Round 2: wormwood13 vs americandingbat - "Communism/Capitalism"

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posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 05:12 PM
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The topic for this debate is "In theory, communism is a superior ideology than capitalism.”

"wormwood13" will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
"americandingbat" will be arguing the "Con" position.


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posted on Dec, 15 2009 @ 05:13 PM
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My apologies, but I will have to uncork this fine bottle of 2009 24 hour extensions.



posted on Dec, 16 2009 @ 02:37 PM
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It is an absolute pleasure to be through to round two. Thank you to all the judges and to you chissler for rendering decisions so expediantly. American Dingbat, I could'nt have asked for a more formidable opponent. The best of luck to you, and hey at least we did'nt get something crazy like Communism VS. CapitalismmmmmmmmWHOOPS, scratch that.

I will attempt to catch you moose and squirrel, and wrap you up in a neat little package.

ROUND TWO........................FIGHT!

"In theory, communism is a superior ideology than capitalism."
I will be arguing the pro side of this debate.

There is quite a number of issues that will be discussed, including, but not limited to the pros and cons of both systems. Some of the benefits of communism are,
0 % unemployment rate

Money, the number one stressor in a capitalistic society, is all but eliminated

A very high growth rate for its' population

Everyone is far more equal and held to the same standard, preventing an unfair advantage for the wealthy.

A better over all economy

I will elaborate on these aspects in the coming posts, and I will strive to show how societies that use communism have lasted substantially longer and sustain a much larger number of people.
I will also show that all governments will eventually fail, but to what degree do they fail?

I contend that capitalistic societies are greedy and promote individual achievment over the collective society, If its good for me then who cares about anybody else. Unfortunatlly the majority of the people are poor and are living paycheck to paycheck. This leaves them wide open for any non-normative event to leave them out on the streets with nothing. These people are made to believe that they can succeed, and be rich, and fufill their dreams, however this is not the case. They, for the most part, will not land their dream job, or even a job they can enjoy. They will not win the lottery, but will fall further into debt to a snowballing corporate greed, who will then sell that debt to communist countries who can afford it, such as China who now holds 23.55% of American debt.en.wikipedia.org...

Very few people in capitalistic societies holf the vast majority of the wealth and they will throw good hard-working people who are trying to make ends meet right out on the streets if it means more money for them. Money is the most important part of capitalism, how much can I make, who can I screw over to get more, and to get ahead. In the years to come we will need to start addressing arising problems as a community such as global warming, climate change, and world hunger, EVERYONE'S hunger, not just the people who can afford to eat.

Capitalism also seem to carry with it a certain righteousness and belief that they can impose their will upon others who may not want it. People with this line of thinking only do whats good for themselves and ignore bigger issues in lieu of watching HD T.V.s and playing on their X Boxes. This, as it has been referred to is a powder keg and when it blows it will be a monumental disaster for the whole of humanity.

Equal rights will also be discussed, not this guy had rich parents so he gets a good job and can afford to go to school, and we'll pay the teacher poorly but athletes and musicians will make millions. I mean real equality, capitalism offers an unfair start for most people having the "pieces" stacked against them, and the false hope of fortune just around the corner.

Communism stems from community, where as capitalism stems from the almighty dollar, also known as the root of all evil. Capitalism encourages selfish, apathetic behavior, where as communism encourages equality, and fairness, it is obvious which is the superior ideology, you know in theory.

Don't be a slave to your consumerist self. I will as you to open your mind and to think something besides what is constantly being force-fed to you by a capitalistic economy that would just as soon exploit you then look at you.
An economic system based on "more, more. MORE",is eventually going to fail miserably and when that time comes you will have a staggering amount of people who have been so used to having what they want that they will become a huge problem for the rest of the world.

We are now seeing what happens when monetary greed is left unchecked with the collapse of the housing market, and the U.S. dollar at an all time low. These people will never reach any kind of homeostasis, but will borrow as much as the money as they can, and fall further back.

Some of the major flaws of capitalism I will address are

Landlording

Loan Sharking

Banking

When large companies and corporations fail because of corruption they simpily take 700 billion dollars from the taxpayers, 700 billion I might add that would have done imeasurable good for the worlds people, instead was used to bail out a very few, wealthy people who's unethical practices bankrupted the companies or corporations. This is where the "more, more, more" mentallity truly fails, however this is not a problem individualistic people of a capitalistic society care about, as they are to busy with their own bills and making that next paycheck.

What is the better ideal?
A. To have a society based on the community efforts of all the people involved, with eveyone having an equal say.

B. To have a society based on dividing classes, and who can make the most money.

I think it is obvious what the superior ideology is, if anything its' the people's ability to function together under any society that still needs to evolve. A classless society is far more fair and I will deve further in to that as well as the works of Karl Marx in the following posts. I will end with a Marx quote that I find particularly relevant.


Communism deprives no man of the ability to appropriate the fruits of his labour. The only thing it deprives him of is the ability to enslave others by means of such appropriations.


For now I will send it back to you American Dingbat, for your post truly is the future. With all the holiday cheer I can summon,
The Executionor



posted on Dec, 17 2009 @ 08:39 AM
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Thank you to Chissler and the rest of the Debate Forum mods for organizing this tournament; thanks to the judges and readers for your time and attention. And especially, thanks to wormwood13 for taking on this challenge with me. Our topic is In theory, Communism is a superior ideology than Capitalism, and I shall be arguing the con side: Communism is not a better ideology in theory than Capitalism.

I must confess that my initial reaction on reading this topic was concern that it would be difficult for me to argue the con side while remaining honest to my own beliefs. On the generally accepted left-right paradigm of U.S. politics, I tend to inhabit the far left; certainly in my time at ATS I have been more likely to post in support of "communism" than in support of "capitalism". But, as I usually do when I first encounter a debate topic here, I began by setting aside my gut reaction and stopped to ponder the topic itself rather than the host of assumptions that often accompany an initial reading of such a statement.

Very often, discussions about communism and capitalism take on the following form: a communist apologist will make a pointed criticism of the socio-economic reality of early twenty-first century "capitalist" America. Defenders of America will then step in and say something along the lines of "well in theory communism sounds all well and good, but in reality it leads to Stalinism/Maoism/totalitarianism." To which the communist (or just left-leaning liberal like myself) will reply, "People always say that, but there has never in history been a large-scale truly communist society; such nations as the former U.S.S.R., former East Germany, China, or Cuba are all just totalitarian regimes masquerading as communism."

In short, these discussions generally flow between the theoretical level and the historical level fluidly, with each side choosing to make part of their argument in the realm of ideals and part in the realm of how those ideals have been realized in actual historical contexts.

Frankly, I'm not sure that there is any way to avoid this tendency, but I believe that the phrasing of our topic, "In theory, Communism is a superior ideology than Capitalism," at least makes it incumbent upon us to be aware of the complexity of relations between ideology and reality.

Certainly, it demands that we first ask, "what could make one ideology superior to another?"

Having only just started to ponder this question, I'm not sure that I can give a hard-and-fast answer myself. I have come up with a few criteria that I think are crucial, however.

First, I think a good ideology must be logically consistent. It should involve a few basic principles from which flow a number of more general implications for social, political, and economic relations.

Second, it must be psychologically valid. This may be hard to determine, because it is the nature of ideology to be psychologically formative in itself. By that I mean that we as individuals often have difficulty figuring out our own motivations, and especially determining whether those motivations are absolutely innate or have been learned. Since such learning invariably occurs within the context of whatever ideology is prevalent in our immediate environment, this demands that we try to step outside of our own context.

Finally, it must be of practical value. By this I don't mean that its practical value necessarily has to have been already realized in a historical setting, but that it should be consistent with geopolitical realities.

In the course of this debate, I will be analyzing both communist and capitalist ideologies on these criteria. Each will have strengths and weaknesses, but I think we will find that it absolutely cannot be said that communist ideology is superior to capitalist ideology.

In his opening, my opponent has made the following rather biased statement: "Communism stems from community, while capitalism stems from the almighty dollar, also known as the root of all evil." What we see here is the conflation of theory and reality that I spoke of earlier. He chooses to reduce capitalist ideology to just one element of how it has been realized in the modern world (competition for an abstract symbol of value/power), then ties that to a common but unsupported moral judgement. In contrast, he insists on defining communism only in terms of the most generalized concept -- community.

I urge readers throughout this debate to be aware of the interplay involved, and to resist falling into the moralistic quagmire he is attempting to lure us into.

I will close this opening statement with one Socratic Question for wormwood13:

Question 1: In your opinion, what makes for a superior ideology?



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 08:34 PM
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Let's get the ball rolling with the definitions, just so we know what we are dealing with, shall we. Keep in mind that one person always wins the game of Monopoly.


Communism




a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.



Capitalism




an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market
www.merriam-webster.com...

Now let me answer your Socratic Question because it is crucial to the debate.
"In your opinion, what makes for a superior ideology?"

A very good question, I had to ponder on this for a while. Some aspects that might be thought of as superior by some may be inferior to others so I had to think of what would benefit the majority of people. A superior ideology would lead to all being equal and treated fairly. It would unite it's people. It would absolutely not divide it's people into different classes and put them in direct competition with one another. The focus would be not on what can I do for myself, but what can I do for all of humanity. These ideas would help end serious problems like poverty and famine. They would bring about the end of war and segragation, and the people would have the power, not an elite class of opressors who make up the smallest percentage. I know this sounds like I'm hoping for a lot, but the only way any of these things are possible is if we rethink what is important to us and work together. The inferior ideology would be based on monetary gain, competition, and private ownership leading to a people that will not come together on key issues.

That being said allow me to forge on through these icy waters.
The ideals of a capitalistic society have led us to where we are today with this "elite class"en.wikipedia.org...,
of wealthy people who are rooted in, calling the shots in secret. Don't doubt their existence for a second, they are in control of the military, they are in control of the CIA, they are the "they" that you've heard of ,rich and powerful as a direct result of the capitalist system. Reminisent of royalty they harvest the most benefits while contributing the least. The scary thing is that in this new age of technological advancements, and GPS, and the internet they are in a position to resist any attempts by the people or a counter-elite to threaten there power. They are corrupt and would probably blow the whole place up rather then relinquish even a small amount of the power to the people. Capitalism fuels their efforts and the decisions that are made are in their best interest, not the best interest of the population or much less the world.

Communism is the superior ideology in theory. Allwork is valued equally whether your a famous musician, a painter, a laborer, or an executive. Noone is allowed to give their children unfair advantages. Noone is allowed to make money off the land that someone else is living on, I mean landlording, should'nt we be passed that by now? Noone is allowed to make money by holding someone else's money or loaning them money that they cannot afford to pay back. The measure of the people is not how much money can I make, or how much stuff can I aqquire. The people of a communist society vote on all issues. They do not vote for someone else to make the decisions for four years because that person may or may not do what they said. A man will corrupt far faster then the people.


Socratic Questions


1. If you lived in a communist society what do you think your contribution would be?

2. Do you think it is fair or in the best interest of most of the people to allow a system that has such a small percentage controlling the majority of the wealth? Why or why not?

3.Do you think more good is done by people acting in their own interests or in the interests of others?

4. How would you define equality?

At it's core all things stem from communism. When countries or groups of people start out they all work for the common good. Even in early America the farmers worked together. If a fire took out half the farms the others would see that they still had what they needed, unlike today where they would just be foreclosed on, and would probably lose everything. It could be said that the ideology of communism is a fundamental part of all people who hope to unite to form a peaceful society. Capitalism however is more like a disease which later infects this society when it gets bigger. You need communist ideals, but capitalistic ideals are insufficient to get a society of the ground and any society which has converted to capitalism will eventually fail on a grand scale.

Not only is capitalism an inferior ideology it has removed the most important aspect to a society....People.




KARL MARX, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte





KARL MARX, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte



In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another is put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end


www.notable-quotes.com...

I'll now turn it back to you my dear opponent, anxiously awaiting your response.......Star Wormwood



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 08:05 AM
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In my opening statement I pointed out the importance of the relationship of ideology and reality in this debate, and urged that we remain conscious of the distinction as we progress, so that we are making valid comparisons and not using rhetorical trickery to obfuscate the discussion.

With this in mind, I have to object to the definitions of capitalism and communism used to open my opponent's post. Notice that the Merriam-Webster definition of communism he provides refers to a "theory or system of social organization" whereas the definition of capitalism from the same source is as "an economic system."

Now, both words -- communism and capitalism -- can be used among other ways to describe an economic system. But our topic asks that we evaluate them as ideologies, not as economic systems.

In keeping with the criteria for an ideology that I listed in my opening, I believe that the best way to evaluate communist ideology and capitalist ideology is to examine the central ideas and values of each. After we have done that, we can explore how these core principles are fleshed out to become entire systems of ideas about how society does and should work, and finally we can examine how useful these systems of thought are -- whether they are indeed congruent with what we know of human psychology and social reality.

Wormwood has already identified the strongest core principle of communism: equality. The corresponding ideal for capitalism is liberty. I think that if one stops to think about the two ideologies this is self-evident; capitalist ideology revolves around the idea of a free market, with individuals having the liberty to participate according to their ability and need. Additional evidence to back up this contrast can be found in an old study of the writings of Lenin (chosen to represent communist ideology) and Barry Goldwater (chosen to represent capitalist ideology). In Lenin, among a selection of abstract values, the social psychologist Milton Rokeach found that the concept of "freedom" occured most often in Goldwater's writing, while it was 17th in Lenin's writing. In contrast, the concept of "equality" was the most common of these in Lenin's writing, and the 16th in Goldwater's. (from Rokeach, M. (1973). The Nature of Human Values. New York: Free Press. and cited in the Wikipedia article on Political Spectrum).

It is worth noting that both ideals are held by both ideologies; the contrast is in the relative importance placed on them.

From these two core ideals the most significant difference in the economic theory of the two ideologies follows naturally: capitalist economic theory is based on the idea of personal property whereas communist economic theory is based on the notion that all resources are held in common by the community or by the state.

I will end my argument-building for this post there, because I think it is crucial that we understand communism and capitalism as ideologies before moving into the meat of the debate.

 


Allow me to turn now to my opponent's Socratic Questions:


1. If you lived in a communist society what do you think your contribution would be?
2. Do you think it is fair or in the best interest of most of the people to allow a system that has such a small percentage controlling the majority of the wealth? Why or why not?

3.Do you think more good is done by people acting in their own interests or in the interests of others?

4. How would you define equality?


1. I suppose my contribution in a communist society would depend largely on the needs of the society as a whole, or at least that I would be strongly encouraged or even mandated to put those needs foremost in my mind. For example: as a woman, I could be encouraged to reproduce or to limit my reproduction based on the demographics of the nation and the relative need for labor and resources.

2. I do not think it fair or in the best interest of the majority to allow a small percentage of the population to control the vast majority of the resources of a nation. But I don't see that it's any worse to have this done based on accumulation of wealth in a free market than based on party loyalty and military power, as has historically happened in communist countries. We're back to the contrast between ideology and reality; you are asking me to compare real-world "capitalism" to the ideals of "communism"

3. I think most good is done by people acting in the interest of both themselves and others. Capitalist ideology recognizes that the good of the individual and the good of the collective are not at odds with each other; communist ideology suggests that the good of the individual must be subjugated to the good of the collective.

4. I looked at a couple of definition sites for help with this question, with little luck. Mostly they seem to define "equality" as "the state of being equal," which is an obviously insufficient answer. The best that I can do is to say that equality involves people being the same with respect to some aspect of social life. There is equality before the law, which means that citizens have equal rights with respect to the policing and judicial functions of a state. There is equality of opportunity, which generally involves equal access to such basic needs as education. There is equality of pay or reward, which suggests that all citizens receive the same share as each other.

 


My opponent ended his first reply with a curious quote from Karl Marx. Perhaps he was hoping that we would just take Marx's word for it that his predictions would come true, but it might be interesting to contrast his quote with one from a self-professed radical for capitalism, Ayn Rand:


KARL MARX, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another is put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end



]AYN RAND, "The Roots of War"

Laissez-faire capitalism is the only social system based on the recognition of individual rights and, therefore, the only system that bans force from social relationships. By the nature of its basic principles and interests, it is the only system fundamentally opposed to war.

from Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal (cited in the entry on capitalism in the Ayn Rand Lexicon online)


Clearly the ideologues of both systems would have us believe that their ideology is the only one that can lead to an end to war. Part of what we will have to do as this debate continues is to assess these claims. But in so doing we must be cognizant that neither ideology has been fully realized in the real world; all our examples are flawed, suggestive rather than conclusive.

 


Finally, I would like to look at Wormwood's response to my Socratic Question:


Now let me answer your Socratic Question because it is crucial to the debate.
"In your opinion, what makes for a superior ideology?"

A very good question, I had to ponder on this for a while. Some aspects that might be thought of as superior by some may be inferior to others so I had to think of what would benefit the majority of people. A superior ideology would lead to all being equal and treated fairly. It would unite it's people. It would absolutely not divide it's people into different classes and put them in direct competition with one another. The focus would be not on what can I do for myself, but what can I do for all of humanity. These ideas would help end serious problems like poverty and famine. They would bring about the end of war and segragation, and the people would have the power, not an elite class of opressors who make up the smallest percentage. I know this sounds like I'm hoping for a lot, but the only way any of these things are possible is if we rethink what is important to us and work together. The inferior ideology would be based on monetary gain, competition, and private ownership leading to a people that will not come together on key issues.


He has brought up several very desirable ends: an end to war, to famine, to segregation, to oppression. What he has not done is given us any criteria by which to tell whether or not a specific ideology is likely to lead to those ends. As we have seen, both capitalist theorists and communist theorists have made the claim that if their favored ideology were truly adopted and implemented, there would be no more war. Indeed, all these goals are held in common in the theories of capitalism and communism.

Let me end with two Socratic Questions for my opponent:

Question One: As you understand it, does the theory of capitalist ideology require a small oppressive class, or is that simply a characteristic of a particular historical circumstance?

Question Two: Do you agree that the ideology of capitalism is built around the central value of individual liberty?



posted on Dec, 23 2009 @ 05:53 PM
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Sorry for the delay, it was unavoidable. That being said let us delve back in to this Com/Cap celebration of opposing ideas that even if argued for 500 years would see no clear answer's emergence.

AAAAHHH, liberty, I hardly knew ya! I'm glad I was able to flush out that tricky little word that means so many things to so many different people.. As my opponent has pointed out equality is defined as the state of being equalwww.merriam-webster.com..., however the word liberty does not have such a cut and dry explanation. Liberty can mean the freedom to act, although with the ruthless competition and corruption inevidably involved with capitalism most people will find themselves lacking these freedoms. They do not have the freedom to act. They must continue their daily grind lest they lose their homes and assets, and all the things that they have worked for. The greedy capitalist class are lying in wait for the opportunity to "come-up" of the loss of another. This ideology is used to continue this cycle, which in itself is negative for the people.

To some liberty is the absence of coersion, en.wikipedia.org.... To say that there is no coersion is ridiculous. The people are coersed by television, internet, and countless other ways to produce the behavior that is the most beneficial for the dominant class.
Check out this little diddy on two concepts of libertyplato.stanford.edu...

To answer your Socratic Questions,



Question One: As you understand it, does the theory of capitalist ideology require a small oppressive class, or is that simply a characteristic of a particular historical circumstance?

Their would definitely be a certain small percentage of the people that would stand to benefit the most by convincing the population that capitalism would be the best ideology, and by nature any group of people in my opinion that adopt an ideology that directly takes advantage of misfortune are oppressive to begin with. This ideology was put in place by the people that stand to lose the most if everyone was declared equal. They don't want to be equal, they want to remain in power. They believe themselves to be better then than most.



Question Two: Do you agree that the ideology of capitalism is built around the central value of individual liberty?

Absolutely not, although the working class would probably love to believe that this is the case. No instead I think that it stems from powerful people trying to stay in control while convincing the majority that they have an equal opportunity. The very word liberty is used as an adjustable tool of control, as everyone can make the word liberty unique to them, and all the things it is suppose to mean are not what happens in a capitalistic society.
Here is an example of the "liberty and freedom" that most most people experience in capitalism,


"The liberals and conservatives and Libertarians who lament totalitarianism are phoneys and hypocrites. . . You find the same sort of hierarchy and discipline in an office or factory as you do in a prison or a monastery. . . A worker is a part-time slave. The boss says when to show up, when to leave, and what to do in the meantime. He tells you how much work to do and how fast. He is free to carry his control to humiliating extremes, regulating, if he feels like it, the clothes you wear or how often you go to the bathroom. With a few exceptions he can fire you for any reason, or no reason. He has you spied on by snitches and supervisors, he amasses a dossier on every employee. Talking back is called 'insubordination,' just as if a worker is a naughty child, and it not only gets you fired, it disqualifies you for unemployment compensation. . .The demeaning system of domination I've described rules over half the waking hours of a majority of women and the vast majority of men for decades, for most of their lifespans. For certain purposes it's not too misleading to call our system democracy or capitalism or -- better still -- industrialism, but its real names are factory fascism and office oligarchy. Anybody who says these people are 'free' is lying or stupid."

A capitalistic ideology is an accident waiting to happen as it convinces people that some are better then some.
Under communism populations grow faster. This is partly because with the focus away from money and personal gain people tend to start families and focus on things that are important to the entire community. This is an extremely superior aspect as children are the future of any society. With less time spent chasing that dollar, more time can be devoted to parenting, and the socialization of children.

Karl Marx is a genius when it comes to communism. His theories of equal classes and a society controlled by the people is what superior ideology is all about. Allow me to try and sum up capitalism.

In a capitalistic society the proletarians, which are the majority, work for wages or salary. They can only sell their labor to make the money that they need to live. They are in constant conflict with the bourgeosie, or the capital class, because proletarians always want higher wages while the bourgeosie always try to pay them as little as possible.
According to Karl Marx, among others, capitalism is based on the exploitation of the proletarians, who have no means of production. They must use other people's property to make their living so they work for the capitalist class to produce what the capitalist needs. They then pay the proletarians just enough to insure that they will have to come back to work, as I've said before as little as possible. New wealth is created through labor applied to natural resources, but the source of that labor benefits the least. This is an unfair cycle that most proletarians, and there for the majority of the society, will never be able to get out of, although they have been convinced that they can. Any ideology that is based on exploitation of one group or another, either in theory or in practice is an outrage to what we all want. Noone wants to be exploited or inferior so capitalistic ideology is not in the best interest of the people. It is just not a good idea and in the long run it is a serious threat to real freedom.

Folks, to say that having a pyramid structure where all the hardworkers support the lavish lifestyles of the few on top is a superior ideology then communism is absurd and perpetuates the 'big brother' types. If anything capitalism is an obstcle of mammoth porportion that many people will have to die trying to make right, and trying to unroot the corrupt elite ruling class in this so-called free society will be near impossible.

Socratic Question 1. How is a society that keeps people slaves to wages suppose to be free?

Socratic Question 2. Who does a capitalist ideology best benefit? What about a communist ideology?

Socratic Question 3. Do you think capitalism is just a modification of feudalism? Why/Why not?

Thoughtfully awaiting your reponse, Mr. W Wood.

Happy Holidays to everyone!



posted on Dec, 28 2009 @ 03:44 PM
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I hope my opponent and our readers have had an enjoyable holiday; let's get this debate started again. First allow me to address my opponent's questions.


Socratic Question 1. How is a society that keeps people slaves to wages suppose to be free?

This seems to be an unreasonable extension of the idea of slavery to me. In some sense we are all slaves to our physical needs: we must all take action to get the food, shelter, and other basics that we require. If we imagine an individual farming family, for instance, who can actually produce for themselves all the goods they need and want and thus have no need to exchange with the outside world, we could still say that they are slaves to the demands of such a life. Furthermore, it is hard to know what it means for a society to be free, since we usually think of freedom in terms of individuals. I suppose I would say that the most important social aspects of freedom are freedom of thought and speech, and that having to work for a factory boss to earn a wage to feed ones family does not necessarily impede these freedoms.


Socratic Question 2. Who does a capitalist ideology best benefit? What about a communist ideology?

That depends on the society that one is talking about. In the former Soviet Union for example, I would say that communist ideology best benefited the inner ranks of the Socialist Party. In the late Middle Ages, as the idea of value divorced from land ownership took form a capitalist ideology was most beneficial to the tradesmen of the cities.


Socratic Question 3. Do you think capitalism is just a modification of feudalism? Why/Why not?

No. I'm not sure if you are using feudalism in the sense that Marxist theorists have used it or in the sense that medieval historians have used it, but in either case the answer is no. (For a brief summary of both usages see The Medieval Sourcebook: Crisis, Recovery, Feudalism?) From the Marxist perspective, feudalism and capitalism are entirely different beasts; capitalism is characterized by the rise of a new bourgeois class, by the transfer of the basic productive activity from peasant agriculture to urban production, and most of all by the abstraction of value from the labor of the individual to the fetishized notion of capital -- all things which were foreign to feudalism. From the perspective of the medieval historian, feudalism is characterized by reciprocal bonds of social and military duty between landowning lords, and bonds of obligation between the serfs who work the land and the lord who owns it.


 


I find I have to repeat the topic of this debate: "In theory, communism is a superior ideology than capitalism." Please note that this is not the same thing as saying, "Marx's dream of a communist society is superior to the modern American political and economic reality."

In answering my second Socratic Question, about whether the ideology -- the idea system -- of capitalism is based on the notion of individual liberty, my opponent has quoted a passage from "The Abolition of Work and other essays" by anarchist philosopher Bob Black (which can be found here, since my opponent did not provide any reference). Leaving aside the question of whether the work environment as described by Black is truly that of most so-called proletariat in capitalist societies, I would like to point out one phrase from the very passage Wormwood has quoted:


For certain purposes it's not too misleading to call our system democracy or capitalism or -- better still -- industrialism, but its real names are factory fascism and office oligarchy.


But we are not discussing industrialism, factory fascism, or office oligarchy. We are discussing capitalism, and more specifically capitalist ideology.

I have thus far refrained from enumerating the evils done under the banner of communism. I understand the topic of this debate to be a comparison of two theoretical systems. As ideology, communism raises the idea of equality and fairness to the level of ultimate ideal; capitalism raises the idea of free trade between independent actors to that position. In its glorification of equality in all its forms (not just equal rights or equal access, but equal results and equal rewards) communism requires the abolition of private property and posits a society in which all assets are somehow held in common and shared equally. Capitalism to the contrary requires private property and depends on differences among people to drive trade, and it is in the checks and balances of supply and demand that progress derives its motivation. The ideology of capitalism states that the common good is served when individuals are free to trade both labor and products according to their own needs; the ideology of communism demands that the need of the individual be subjected to the need of the community.

Another trap that my opponent is attempting to lead us into is the Marxist trap. Since he seems to be basing his analysis of what communist ideology is on the ideas of Marx (as he says, "Marx is a genius when it comes to communism") I am willing to use that definition. However, if we are to use Marx as the main model of Communist ideology, we have to recall that Marx's ideology of Communism as developed throughout his life includes his critique of capitalism.

In other words, the Marxist analysis of capitalism is a part of Marxist communist ideology.

No self-proclaimed capitalist theorist that I'm aware of has described capitalist ideology in terms of the alienation of the worker from the means of production and from his labor; that definition of capitalism is specifically a part of communist theory. To choose only two examples, who are frequently cited as developers of capitalist ideology, Adam Smith and Ayn Rand each builds their theory of capitalism around the idea of individual liberty and private property, and each builds a theoretical system explaining how the common good is served best by allowing competition in markets and freedom of thought and action. Smith wrote as capitalism was a developing both as ideology and reality; Rand wrote in the twentieth century largely to criticize what she perceived as the perversion of capitalism by anti-capitalist ideas and policies. The common theme to their writings is the understanding that it is to the benefit of the nation to allow free trade among and competition between the citizens. The monopolistic corporatism that my opponent is trying to define as capitalism is in fact directly counter to the theory of either writer.

My opponent has suggested that communism is superior to capitalism because it leads to higher birth rates (though he does not provide a source for this contention). I suppose the idea he is trying to sell us is that population growth is identical to, or at least correlated with, social progress. But he gives no reason to believe this, no believable explanation for why ever-increasing population is a necessary good. Common sense suggests the opposite is just as likely: that increasing population leads to increasing strain on natural resources, resulting in lower standards of living and in some cases ecological damage or disaster.

I wish only to address one more point before turning the debate back over to Wormwood. There is a sense in which the word ideology is sometimes used to mean a false world view imposed on an oppressed class by "the powers that be" to strengthen their position. This is in certain places the use which Wormwood makes of the word with reference to capitalism. I wish only to point out that while this usage was developed by Marxist social historians and political philosophers, it can be used with reference to communist ideology just as easily as to capitalist ideology.

I have chosen not to interpret the word ideology in this sense for the purposes of this debate largely for one consideration. When I first thought about it in these terms, I realized that the people who framed the question most likely were not asking us to contrast two different idea frameworks used to keep a populace under control; they were genuinely asking whether communism might in theory be a superior political philosophy to capitalism. Otherwise we might end up in the strange position of arguing that the "best" ideology could be considered the "most successful" ideology: that belief system that best protects the powers that be in some given society.

Rather than argue over whether the idea of equality in so-called communist societies or the idea of liberty in so-called capitalist societies is a more effective means of crowd control, let's follow the more standard definition of a political ideology and analyze both communism and capitalism in terms of their ideals, and also their psychological and political compatibility and their usefulness and flexibility in suggesting realistic means to improve society.



posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 05:59 PM
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Happy New Year! That being said allow me to move on to the subject at hand.

The reason I was saying that capitalism may be a modification of feudalism is as follows. 4-500 years ago there was no capitalism, instead feudalism dominated. In these societies all wealth was held by a select few who in turn ruled over the poor peasant majority. Most people had to work hard to make a living for themselves and their families. They were given small sections of land in which to make this living however the land was owned by a feudal lord who also took a cut of all things produced and made by the peasants. This source of semi-free labour where people are not slaves but are close is referred to as serfdom. It is never a good ideology if it promotes such divisions amongst it's people. Now as people get smarter and more educated such blatantly unfair treatment comes into question so in order for the wealthy to remain on top they come up with the new capitalist ideology that says everyone is equal and everyone can rise to the top. Although the vast majority won't. Liberty! and don't forget the ruthless over-complicated economics meant specifically to cater to the rich, millionaire capitalist.

The people who remained in control simpily secured all the things used to produce the things we need. In order for the workers to pay the landlord, which for some odd reason still exists, and to buy the things they need he must work for a capitalist for usually a small wage. Same devil, different color jackets.

Now the world that we are born into already has capitalist in control of everything. The average person can hope, if he/she's lucky, to work the majority of their waking hours for one of these capitalist to barely scrape by. The industry was bought years ago. All this because of an ideology built on the greed of the few in an effort to pass off their power with a degree of legitimacy and convince the masses that they to can achieve it.

Communism is a simple concept, everyone is equal, everyone has a say, or votes on everything, and all property is public. It is a level playing field so to speak. It is an ancient system, and ideology built on acual relations between communities in an honest effort to keep it fair. It was not built upon maintaining a slave class to exploit it was not for the "elite" lords to hold on to their wealth.

Capitalist ideology is by nature faulty as it will never lead to any kind of stasis. It pits it's own citizens against one another with their very means of surviveing and prospering on the line. This is not just true of the U.S. but all societies in which capitalism is the dominant ideology. Capitalism is absolutely not in the best interest of the majority. It's all about the money$.

At it's simpilist form capitalism is lending money, at interest to people who for the most part can't afford to borrow. False hopes anyone?

This capitalist ideology inevidebly leads to single or corporate owners of all the large industrial enterprises, where most must work but the profits all go to the owner/s divideing capital from labour. It could be said that the only true capitalists are the few property owners. As more and more time ticks by they get more accumulated property, or capital, while the worker falls farther into debt.

Capitalism outlines no ideology that puts people before profit. In fact it's emphasis on profit can be compared to mercantilism. It is downright sad to have most people become nothing more than wage slaves but this is what this ideology will lead to.

No, I'm sorry as an ideology it is unsound and has more to do with materialism and maintaining power than it has to do with basic human needs.

To you americandingbat I turn over the pen........Looking Forward
wormwood13



posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 01:38 AM
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Happy New Year everyone!

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to give this debate the time it deserves. I will have to keep this post short and hope to tie some loose ends together in my closing post tomorrow.

First I will address a couple of remarks made by my opponent in his most recent post:

He wrote, "Capitalist ideology is by nature faulty as it will never lead to any kind of stasis." I would suggest that stasis is hardly a desirable goal for a society. Wormwood seems to believe that stasis is the only alternative to oppression, but does nothing to support this idea. If anything, stasis is the ally of oppression. In a dynamic, growing society, opportunity for change is everywhere. An oppressive class depends on stasis to maintain their control of resources and people.

He continued, "At its simplest form capitalism is lending money at interest to people who for the most part can't afford to borrow." But this is far from the truth. While it is true that lending and borrowing money is a key component of a capitalist economy, according to a pure capitalist ideology this would not be the case. There is no profit in loaning money to people who will not be able to return it (as has happened in the U.S. credit industry recently). It is rather a perversion of capitalism which has driven this process. The corporations responsible for advancing bad loans have been protected from their actions, through market manipulation of loan insurance packages, and finally through massive government bailouts.

Finally, my opponent continues to assert without evidence or argument that the ideas of capitalism will inevitably lead to just such situations. But he has given us no reason to believe this.

I would like to bring just one new perspective to the issue in this post. Throughout this debate I have looked to determine what makes an ideology a good one. Today I would like to suggest that one such characteristic is flexibility: the ability to suggest directions for a society to move, and to adjust to the world situation. In this regard capitalism is far superior to communism. Where communism answers every problem with enforced equality (or even sameness), capitalism encourages the development of new solutions. Communism indeed seeks stasis -- its aim of total equality is simply not compatible with the social dynamism needed for a society to grow and progress.

I apologize to our readers and fellow debaters for the delays in my contributions here; this holiday season has demanded rather more of my time and attention than I had expected.

Back to you, Wormwood.



posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 11:41 PM
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Well, we made it through the holidays and to the closing statement of our little debate.


Closing Statement



Let me clarify what I meant by reaching stasis. When it comes to issues of fairness and the way people are treated there should be a standard. It should'nt be different for children who happen to be born to capitalists instead of the ones born to the people who work for said capitalists. Nepitism should not decide who is in charge, experience should. When I speak of an ideology that strives to achieve stasis, I mean a level playing field.

So what do we have here? Communism as an ideology is essential. There are some people who are too old or sick to work, should they be allowed to starve? Only when there are alot of people and some are already in control is a capitalist ideology adopted, and it is pushed on the people by the very capitalist who stand to benefit the most by keeping the majority of the people in a lower class.

My opponent has spent alot of time defineing the parameters of this debate, however not as much time telling us why a capitalistic ideology would be superior.

In conclusion good people, communism as an ideology is sound, and can be used to start a society of people that don't divide themselves into classes, and don't seek to profit of the misfortune of others. It does not, as with capitalism, include a group of elites who have secured their positions long ago. With the focus away from how much can I make, and how can I afford my bills far more time is free to do things that truly benefit the people, and with that type of mentallity we can come closer to doing things that help this whole world instead of a capitalistic mentallity which only serves to help yourself.

Thank you to all those who took time away from their holidays to read this little diddy, it warms my heart to know you crazy cats are out there. A secondary thank you to chissler for putting up with all the delays in this lovely round two, and last but certainly not least to americandingbat, who I had been hoping to get into it with, however next time we go 12 rounds I hope we both have more time to dedicate to it. Either way its been real, and even fun. Give the people bread and circuses!

Your friendly traveling executioner, and miscreant of QualCom/BashCap

Wormwood13




posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 02:50 AM
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To my respected opponent Wormwood: it has been fun. I too wish that we could have clashed at a time when we were both less distracted.

To our readers and judges: thank you for your time and attention.

 


My opponent has called me to task for spending “not as much time telling us why a capitalist ideology would be superior.” Strictly speaking, the debate topic does not require me to do so, only to argue that communist ideology is not superior. But I would like to go that extra step and demonstrate some of the ways I believe that capitalist ideology is, in theory, superior to communist ideology. I hope that this closing post will convince of that.

As I said in the beginning of the debate, I am politically very liberal, and I have a lot of problems with the power structure in the United States, with the sway that giant corporations have over the political realm, with the media and entertainment industries that seem to aim at distracting our attention from the realities of power and influence in our society. Because the amoral and even immoral actions of the powerful here so often seem to stem from the drive for economic (and therefore political) power, I too often fall into the trap of confusing what I see as a no-holds-barred struggle for capital gain with capitalist ideology.

But this is not really capitalism at all. As the source my opponent cited in his second reply said, this is really corporatism and cronyism.

In his closing Wormwood said, “communism as an ideology is sound, and can be used to start a society of people that don’t divide themselves into classes …”

As a thought experiment, I would like to imagine such a thing. Imagine that there is a group of people – enough people to start a society – along with a given amount of resources – enough to provide for that society.

Following a communist ideology, presumably a society could be developed in which all resources are held in common and all decisions made in common, and I will even grant that for a small group of similar individuals such a setup might work for a while. But how large would a society have to grow before disparities in interest set in? Different people have different needs, and there would have to be some way to determine those and distribute goods equitably. It is not practical in a large-scale society to have all the people vote on every decision – it is difficult enough to get enough people to educate themselves about two candidates for president every four years, imagine if everyone had to make themselves an expert in every area of resource management in order to participate responsibly in a vote on every decision that affected the society.

In contrast to his thought-experiment communist possibilities, my opponent continues to discuss capitalism only as it has evolved in the western world. It is true, and in my opinion lamentable, that the vast majority of our resources are controlled by a very small minority group. But this is a historical accident: our society is not the result of applying an ideology to a clean slate, but rather is an evolution from a profoundly unequal society, as Wormwood pointed out, that preceded the growth of capitalism.

Our theorized society of equals starting afresh could choose capitalist ideology over communist ideology, and begin by distributing its pool of resources equally among its members. From there, a market could evolve through cooperative trade according to a pure capitalist ideology – you have something I want, I have something you want, let’s work together. It would not require a state framework to act as middleman (I’m making some stuff, you’re making some stuff, let’s both give it to this third guy who can divide it equally among all three of us). Because everyone would be starting out with the same resources, the very real unfairnesses of our current system would not be in play. Differences would be encouraged, as well as invention and cooperation.

 


In my opening post I listed three characteristics that I thought would be required for a superior ideology. I wish I had had the time to expand on those thoughts more, but a brief rundown will have to suffice.

The first was logical consistency and expandibility. Both communism and capitalism demonstrate logical consistency – each begins with a principle and an assumption about how people behave in society and develops an entire system of political and economic theory out of these basics. The driving ideal of communism is equality, and it assumes that people will produce enough to continue to satisfy their needs so long as their needs are met. From these principles follow the abolition of private property and the role of the state (or “community”) as collector and divvyer of goods. The driving ideal of capitalism is individual freedom, and it assumes cooperative exchange behaviors among people in a society. From this follows the value of private property as the means for social behavior – if we have the same things there is no need for us to cooperate, or even to communicate with each other as individuals. It is our differences in ability, interest, and desire that provide the vehicle for our social interactions.

It is often argued that capitalism is all about competition – about taking advantage of other people or trying to “beat” them in some strange abstract game. But really capitalism is about trade, about reaching out to the other in order that both may benefit.

The second criteria on my list was psychological compatibility, that an ideology must accurately reflect and satisfy human drives and needs. As I stated in my opening, this is hard to judge and we really haven’t had the opportunity to give it the attention it deserves. Critics of communism often complain that it demands an unrealistic level of altruism from people; that people are naturally competitors and struggle is inevitable. I am not convinced of this. What I am convinced of is that it is the differences among people that are the motivating factor in human progress – that it is in communicating with people who are different than us that our social nature is most fully realized and through which we as individuals can grow spiritually. Capitalism, placing free trade between individuals at the center of its ideology, is ideal for this.

My third criteria was real-world practicality, and it is here that capitalism truly shines as an ideology. This is where its flexibility is crucial. For one thing, capitalist ideology is much more capable of interacting with the world outside its society because it is founded on mutually beneficial trade. Communism, ideologically, demands sharing – but what if other societies would rather trade than share? Second, capitalist ideology allows for experimentation in a way that communist ideology does not. It is fundamental to capitalist ideology that if one solution to a problem is unsuccessful, new solutions are sought. There is no one-size-fits-all demand for equality and control of resources at the highest level of society. There is built-in recognition that what works for one person or group may not work for others: indeed, capitalism relies on these differences.

Perhaps a truly superior ideology would combine elements of communism and capitalism – would place a higher emphasis on equality of access than capitalism does, for instance. But of the two, capitalism is the ideology that best nurtures our freedom of thought and interaction as humans, demands cooperation among the component groups of a society that they may trade and grow through exchange, and provides a diverse and rich environment for us as individuals.



posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 05:48 PM
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We're off to the judges.



posted on Jan, 17 2010 @ 07:12 PM
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Wormwood wins this Debate because he displayed a better grasp of Communism than Americandingbat did of Communism.

Throughout it appeared that WW used his own words and understanding in defense of Communism while ADB required Wikipedia & Co. to make sense of Capitalism. Her self-admitted issues with Capitalism shone through.
While reading I myself had a dozen ideas of what one COULD have argued in favor of Capitalism but these actually rather common talking points were left out.

Wormwoods lines of reasoning, on the other hand, seemed to be easily drawn and layed out for every reader to understand.

Knowing ADB as a good Debater I say "better luck next time!" and congratulate wormwood on the win.




That was the hardest debate I have ever judged. I actually read through it three times because I was having a hard time deciding on which was the better argument.

At the end I had to pick AmericanDingbat. I had always leaned towards Communism as my flavor of preferred choice, but now I have a lot more to think about on this issue.




"In theory, communism is a superior ideology than capitalism.”

This was a great debate. Both fighters started off strong in their openings with good solid foundations as to their direction. I always enjoy a good opening as it sets the tone and these two did not disappoint.

Wormwood13 sure started off well in his first post or two, but it started to show that he was depending on Marx perhaps too much.

Americandingbat was able to hold off Wormwood13 very nicely, keeping things even until the closing.

At the closing a clear leader emerged and I must say it was one of the better closing arguments I have had the enjoyment to read.

Americandingbat absolutely “killed” in that closing, wrapping up the debate and managing to refute Wormwood13’s debate all in one package.

Winner americandingbat


americandingbat is the victor and moves to the next round.

 
 


This thread is now open to comments from other fighters.



posted on Jan, 17 2010 @ 07:22 PM
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I'll be rooting for you ding, make them suffer.



posted on Jan, 17 2010 @ 07:25 PM
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Also a giant thank you to the judges!



posted on Jan, 17 2010 @ 07:31 PM
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Originally posted by wormwood13
I'll be rooting for you ding, make them suffer.


Thanks Worm, I'll do my best. That was a fun debate -- maybe we'll get to fight again sometime when there's less to do outside ATS


And thanks to the judges



posted on Jan, 17 2010 @ 07:35 PM
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FIGHT CLUB PUB FOREVER!!!!!!



posted on Jan, 17 2010 @ 07:37 PM
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Originally posted by wormwood13
FIGHT CLUB PUB FOREVER!!!!!!









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