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Talk:Debate: Capitalism vs socialism

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A Suggestion To Avoid an Edit War

This is a topic people feel strongly about. Anyone can edit anyone's post so this can degenerate into a battle of the keyboard until admins step in and start banning people. I hesitate to delete or trim others posts but I have and shall when what I consider a spurious declaration gets repeated or lengthy. Remember the idea here is to outline and categorize debate points with brief clarification and exposition.

Simply stating something as a fact is not an argument and convinces no one. Letting that pass, repeating the same spurious declarations will lead to your post being ruthlessly edited or deleted by me and others. Also please respect the layout of the sub-arguments and put your position in the appropriate section. If you feel a bias in the questions and sections add another to balance it or make explicit what you feel is an incorrect implicit assumption.

Regards, jambaugh 16:19, 11 January 2010 (CST)

Moved or Removed some inappropriate points.

Moved one point from History to Human Rights section as it made no reference to history but only argued that "socialism seeks equality".

Except below removed from History section as

  1. it is not a reference to Historic evidence, and
  2. It covers ground already posted in other sections. I include it below as the author may want to break up separate "arguments" and post in appropriate sections. It may be better if you read the other points and see if it might be better to edit and expand them instead of being nearly repetitive.


  • Capitalism is inefficient and causes inequality, exploitation and misery. The wealth of the earth belongs to all men or to none. Under capitalism, property is concentrated into the hands of relatively few well-off people, leaving the many with nothing and at the mercy of the rich for work, charity, etc. This leads to gross inequality, exploitation and misery. Nor is it economically efficient, as the rich have so much already they have no incentive to use their property productively.


I am about to go through and do this some more. jambaugh 16:08, 11 January 2010 (CST)

Re: Of Plymouth Colony

The citation is not fiction. Its not a novel but rather the historic account of the actual colony as written by its governor. One really really really should read the thing, at least do a quick google before commenting.

wikipedia article on Of Plymouth Plantation

Google Books Full Text

(The mistake is partly my fault for not properly citing my reference.)

Regards jambaugh 08:50, 11 January 2010 (CST)

Issues with the debate question

There is no answer to that question, because it is too broad. Superior in what way?

Also, it is necessary to define socialism apropriatelly. Marx's socialism is not today´s socialism. It has changed, as Marx´s contemporary capitalism is not the capitalism that exist today.

IMHO, socialism today looks for social justice, not for a passage to stateless communism. It wants to create a society where everyone has equal rights, regardless of accidental, superficial differences, like family, color, possessions, creativity, intelligence, strenght, etc. and rely on the State to secure those rights.

Finally, it is possible to have a capitalist economy and a socialist society, one limiting the excesses of the other.

What we cant have any longer, is a society run by money, where rights are proportional to wealth. That is what socialism, today, seeks to abolish.

Point well taken Peiri. But, the appropriate bounds of the debate can be found through argumentation. For example, the argument could be presented: Socialism leads to stateless communism. The counter-argument could be, modern socialism focuses on social justice, not creating a form of government on par with "stateless communism". The subquestion sections enable this break-down. So, a subquestion could be written "Communism: Does socialism lead to stateless communism?" The broader point is that we define the appropriate direction of the debate through argumentation. -- Brooks Lindsay 14:14, 12 January 2008 (CST)

A stronger case for socialism.


I have never contributed to any wiki before, but I felt that socialism was being short-changed on your site, so I would like to add some of my own arguments. They are not in the form of a formal debate, but I hope that is ok.

Socialism need not preclude private property. It would set limits on the size of private estates, however.

The price mechanism is claimed to be an efficient method to determine to whom the goods and services should be distributed. But price is determined by supply and demand, and demand is created only by those who have the funds to pay for those goods and services. So a plutocrat with a multi-billion dollar fortune can create much more demand than a million people living in an urban slum. Does that seem "efficient" to you? Besides, socialism can use the price mechanism too; it would just make certain that wealth is much more widely distributed so that all the people can create demand - not just the wealthy plutocrats.

Capitalism claims that incentive is a major factor in economic growth, but under capitalism, all the "incentive" is given to the owners and the senior managers of massive corporations, while hundreds of millions of workers are paid the lowest possible wages that the law and the market will bear. Under socialism, the workers would receive relatively higher wages, giving the hundreds of millions of workers more incentive.

An common argument against socialism states that it grants too much power to government. However, the fear of government in our age of democracy is (somewhat) misplaced. The real fear is power concentrated in the hands of the few, and that is what we have under capitalism. Plutocrats have amassed such fortunes that they undermine democratic institutions. They purchase the media and present only their own views to the public. Their substantial financial contributions to political candidates essentially guarantee that only the candidates of their choosing have any chance of winning an election. Moreover, they hire lobbyists to campaign for their preferred legislation. We have more reason to fear capitalism than socialism in this matter.

Capitalism will never solve social problems, because it has no intention of doing so. The only purpose of capitalism is to provide ever-larger profits to the owners of production. If there is no profit to be had in feeding the hungry or providing shelter for the homeless, then so be it.

The large middle-class societies we see today in North America and in Western Europe did not arise because of capitalism, but in spite of it. 100 years ago, workers sacrificed everything, sometimes even their lives, in the attempt to improve their situation, and the wealthy plutocrats, with the support of the government behind them, fought back viciously. In the end, however, workers won some concessions, leading to the growth of labor unions and social programs. It was these victories that created the large middle classes we have today. But the plutocrats have never accepted these victories of the workers, and today are successfully rolling back many of the gains made in the past.

A common misconception is that the great wealth we see around us today was the direct result of capitalism, but it was actually a combination of factors that has led to our great wealth. The achievements of science that have led directly to our advanced technology was a major factor. The invention of money and the rule of law were major factors.

In fact, the benefits of free market systems and competition have been largely removed from the US economy, at least, which has become a collection of ever-larger corporations that are now "too big to fail."


David McNeely


I have just deleted a point on the side for socialism (the point that started Socialism in the Soviet Union has been successul in many regards.) I deleted it because the Soviet Union was not socialist in anything other than rhetoric (a point that is made a few times in the course of the debate) so it does not belong here. It may, however, be a good point for a debate on the Soviet Union. Liberationfromwithin 15:32, 27 January 2010 (EST)

re: a suggestion to avoid an edit war

I completely understand your point here. However, many of the points do require a basic explanation that is rather long (although I have tried to avoid posts that are too lengthy). Do you have any practical suggestions for how I can change my edits to avoid an edit war? And what "spurious declarations" have I made?

You say that "Simply stating something as a fact is not an argument and convinces no one." I completely agree, and this is one of the reasons my posts are so long. Can you please point out where I have merely stated something as fact. If you can please just focus on my edits (since I am rather loath to editing the points of others) if it is possible. I have tried to simply stating something as fact without an explanation or source as much as I can but I would be happy if you point out cases where I did.

I would appreciate your advice on how to avoid an edit war since I am relatively new to Wikis and so it would help me to edit arguments in the future.

Liberationfromwithin 15:32, 27 January 2010 (EST)

Soviet Union

Can we please refrain in these debates from using examples of societies that were not socialist to prove the faults of socialism (i.e. the Soviet Union or Mao's China etc.). I have made the point that these are not socialist based on the core definition of socialism and given a source for the case of the Soviet Union. So can the side for capitalism please focus on actual examples of socialism, such as the examples I have given in the course of the debate or others that fit the definition of at least the core of socialism.

Liberationfromwithin 15:33, 27 January 2010 (EST)

re: of the Plymouth Colony

Point taken. I apologize for thinking it was fiction - I did not have the time to read it.

I have now edited the response to it so that it makes sense to the nature of the argument.

Liberationfromwithin 15:33, 27 January 2010 (EST)

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