The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

This House Believes that a Welfare System is a force for good

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/2/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,650 times Debate No: 27700
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




Simple debate, simple rules.

Welfare System is defined by the Encyclopedia Dramatica, as "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. The general term may cover a variety of forms of economic and social organization".

A force for good is a generic term meaning that it should be supported, or is better than its counterpart (in this case, it is better to have a welfare state than not).

First round is for acceptance, final round is for no new arguments.


Hello Stephen_Hawkins! Thank you for the debate challenge.
First off I Think that the argument should be different then it is. You have made it about what politicians believe and i think it should be about what we believe. But either way the house republicans do not believe that the welfare state is a good way to run the government at least not the way it is working. The house republicans don't think that we should redistribute the wealth the way that Obama does. They believe that people should try to go out and get jobs instead of welfare. The republicans view welfare as a program which should help those who cannot help themselves or as a short term program that helps people while they are in between jobs. The Democrats view it as a way to equalize wealth, and use government to help people. While there motives are well intention-ed we should not judge a program based on its motives but rather its results.
I personally believe that we should replace welfare with a negative income tax like that advocated by Milton Friedman. I believe that government does nothing well and that the programs they create fail. The private sector works far better.
I await your response
Debate Round No. 1


Seeing as first round was for acceptance, I will start my case here, and expect my opponent's case to begin in the next round. Further, I would urge my opponent to stick strictly to the resolution when debating this; arguing for a welfare system, or for conservatism, or against abortion, for example, would be meaningless sidetracking.

Also, to make it clear, I am not arguing in favour of the current welfare system. I think the British one I am a part of it flawed and would prefer a German model. However, the debate is about having a welfare system at all. The welfare system, when in place, is a very strong system and essential to a modern society.

A welfare system is a system where the state grants aid to those who require it, such as the sick, elderly, discriminated against, and others. I am going to argue that a welfare system protecting such a group of people is great for three major reasons: firstly, it is vastly more equitable and humanitarian than a lack of aid and protection; second it aids everyone - a welfare system is in the self interest of the vast majority; whilst thirdly it promotes a larger amount of freedom in society. Each point on its own shows the welfare system to be a great benefit to us all.

The welfare state is a great humanitarian aid in society. Society itself is a vastly important part to people's lives, and is incredibly powerful simply as a form of authority, due to its nature. The state is the arbiter of the system around us, working to our will to improve the world as we see it. The welfare system was introduced after the discovery of poverty in the late 19th century in the UK, Germany, and all other modern nations because we can see that the welfare system creates vast amounts of aid to the poverty-stricken. Poverty cripples nations: it's growth was a massive shock to the UK government, causing massive dangers in the Boer Wars simply on the recruiting front as swathes of people were turned away because they were just too weak and weedy to survive there[1], leading to a promotion of the welfare state for National Efficiency - a stronger more productive workforce, and larger manpower. The welfare system protects us, as well as improves the health of the working class, as well as improves our armies and defence. Further, the welfare system helps everyone get better access to basic goods and improves sales. "poverty stems not just from a lack of resources, but from lack of entitlement: famines happen, not because there is not enough food, but because poor people are not allowed to eat the food that is there."[2] Finally, the welfare system is simply a moral good. The promotion of the health, money, and similar to those arbitrarily disenfranchised is a necessarily good thing - welfare fights injustice.

My second argument is that "a rising tide lifts all ships"; by aiding the poor, welfare helps indirectly those who do not take out from the system. Look back at the Manchesterite school of Capitalism. They argued against the current administration of setting prices artificially high, arguing for a free market to set the prices[3]. Their motivation though is what is key: the reduction of the price of labour meant they have to pay out less to produce their goods (as workers that starve to death in 4 days aren't very good workers!) and thus the price of their goods had to go up as well. A welfare system, like a job seeker's allowance or job training means that businesses have to spend less to train their workers, and thus can make their goods cheaper. Moreover, it is cheaper (and better) for the government as we can as a nation influence the education given to make sure it is effective, useful, and the economies of scale mean it can be cheaper. This type of corporatist welfare, or welfare dependent on work, is an example of welfare helping out even businesses who have to pay taxation, by reducing their cost of their goods. There is a mutual self interest in a welfare state between proletariat and bourgeois citizens.

Thirdly, a welfare state promotes freedom in society. What is freedom, first of all? As I am sure some of the moreideologues will recognise this is antithetical to their definition of freedom. Freedom, at least in the negative sense, is not what a welfare state promotes. Negative freedom, meaning a freedom from, or a freedom against the restrictions of the state of telling you what you're not allowed to do, is a conventional but too small a definition of freedom. To Quote Jules Monboit:

"In the name of freedom – freedom from regulation – the banks were permitted to wreck the economy. In the name of freedom, taxes for the super-rich are cut. In the name of freedom, companies lobby to drop the minimum wage and raise working hours. In the same cause, US insurers lobby Congress to thwart effective public by SavingsSlider" href="">healthcare; the government rips up our planning laws; big business trashes the biosphere. This is the freedom of the powerful to exploit the weak, the rich to exploit the poor."[4]

We need positive freedom as well. To paraphraseGreen for the distinction: "negative liberty is my freedom to do as I like; positive liberty is my freedom to do as I like in pursuit of my doing what I like"[5]. Negative freedom allows for a state which does nothing to help its people, a state where massive inequality occurs and a state in which the government ignores the will of its people. For a true infinite negative freedom, we'd have anarchy - worse than that in fact, as we'd have a lack of any stigmatisation to our actions. We'd have no reason to help others, as there is no intervention of others to try to get us to do differently. We'd have Stirnerist chaos. The positive freedom is needed to allow for self-mastery, for the development of ourselves. We need a welfare system to give the poor positive freedom, not just the "freedom to starve".



Well first I will explain what I think the welfare system would look best as. Now I believe that the people who cannot help themselves such as physically handicapped/ mentally handicapped should be allowed to have government assistance in the form of Welfare. I'm not going to debate on that because I don't think there is much of an argument for not helping people that cant help themselves.

I think the best possible social program is a job (Ronald Reagan)

In response to your argument about equality
Well first off lets remember what society is. Society is just people. In a way there is no society, because it is just people. So society has no moral obligation. People have moral obligations. The reason I wanted to make this point is that society makes it sound like its the groups responsibility and I think that it should be the individuals who do things according to what they feel is morally obliged. I will agree that poverty is never a good thing. But we have to ask which way is the best way to escape poverty? Capitalism, and more freedom/less government is how you reduce poverty.
If the Welfare system works so well how come England, and Germany have higher poverty rates than the United States? [1]Even tho England spends 6% more compared to gdp then we do and Germany( the system you support) spends 12% more compared to gdp then America. [2] In america it costs us over 400 billion dollars every year. If we didn't have this massive welfare system we would have some control over our deficit. [3] Finally the last point i want to bring up for this paragraph is that Welfare only gives about 30% of what it takes in to poor people. most charities can easily get into the 70%-80% range. So which is more moral to have money forcibly taken from you so that 30% of it can go to poor people, Or people voluntarily giving there money to organizations which give at least 70% of the money you give to people who need it.

The Idea behind welfare is not to rise tides by lifting all ships its to take water from the deep end of a pool to put it into the shallow end. How does it help all people if we take from some people to give to others. Now maybe its just me but when you take something by force and do with it what you want that's called stealing. Every dollar we give to the poor we have to take from someone else. This burden falls on the rich. I do not understand the logic of taking from people who work hard to give to people who are not working. I also am against government helping businesses. I dont understand the logic of saying welfare helps workers so it benefits the companies? If the youth was able to get jobs they would have the abilities to work in higher skilled jobs and not have to rely on the government.

Well you and I have very different definitions of freedom. My idea of freedom is someone having the right to do whatever they want to as long as it does not affect someone else. A free market system has more freedom then government because the free market cannot take a dime from you unless you decide to spend it. On the other hand the government can take from you with force therefore they are far more dangerous to liberty then any corporation. Also I don't know what your talking about with freedom causing all these terrible things. First off the banks didnt cause the economy to wreck that was a failure of the government. Tax cuts for the rich don't hurt anyone it gives rich people more money to invest into the economy. The minimum wage is also a bad thing. The rich do not exploit the poor. The rich pay a much larger share of the taxes then the poor do and create a ton of jobs.

You act as if there was no welfare system that everyone would die and no one would take care of them. That is flat out not true. private charity would come in and help or the persons friends/ family would. [4]Why is it that America who has a much smaller welfare system is far more charitable then any other nation on earth? Its because we don't need government to tell us to give, we know what is right to do and so we do it.

My idea to change the welfare system is to give people who make a small amount of money is to give them a negative income tax. This would help people who work but are still in need of money.

You seem a very intelligent debater and i am glad we can talk about the issues like this.

Debate Round No. 2


Before I begin, I'd like to point out my opponent has already conceded the terms of the motion. By saying some people in any group "should ... have government assistance in the form of Welfare", he's conceding that welfare states are good. People disagree with the motion, so this is not an excessive burden. However, my opponent clearly supports the resolution.

I'm going to ignore the arguments ideology-driven and not fact or pragmatism that capitalism reduces poverty. Factually, there is no case. First, Capitalism is compatible with welfare. Second, capitalism is not something that can be parachuted into a country alongsie democracy an be expected to work magic. The IMF states explicitly "only a minority of African countries are poised to exploit globalization"[1], and Globalisation "result[ed] in the Niger Delta conflict that is threatening to disintegrate the country." and "undermines government"[2] Clearly, Capitalism does not promote freedom or help by necessity, but only in certain circumstances, that is when coupled with regulation (whether governmental or cultural) and a welfare state.

The economics of Welfare

To counter my opponent's first point, it is comical, simply because it centers around the supposed fact that welfare for example increases poverty. To use my opponent's source:

CountryAbsolute poverty rateRelative poverty rate
Pre-welfare Post-welfare Pre-welfare Post-welfare
Sweden 23.7 5.8 14.8 4.8
Norway 9.2 1.7 12.4 4.0
Netherlands 22.1 7.3 18.5 11.5
Finland 11.9 3.7 12.4 3.1
Denmark 26.4 5.9 17.4 4.8
Germany 15.2 4.3 9.7 5.1
Switzerland 12.5 3.8 10.9 9.1
Canada 22.5 6.5 17.1 11.9
France 36.1 9.8 21.8 6.1
Belgium 26.8 6.0 19.5 4.1
Australia 23.3 11.9 16.2 9.2
United Kingdom 16.8 8.7 16.4 8.2
United States 21.0 11.7 17.2 15.1
Italy 30.7 14.3 19.7 9.1

Clearly, a welfare state is a fantastic force for reducing poverty, and thus for good. The rest is ideology-driven nonsense: yes, welfare costs money. Houses costs money. When one sells the house in the future though it is worth more. Similarly, when we have a welfare state, we invest in the people, promote everyone's freedom of choice, or positive freedom, we get people who are freer and people who are richer. Finally, the point about the efficiency of the Welfare state against charities is also interesting if sourced, but is unfortunately not. Moreover, the 70-80% figure is uncited and most probably false. After searching, the only sources are hubpages (blogs). Without evidence, this can be dismissed.

Moreover, my opponent fails to convincingly go against the welfare-to-work corporatist welfare system. The logic is very clear, even if he missed it: a welfare system that keeps people working, keeps people on their feet and keeps people looking for jobs is going to help businesses and workers. Welfare means that people don't have to worry about their spending and can spend time looking for jobs. The fact that people can get out from the welfare state means trained specialists can wait for a better job to be more useful in the economy rather than go for a terrible job for little to no pay, as the state will keep you up enough to get that good job.

Without a welfare system, people who get a job will have to spend masses of time accumulating debt while individually looking for jobs, getting rejected, and all the while starving on barely any money. The state can help people out, because, as my opponent rightly says, the state is us and is not evil, we can help each other through this institution. Economies of Scale means that the state can do so more efficiently than any one individual. Economies of Scale also means that training and retraining through state institution is most effective, safest, and ultimately best.

Humanitarian Solution

My opponent claims that welfare is stealing. There are many many problems with this. Firstly, if my opponent truly rejects being stolen from, or if anyone truly does think the state steals their money, then can leave. My opponent seems to forget that there's hundreds of planes out of the country every day! The tacit consent is clear when one stays in the country. By all means, grumble, moan, and tut about it - I am British, tutting is what we do best, and I'd hate to not be able to do it - but it clearly not illegitimate. Moreover, one can easily run for government to stop taxation. Finally, this position is irreconcilable with the original statement that we should support the disabled and similar. If "taxation is theft", yet we tax to "help those who cannot help themselves", then we have a blatant contradiction.

Moreover, the charity index survey by CAF is comical at best. No data on the amount, no data on the time worked, no data even on how likely the truth value is (the system of collecting data is asking people whether they volunteer - it is just as likely Americans lie the most in the world!), the data is ego-rubbing and ultimately arbitrary. If every Pakistani gave a penny to charity and spent an hour cleaning a Mosque, then Pakistan would by far be the most charitable. If we look at ODA/GNI, or total aid given to other nations relative to GDP, America is 19th[4], behind many smaller countries with welfare states being norm.

"Freedom!" - Braveheart

Conscious of lack of space, I'll make this point simple. What my opponent promotes is a freedom to starve. Negative freedom alone is simply not ethical nor economically sensible. Positive freedom is necessary, as a full amount of negative freedom leads to anarchy. Analysts agree the cause of the economic crisis was Hayekian bubbles of too little regulation[5]. The lack of regulation and low interest meant there was excessive spending by businesses, too many large loans, and all in all a bubble to inevitably burst. The excess of negative freedom led to the economic crisis. The imbalance causes tangible terrors, which need to be nipped in the bud.

With that in mind, I pass over to my opponent.

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Brabus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Vote PRO.


Brabus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
It makes sense because a welfare system, or a system where the government plays a key role in helping its citizens in the form of aid and promoting the social well-being of its citizens, is a good thing. It makes perfect sense. By accepting the debate, you agree to go against it. You've accepted it on a plane of thought that no-one can logically comprehend from the resolution. If the resolution says X, then you're saying "not-X". You can't say "X, but Y as well!" as then you're just saying X and so you're for the resolution you've opposed.

It's like if we were debating whether God existed, if I went "yes he does" and you went "yes he does AND facebook is awesome!" then you're not going against the resolution, you're just conceding the debate.
Posted by Brabus 5 years ago
"This House Believes that a Welfare System is a force for good" how does that make any sense?
I agreed to go against the full welfare system we have now not no welfare system at all i never said that.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Brabus, it made perfect sense. If it didn't, you should have said beforehand. Regardless, what you're saying is that you accepted going against the resolution, knowing full well that you agree with the resolution and won't argue against the resolution.
Posted by Brabus 5 years ago
Your resolution did not make sense to start with. I never said i would be arguing against government providing any help to disabled people.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
When the resolution necessarily makes you against the welfare system (i.e. it is not a force for good), then arguing for a welfare system is self-refuting your position.
Posted by Brabus 5 years ago
I never said i was going to argue for no welfare system at all.
Posted by Brabus 5 years ago
Ahh ok that makes sense
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
If you start "arguing for a welfare system" then you're going against your position in the resolution.
Posted by Brabus 5 years ago
I guess I dont understand what we are debating because you said "I would urge my opponent to stick strictly to the resolution when debating this; arguing for a welfare system, or for conservatism, or against abortion, for example, would be meaningless sidetracking. " Yet I thought the debate was about the welfare system? Perhaps i am not understanding right or mabye you meant argiung about the welfare system and not for the other two? Well I hope you can clear this up thanks!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: ff