The Instigator
RonPaulConservative
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Capitalistslave
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Socialism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2016 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 613 times Debate No: 97915
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

RonPaulConservative

Con

The resolution is that Socialism is a bad economic system that should not be attempted, we will be analyzing morality, efficiency, productivity, and liberty. Google Docs are not a violation of conduct, character limit is 15,000
Capitalistslave

Pro

I accept. I will not be able to debate immediately, but if you begin your argument in round 2, I will be able to do the same in a day or two.
Debate Round No. 1
Capitalistslave

Pro

I will probably not be using a google doc for this since I don't think will go over the 10,000.

I will address the definition of socialism my opponent provided, and provide another definition, which is " a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production" [1] Now, I'm not going to argue semantics, but I will be arguing for a specific kind of socialism and ignore the rest, since because we are arguing about socialism in general, I only need to show that one form of socialism is feasible to show that socialism is a viable alternative to capitalism.

The reason I provided the above definition of socialism, is because the socialism I advocate would fall under that definition, and not the definition that my opponent provided.

Democratic control of the means of production can occur in a couple of ways, and like my opponent argued for, one way is through a democratic government controlling the means of production, however, I would argue that this can be done in a much more decentralized way in which individual freedoms are still maintained. If we were to have a system of only cooperatives, which are democratically-run businesses, individual freedom is still maintained. In fact, I would argue individual freedom under this system is better maintained than under capitalism. Under capitalism, which is the private ownership of the means of production, you give up a lot of your freedoms in order work. You have to do what your boss says or else you are fired and can no longer provide for yourself. Under a socialist system, there is not one person who sets the rules of the business, but rather the workers themselves set the rules. In this case, there is a majority rule, but this is preferable to just having one person rule, which could potentially go against the will of the majority of the workers.

THE NON-AGGRESSION PRINCIPLE
My opponent argues that socialism violates the non-aggression principle. He says that aggression should only be used to preserve freedom and liberties, however in capitalism, liberties are encroached upon all of the time by the employer. For example, society used to be segregated by race, and employers would not hire people of color. This is a violation of liberty, and in this case, is a reason to use violence in order to protect our liberties. The best way to protect liberties, is to transition from an oligarchic system to a republican or democratic system. Capitalism is an oligarchic system, as there are usually only one or a few people at the top of a business. Just as the founder of our nation rebelled against a monarchy that was encroaching on our liberties, so must the workers of our nation rebel against the oligarchs who are business owners who could take away our liberties at any given time.

LIBERTY
My opponent argues that a person has a right to charge a price for their own products and own their own factory. I don't directly oppose this, and mostly agree with my opponent. However, I must point out that a person doesn't have a right to workers. That would be slavery otherwise if they were entitled to have people work for them. I would go as far as saying that a person is not entitled to have someone work for them, even if the workers agree. The reason being is that there are only a few people who would control businesses in capitalism. If all of them decide to not budge on being lenient to their workers, or give them fair working conditions, which often happens under capitalism(one only needs to look at a history book about the working conditions of the 1800s to see what capitalism does) then the worker has no choice but to put up with poor working conditions, low wages, etc because that's all that is available by the people who own companies. The best interest for the workers is for them to own businesses themselves through a cooperative, and not subject themselves to capitalist business owners. This would preserve the liberty of the workers.

The question basically is: whose freedom is more important: the business owners', or the workers'? Well, both are important, but since it seems that they are at odds with one another under capitalism, the solution is to get rid of one of the positions: the business owner, and have only workers control businesses. The reverse can't really happen feasibly since workers are absolutely essential for a business, but as cooperatives prove, a single business owner is not essential.

PRODUCTIVITY
My opponent claims that under socialism, GDP would not grow much, however this is blatantly false. I shall provide two examples of socialist nations who's GDP increased, and standards of living went up in those two countries plus another one.

Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito, had the highest standard of living of any Eastern European nation, a GDP growth of greater than 5% for most of the years it was socialist, and poverty also declined significantly.[2] Yugoslavia did not see this kind of growth under Capitalism. While it is true Yugoslavia fell eventually anyways, this was in large due to NATO and Reagan inciting a silent revolution in Yugoslavia to introduce and pressure them into taking a market economy.[2] [3] In fact "There is evidence that the US administration in liason with its allies took the decision in the early 1980s to destabilise and dismantle Yugoslavia." [3]

Secondly, there is Bolivia. Since having voted in a socialist party in 2006 and which has become more socialist since, Bolivia has had it's GDP soar from $8 billion to $33 billion[4] and has the fastest growing economy in Latin America. In addition, the extreme poverty levels went down from 38.2%, just before the socialists were elected, to 18.8%[5] and the general poverty rate went from 68.4% to 38.6%[4]. While Bolivia is still a poor nation, it is improving widely under socialism. Bolivia did not see this kind of growth under capitalism.

Thirdly, In the Spanish Civil war, Revolutionary Catalonia had the standard of living of the average worker go up significantly after implementing socialist ideas [8]. I can't find anything else about other indicators of economic improvement for Catalonia unfortunately, such as GDP growth. This is likely because they existed for such a short period of time, as they were eventually taken over by the Fascists and Franco. The fact the standard of living went up though, we should be able to assume the GDP did as well.

There are of course, examples of socialist nations that have done very poorly, but there are also many examples of capitalist nations doing poorly. My intent with this, however, was to show that socialist nations have the potential to do just as well or better than capitalist nations.

MORALITY: I shall add this discussion into here since my opponent did not.
I believe that capitalism is inherently immoral because it has a hierarchical system which has people at the top which take money away from what could be going to the workers. I believe that a business owner is completely unnecessary, and only is a position of power that takes away profit that could be going to the worker. If I establish that a business owner is unnecessary, then this shows that capitalism is immoral. I believe that cooperatives show that business owners are unnecessary. Cooperatives lack a single business owner, and the workers themselves own the business. Cooperatives can be just as successful as or better than capitalist businesses, but due to an implicit and explicit bias in the economy that favors Capitalist companies, they are the majority.

The first indicator that cooperatives are better than traditional business models, is that 80% of cooperatives survive the hard first five years of being in business, compared to just 41% of traditional businesses [7]

In a comparative study performed by Gabriel Burd"n and Andr"s Dean, where they looked into how cooperatives performed in the Uruguayan economic crisis between 1999-2001, it was found that Workers cooperatives employment index rose, while their capitalist counterparts fell in employment. [1, pg. 520] In addition to this, average wage remained higher in worker cooperatives than in capitalist businesses. [8, pg. 523]

Next, I will point out that it is possible for worker cooperatives to be extremely successful and that they can turn over profit at a rate as good, or even often better than traditional businesses. Mondragon Corporation is the largest cooperative in the world and "is the tenth-largest Spanish company in terms of asset turnover and the leading business group in the Basque Country." [9] Therefore, it is not the case that traditional businesses have a monopoly on profit turnover.

All of the above shows that cooperatives could easily replace traditional, capitalist businesses. A society of only cooperatives would be a socialist economy essentially, and this, ,combined with the three examples above, shows that socialism can in fact be successful.

While I am running low on my word count, I don't need to go to a google docs since I am finished and sufficiently argued my case I believe.

Sources:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] https://www.youtube.com...
[3] http://www.globalresearch.ca...
[4] http://data.worldbank.org...
[5] https://www.youtube.com...
[6] http://econfaculty.gmu.edu...
[7] www.uk.coop/sites/default/files/uploads/attachments/co-op_economy_2015.pdf
[8] http://disjointedthinking.jeffhughes.ca...
[9] www.uk.coop/sites/default/files/uploads/attachments/worker_co-op_report.pdf
Debate Round No. 2
Capitalistslave

Pro

INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY
My opponent claims that you don't have to work for a capitalist, but how long can someone actually decide to live outside of a capitalist world before some greedy business owner comes along and takes the land you're living off of and forces you out? If someone is not participating in a capitalist society, they wouldn't purchase land, because to purchase it requires you to participate in the capitalist economy. Therefore, anyone can come along and buy the land and make you, in turn, be kicked off of it. This can happen to the point where there is no more valuable and livable land left and you have nowhere else to go. So, again, either you participate in the capitalist world or you die. This is why private property is dangerous: the fact that someone can kick people off of land by buying it, means people will die since there is then no more valuable land left. This is pretty much what happened to the native Americans who didn't have a concept of private property. Eventually, the natives were forced to take part in capitalism in order to survive.

WORKING FOR AN EMPLOYER
When I called it slavery, I was referring to actual slavery, I wasn't calling the arrangement between the workers and employers slavery.

My opponent claims that workers know how much their employer makes, but I don't see why they would. Why is it in the interest of the employer to willingly give out that information? It's in their interest to keep that private and to take in as much money as they possibly can by themselves. This whole scenario where my opponent said an employer offered something where the workers would double their income seems rather unlikely. Why would an employer let the workers take that money, and not instead pay the workers minimal amount? Again, the 1800s showed a history of where employers would pay employees as little as possible. Why wouldn't it just result in that?

The right to say no traditional businesses should be allowed comes from the people themselves. The people would choose not to work for capitalists. The whole point of socialism is for it to be people-based and not based around a few people gaining.

MORALITY
I would actually say yes, that organized religions should be taken down by the people too. That's an entirely different debate though. Hierarchy is immoral because it puts people above others for no good reason. What right does a person have to have other people under them? What gives them proper authority to govern over those people? It harms the rights of other people because as soon as we accept someone to have power over us, then they can take rights from us. Capitalism does cause harm to others, as we've seen in the 1800s. The capitalist has no interest to make sure working conditions are safe, or to compensate their workers with enough money to do well in society.

EXAMPLES:
I never claimed Yugoslavia had the highest quality of living in Europe, what I said was it "had the highest standard of living of any Eastern European nation." which is true. They did in fact have higher standards of living than any East European nation. Theirs was lower than western European nations though. What my opponent did here is a classic example of a strawman fallacy.

In addition, if you look at the trade deficit graph my opponent provided, their deficit wasn't going up tremendously until the mid 1970s. This coincides with the time that NATO chose to target Yugoslavia, and try to collapse their economy, through trade. Again, look into my sources. Reagan helped with the collapse of Yugoslavia, but please note that I didn't say he was the sole person targeting them. NATO targeted them earlier.

The graphs my opponent uses for Yugoslavia's GDP to in fact show they had a higher GDP than other eastern European nations, that was my argument. My opponent misunderstood my argument. I never claimed they had a higher GDP than western nations. Yugoslavia's GDP growth was still a good amount, much better than America's GDP growth has been in the last two decades, and same for the UK. [1][2] And in fact, while other nations did have a better GDP growth than them, they still had a good gdp growth amounting to over 5% a year for most of their existence(see the previous round's debate for this source)

My opponent then tries to dismiss Bolivia's GDP growth on oil, but there are lots of reasons for GDP growth of capitalist nations that my opponent ignores. It's not due to capitalism that these nations are doing well, but because of their resources. It's much the same that it's not due to socialism that Bolivia is doing better, but because of their new-founded resources. My point in showing the economy of these countries was just to show that countries can do well under socialism as well, which they do show.

Sources:
[1] http://www.tradingeconomics.com...
[2] http://www.tradingeconomics.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Capitalistslave

Pro

PRIVATE PROPERTY:
What I meant by this is it's someone who is not participating in capitalism and doesn't believe in the concept of private property. Since it's not considered to be that person's property, they can then be kicked off of that land. I again bring up the native Americans who didn't have a concept of private property, and were forced to relocate by Americans who did have a concept of private property. Many native Americans died because of that forced relocation, but under capitalism, that is perfectly acceptable since it wasn't considered their land.

WORKING FOR AN EMPLOYER
Ok, why don't we look at wage trends for between 1800 and 1900 for the United States, which is a time period where government mostly stayed out of business and the economy. In 1800, the average wage was 25 cents a day, while in 1900 it was $1.86 a day.[1] These numbers don't necessarily mean anything because we also need to take into account inflation between 1800 and 1900. When accounting for inflation, actually between 1800 to 1900 we had deflation, so that makes the amount even more. So yes, it looks like you are correct that wages generally go up over time under capitalism. However, the problem isn't so much that wages don't go up, but more to do with the percent of wealth people own. In fact, the rich earning more wealth could have accounted for the increase in wages from that time. From 1800 to 1900 the amount of wealth that the top 10% of Americans owned went from 50% of the total new income, to 70% of all new income[2] and has only gotten worse over the centuries. In fact, it could be argued that the average wage went up between those times because the amount the wealthier wage owners earn went up, while everyone else's stayed the same or even went down. The fact still remains that the rich generally paid their workers poorly in the 1800s and could hardly afford anything, and "in 1869, 75 percent of urban households earned a meager subsistence wage or less"[2]This was how it was in the 1800s when capitalism was unfettered, many couldn't even afford to have a healthy amount of food, and most were barely given that.

Therefore, quality of living is not increased under capitalism for everyone, since the 1800s saw many, many people who could barely afford to live.

MORALITY:
The people didn't really get a chance to agree to that set-up actually. What other choice does one have but to work under someone? It's either that or you make people work under you. You have no other options almost. Cooperatives are extremely rare, and I'll explain why when I address your conclusion later. I'll also explain why people don't have the option to form their own cooperative.

EXAMPLES:
There's a reason why Tito was so popular in Yugoslavia, and it was in no way a terrible place to live, which is why it's fallacious to compare Yugoslavia to Zimbabwe. Just a few things about Yugoslavia: "In the two decades before 1980, annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 6.1 percent, medical care was free, the rate of literacy was 91 percent, and life expectancy was 72 years"[3] and standard of living rose as well. Tito was loved by Yugoslavians because of how much he did for them, and how much Yugoslavia improved under socialism.

I question your sources for Alaska's and California's GDP per capita. According to my sources, Alaska has a GDP/capita of $55,940[4], while California has $63,763[5][6]. Not to mention, it's really not as though Alaska doesn't have resources. They have plenty of oil, so that's why their GDP is as high as it is. As for the native Americans, it's not as though they knew there was oil, or what it could be used for. No one before the 1800s even knew what to use oil for anyways. But yes, the efficient use of resources does also matter, however I would argue that socialism uses resources more efficiently since it's more based around worker needs, and not capitalist needs. Capitalists will spend the least amount of money as possible, and they will want to produce items at an extremely fast pace, to the point that they waste items. We have a huge waste problem in America. Socialism could help this since workers would be in control, and they wouldn't necessarily focus on making things quickly, but would rather have everyone be able to get what is necessary. Since there would be a democratic control of the means of production, it means that people are voting for how many things to make, and they would vote for what is necessary to make, and not necessarily what will just profit them most. Cooperatives generally are run in the interest of workers over profit.

Bolivia still has lingering problems left over from when it was capitalist, as your source says, their congress is passing legislation to crack down on corruption. The corruption was much worse prior to socialists coming to power, according to your source. As for your argument about how that country had to come to power through private businesses offering money, and how I bought my things from private businesses, what else are we supposed to do in a society that is capitalist? There's no other choice. I am earnestly looking for cooperatives to shop at from now on, but there are so few of them. I basically have no choice but to shop at capitalist businesses. I would prefer to shop at cooperatives, but I've not had luck with finding any in my area.

CONCLUSION
I'll address each of your questions:
"If Socialist workplaces were more efficient than capitalist workplaces, why haven"t all of the Socialist Workplaces ran the Capitalist workplaces out of business? And if socialist businesses have higher success rates than capitalist businesses, why are almost all businesses capitalist?"
First of all, capitalism came before socialism, so capitalism already has a head start because of that, so there were only capitalist businesses before socialism was invented. Next, because the system was capitalist to begin with, banks won't loan out to cooperatives because they see them as risky since they are a new idea for a business. They'd much rather loan out to traditional business who they trust more because they have been around for longer and majority of businesses are traditional capitalist businesses. In addition, the government only ever bails out traditional, capitalist businesses, and never cooperatives. Finally, it's hard to find people who are like-minded in that they oppose capitalism since everyone is raised to believe capitalism is the best system, economics classes all build assumptions based off of capitalism and not socialism, and finally we are all taught from a young age to buy things from traditional businesses and that society works based off of traditional businesses. Plus, when did you learn about traditional businesses? How old were you when you learned about them? Compare that to when you learned about cooperatives. Chances are most people know about traditional businesses many years before they learn about cooperatives. All of these facts help perpetuate the capitalist business majority. As I've pointed out in previous debates, cooperatives, which are socialist businesses, do better than traditional businesses, but because of the above listed reasons, they are not able to gain momentum and spread their ideas. I shall now link to a previous debate I did on cooperatives which should show you that they do better than traditional businesses, see this source: [7] Round 1 is basically all you need to read.

"If Socialist creates such high economic growth rates, why are all of the richest nations capitalist, and most of the poorer nations socialist?"
Just remember that correlation doesn't equal causation. The poorer nations that are socialist generally have had vast improvements to their economies after becoming socialist, they're still poor, but that's because they were so far behind to begin with. Imagine what it would do for a larger nation like the United States. The bigger nations, in general, have seen socialism as a threat and never allowed socialism to get large support in their country, that's why none of the richer nations are socialist because they prevent it from happening.
"If Capitalism exploits workers and pays them slave wages, why are all of the nations with higher wages capitalist, while all of the socialist nations have phenomenally low wages and terrible working conditions? "
Now this one is just a loaded question fallacy. It has a presumption built into it that no evidence was provided for. I can't answer this because it's simply not true that the socialist nations have lower wages and terrible working conditions. I go to Bolivia again as an example. They've had poverty levels go down tremendously, GDP go up tremendously, etc.

Sources:
[1] http://www.nber.org...
[2] http://www.jstor.org... (you need JSTOR access to see this article, but all you need to do is make an account and you'll have access to this one. It's free)
[3] http://www.globalresearch.ca...
[4] https://fred.stlouisfed.org...
[5] https://www.bea.gov...
[6] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 4
Capitalistslave

Pro

The reason why I have a problem with someone kicking someone off of land, even though I am against private property, is because it can harm the other person. If there is no food and resources left in an area they are kicked off to, they essentialy starve now. I don't consider private property a right, but I consider a right to life a right, and being kicked off of land is a violation of the right to life if there is no alternative land which has food to live off of.

Working for an Employer
Yes, I didn't say we had inflation during that time, didn't I say there was deflation? I thought I did, maybe I didn't. Either way, I don't disagree with you here.

Someone earning more(instead of splitting it more evenly) does indeed harm another person. Someone who has much more money than another has more power, more purchasing power, than those who don't. Since poor earn less, they can't afford things that would help them, such as healthcare, an accountant, lawyers, etc. The rich can afford all this, and because the poor are not given more money from the employer to afford these things, their standard of living goes down.

They were part of the capitalist model, this was examining the urban households, not the rural ones. And it wasn't just in 1869, even before Lincoln the wages were terrible[1] and not only that, but so were work hours, working conditions, etc.

Examples
My opponent is just trying to make it seem like the improvement in the economy of Yugoslavia is nothing to look at. That's not true, because there are hundreds of countries that struggle today, even with capitalism, to even improve their economy by doubling small numbers. Almost no countries at the same level as Yugoslavia even get the progress that Yugoslavia has had. There are only a few who had as good or better.

While there were emigrants out of Yugoslavia, there were also hundreds of thousands immigrants to Yugoslavia moving there for a better life [2]

And the picture my opponent used is deceiving since it probably is not comparing the best of Yugoslavia to the best of Switzerland. It's likely comparing the worst condition in Yugoslavia to the best of Switzerland. Both countries likely have very poor people and very wealthy people.

Why I believe I won
I believe I won this debate because I provided reasons why Capitalism is immoral, and how it leads to situations like before where segregation happened, and many discriminated against other people. My opponent completely ignored this and seems to have accepted this argument. My opponent also did not really ever argue against why workers should not control businesses. They never refuted my claims about cooperatives.

While my opponent did attack my examples of socialism, even if they were failures(which they weren't since they progressed) they are merely instituting a specific type of socialism and there are many other types of socialism that can be implemented. My opponent never addressed a socialism in which an economy is primarily controlled by cooperatives. This has never happened before, so I didn't provide any examples of it, but cooperatives do in fact do well, as I pointed out in my argument.

My opponent has had multiple cases of not providing any evidence for their claims, while I have only provided evidence for my claims, thus I believe I won this debate. Examples of claims that my opponent made without evidence: Claiming Yugoslavia had a GDP/capita of only 5,000, Bolivia's oil accounting for 45% of their exports, India's GDP growth rate, that wages have been going up under and due to Capitalism until 1971, That Lincoln's policies lead to an inflated money supply, and much more. It would seem majority of my opponent's claims were unsupported by any sources of evidence that they offered, and the ones they did offer were not scientific studies. Several of the sources I provided were scientific studies.

I believe it should be clear for whom voters should vote for.


Sources:
[1] https://ecolaii.wordpress.com...;
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by RonPaulConservative 1 year ago
RonPaulConservative
Con.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
RonPaulConservative: I have a question for you, what is your opinion on this below debate?
http://www.debate.org...

Also, I'll be responding either today or tomorrow in the next round of the debate we are doing. I just might be too busy to be able to respond to all of the debates I have currently going today, so I'm responding to the ones that have the least time left to respond, which this one has the most time left to respond.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
dr.jimmythefish: How so? The only differences between socialism and communism is that the former can still use private property in the form of owning a house with property(though it gets rid of private ownership of companies), there can still be money used under socialism, and a few other things. However, the fact that it makes the means of production democratically controlled I think means that it does free the proletariat.
Posted by RonPaulConservative 1 year ago
RonPaulConservative
Free them from what? They aren't forced to work for an employer.
Posted by dr.jimmythefish 1 year ago
dr.jimmythefish
I a practicing Communist object to the idea of socialism in that is fails to free the proletarian.
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