {federal, state or local} JG would have greater capacity to get important things done. The permission a CI group would need to improve a local park, build infrastructure and so on could take time or be denied. Whereas the government running things can grant themselves permission. CI's could still have a role but I don't think it is a better alternative to a JG.
Capitalistslave

Con

General ideas proposed by my opponent will be in bold, and quotes from them in italics. I will respond to each accordingly.

Re Taxation is not force or coercion
I don't see how you can argue it's not. People are forced to give money to the government through taxation. If you don't, you have the IRS go after you and you may face fines, imprisonment, etc. That's force. Coercion is defined as "The action or practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats." [7] The government threatens us to pay taxes by telling us if we don't, they will imprison us or fine us. This is coercion, and I don't see how you can argue it isn't.

I would say pre-income tax in America people were not freer just because of the lack of income tax. I would argue that they may have been less free.
Yes, but there were other reasons pre-income tax people were less free, such as how we had unfettered capitalism. People are naturally less free in unfettered capitalism. I'm not going to cite any sources for this next claim, only because it should be common knowledge because it's something I was taught in school and everyone should have been taught in school. Anyways, the 1800s saw terrible working conditions, wages that couldn't be lived off of, income inequality, etc. This is the natural result of unfettered capitalism. While it could be argued that it's a good thing for government to get involved, I would argue it's not, and instead we should just transfer to a new economic system which would solve these problems. Anyways, in addition to that, people were less free because voting rights weren't as extended to various groups as they are today. I don't see how forcing people to give up a portion of their income through taxation is freedom. In some ways, we are less free today than back then too, such as for men, we can be forced into the military against our will whereas before World War 1 the draft didnt' exist. We don't have as much privacy as we did prior to the Patriot act and other legislations. So, in some ways we have more freedoms, but in other ways we have less freedoms.

I would also argue that tax is the price you pay for being part of society. Membership dues.
But you have no choice but to be part of a society. Every useful piece of land is owned by a country and under its jurisdiction. The only place with some unclaimed land is Antarctica, and that is not easily habitable. So, you had no choice but to be part of this nation, and no choice but to pay taxes. It's coercion. Why can't the government get its necessary funds through voluntary fundraisers? I'm sure there are people out there who would be willing to donate to the government for specific projects.

Both a Job Guarantee and Cooperative Individualism would be hard to fully implement in current society but I would argue that a JG would still be better than a CI. For one, CI requires a new eco-system. Managing people into groups, and ensuring enough groups to get the unemployment rate to 0, The JG can just extend existing systems.
So, you're basically saying it's simpler to go the route of Job guarantee. That doesn't mean that we should do it though. It's also simpler to cheat on a test than to study for it. Does that mean we should do the simpler thing just because it is simpler? No, it's wrong. Similarly, forcing people to give up their hard-earned money for this is wrong too.

One of the benefits of the JG is that it is about ensuring everyone has a job {and that includes ex-cons etc}. This does not automatically happen under an CI.
You assume that the government and the people in it have good intentions. I would argue it doesn't ensure everyone has a job, as I pointed out, the government could choose to discriminate against certain people. In this entire round, you didn't provide a single argument about how we could prevent the government from hiring some people, but not others. What binds the government to hire all of the unemployed and not just some? The thing about CI, is that it is built around worker cooperatives. First, worker cooperatives literally have the interest of workers in mind, as workers own the company. As has been shown in numerous studies, which here is another which found that "average employment and wages in WCs[worker cooperatives] tend to be greater than in CFs[capitalist firms]." even during recessions [8, pg. 522]
Worker cooperatives are formed with the intent of benefiting people, both in theory and in practice, they hire as many people as they can to benefit people, more than capitalist businesses, and workers still earn more in them than in capitalist businesses.

One also has the issue that the co-operative model may in itself be flawed. Workers working together may not work in practice.
Except, this already happens. Worker cooperatives already exist and are very successful. And technically, workers already all work together in most capitalist firms. Most companies have people working in a team of some sort. The only difference between a capitalist firm and a worker cooperative is that in the latter, the workers are joint-owners of the company and are involved in a democratic decision process for the company's issues.

The permission a CI group would need to improve a local park, build infrastructure and so on could take time or be denied. Whereas the government running things can grant themselves permission.
Well, if the government didn't have jurisdiction over this, then it could just get done. Government involvement usually leads to issues like this. And the government isn't exactly good at infastructure. We have a D+ rating[9] due to the government being involved. It may be a different story if companies were allowed to improve infrastructure at any given moment. This is just an example of government interference that causes issues. More government is not a good thing.
Sources:
[7] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com...
[8] http://disjointedthinking.jeffhughes.ca...
[9] http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org...
Debate Round No. 2
David12N

Pro

The simpler route for JG I would argue is relevant in the context of the argument about an alternative to JG. I would say if the CI has even less chance of actually being accepted by current society that does need to be taken into consideration. CI could be perfect but {if} it has no chance of being fully implemented it is hardly going to be the best approach.

There is always the possibility that future governments may attempt to under fund or water down a JG. What needs to be acknowledged though is our fundamentally different assumption about government. I don't believe the Government is fundamentally bad and out to screw and control people. The Earned Income Tax Credit believed by some to be the most successful anti-poverty Federal Government program. And neither Democratic or Republican presidents have attempted to abolish it. There is always the chance that a government may try to screw things up, there is a Indian Government rural job guarantee program that has had corruption for example. The greater point, weather it is JG or CI the government of the day could seek to dismantle either one.

Yes people work together now but there is a fundamental difference between people working together in an office and changing how companies are run and managed on a huge scale. I would argue that the CI is unlikely to be a better alternative to JG {at least at this time} because it is not a widely tested approach. The United States only has an estimated 300 democratic workplaces according to the Atlantic. Co-operatives are also not always successful. Some have failed and some have found it hard to keep up with the competition because of the slow process of democratic decision making. JG is backed up by government funding and so the government can just keep allocating money to not for profits or allocating money for public sector jobs during recessions. The co-operatives that fail don't have the same capacity. So as far as alternatives go, CI can not do as good of a job at keeping people employed as a JG.
Capitalistslave

Con

Re: CI may not be acceptable by society
Well, as I stated in round 1, 78% of people who know about cooperatives, prefer to shop at them. That's indication that it would be accepted by society since the people who know about them, strongly prefer cooperatives. Remember, CI is just a society that has a majority prevalence of worker cooperatives. The question is, would society accept JG? You haven't personally offered any statistics on whether society would. Now, I don't exactly trust the huffington post, but it was the only poll I found that was relevant to JG. According to this poll, only 47% of Americans support JG[10], that's barely more than the 41% who oppose it, and it's within the margin of error. Keep in mind, the number in support of JG may be inflated a little considering huffington post has a liberal bias[11]. They may have worded the question in such a way, with a liberal bias, that made more people respond that they support the JG than who actually do. The actual number of people who support the JG, then, could be lower for 1) it's within the margin of error and 2) the question may have been worded with a liberal bias considering it came from a liberal organization. Now, as anyone knows, I'm neither conservative nor liberal, so I don't trust any sources that have either bias. I generally go with independent sources that have minimal bias and I seek out sources usually like this unless I can't find a source talking about the relevant information I need. If that's the case, then I sometimes rely on a conservative or liberal source for the information, but with much scrutiny, like I did here where I pointed out that the percentage is within a margin of error, and the question may have been worded with a liberal bias.

Anyways, these numbers, if we are to accept the Huffington Post numbers outright, indicate that cooperatives would be more acceptable to society than a Job Guarantee program. Both conservatives and liberals alike support cooperatives(granted I think the number of conservatives who do is a little lower, but I believe it's still a majority of conservatives given how high the support for cooperatives is), whereas I'm pretty sure just liberally-minded people support Job Guarantee. Cooperatives would be a bi-partisan solution essentially, and JG wouldn't.

The greater point, weather it is JG or CI the government of the day could seek to dismantle either one.
It would be foolish of the government to dismantle CI. Again, a vast majority of people who know about cooperatives prefer cooperatives. If we ever got to the point where we transitioned to a cooperative individualist society, I'm quite certain everyone would like it much more than our capitalist system, and it would be foolish for anyone in the government to dismantle it, because if they did, they would likely be voted out quickly. However, when it comes to JG, the numbers of those who oppose it and support it are so close, it's more likely a government official will do something against it.

I would argue that the CI is unlikely to be a better alternative to JG {at least at this time} because it is not a widely tested approach.
It may not be a widely tested approach now, but neither is JG by my understanding. Additionally, one society is very close to being cooperative individualist. The Romagna province in Italy has 40% or so of their businesses as worker cooperatives.

. Co-operatives are also not always successful. Some have failed and some have found it hard to keep up with the competition because of the slow process of democratic decision making.
Actually, this isn't true. Sure, some of them fail, but when you compare the percent of cooperatives who fail with the percent of traditional businesses, traditional businesses fail at three times the rate. 80% of cooperatives survive the first 5 years of being in business, compared to 41% of the traditional business model. [12, pg 8]. Sure, 1 in 5 cooperatives fail pretty early, but look at how bad traditional businesses are in comparison! They fail at three times the rate! 20% of cooperatives fail whereas for traditional businesses, about 60% fail. If we had mostly worker cooperatives, this would provide security for workers in comparison to the current economy. More of them would not have to worry about their business failing. Additionally, worker coops are actually much faster and efficient for a number of reasons according to this scientific peer-reviewed publication on the matter:

1) "A co-op mitigates the agency cost associated with a corporation's division between ownership and control". Since co-ops are owned by the workers, they are much more likely to be informed about the business decisions than if they weren't owners, thus there is no need to spend extra time from business owners to educate them on this matter.[13, pgs 124-125)

2) Worker co-ops eliminate "the separation of interests between workers and owners."[13 pg 125] As one can imagine, there are many instances in which a conventional firm would be presented with opportunities where they can make a decision that more benefits them and harms the workers. The workers would be opposed to this, and normally what happens in a conventional firm, is that bargaining goes on and this takes up precious time that could be devoted to work. In a co-op, this bargaining would not take place, since worker-owners would likely choose what benefits the majority of the workers, whereas in a traditional business, the owner would choose what only benefits themselves and that leads to bargaining.

3) Workers are able to monitor each other better than in traditional businesses where the monitor is a single manager [13, pgs 125-126]. This makes sense as well, since in co-ops, the workers are the ones who make the decisions of the company, and would be involved in hiring and firing other workers. Co-workers are more often among their co-workers than a manager is, so they would be able to monitor their co-workers more effectively than a manager. This provides incentive for each worker to provide their best work and not laze around.

JG is backed up by government funding and so the government can just keep allocating money to not for profits or allocating money for public sector jobs during recessions.
This money has to come from somewhere. If we borrow it, then we'll just be in more debt. At some point, the loaners will come after the US governemnt to pay off that debt.
Sources:
[10] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[11] https://mediabiasfactcheck.com...
[12] https://www.uk.coop...
[13] citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.366.5059&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by David12N 9 months ago
David12N
Thanks for the debate.
Posted by RR-5L8S 10 months ago
RR-5L8S
The more power given to a governing body, it is inevitable they become corrupt. Rome, USSR, etc. History gives us numerous examples.
Posted by David12N 10 months ago
David12N
RR-5L8S, thank you for the question.
It would be cheaper than things like the Universal Basic Income. As UBI gives everyone a set amount {poor and rich the same amount}. The Job Guarnatee is more focused. As it is about helping the unemployed.
Posted by Capitalistslave 10 months ago
Capitalistslave
Alright, I'll accept it now that I've read more up on the Job Guarantee
Posted by Capitalistslave 10 months ago
Capitalistslave
I'm considering accepting this debate.
Posted by RR-5L8S 10 months ago
RR-5L8S
How exactly would it be 'cheaper'
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by LuciferWept 9 months ago
LuciferWept
David12NCapitalistslaveTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro asserted something and Con refuted it. Instead of reinforcing his points or offer an effective rebuttal, Pro develops a confusing argument that sometimes even reinforces Con's point. "Both a Job Guarantee and Cooperative Individualism would be hard to fully implement in current society..." From here Pro tries to argue that JG is possible in current society and CI is not. However, through sources, Con points out that there are, in fact, CI's in current Society. Several times Pro makes baseless assumptions ("poverty can limit freedom" without any evidence, and appears to be equating freedom with comfort). In addition, Con used many reliable and diverse sources which helped to reinforce and elaborate on his argument. Here's to Con.