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Lotharr

Socialism Vs Capitalism (round one)

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Since we can't talk about anything else without this coming up would anyone like to participate here?

MLK Jr thought that capitalism was not a moral system (oversimplification) and I agree.

Everyone is so hot to say that selfishness is the default human setting so capitalism is most in tune with human nature. How about there's not much of a choice when billions of dollars annually are dumped into buying propaganda.

Being moral in a economic sense is a challenge but I wonder why no one else thinks it's worth the effort. I personally think it's just laziness.

On the other hand socialism has a lot of limiting factors in my opinion. How do you motivate a person to excel? WhereÔÇÖs the drive?

I hope to get some feed back. My beliefs are not static and I like to explore idea's.

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Lotharr, you're in for a debate like no other.

The first issue is that "Socialism vs Capitalism" can be too simplistic since there are different branches of each which usually conflict with each other as well as with the opposing ideology.

In capitalism there are the Laissez-Faireans (minimal taxation, welfare, and government intervention) and the Keynesians (significant taxation, welfare, and government intervention).

In socialism there are the Reformists, the Neo-Marxists, Marxist-Leninists, Trotskyites, Libertarian Socialists, etc.

Before such a debate can commence there needs to be agreement about what each of the branches of each ideology have in common, which is not much by the way. Most of the previous debates in this forum have been about "Neo-Marxism vs Laissez Faireanism" rather than "Socialism vs Capitalism".

So, who's gonna say what capitalism is about?

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All true....

I have been reviewing old posts a lot and haven't hit any on this yet (lots of material) but I bet itÔÇÖs there.

I haven't had the chance to study all the those different groups yet.....I will in the future...

But the best argument IÔÇÖve heard for capitalism (in general) is that it is more in tune with human nature (cynical) and this system increases total goods and services of a country over time.

The best argument I've heard against socialism (in general) is that the sum of all goods and services of a country under socialism will never increase...just erode over time.

If this is just too broad a topic I understand. I would like some thoughts on those two ideaÔÇÖs above.

And if anyone would like to modify the topic to....the ongoing debate....that would be cool.

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quote:

But the best argument IÔÇÖve heard for capitalism (in general) is that it is more in tune with human nature (cynical) and this system increases total goods and services of a country over time.

The best argument I've heard against socialism (in general) is that the sum of all goods and services of a country under socialism will never increase...just erode over time.

Sounds like a good place to start.

I'll start posting on this after I've finished my Uni stuff for the day (about 14 hours from now).

EDIT: 1 cancelled lecture = 4 hour gap.

[ 05-12-2002, 18:12: Message edited by: Menchise ]

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Lotharr! Do you realize what you are doing?!!! Do you realize the unholy forces of nature you are setting free?

Sure. Let's debate Capitalism and Socialism. Seems simple enough. Heh. Right.

I wish I could stay and participate, but I'm leaving for Europe soon and I'll be there for a month and a half. I'll be too busy to post. So I'm going to get everything I want to say out now.

FIRST OFF,

Let's keep it clean. No personal attacks, no low blows, pot shots. No questioning intelligence. I think we're all pretty seasoned debaters here, but things could get out of hand.

SECOND OFF,

When you guys do finally come up with the answer, could one of you tell the World Bank. Win or lose, the IMF aught to find out.

Every now and then this debate comes up, and like Menchise pointed out, when you pit Capitalism VS Socialism you really do need to pick your flavours.

And I would add, culture as well. There are many cultural differences to both Capitalism and Socialism. And those flavours also have slight variations over the history of the nation.

Being Canadian, we like to bandy about the word Socialism alot, but heck, we're about as Socialist as Disney is an independant film company. We've experimented with different social programs that have originated from the socialists in parliament, but federally, we've never had socialists form the govt. Not like England. And as left leaning as I am, that is a GOOD THING

Sure I vote for them on occasion, but the NDP has to realize that there is more to running a country than a bunch of antiquated economic theories preached by intellectuals. You have to have a cultural policy, you have to have a law and order policy, trade policy, etc, so on. Holding hands and talking about the Boss Man, and how the World Trade Organization is going to kill us all, does not tell me how you're going to deal with National Unity. A BIG issue here.

Now for the big picture. The cynical side of me would say 'How can you debate Socialism VS Capitalism' Socialism and Capitalism are two sides of the same coin. At their extremes they don't work. In their purest forms, they are both cruel and inhuman. Personally I think that what you want is something that takes the positive, functioning aspects of both. The ends of the spectrum are pretty dire.

Take Cuba and Jamaica. One very socialist, one very capitalist. Very high literacy rate in Cuba. Very low in Jamaica. Many Cubans are trained lawyers doctors and engineers, but do not work in their field of study due to a glut in the work force. Many Jamaicans cannot afford any form of education and the ones who do often take their education and leave. If you get sick in Cuba, you don't pay a cent. You have many highly trained professinals, there are shortages of medicine, but you can still get a pace maker, or brain surgery. If you get sick in Jamaica, and you are not rich, you die. Period. Cuba has a very low crime rate. Jamaica has a very very very high crime rate. Certain areas of Kingston, you are taking your life in your hands walking down the street on a sunny day. Cuba, you have no worries. You can go anywhere, and you don't have to worry about getting robbed, or attacked. Why? BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO FREEDOM. You have no freedom of speech. You live with a certain level of constant paranoia. At any point in time, a soldier can pull you off the street, and you disapear. Without a trace. Gone. Human rights? Nice try buddy.

Which is better. Living in a violent chaotic freedom, or a peaceful, orderly oppression.

Personally the jury is still out, but I have to admit, the honeymoon in Cuba my wife and I had was pretty sweet. The Cuban people really are amazing. I have a relative who lives in Jamaica, and he has kind of scared me out of visiting him any time soon.

That's it. I'm done for now. Sorry bout the long ass post. I'll be watching. This should be REAL entertaining.

PS : Go Menchise Go!

PPS : Don't mean to sound like I'm slagging the Jamaican people. They are super cool too. But even a Jamaican will tell you, the crime level is getting out of control.

PPPS : I say this thread goes 5 pages. Any takers?

[ 05-12-2002, 18:07: Message edited by: Kush ]

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LOL! I say 4.5 pages. Have a nice trip, Kush.

BTW,

quote:

Take Cuba and Jamaica.

Cuba = Marxism-Leninism.

Jamaica = Laissez Faire.

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here we go again.

both my parents came to the US right when Fidel took over. they where lucky enough to take the planes before he banned them. as you all know, others weren't so lucky.

my mom has relatives living in Cuba. her relatives brought a tape showing Cuba. Cuba is a beautiful country, ruled by a selfish ruler who should die anyday now.

i'm still pissed off about that Bay of Pigs thi ng i read in the history books.

BTW i'm completely neutral in this debate(unless duty calls )!

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quote:

Originally posted by Commander Elio Jason:

Cuba is a beautiful country, ruled by a selfish ruler who should die anyday now.

i'm still pissed off about that Bay of Pigs thi ng i read in the history books.

Yes Cuba is very beautiful, but there isnt anything wrong with Fidel Castro. He takes care of his country unlike our leaders. Just cause he doesnt want American influence, he is hated.

As for the Bay of Pigs, we attacked him and he defend his country very well. Can we really condeem the man for being different? The whole world doesnt have to be "American" or democratic. Even the US isnt a democracy.

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quote:

Everyone is so hot to say that selfishness is the default human setting so capitalism is most in tune with human nature.

If the premise of geopolitical relations between countries is that countries will do what is in their own best interests, then why should it be any different for individuals?

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quote:


Originally posted by Enigma:

Yes Cuba is very beautiful, but there isnt anything wrong with Fidel Castro. He takes care of his country unlike our leaders. Just cause he doesnt want American influence, he is hated.

As for the Bay of Pigs, we attacked him and he defend his country very well. Can we really condeem the man for being different? The whole world doesnt have to be "American" or democratic. Even the US isnt a democracy.


Oh nothing wrong with simply pointing short range ballistic missiles at us!! Not sure about you but that really doesn't place Castro on my list of favorite people.

As for bay of pigs... yeah we trained them, but Kennedy backed out on the support end of the bargain. And of course the invasion failed, I've yet to see one work too well without it.

[ 05-12-2002, 22:15: Message edited by: Eclipse ]

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Ok, in order for this debate to actually proceed, i'm going to use the following:

Capitalism-what I think of when I hear "Capitalism"

Socialism-what I think of when I hear "Socialism"

Capitalism prizes giving power to people and focuses on personal achievement. If you work hard, you rise in power and (arguably) happiness. Your able to buy more stuff, get more of what you want, get better care, get better education, get a better job and make more money. The cycle continues as you work hard. If you cease working, you typically lose money, etc, and are forced to work again, in order to be a productive member of society. Society, as a whole, benefits from capitalism because people are virtually forced to work and be productive if they want to be happy.

Socialism on the other hand, is more focused on equality. It doesn't matter how hard you work, or what your job is, everyone is helped by the government. A large portion of the money you earn goes into the government, then the money goes back out to help everyone. Health care is free, public services are great, you don't need to worry about being able to live another day. Your taken care of. This lets people relax and not care about self-achievement, since, in theory, they don't need to achieve much in order to continue to live a painless life.

I personally believe that Capitalism is better. I think this because of human nature. Not that humans are greedy, but that humans desire to be lazy. People WANT to relax. They want to be able to do nothing. Capitalism gives a goal and a reason to strive. Without work, you fail and live a (arguably) less happy life. Socialism, on the other hand, takes care of you. People have no need to strive to achieve. It'd cause research and development to stagnate because there is no REASON to work hard, since everyone is taken care of. Production would gradually fall off or never change, since the government will take care of everyone.

Now, truthfully, I see the merits in both systems. Socialism isn't necessarily HARMFUL, since everyone being taken care of and never worrying about achieving anything isn't necessarily "evil" or "wrong". The one system that I loathe though is socialism IN a capitalist society. The United States. Welfare. Two vastly conflicting values. Capitalism says that we need to work to achieve as much as we can. I buy into that. But then the WELFARE/SOCIALIST aspect takes the money that the people who WORKED HARD for, and gives it to the people who DIDNT work for it. Both systems at the same time is intrinsically unfair and stupid. Either make everyone equal with powerful social programs, or make everyone have to work or be miserable. Don't do both!

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Guest $iLk

quote:

Which is better. Living in a violent chaotic freedom, or a peaceful, orderly oppression(?)

The most secure place in the world, is a solitary confined prison cell. Trading freedom for security is a no-win proposal.

Our last sluggathon over this debate was pretty much running circular logic back and forth. My latest posts in the other thread are an extreme wakeup call from fantasy land. I'm gonna take a break and see what develops here.

Cheers Menchise!

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Guest $iLk

For all you new debaters:

Take a trip down memory lane...

That is our biggest Socialist debate so far, so if you want to grab nice thoughts from there, feel free.

Menchise, not meaning to sound harsh in my last few posts, just been tired for the past few days, and cranky .

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Oh gods, this is going to be messy. I would say about 6 pages of messy.

IÔÇÖd like to point out that socialism (welfare and the likes) is different from communism. The first is an important part of capitalist systems as it increases the potential for a skilled but poor individual to rise to the top. I'm not arguing for extensive socialism, but at least some is necessary for capitalism to work well (not to mention it keeps the mob happy). Communism is something else, and while I donÔÇÖt feel the need to define it (we will no doubt see enough of that) I would like to point out that while no truly communist system has ever been developed (they were simply rather nasty socialist systems) there are a few reasons for this. If I recall correctly, Marx envisioned communism as happening as a result of all the workers of a nation (or perhaps the world) rising up against the upper class. This has yet to happen. Thus, while we may argue that all attempts at communism have failed, we may not say that this disproves the possibility of a ÔÇ£properlyÔÇØ developed communism from working. I donÔÇÖt think it would, but that is as much opinion as fact.

As far as my stance is, I'm definitely capitalist, elitist, and no doubt all those lovely appellations that tend to be associated (greedy, cruel, cynical, the list goes on). Capitalism (with just a pinch of socialism) is the ultimate Darwinian system, people born with what it takes to succeed (and a bit of luck) succeed, others donÔÇÖt. Whether this means being born with enough money that success is easy, being born poor with the raw skills to fight your way to the top, or something in-between, is beside the point, they have what it takes and they succeed. There is no material reason to change what is not only a successful system but one that promotes survival of the fittest.

It then stands to reason that only moral reasons remain. Maybe I just have a twisted way of looking at things (which, by the way, I consider good, go figure) but it seams that morals are nothing more then a form of social control and have no intrinsic value. Furthermore, social controls are a product of our Darwinian social evolution (something that happens a lot faster then biological evolution, but is no less valid) and therefore have no place interfering with a Darwinian economy. Thus there is no grounds to support a change between capitalism and either extreme socialism or communism.

[ 05-13-2002, 01:38: Message edited by: Dragon Lady ]

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Here are some rapid-fire opinions on my part (at midnight, and you know what happens when I do that):

A good analogy for capitalism is multi-level marketing. Like most pyramid structures, those who get in early get the largest rewards.

Capitalism isn't so much that hard workers get more for their efforts than slack workers; Capitalism is that entrepreaneurs can create new markets where one didn't exist before. People who can do that will get the big bucks.

Capitalism lets the laws of supply and demand work to set the most efficient price points that the markets will bear. If you charge too much, demand will drop until prices drop. If you charge too little, supply will run short until scarcity raises prices. If it costs too much, you will either go bankrupt or raise your prices up to or beyond what the market will pay. The preceding are all examples of moving along the supply and demand curves. People who innovate can shift the curves and compete on new levels, even driving existing competitors out of business.

Capitalism assumes that products will be purchased. Socialism assumes that those who can't pay will be provided for. Capitalism assumes that those who are able will work at whatever level of effort makes them comfortable with their lives. Socialism provides a safety net for the less fortunate, but that net could quickly become a way of life. Capitalism assumes that one who wants to improve his lot in life can increase his education and worth to society. Socialism assumes that everyone has an innate worth that must be supported by the government.

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Judging from the posts so far, I think I need to make one thing very clear. The welfare state is a capitalist invention, not a socialist one, although socialists agree that it's better than nothing.

It's one of the features of Keynesian economics which, unlike Laissez Faire, is demand-side rather than supply-side. The idea is that the inherent instability of the capitalist economy can be minimized by increasing the level of consumption, thus reducing the problems associated with overproduction. Keynesians suggest that this can be achieved through government taxation and expenditure to fund a welfare state: by providing the means of subsistence to the unemployed, businesses have more people to whom they can sell their products, thus stimulating the economy while providing much-needed assistance.

[ 05-13-2002, 10:17: Message edited by: Menchise ]

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So how do you get away from those who make welfare a lifestyle? I don't know about you but a person should have to do something worth while for society. Not just drink wine and make crappy art heh heh....

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After reading the title of this thread I almost wanted to jump straight out of a window and land on my head in order to avoid the gut-wrenching sickness I knew I would feel upon diving into this one. So I won't. Cheers.

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The welfare state in the US has destroyed the family unit, and allowed the federal government to grab control of things it otherwise would have no say in.

The welfare state was actually NOT needed and was never needed. Private organizations had been doing an excellent job, and they still do, 90% of the money that goes to private organizations gets to those it is meant for, whereas in the government programs, they are lucky if 30% actually gets to those who need it.

Capitalism is my favorite and will always be my favorite, it lifts ALL boats. It is only when it is messed with and some goofy hibrid of captialism and socialism is tried does capitalism get screwed up. Controls by the government do nothing but mess up what capitalism is able to accomplish. If Capitalism is allowed to go the way it is supposed to, production and pricing are controlled by the market supply and demand. Which, as far as I am concerned is the way it should be.

Governments should not be involved in Safety nets, Welfare SSI ETC. this should be left to private organizations, PERIOD!! The government should not be allowed to put a gun to your head and a hand in your wallet.

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quote:

Originally posted by Menchise:

Keynesians suggest that this can be achieved through government taxation and expenditure to fund a welfare state: by providing the means of subsistence to the unemployed, businesses have more people to whom they can sell their products, thus stimulating the economy while providing much-needed assistance.

Good point.

If my memory serves me correctly, it was Bismark in merry old Germany who implimented the first modern social welfare programs.

One of the reasons why the civil war in England was not as brutal and destructive as the civil war in France was because England had begun some rudimentary social welfare programs.

Even the most die hard capitalist has to admit they help.

quote:

Originally posted by Lotharr:

So how do you get away from those who make welfare a lifestyle? I don't know about you but a person should have to do something worth while for society. Not just drink wine and make crappy art heh heh.....

Heeeeey... I drink lots of wine, and I make tons of crappy art! So what!

A sad and awkward truth is that there are people out there who don't have much direction in life. Some people just aren't that smart. Some people are, but don't believe in themselves. Some are emotionally and mentally scared for one reason or another. Some people suffer a great misfortune. And some people are just plain lazy.

Lets say said person wants a television set.

You could a)

Re-distribute wealth a little, give these people a monthly allowance. They go out and lease a television set. (The ones that aren't too bright lease the TV set.) The money gets put back into the economy through i) retailer for sale of television set ii) interest to leasing firm iii) manufacturer of television set etc. so on.

You could B)

Give the poor bastard nothing. They go out, break into someone's house. Beat up the owner, and steal the television set. Now we're paying all over the place. In insurance goes up. We pay for the hospital bills, the police report.

That's an over simplification of a very complex process that happens every day in a capitalist society. Certain countries use a, certain countries use b. All I'll say is, I'm going to feel much safer walking the streets of Brussels than I ever felt walking through South Central LA.

There's a reason why there are low crime rates in certain countries and high crime rates in others. Is it socialists that are responsible, or Keynesians? You be the judge.

PS : I just can't keep away. I need help.

[ 05-13-2002, 13:43: Message edited by: Kush ]

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Kush,

That is WAY oversimplified. A guy wants a TV set, in a capitalist society, he goes out works hard and earns enough to buy the newest HDTV with Surround sound and the hottest DVD player to go with it.

In a socialist society he has to take a number, 3 years later, his number comes up and he finally gets that Black and white 15" mono speaker TV set that everyone else has. Top of the line in that country.

In the US, if a person wants a TV, he breaks into my house because I have the 25" color TV with Surround sound TV that he wants, because he is unwilling to work for it. He breaks into my house and dies in my living room, no more problem and Darwin wins again.

And no more money out of my wallet to keep the scumbag in food and shelter. His family pays for his burial and problem solved.

In Canada, the dude breaks into your house, takes your TV and you are made to feel guilty because you haven't paid enough in taxes to this guy to keep him rich enough not to break into your house.

In the US, A $.20 piece of ammo can solve all kinds of criminal problems.

In Canada, it will cost you even more because more money out of your wallet to pay this criminal with will make it better.

I love PURE capitalism!!

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Like Nick said earlier, don't go confusing Socialism with Communism.

Socialism is about the state providing the basic needs for people. Communism is about the state centrally planning the acquisition, manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of resources, as well as the labor pool and wealth.

Under Socialism, nobody is allotted a TV and DVD -- they will get health care, food, shelter, and such. The rest is up to them. Under Communism, everyone is supposed to get the same as everyone else, no one richer, no one poorer. Under Capitalism, everyone provides for themselves and are held accountable for the decisions they make in life.

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quote:

Governments should not be involved in Safety nets, Welfare SSI ETC. this should be left to private organizations, PERIOD!! The government should not be allowed to put a gun to your head and a hand in your wallet.

Maybe I'm not that knowledgeable about such thing, but what kind of private organizations are you talking about? A little more detail would be nice. Furthermore, an explanation of how the government uses welfare to ÔÇ£put a gun to your headÔÇØ would be nice as well.

quote:

That is WAY oversimplified. A guy wants a TV set, in a capitalist society, he goes out works hard and earns enough to buy the newest HDTV with Surround sound and the hottest DVD player to go with it.

In a socialist society he has to take a number, 3 years later, his number comes up and he finally gets that Black and white 15" mono speaker TV set that everyone else has. Top of the line in that country.


ThatÔÇÖs an oversimplification as well, though not that far off.

quote:

I love PURE capitalism!!

For the most part, I have to agree, people who want to succeed should have to claw there way to the top and should do it at the expense of those less capable. We have a world full of billions of people, most of which are here for the sole purpose of supporting those with the power. Unfortunately, those billions of people tend not to see it that way. If the mob is really unhappy it tends to show it, violently. A VERRY limited welfare system is necessary to avoid riots and such.

Truth be told, I think that the government should GIVE out TVs, they are a wonderful way of keeping the mob happy. Furthermore, these TVs should only get one or two channels, and these channels should be reserved for a privately owned but governmentally funded corporation that broadcasts propaganda.

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How about we change the mob from an unstable violent element to respectable folks we would like, and have, to live next to?

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