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


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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 701 times Debate No: 99821
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




I like liberty, my opponent hates liberty: so I will argue that liberty is good.


We've had a debate on this before, but I will debate you again on capitalism.

My opponent mistakenly correlated capitalism with liberty. I doubt they would think state capitalism or crony capitalism is liberty, yet both are still types of capitalism. Really, it's libertarianism that has to do with liberty, not capitalism. If you have libertarian capitalism, then you can say that is about liberty, but so is libertarian socialism, which is what I advocate.

I won't say anything else in this round since my opponent didn't offer much. I'll save my main arguments for next round. Plus, burden of proof is usually with "pro" for a given topic unless it is settled that con is taking a stance other than "not captialism". Since my opponent didn't say "capitalism versus socialism" I contend I do not have the burden of proof, since all I have to do is argue against the arguments in favor of capitalism that my opponent offers.
Debate Round No. 1


I don't believe I challenged you to this debate.

Regardless- private property is a right, therefore capitalism isa necessaary condition for liberty, but not the only condition.


Well, I think we had one before where I argued for socialism and you did for capitalism, so it's not exactly the same, but similar.

My rebuttal is going off of the assumption we are talking about the United States. I live in the US, and I believe my opponent does as well, so these arguments should still apply.

Rights recognized in the US
I would like you to explain how private property is a right. It neither appears in the declaration of independence nor the constitution of the United States. In fact, the declaration of independence was made in such a way to make sure to exclude property. John Locke had the idea of "life, liberty, and property" as rights, but Thomas Jefferson specifically took property out of the equation and instead claimed that "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are rights.

Now, while the 14th amendment to the United States constitution says "...nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."[1] this doesn't specify private property. For example, I see no reason why things couldn't be that businesses are cooperatively owned by workers. To make this the case, doesn't deny anyone their right to property, it just means they have to share it with others. They, nonetheless, still have that right to property.

Now, while I wouldn't personally want the state to force companies to be cooperatively owned, I don't think it is technically unconstitutional nor against any rights that the United States recognizes. I don't know of any supreme court case that said an individual is specifically entitled to private property as opposed to jointly-owned cooperative property.

I would agree that a person is entitled to the fruits of their labor, and thus they would have property. However, there are other systems of economics which still allow property, such as libertarian socialism. Private property still exists in it, for example you can own a computer as your own private property, a house and the property with the house, etc. The only difference is that the means of production would be cooperatively, democratically, and jointly-owned by the workers of that company.

What I would consider to be a right
I would argue that a worker is entitled to jointly own the company they work for. How? Well, if you use the logic that a person is entitled to have the product or fruits of their labor, the growth of a company is a product of the worker working there. That company wouldn't be able to grow without other workers, thus they are entitled to own some of the company because, if not for them, that company wouldn't have grown. I consider it stealing when a business owner denies the workers' right to own the product of their labor(ie, business growth), and anyone who logically thinks about it would come to that conclusion as well. The business owner is not the sole reason behind why the company is so large. If they were, then I would say they are entitled to own the company all by themselves, and in libertarian socialism, when you own a company where you have no other workers, you would have sole ownership of that company.

The whole idea behind property as a right is that you worked for it. Using the same logic, the workers worked for the company to grow, thus the business is their property, but under capitalism, this property is stolen from them by a single or multiple business owners.

Potential arguments against this:
"Well, the workers agreed to these conditions where they don't receive joint-ownership of the company, so it is not stealing"
This would be a stronger argument if the workers had other choices. What choice does a worker have but to work for companies that are owned by a single or a few business owners(capitalist businesses)? A vast majority of businesses are capitalist businesses. There are approximately 27.9 million small businesses in the United States[2] but only about 50,000 are coops[3]. That's about 0.1% of small businesses which are coops. People need to work in order to survive. As soon as all of the coops have all of their positions filled, there is no choice but to work for a capitalist business.

I can personally testify to how hard it is to find a worker coop. I've been looking for one that would hire me for over a year now, but I have found none. Thus, I am forced to settle for a capitalist business in order to survive or get the property I want. It's hard to say I did this by choice, when the only other option is to die of starvation.


Debate Round No. 2


Let me start by saying that private property is a right- and it is protected under the 5th amendment. My opponent claims that the right to property doesn't indicate private property as a right- however, the distinction between personal property and private property was only recently made by Karl Marx- and during the time of the Constitution property refereed to every kind of property. Furthermore, human rights are not granted by government- they come from God.

Now in regards to my opponents argument, he seems to be under the assumption that workers are producing wealth and that employers are stealing wealth from them- which is false. Instead, workers are providing a commodity- labor- which is necessary for their employers to produce wealth. To say that employees should own all of the businesses in America is like saying that the oil companies should own every branch of industry in America because they provide all of the oil with whgich to power these industries- and are entitled to all wealth produced by their oil.

If labor was the only necessity to produce wealth, workers would produce at home rather than work for someone else- but instead, they work for an employer because he enables them to amplify the productive powers of their labor, and therefore enable them to produce more wealth than they otherwise would have been able to. In exchanges for this, workers sell they labor to said employers for a lower price than its natural price, but still considerably higher than the natural price their labor would have had if they didn't work for their employer.

If employees didn't see themselves as better off working for an employer than they do not working for said employer, they would not work for him. Instead, they recognize that employers enable them to produce more wealth and live a higher quality of living than they otherwise would have been able to achieve.

Employers are not stealing from employees, because they are not diminishing from the natural productive power of their labor, but are rather augmenting it, and benefiting from said augmentation, as only mutually beneficial exchanges will occur in capitalism.


Nonetheless, there is nothing that guarantees the right to have a privately-owned business in this country. As for the claim that rights come from God, this is ludicrous. From which god do they come from? And if you say a specific one, why is that god any more legitimate than other religion's gods? The problem with getting rights from "god" is that there are thousands of gods, and thus everyone has a different idea as to what rights that god grants. Rights, in reality, come from what is generally agreed upon on in a society. The evidence of this is that each society has different ideas as to what rights are. China has different ideas as to what rights they deserve than the United States, for example. Italy has a different idea too, Mexico has a different idea as well and so on.

The difference between the oil industry example my opponent brought up and the workers, is that the workers are directly working for the company, which directly expands that company. The oil given to other companies from the oil industry is an indirect expansion of that company. For example, while the oil workers worked on that oil and then that oil is used to benefit other industries, this is too indirect to claim that they would have right to own all other industries which use oil. The worker, on the other hand, directly works for an employer.

In addition to a worker being entitled to the product of their labor, I believe that consent of the governed is vital not only for government legitimacy, but economic legitimacy. In a capitalist economy, no worker gets to consent to the decisions that the business owner makes, even those decisions can affect them. This is tyranny. Now, while there are things the workers could do to stop this, it shouldn't have happened to begin with. I mean, peasants in the dark ages also had means to put an end to an unjust rule, but that was often through rebellion or civil disobedience. Similarly, while workers can strike or have labor unions work on their behalf, these are not the ideal things. Why waste work on those things when the workers could just own the company jointly and this problem would be solved? If we relied on labor unions, this is money and work wasted, since the solution to have workers own the company would get rid of that unnecessary money and work from a labor union. Additionally, a strike would end up pausing production in that company for a while, which is also unnecessary. Why not keep the production going by having the companies organized as worker cooperatives, that way strikes and unions would never be needed again?

In summary, capitalism doesn't give consent from the governed like other economic forms could. I contend that since it is generally agreed upon that governments which do not give consent to the governed are tyrannical, so is capitalism. While one could argue that workers do have consent, for they choose which employer to work for, this still doesn't mean they get a voice when it comes to the decisions made by the company, and these decisions often affect the employees, which makes them the governed.
Debate Round No. 3


My opponent doesn't seem to understand natural rights: they come fron Natures God,the Deistic God, and are thus caled natural rights. John Locke explained it in his Second Treatise on Government:

Regarding the rest of my opponents argument- capitalistsmaking decisions for their company, without the consent of the employees, though these decisions afect them, is not tyranny. The capitalists buisness belongs to him or her, and he has the right to make decisions regarding his own property. Government nly demands the consent of the governed because government makes decisions regarding our lives, as opposed to a capitalist mking decisions regardin his own life that have effects upon others.

The capitalists actions, ultimately, only have an effect on others by implication, rather than directly. This is just like all other actions done by people, as everyones actions have an effect on others. If I decide to spend at Joes shop rather than Jims shop, or if I decide to boycott Jims shop, these actions will have an effect on them, and yet this is not tyranny because I have every right to spend at whatever shop I want, or to boycott any shop I want, as it is my money.
Jim and Joe are only making exchanges with me, so though my actions may have an effect on them. Jim and Joe have no right to mandate what shop I buy from. Likewise, workers are only making exchanges with employers, so though temployers actions have an effect on the employees- the employer is only making decisions regarding his own property.


But does this society we live in agree that is where our rights come from? I contend still, our society has to agree upon these rights. If our society doesn't agree on them, they're not rights anymore essentially.

The problem with capitalists making these decisions, is that this decision is astronomical in affecting a person. They decide whether a person gets to feed themselves at night(for without a job, it would be extremely difficult to do so), whether they get to improve their lot in life, etc. What gives them such right to that authority? Just because they were fortunate enough to have capital to fund their business? No single person should have the power to affect another person so tremendously unless the people consented to have them in that position of power. Not only does a capitalist get to make decisions regarding the company, but they get to choose whether to hire a person, and this translates to all I've said.

I would argue the hiring decision has affect on a person directly, and not indirectly. The difference between deciding to shop or boycott a store, is that you're a single person. A single person wouldn't be able to affect that business owner so greatly to where they would no longer be able to feed themselves, for there are many other people willing to shop there. And if there aren't, then I consider that proper authority used because then it naturally represents everyone involved. Sure, while the business owner is opposed to no one shopping at their business, everyone else approves of it. Just like how in a democracy it is moral for 99% to agree upon a law while ignoring the will of the other 1%, so is this moral. Now, the difference with employers and deciding to hire someone, is it ignores everyone else involved in that company. Other employees would be directly affected by the decision for an employer to hire or not to hire someone. For they may have to put up with a terrible co-worker, or perhaps it was someone they knew was a great worker who would help relieve the unfair workload, but the employer turned them down anyways.

So, while you can say the business owner is "only making decisions regarding his own property", well, there are other people using that property who are directly affected by the decisions he makes. The workers are part of the business, and now that I brought that up, that brings me to the conclusion that capitalism is a form of slavery. If the workers are part of the business, and the business owner owns the business, they indirectly own the workers, it might be "voluntary" slavery as the workers agreed upon working for the business owner, but even that is hindered since what other choice does a person have in a capitalist system to improve their lot in life? You're forced either to be a business owner or an employee. If you're anything else, then you're not partaking in the capitalist system, and I doubt you would be able to improve your lot in life if you're not involved in the capitalist system. The only option where you can be outside of the capitalist system and have different arrangements, is by working for a workers' cooperative, but as I pointed out, coops are a very small minority, so for many, they are not a feasible option either.
Debate Round No. 4


Rights are not subjective to the opinions of anyone- not the government and not the people. 'Rights,' are in actuality liberties which exist inhereintly. The proof for this is found in that link I posted to John Locke's 'Two Treatise on Government.'

Capitalists do not decide whether or not you eat at night- they do get to decide whether or not to preserve a contract which is benefical to you, and are likely to terminate said practice if it ceases to benefi them. If you hire a person to keep your house and yard clean, you should have the right to terminate such a contract if your employee ceases to work according to a certain standard- that is not tyranny, because its your property and your money.

The workers are not part of the buisness- they are just providing a commodity which the buisness uses. The buisness refers to a fictional entity which owns certain properties, and is actully a proxy refering to its shareholders. The workers are not a part of that- just like the ol industry is not part o thesteel industry, and the steel industry is not part of the fork industry.


But it is merely according to John Locke that these rights exist outside of the opinions of anyone. In other words: it's the opinion of someone that rights exist outside of opinion. We, as a society, agreed to John Locke's ideas on rights, so by opinion of society, rights are not subject to opinion. We didn't need to agree with John Locke's ideas, and if we didn't, then the rights would be considered to exist outide of opinion. Again, the Two Treatises on Government is all opinion, it's not factual or objective. Granted, it's widely accepted opinion, but it is, nonetheless, still opinion.

Capitalists de facto do decide whether you get to eat at night. Because we live in a capitalist society where the only viable options for making an income for oneself is to either be the business owner or the employee, capitalists are the ones deciding whether you eat at night. Again, what other alternative is there in a capitalist society? It's either work under someone, or make others work for you. If you go with the former, then capitalists decide whether you make a living. If you go with the latter, then another capitalist(which is now you since you chose to be a capitalist) gets to decide whether you eat at night.

As for whether the workers are part of the business, it's simply applying it to definitions. Let's look at a definition of the term business, the one that is applicable to this situation. It's " A commercial operation or company."[4]

How are the workers not part of the company? Without the workers, there would be basically no company. They are vital for the company to exist, so it makes sense to conclude that they are part of the company. The workers are required for the operation of the business. By having a single person own the company, they essentially own all of the workers too. Socialism would free people from this slavery, and allow you to own yourself, to own the products of your own work by transfering the means of production to whom it should belong.

[5] (see definition 2.2)
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by EdgeOfTheInfinite 1 year ago
Posted by RonPaulConservative 1 year ago
Europeans have no rights and are currently being raped, pillaged, and plundered by Muslims
Posted by EdgeOfTheInfinite 1 year ago
Again I have not much information on capitalism or a capitalistic view on socialism. I personally think with my limited knowledge that it is a better solution. When you compare European countries to America you clearly see a difference. I have never participated in a debate about it and personally do not wish to. Socialism just has my view points in mind. Maybe try someone else with more knowledge on the situation. But if you wish I'd like to debate you on Evolution. You can use parts of your doc, but you can't just cite the whole thing because it is larger than 10000 characters.
Posted by RonPaulConservative 1 year ago
People are selfish, so let's steal their property and e slave them!
Posted by EdgeOfTheInfinite 1 year ago
I'm not looking for a formal debate right now. I prefer socialism because it's a lot less selfish, but I'm nowhere near informed enough to have a debate on it.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Cat47 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Conduct goes to neither. Spelling and Grammar: In the second round, Pro made a spelling mistake. "therefore capitalism isa necessaary condition for liberty". Arguments: Arguments goes to Con. Looking at Pro's arguments, they definitely had flaws. For example, he firstly argued that "capitalism= liberty" because private property is a right, but as con pointed out, you can still own property in libertarian socialism. Sources: Sources go to Pro. I give him sources for citing John Locke, but Con's rebuttal against it is pretty good, which is another reason I give Con arguments.
Vote Placed by paintballvet18 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:25 
Reasons for voting decision: Spelling- Pro in Round 2 "therefore capitalism isa necessaary condition for liberty," I think enough has been said. Spellcheck is a good thing... Arguments: Pro does too little too late to try and fend off the Con. First, I don't buy Capitalism=liberty, because that's blatantly false. Second, citing John Locke is fine (and I'll award you the sources point for this), but natural rights are not God given. In the US, they're from the Constitution (Life, liberty and property). For those two reasons, Con's rebuttals win argument points. Pro's conduct in the comments is really pushing the line. Saying that Europeans are raped and that we should enslave (note another misspelling), is enough to award Con a conduct point.