The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Socialism(pro) versus capitalism(con)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/31/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 796 times Debate No: 101607
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)




I am challenging JimShady to this debate. I would like to mention that I am going to be arguing for a specific type of socialism known as cooperative individualism, which is a form of cooperative economics. You can read about cooperative economics/individualism here if you're unfamilar with it[1]. As you can see, it employs socialist economics, and some people consider it a form of syndicalism, which is a form of socialism. I would rather not debate on whether cooperative economics is socialist. I would like my opponent to work under the assumption it is. I say this because I have run into people who claim it is not socialist. We wouldn't be able to do this debate if you think it is capitalist or something.

Actually, I suppose you can think it's capitalist if you want. I suppose it doesn't matter in the long-run as long as my opponent chooses a specific form of capitalism to advocate that is different from cooperative economics. As long as there is a difference between the economic systems we advocate, and we are each willing to debate against the other person's economic system, I suppose it doesn't matter whether you consider cooperative evonomics socialist.

Moving on...

1) No ad hominem, personal attacks, insults. It's okay to point out logical fallacies used by your opponent, and this would probably be a good thing.
2) The total number of rounds used for argument should be the total number you see here minus one. I say this because I am not using round 1 for argument, and it would be fair if my opponent uses the same amount of rounds for argument I do, otherwise one of us would have an advantage. I don't care which round my opponent waives, they can waive the first round so that they can go second, or waive the last round and start their arguments in round 1. Either way is acceptable to me.
3) The last round that is used for argument(not necessarily the last round period) should be used for just rebuttals to your opponent's arguments. No new arguments allowed in this round, but new information and facts are okay as long as it's used to rebut what your opponent claimed.

If any of the above rules are violated by either side, this would be justification for voters to vote for the one who violated none of them, or violated them to a lesser degree for the point in conduct.

Let's begin!

I'll define my economic system(and other relevant terms for it) now, and my opponent should do the same in round 1 for their economic system. To be fair, we will just go off of the definitions the other person provides, since we are choosing the economic system.

Cooperative economics: a field of economics that incorporates socialist economics co-operative studies, and political economy toward the study and management of co-operatives. This definition is courtesy of wikipedia, however I would add this: It emphasizes cooperative property, as opposed to private or public property. Cooperatives are the dominant business structure in these economies
Cooperative: 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. This was also from wikipedia
Cooperative property: Property that is owned by multiple individuals related to the purpose through which the property operates, ie workers of a company owning the company jointly because they each have a commom purpose in that industry. There is no de facto hierarchy of "property owners" versus those who work on the property. This differs from private property, which is usually owned by one individual or maybe a few, and there is a de facto hierarchy of "property owners" and those who work for the property. This definition is my own definition.
Cooperative individualism: A branch of cooperative economics that emphasized worker cooperatives as the primary mode of production. (this is also my own definition, but it's based off of the wikipedia definition)
Worker Cooperative: A cooperative that is owned and self-managed by its workers



I accept the debate from Capitilistslave, acknowledging that he will specifically for cooperative individualism, and I agree with him that it's a type of socialism. All his definitions look on point. Also this is my waive round, I intend to use number 4.

For my form of capitalism, I choose community capitalism, which according to my source is "an approach to capitalism that places a priority on the well-being and sustainability of the entire community, not just the lucky few." [1]

I may add more definitions later, but right now I think for my opening round this sole def will be sufficient.

Debate Round No. 1


From reading about community capitalism, it sounds like as though it still has businesses set up the same way as under regular capitalism, but the difference is it has people who are focused on benefiting the community most rather than themselves. Due to this, I do have a couple of problems with this:

What would guarantee that capitalism would be used to benefit the community as a whole rather than a few individuals?
It sounds like as if this would still all be voluntary, correct? So, what would give people incentive to benefit the community more than themselves? As we've seen in Capitalism's past, it usually results in business owners benefiting themselves more than the community. For example, back when we didn't have government regulations, as was the case in the 1800s, workers were given terrible wages, terrible working conditions, and long work hours. What would prevent us from going back to that? Or would the government be involved in this form of capitalism and require people to benefit the community as a whole? This is something I would need to know more about before I can attack community capitalism. I would like my opponent to address these questions if they could in this round to give me opportunity to respond to it next round. In the mean time, I will point out pros of cooperative individualism

Cooperatives are not well known, but those who know about them, prefer shopping at them
So, since I think we would both need to prove how our economic system would be able to become the main economic system, I shall do that. My opponent should do the same, since currently, neither community capitalism nor cooperative individualism is the economic system in any nation. So I believe we both have a burden of proof of how we can transfer to one of these economic systems.

At any rate, 89% of people don't even know what a cooperative is however, 78% of people who do know about them, prefer to shop at them than other business models[2]. Therefore, all that is needed to do to transfer to a cooperative individualist society, is to educate people about cooperatives and worker coops. The market would naturally have a preference to cooperatives if people only knew about them. Traditional businesses would go out of business if not for these reasons:
1) The government tends to bail out traditional, capitalist businesses that are "too big to fail".
Imagine what would happen if the government stopped bailing these companies out. They would fail and the economy would likely crash even more during recessions. If this were to happen, people would likely begin to search for an alternative business model.
2) If the education system didn't conveniently leave out cooperatives in economics classes.
Why don't they teach us about alternative business models in economics classes? It would make sense. And if this happened, more people would know about cooperatives, and perhaps they would search for them or even create some themselves.
3) Banks tend to not prefer to loan out to cooperatives[3, you can see through a google search how hard it is for coops to get loans] despite that they are now more succesful than traditional business models(I'll point out how sucessful cooperatives are in comparison to traditional businesses in the next contention). If banks loaned to cooperatives more, it would be easier to start up a cooperative.

Cooperatives are much more successful than other business models
Pretty much every single study that has been used to study the failure rate of cooperatives and traditional businesses, show that between a 3-10 year period of being in business, cooperatives survive 1.5-10 times the rate than every other business model[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]. I provided studies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Canada about cooperatives, and all of them show no matter what country or region, that cooperatives have a higher survival rate than other business models.

Even in recessions, cooperatives are more resilient than traditional business models[6]. This suggests that if we were to switch to cooperative individualism, the economy may very well be more stable than with capitalism, as the liklihood that cooperatives will fail is much lower.

Cooperative Individualsm can help end unemployment and poverty
In a comparative study performed by Gabriel Burdin and Andres Dean, where they looked into how cooperatives performed in the Uruguayan economic crisis between 1999-2001, it was found that "average employment and wages in WCs[worker cooperatives] tend to be greater than in CFs[capitalist firms]." [11, pg. 522] The wage being higher definitely makes sense, since in a worker-cooperative, there is no person at the top taking a percentage of the business profits as their own, personal, income. Instead, this income is spread across the workers, which would mean their wages would be higher.

Additionally, the specific number of employees that the average worker coop has is 10[12], while traditional businesses have just over 4[13]. I believe the reason worker coops employ more people on average is because they are created with the intent to benefit the workers. Clearly WCs benefit the workers more, as they become the owners and are given democratic control over the company. So, since the goal of worker coops is to benefit workers, they try to employ more. A traditional business will employ the minimum amount of people needed to get the job done, while worker coops will try to employ more. Despite this, as shown above, the wages of those workers, even though there is more of them, remain higher in WC's. Thus, I believe if there were more wc's, unemployment would go down naturally, possibly down to 0% if we had enough of them. WC's, after all, seem to employ twice the amount of people that traditional businesses do.

Therefore, since wages tend to be greater in WCs that means if there were more of them, the number of people who are working who are in poverty would go down. Additionally, since worker coops provide more jobs, more jobs would open and then unemployment would likely drop.

Worker cooperatives tend to be more productive than traditional businesses
WCs are more productive than traditional businesses. Let us compare the productivity of traditional companies, those in which workers have no say over the decision-making process of the company, with that of worker co-ops, where the workers are the joint-owners of the company and democratically vote on decisions for the company. It has been found in a study conducted by Ben Craig, of the federal reserve bank of Cleveland, and John Pencavel, of Standford University, that worker cooperatives within the plywood industry are more materially productive than traditional firms[1, pg 124]. The reasons they believe for this are because:

A. "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.[1, pgs 124-125)

B. WCs eliminate "the separation of interests between workers and owners."[1 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.

C. Workers are able to monitor each other better than in traditional businesses where the monitor is a single manager [1, 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.

Conclusion of this round:
Since people who know about coops prefer to shop at them, all that would need to be done is to educate people about cooperatives, and they would likely out-perform other businesses easily and become the majority business type. Coops fail at a lower rate than traditional businesses, and would be more stable in recessions, which would help the economy out greatly. Worker coops can also end poverty and unemployment, and finally are more productive. For these reasons, cooperative individualism is preferable.

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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by JimShady 3 years ago
When I was about to post, for some reason was broken. I swear I had it in time. I even took a few screenshots to prove it. Anyways, sorry, I'll start it up again if you want, I luckily copy and pasted my argument.
Posted by JimShady 3 years ago
Yes Yes, don't worry, I'm taking my time.
Posted by Capitalistslave 3 years ago
Will you be posting soon?
Posted by Capitalistslave 3 years ago
I accidentally put the wrong citations for what I said under Worker cooperatives being more productive. I also didn't put the link by mistake. This is the source:
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