Would an Anarcho-Capitalist System be Better Than Our Current U.S. Mixed Government System?
I will be for the idea that an Anarcho-Capitalist Society would be a better society than our already present mixed economy in America.
The word "better" will basically be defined as the most prosperous economy. Everything that can hinder each economy will be taken into account and used to see which is a better economy.
First Round Acceptance.
Per my opponent's comments on the debate, I shall be taking this.
I thank my opponent for presenting this fascinating debate.
Thanks. Let's do this.
So I'd like to start off by explaining what an Anarcho-Capitalist society would be like. People will believe the fallacy that humans will destroy each other if not bound by laws.
This is not so. A Free Market Anarchy is not chaos. Everything is simply not centralized. Many of the things you see today, will still be there in a free market, they will just be privatized.
It is always better to have choices than to be bound to only one choice. For example, let's take the new Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) law that will come into effect soon. Obamacare is the government trying to own healthcare. When this comes into effect, people will be taxed if they do not switch to the government's healthcare, attempting to force people to use their healthcare. Another thing that will occur is that other, smaller healthcare insurance companies will go out of business because they cannot compete with the government; government is immune to competition. (Bigger businesses side with the government and will get kickbacks for doing so, they actually already have.) But, again, your choices become limited.
So what if you don't necessarily like the government's healthcare or these bigger businesses that have sided with the government? Well, too bad. That's all you have.
In a true free market, people have so much more choice. The government limits the amount of private businesses that can come onto the market, making our present economy, far from a free market. Having a choice is always better than not having a choice at all.
Companies are not meant to stay in business forever. Some business need to go out of business, because obviously, they were doing something wrong, or the people just don't care for their product anymore. The idea of "too big to fail" is a fallacy.
So, I claim that an Anarcho-Capitalist Society would be a better society on these points:
I will also address the idea of monopolies which cannot occur in a free market.
More Freedoms and Decreased Crime Rate (both in one)
So it's obviously apparent that having no government equally means that there are more freedoms.
Just because there is no government, does not mean there are no laws. Obviously there will still be certain laws that people would follow, but it’s not the government’s place to enforce these laws, it’s the people’s place. It has always been looked at as wrong to murder, to steal, to rape, ect, in every major society. The same problems will be addressed accordingly. The idea of private court systems is not unheard of. Private courts were seen in the early western United States. They are just privately funded courts. If a person commits a crime, they would be detained by the police (who would also be private) and the person would be charged accordingly through a similar due process of law.
Obviously, since there are fewer laws on what a person can and cannot do, there is a decreased crime rate. You won’t have jails full of people who were caught smoking pot. You should have the right to do whatever you please to your own body. By the way, the only real reason drugs are illegal in the first place is because the government can’t tax them.
And another point, if all drugs were made illegal tomorrow, do you really think that every person would immediately smoke meth and crack? No, people realize the harmful effects of these substances.
More Value in the Currency/0% inflation
I will address both of these in one. This is a huge problem. The Federal Government has the ability to counterfeit money through the Federal Reserve System. The government is the only being that can counterfeit money legally. And yes, creating new money is counterfeiting, and causes inflation, which is also a tax.
If you want to know the reasons why inflation is a tax, look up "Bernanke Inflation is a Tax" on youtube, and Bernanke will tell you himself.
This is the cause for the high prices. This is why 4 years ago, milk was 3 dollars, now it’s 5. Because the government has the ability to arbitrarily increase the money supply whenever they need money to spend. This always has a negative effect on the economy and definitely hurts the lower class Americans even more.
Obviously, there would be no FED, so this continuous increasing of the money supply would not occur.
Lower Prices/Natural Deflation
In a free market economy, the economy is completely based on competition. In effect, this causes lower prices which have a very good impact on the economy. Contrary to popular belief, low prices do not cause depressions. Government intervention causes depressions. (I can go into more detail if needed)
This natural deflation process occurs the same way the prices on computers and cell phones go down very quickly. The market for computers and cell phone nowadays is crazy huge. This fierce competition causes low prices, which is why we can all get a cell phone that can almost go to space now for free through carriers. This same process would happen in every different industry because of the competition. When people are able to spend money, the economy is much more prosperous.
A harmful monopoly cannot exist in the free market. And another thing is that not all monopolies are bad. There have been several monopolies throughout history that actually helped the economy. Think about it: the owners of a natural monopoly would have every incentive to keep their operations as efficient as possible in order to make as much profits as possible. Those profits would then be reinvested into making their operations even more efficient and profitable, thereby further serving the consumer in a way that no regulated monopoly or government owned monopoly could possibly do.
And another thing, is natural monopolies would be very rare anyway. Substitutes or alternative technology prevents the formation of “natural monopolies” on the free market. For example, when three competing gas companies tried to merge in 1888, an inventor named Thomas Edison introduced the electric light which threatened the existence of all gas companies and while all had heavy fixed costs which led to economies of scale...no free-market or 'natural' monopoly ever materialized.
Harmful monopolies have only occurred because of the government. Some common examples have been energy providers (gas and electric), telephone service providers, and cable TV. The rationalization used is that certain industries, due to high fixed costs, economies of scale, and land usage limitations, are better served by having a single provider. The label of “public utility” is arbitrary and history has shown that government designated monopolies do not serve the public well and stifle innovation and technological progress as well as violate the rights of entrepreneurs who wish to enter protected industries.
Wars and Conflicts Will Be Very Rare in a Free Market
(sources in comments; I was running out of characters)
I shall be appreviating my opponent’s points to AC1, AC2, AC3, et cetera (AC for anarcho-capitalism) and my own to ME1, ME2, M3, et cetera (mixed-economy). I’d also note that I also hate the current mixed-economy of the United States, though I don’t think transitioning to an anarcho-capitalist one would improve things. I’m personally a socialist. That’s not actually relevant, but I thought my opponent might find my scorn of the current system moderately surprising.
AC1: Firstly, I would note that the Affordable Care Act (which I’ll abbreviate as the ACA), doesn’t force anyone to switch to the government’s health care; it forces them to be taxed if they are wealthy enough to afford healthcare and don’t buy it (if one is too poor, you can get subsidies). I would also argue that the truth of the matter isn’t that businesses are siding with government so much that government is siding with businesses. This distinction, while it may at this point appear trivial, will be elaborated on later in the debate.
Now, I agree that having a choice is generally better. But I don’t think it’s always better, because people don’t have perfect knowledge. Without perfect knowledge, someone might make a choice that they later regretted—and they wouldn’t necessarily have knowledge of the effects their choice would have on them down the line. There’s also the question over whether in some instances it might be better to not have a choice, in the interest of preserving choice later down the line. For instance, if I do not have the choice to start smoking, I will (on average) have fewer years of choice. My years of life will also be of poorer quality; I may develop cancer and have to pay money or die, or I may not be able to travel, or I may not be able to focus due to frequent coughing. This poorer quality (at least in all of the examples I gave) reduces choice later.
I also agree with my opponent that some businesses do need to go out of business. I’ll elaborate on that later.
AC2: I certainly can’t argue with the fact that removing laws leads to a lower crime rate (at least on a theoretical level). Though I must ask for sources showing that these were indeed private courts and not just the courts of a micropolitical entity.
AC3: Given that counterfeiting is a term with a precise legal definition, arguing that the Federal Reserve System is counterfeiting seems a big disingenous.
In any event, money doesn’t last forever. The average lifespan of a dollar bill is about five years. We would arguably face rapid deflation if no more money was printed. I don’t just mean the kind of deflation that my opponent talks about, I mean that the supply of money would fall incredibly rapidly as money was slowly lost to the ravages of time. Eventually, someone would have to print more money.
AC4: I’d rather like more detail on that matter. Also how lower prices over time for pieces of technology will necessarily translate to all different industries.
AC5: Why can’t harmful monopolies exist in the free market? For instance, what’s stopping some Rockefeller from buying up competitors?
We must ask ourselves a question: Does making operations even more efficient and profitable inevitably result in furthering the interests of the people who make up the economy? History has seemed to suggest the answer is no; meat-packing plants during the Gilded Age were undoubtedly considered by their owners to be efficient and profitable (I can see no other real reason for them to keep having rats ground up in the beef), Goldman Sachs was profitable (hard to say if it was efficient, of course), et cetera. Exploiting people can be profitable and efficient. Imagine how much more efficient and profitable a business might be if it didn’t have to pay attention to OSHA rules.
How is the label of public utility arbitrary? Seems to me to be anything but arbitrary: Public utility is what is useful for the public at large. How has history shown that the label is arbitrary? If we are indeed calculating things according to public utility, then it would seem that the reasonable thing to do would be to give it (the monopoly) to whoever does the best job. This would seem to foster innovation and technological progress. Convince the government that your solution is better and you get a monopoly, or at the very least the attention of the company with the monopoly, which will undoubtedly be very interested in the new innovation or technology.
Why do entrepreneurs have this right?
AC6: I would argue that the reasons for war are always based on a combination of stupidity and jingoism (with the soldiers fighting it someetimes having reasons of legitimate alturism), but otherwise have little argument with this, though I do not think armed conflict would necessarily be rare. For example, two rival businesses might have their security forces have a skirmish around a valuable mine.
ME1: What we often see isn’t businesses siding with the government, it’s government siding with businesses. The connections between big business and government are well established. But note that big businesses exert tremendous political power. The solution to this isn’t to get government out; when we’ve tried having businesses with little to no government oversight, the Gilded Age was an example of this. It was characterized by low amounts of regulation (examples: few to no food purity regulations, lack of OSHA regulations, lack of environmental regulations, lack of rules prohibiting monopolies), little centralized social safety net, no anti-trust laws, and heavy business interference in government.
In large part this (partially) ended due to Theodore Roosevelt, but even he was in the grip of business—he did not go after trusts that donated to his campaign. And the process of business interfering in government continues.
They (businesses) donate large amounts of money to groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council, one of the more powerful interest groups; they send lobbyists to Washington; legislators often have financial interests in them; and many individuals appointed to oversee industries have industry ties.
The Gilded Age was characterized by extremes of wealth—high income inquality, to be short. High income inequality has in turn been linked to higher crime rates, higher death rates, lower levels of overall trust, and overall poorer health.
Anarcho-capitalism seems to offer little in the way of solutions for the problem of entrenched corporate interests. The political philosophy seems to wish for us to trust to the free market, but I am pessimistic about the potential of the free market to solve the problem of inequality and entrenched corporate interests
I respect my opponent's opinions. Personally, I am not an anarchist, more of a just a very far right libertarian. And I think most people hate the current government of the United States. Just turn on the news. lol.
Because you say you are socialist, I just want to add something really quick to this topic. Making any industry socialized, throughout history, has always made it worse. One obvious representation of this would be public schooling compared to private schooling. You could go on any website and find that private schools are almost always better than public schools. I can evaluate on this later, but I need to conserve my characters.
There's an old quote I love by Thomas Sowell
Particularly depressed were American agricultural exports to
Furthermore the rash of business failures may cause questions to
Generally, however, bank runs
My apologies for the comparitively poor quality of this response.
AC1: Not quite. Unless one is to back the highly questionable argument that people always have the same imperfect knowledge, then a collection of people pooling their resouces and knowledge would have more perfect knowledge than a smaller collection, or an individual person (all else being equal). And part of the advantage of the government is that it has more powerful ways of finding knowledge. For example, a government can launch a surprise investigation of a plant. It can subpoena information.
The government does have the right to tell you how to live your life--and so does everyone else. Whether or not you pay attention is, of course, another matter. Now, the government can force you to pay attention... but only if you are either:
A) wanted for a crime
B) directly affecting the lives of others
For instance, you could go off and be a hillbilly. I am unaware of any way the government could have control of such an individual if he did not use their facilities, and was not wanted for a crime.
Well, unfortunately, they are incorrect. Logic requires starting assumptions; these assumptions may be incorrect. For example, logic might have as a starting assumption that people are logical... and I think we can all agree that they are anything but!
AC3: I think we all know that the dollar doesn't have the same value in absolute real dollars as the previous dollar; that is the purpose of price indices and the monitoring of inflation rates.
As far as gold, I must ask for my opponent's source as to the value of gold remaining constant.
ME1: I am aware of The Jungle's status as fiction. I am also aware that the very same president you just quoted sent two men, Mr. Neil and Mr. Reynolds, to launch surprise inspections, and they collaborated Sinclair's findings.
To quote: "The evidence is, in fact, absolutely conclusive that the Standard Oil Company charges altogether excessive prices where it meets no competition, and particularly where there is little likelihood of competitors entering the field, and that, on the other hand, where competition is active, it frequently cuts prices to a point which leaves even the Standard little or no profit, and which more often leaves no profit to the competitor, whose costs are ordinarily somewhat higher."
Furthermore, there have been other monopolies. AT&T is famous, of course, but Monsanto cannot be ignored, either. Same with Microsoft.
No worries, we still have another round left.
(Lower prices are beneficial in an economy and help to prevent recessions and depressions.)
(Through no government intervention and competition in the market)
AC1: Does everybody always know what’s best for them? Do stupid people know what’s best for them? Some people believe that they should drink their urine to heal themselves, and some people don’t. Do both these groups of people know what is best for themselves? Some people believe that using heroin is the best thing (or at least a good thing) for themselves—otherwise they would not start. Who is more likely to know what medicine is better, a doctor, or yourself? Who is more likely to know about not catching diseases, an epidemiologist or yourself?
It’s different for several reasons.
Not all information is applicable at a local level, or easier to act on. It’s easier to organize a recall of tainted products on a national level; if you do it on a local one then you’ve only managed to do so in a local area. It’s easier to fight pollution on a national level than a local one, because it spills over into neighboring areas.
And the government can’t act without consequence. It can be sued. And it can be replaced during an election cycle. There are very well-trained, well-paid lawyers belonging to groups who make a habit of suing the government. They can force the government to pay out damages, or make one part of the government make another part of the government stop doing something (since the government isn’t a monolithic entity). Not to mention the fact that protest movements can and do form, often leading to political change—sometimes on a massive national level.
There are limits to government power; that is the point of constitutions and laws. And lawyers.
AC3: You said that the Federal Reserve deceived people into thinking the value of money was the same. I just demonstrated that this is not the case. This seems like saying that if I start printing these bills called ‘Dollar 2.0’, and I copyright the design, and then I produce more of them, I’m counterfeiting. By that logic, anyone who printed money, ever would be a counterfeiter. Which isn’t just the Federal Reserve; there was printed money before 1913.
Actually, that isn’t the case; the amount of gold available to humans has steadily increased. Because it’s still being mined. Now, granted, to get to all the gold we’d have to eliminate the use of computers (since they contain gold), stop developing these new gold nanobead medicines to fight cancer, and melt down artifacts that are valuable for their historical value, but the point remains that the amount of gold is increasing.
Lovely, what’s his source? Now, looking at GoldPrice.org, an ounce of gold (Troy ounce, mind) costs $1727.99. Now, according to my research, the exchange rate for a denarii communes exchanged for a single aureus has varied wildly—during 301-307 CE, 2400 denarii communes for a single aureus. Now, for a fine toga, made of white silk, that’s 1200 denarii. Plus patrician’s shoes, that’s 150 denarii--sandals do not appear to have been worn by the wealthy. Let’s assume a belt would cost the same as the patrician’s shoes. So two and a quarter aureus, at most. Times eight grams (what it was during the time of Julius Caesar, that means half an ounce of gold.
AC2: Let’s return to this point.
The problem with crime isn’t just that it’s illegal. It’s that it’s bad because it harms people. Certain laws are ridiculous. But saying ‘I’m lowering the crime rate’ is equivalent to an accounting trick. The thing that’s actually bad about crime—that it harms people—has not proven to be lowered. You could make the argument about drug laws, but there’s a growing movement from multiple sides of the economic spectrum to decriminalize the use of marijuana and such; it’s hardly a unique feature to anarcho-capitalism and there are socialists in favor of it. It’s like saying ‘When there’s no laws, there’s no crime.’ Technically true, of course. But in terms of how well people are doing? Little to no difference.
AC: I don’t regard 0% taxes as good in and of itself.
AC: Yes, wars will be unlikely. Conflicts have not been shown to be unlikely or rare. War is a specific kind of conflict. However, things such as ‘civil wars’ (or at least rough analogues), armed conflict between corporations, and people forming a group to go and try to conquer other people, have not been shown to be very unlikely. Wars are between states and nations.
ME1: And what of quality? Furthermore, average price isn't the same as median price, or what the price is usually. The source I provided stated that such monopolies engaged in the practices known as 'price-gouging'.
Those who study law and history do not argue that the cartoon example of a monopoly as someone who owns all the red squares existed, they argue that there existed companies which used their economic power to discourage competition and were successful in doing so. At one point Standard Oil had about 90% of the oil market in the United States. They used underselling, differential pricing, and secret transport rebates. They qualify.
And why should 'the enduring forces of competion' prevent someone from capitalizing on that moment and exploiting it?
5. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
AlextheYounga forfeited this round.
I would like to thank my opponent for the fascinating debate.