Socialism Vs. Capitalism

Socialism Vs. Capitalism

(dramatic music) – I was talking to my husband about how excited about this today, but also how it’s challenging to kick off a debate like this. Personally because you should think of something funny to
say at the beginning. He was telling me you really want to be careful when you’re making jokes about socialism and capitalism, but socialism in particular. And I said “Why?” And he said, “If you’re
making jokes about socialism “it’s only funny if everyone gets it.” (audience laughs) (audience applauds) It is actually a really serious debate, and I think it is something that’s defining right now for our culture and for this particular political moment. And it’s something that young
people have unique bearing on. So your generation and mine, millennial’s and GenZ make up 37% of the electorate in 2020, and we are completely polarized about socialism versus capitalism. I was looking at some
statistics today on this, exit polls found that
in 18 to 24-year-olds 61% were favorable towards socialism, 58% favorable towards capitalism. So there is some overlap
there which I find weird. But I wanted to start this off by getting us into where
this audience stands. We’re gonna do this before
the end of the debate as well. I’ll give you three options here, socialism, capitalism or undecided. And I’ll just have you raise your hand. Say the one that you feel most open too, or best identified to. So on socialism? Who have we got? Okay, capitalism? You’ve got your work cut out for you. And who’s undecided? Okay, great. Well to kick this off I’m
gonna have our two speakers begin with an eight
minute opening statement, they’ll have a chance to
respond to each other, I’m gonna ask a couple of questions, and then we’ll open it up
to audience questions too, so if you’ve been thinking about something that you want to ask, please make sure that it is a question and not a speech or to debate yourself. But I’m really eager to hear
what you have to contribute. So we’ll kick off, do
you want to start first? – Sure, well thank you all for coming. The turnout is quite good, I was not this interested in
anything when I was in college. I actually started campaigning
when I was in college, but I wouldn’t go out to an event at 6:10 when there was other things to be doing. It’s still nice outside,
you can still leave. – You can leave. – I’m 30 years old now, I
just turned 30 this summer and I became a socialist
when I was 14 or 15. Way too young to be making this
kind of lifelong decisions, but I’m stubborn so I stuck with it. And at the time when I was a teenager I would tell people I was a socialist it would prompt a flurry of questions, sometimes disdain, sometimes whatever, it was just general confusion. Now I think in part
because of Bernie Sanders, the AOC and the general
climate of the country, people are just saying
yes, sure, leave me alone. So it’s good that you’re
here for the conversation. So fundamentally, the socialist vision is at a minimum the idea that everyone deserves
certain basic rights. And these basic rights, these foundations of
being a free individual should be provided to us as social rights and not things that are
captive to the market, or captive to our ability to pay. So your housing, your
healthcare, your education, your childcare, access to basic nutrition. These are things that we need in order to reach our potential, in order to be free individuals. So a socialist mentality isn’t necessarily an
antiliberal mentality, so it’s not a mentality that says, free speech, this is a bourgeois right, no, free speech and these other rights are rights we’ve struggled for for one and need to be defended. But what the socialist says
isn’t that these are fake rights compared to the real rights
and the right to eat, the socialist says that these
are rights that can only be truly reached if it’s combined
with other guarantees. Like for example, the guarantee
to a strong public education that allows people to be literate, to engage fully as
citizens in a free press. So a country like India for instance which has a huge percentage
of the population that’s functionally illiterate, this is a country that
we oppose their system, not because it has these basic liberal democratic
rights which we respect that doesn’t exist in
every country in the world, but because it doesn’t fully realize it. So the very least it’s
about creating this bedrock of the de-commodified social good, so social good is taken out of the market and enjoyed as rights at the very least as
a last stopping point. Now beyond that, socialist’s question the way that society is structured. We question the fact that we live in essentially
tyrannies in the workplace. Tyranny doesn’t mean that it’s
completely miserable place, it doesn’t mean that your workplace is necessarily a Dickensian terrible sweatshop or something like that, what it means though is that you’re in your workplace
from nine to five, and you are in a society
that tells you that, at best nine to five, it tells you that a democracy is a right, but within the workplace you don’t have any democratic resource. You have no rights, your
employment contract is a contract of course that
you freely enter into, but it’s a work or starve choice that put you into that
employment contract. Because essentially under capitalism, workers and capitalists are the people who have
to work for a living and the people who owns the facilities that produces goods and services the rest of us have to work in are
dependent on each other. Your boss certainly needs your labor, your contribution to his or her workplace. But you need your grocery money, and chances are your boss needs
your individual contribution to the labor process more
then you you need your, less than you need your grocery money or your way to pay your rent and so on. So what a socialist says essentially is that we need to democratize
this sphere of society so in addition to guaranteeing
a certain set of rights that allow us to be free individuals, to maximize our individual potential, we also need two create structures in which there is more democratic
participation and deliberation. So for example, in our workplace, we might still need to have markets, markets existed before capitalism, and will in my view
exist after capitalism, but we don’t necessarily need workplaces structured as tyrannies, where bosses and managers
aren’t elected by their workers. So socialist in other words think about what capitalists potentially contribute to the production process. So obviously in the propaganda of old we would say capitalists
are mere parasites, they contribute nothing, they just take from the
sweat of the worker. In fact capitalists in this current system contribute in vital ways to the way our society is structured. From one, capitalists
take entrepreneurial risk to start new ventures
or goods and services and produce and where people are employed. And to the extent that
we have a welfare state we have it because we’re
taxing those ventures. Capitalists also contribute as managers, they are convening, they are
helping to arrange production more often than not
especially in smaller firms. The socialist argument isn’t that the capitalist contributes nothing, it’s that what the capitalist does can in fact be replicated by the free association of workers. So you in your workplace could decide to elect your own management instead of just taking home a flat wage, you could take home a share, you can take dividends out of profits. So in a sense what we’re suggesting is not a decline in
ownership and participation, but a society that is a
true ownership society, a society in which every single person has this democratic
stake and civil society and in democracy is guaranteed a bedrock of rights to their society, but also has a stake
in their place of work. Where they are not just being treated like replaceable cogs in a machine, where they are able to participate in deliberations and
discussions and so on. Does this mean untrammeled
democracy at every single level? No, in certain large firms you will elect management, and certain decisions are made on the principles of
representative democracy. You can’t vote on every single decision that a business makes day-to-day, in smaller firms maybe you can have higher levels
of direct democracy. In the same way within civil society we want to expand the
rights of ordinary people to be democratic actors, but it doesn’t mean
that my right to speech, my right to all these other bedrock rights should be decided by votes. What we essentially are looking for is a society that
reaches social democracy, what has been accomplished in Nordic countries and elsewhere. Countries which unlike the United States don’t have children dying from higher rates of infant mortality than other major countries. Countries that don’t
have people struggling with huge amounts of debt
just to get an education. Countries that treats and
awards people for their efforts and guarantees a bedrock of rights. I think we want to keep this
logic of social democracy and extend it further into our workplace. We don’t want a year zero
break with the present, we want a society in which ordinary people
can reach their potential. We want to fulfill in other words the promise of the Enlightenment, the promise of liberty,
equality and solidarity. This promise has been made possible by the riches of capitalism, by the riches of all this abundance of the last two to 300 years. We now from this starting
point no longer have to structure our societies in such a way that oppresses a few and allows people to
accumulate their wealth from the labor and work of others. – Alright. – So it’s always good in a
debate to define your terms. So let me tell you what
I think capitalism is what capitalism actually is
and what I think socialism is, and why I think one is a
moral and practical system and the other is immoral and impractical. Capitalism is a system of freedom. Now freedom is a tricky word, because everybody is for freedom, I could be in front of a group of Marxists and everybody
would raise their hand. We just heard that socialism
is in favor of freedom. But what does freedom mean? What does freedom mean? Again, definitions. Freedom means the absence of coercion freedom means the absence of authority, freedom means the absence
of a gun put to your head when you are told what to do, whether it’s in the
name of the proletariat, in the name of your race, in the name of the majority, in the name of Donald
Trump, it doesn’t matter. A gun put to your head could force a felony of their truth,
a felony of the state is anti-freedom. Freedom means the absence of coercion. Capitalism is a system that systematizes the absence of coercion, it eliminates coercion from society. By protecting the rights of individuals. Now what are rights? We have to define all these things. Rights are freedoms of action, not freedoms of action
sanctioned by a majority, not freedom of action
sanctioned by politicians or sanctions by the authorities, not freedom of action
sanctioned by the church. But freedom of action. Sanctioned by you, as an individual. – Mic higher.
– Mic higher. – Then people are saying it’s too loud, all right, we’ll find a middle ground. I yield, I apologize. – The tyranny of the microphone. – The tyranny of the microphone. (audience laughs) Your freedom, your freedom
to choose your values using your mind in
pursuit of your happiness. That’s what capitalism allows, it leaves you free, free from coercion of other people. Free to pursue your life. Free to choose what path
to take for yourself. That’s the moral foundation of capitalism, that’s why capitalism is moral, because it leaves individuals
free to use their mind in pursuit of their own
happiness, their own values, which is the ultimate purpose of life. Not to sacrifice for others, not to live for the group, not to live for the collective, but to live for you as an individual, to make your life the best life it can be. To pursue your individual happiness. Capitalism makes that
possible by leaving you free. What you do with it is up to you. And some people don’t do much with it, but what you do with it is up to you and you have the freedom to do with it. So your values, your choices, that’s what capitalism is about, and as a consequence of being moral it is also a practical system. One of the things that amazes me about capitalism versus socialism debates is that we are having them. I mean this is over, to the extent that
capitalism has been tried to the extent that it’s been
tried anywhere in the world at any point in time in the world, it produces freedom and
enormous wealth for people. Everywhere, including in
Scandinavia by the way, where they have elements of capitalism and those elements produce the wealth that they then steal and reissue. And we can talk about Scandinavia later. But it works, it’s worked everywhere. Now my vision of capitalism,
a society with no coercion has never existed, and certainly in the United States today we do not live under a capitalist system. This is a mixed economy, lots of coercion, lots of interference, lots of authorities, lots of people voting to
redistribute other people’s wealth. Lots of regulation of businesses and the government and central planners
telling us what to produce, how to produce it, when to produce it, how much to pay our
employees, when to pay them, what benefits to give them. There is no end to the amount of control government
has today on the economy. Less than what some would like. But what we have today is no capitalism, what we have today is a mixed economy, elements of control, elements of statism, elements of some socialism, and some private property, some businessmen making
decisions for themselves, but usually heavily, heavily controlled. That’s capitalism. And the more we expand
it, the more we allow it, the more we let individual money free, the richer we get, the
better the quality of life, the better life is. The more we constrain it,
the slower economic growth, the less wealth is created,
the poorer we all become. And it’s simple, what
is the source of wealth? Now again, Marxists typically argue that the source of wealth is labor. No. The source of wealth is the human mind. The source of wealth is ideas. The source of wealth is an entrepreneur, not because he takes risks, not because he deploys capital, but because he has an idea and he is able to deploy that idea. And I know, I know it’s hard to
understand what CEOs do and it’s hard to understand
what capitalists do, and it’s hard to understand
what entrepreneurs do. If you’ve ever worked in a start-up, if you’ve ever worked in
a large company you know the laborers, the workers, particularly those who use their hands need their managers a thousand times more than
the manager needs the worker. Because without the
manager, without the idea, without the organization, without the talent to put
together global supply chains, which it requires massive
amounts of talent. This idea that workers
can just elect somebody and they can just go
and do it, is visible. But let me quickly define socialism. Socialism in my view is either the state or workers control of
the means of production, control of our lives. Control of the choices we
make in the economic realm. And this idea but you can somehow separate the social and intellectual realm from the material property
rights realm is bizarre. If you don’t have property rights, you don’t have any rights. Property rights are just one manifestation of individual rights, a manifestation of that figure of action, but if you’re free to
act, to produce the cream, then you have to be free to
keep the product of your labor. And if you can’t keep the product of your labor you have no rights, and you have no right to life, and therefore all other
rights are up for a vote. Why limit it, why cherry pick
which rights were gonna have and which rights we don’t. I believe we have all the
rights that are required for human beings to survive, free speech, the right to property. Because it’s a requirement of human life. But I’ve got 30 seconds,
so I’ll just say this. Socialism is immoral, it’s immoral, because it sacrifices
individuals to the collective. It’s immoral because it violates the rights of the
individual in every respect. It places the tyranny of the mob, the tyranny of the majority
over the individual, it denies minority rights. There’s only one real
minority, the smallest minority and that’s the individual. Socialism rejects that, it denies that and suppresses that and stomps
all over the individual, and it’s immoral. And as a consequence, so it’s impractical, and I’m not gonna give you the litany of all the failures of socialism, maybe we’ll have an
opportunity later, I’d love to from the Soviet Union to
China to Venezuela today, to the kibbutz in Israel,
one disaster after another. – You are out of time. – Sorry. – So I’m gonna kick it
off to you for a rebuttal. – Well I think who here’s
worked in a workplace, any form of work? Have you been exposed to coercion at work, in other words have you had to take a job and had to work under terms and conditions set by someone else? Now you could say the
contract was a fair contract that you entered into, but there’s obviously coercion involved in any form of production. In particular though that
capitalists form of production, is a form of production in which many people who have wealth and have power are able to maintain their wealth and power over other people
who have to work for them. This to me is coercion. Now it’s a form of exploitation too, exploitation doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a pejorative thing in all forms. So I assume every single
capitalist on the planet even someone I think
we both think is odious as Donald Trump opposes chattel slavery. Now if you are opposed to chattel slavery you might be in favor of waged slavery, you might not consider that a reprehensible force of exploitation, but the dynamics of having your conditions of life determined by
someone else is the same in the sense that you do not, it’s a contract signed under duress. It’s obviously capitalism
has created wealth and its created abundance. But the question is, can you not recreate forms of wealth in abundance and innovation and dynamism
from worker owned firms. You have to make a case that management by a manager who has their power or an owner who has their power by virtue of owning
private property a priori, is necessarily better than management decided democratically
by people in a workplace. In my experience the people at a workplace actually know how to make
things at every level, from design to implementation. – You could take a concept
and use it anywhere you want, but what’s the meaning? Coercion means something, when somebody engages into
a contract voluntarily, that is not coercion. You might say I didn’t
want to do that contract, but you still chose to do it. And the fact is that
capitalism is the only and first system in all of human history that’s given us choices. What choices did we
have before capitalism? One, live on a farm, grow the food that you ate
and die in your thirties. And most of your children dead. Capitalism has liberated
us to have choices, we have multiple employment opportunities, we have multiple
educational opportunities. We can choose our destiny. The idea that owners and
managers coerce workers is to make coercion a meaningless concept. Coercion means force, coercion means putting a gun to your head. When you violate the law the government comes
and takes you to jail. The government can’t do that,
companies can’t do that, government is force, it’s
very nature is force. What is happening here is we are conflating two types of power, economic power, and political power. The essence of political power is force, is coercion, is a gun. You have no choice but to follow the law. You have no choice but to
do what you are told to do otherwise you go to jail. Economic power is
fundamentally voluntarily. You don’t have to buy an iPhone. You didn’t have to go to company X, you can go work for company Y, or you can go to school and
study and do something else. You have the choice in your hand, you are in other words free. Capitalism provides you with freedom, Socialism provide you
with a kind of slavery that tells you through a majority what you must do and
how much you must do it, how much you get paid and what
are your working conditions. Voluntarily choice is out. – All right, well one thing I’m interested to hear from both of you, it sounds like both of you
think that you’re not currently in a system you would like to be in, so I’m curious what you
think the transition to either socialism or
capitalism looks like? – What I mean by democratic socialism isn’t just a socialism that has doses of socialism
within capitalism. It’s a socialism that’s after capitalism. And that hasn’t been
successfully implemented, that hasn’t been implemented
anywhere in the world. What we do know though is that following the logic of collective action, social democracies have arisen. And a lot of people collective
action is as follows, so this unequal relationship, call it coercion, call it something else. Exists in the workplace, in that the average
worker as an individual can’t go to to your boss and say give me a $20 raise or I’m out, I’m gonna stop working at CBS
and go to down the street, they’re gonna say, okay goodbye, go. But, collectively you could get together with 20 or 30 of your employees, your fellow co-workers, and go to that boss and you could make a different sort of bargain, you can use your power, your ability to withdraw your labor from work and you can even up the odds. Collective action is difficult, so you’re taking this dependency that you have with your boss and you’re evening up the odds. That’s the logic that creates unions. Now we have to take these
individual isolated unions and we need to band them together to create a union federation. But then you need to express your power and you need to get certain
laws in certain rights and strive at the state level. So then you create a political party, a labored based social
democratic political party. And in the case of Scandinavia and many countries in northern Europe there were periods of decades and decades where the parties built on this logic, the logic of collective action
from the workers movement govern and govern successful states. They governed states that
had a de-commodified sector, in other words social rights for healthcare and education and so on. In the same way that some of our geniuses in the United States, some of our greatest talents,
or even our mediocre talents will never get the chance
to reach their potential, you had a better chance of doing that. In the same way we have tremendous
disparity at every level, from racial to gender to just on the basis of your ZIP Code, that didn’t exist in the same way, it still existed, but it
didn’t exist in the same way in these other countries. So that’s what I believe
is a model that has worked. Yes it was fundamentally trying to take, and yes coerce, a capitalist system
towards certain outcomes, it was using regulation, but particularly the power
of sectorial marketing to shape capitalist outcomes. But the logic of it was a logic
rooted in collective action and rooted in the workers movement and rooted yes, on socialist ideology. That succeeded. Can we go beyond social democracy into a form of worker ownership, that’s an open question, I would like to get to a source of democracy and let’s find out, and if it doesn’t work, then people won’t be for it
and it’ll be rolled back. In Sweden there were
attempts to use the logic of collective action to go
beyond social democracy, Institute forms of the Miter
plan and these are the plans forms of ownership, it never was fully pursued, but that’s my logic. I have no problem embracing
the good and bad of Socialism, saying what I disagree with, authoritarian forms of
socialism I disagree with. Saying the flawed parts of the Scandinavian models
I don’t agree with, because I think if we had
the go to scouts mentality, it just becomes a semantic thing where anything good isn’t real socialism, anything bad isn’t real socialism And everything good is that’s
the only real socialism. And I think sometimes
people who are procapitalist fall into the same step, because anything bad in this society they say it’s because
it’s not capitalist enough and so on, it makes it difficult
to have a conversation. – Do I get to comment on that? – I would like you to first of all. There we go, I’d like you
to first of all talk about how you think the tradition of capitalism as you see it would work
from what we have right now, and then I’m gonna let you
guys respond to each other. – Well I think the trajectory towards capitalism is a hard one, much harder than I think a
trajectory towards socialism, because I think the world,
in spite of all my efforts, the world is moving more towards socialism than it is towards capitalism and the general agreement
is that socialism is a good, that coercion is good, that force is good, that forcing people to behave in a particular way that you
want him to behave is right. The idea that force, coercion, forcing somebody to do something
they don’t want is wrong, morally, and should never be exercised. That idea is not a popular idea. I think the only way to
move us towards capitalism is in real educational campaigns challenging the philosophical foundation of the existing system that we have. The existing system of
thought that we have. The moral idea the purpose in life is to live towards others, the moral idea that the collective is more important than the individual. The moral idea that
the state is above all. We see on the Democratic side
and on the Republican side, that we see in politics
across the entire spectrum. Those things have to be challenged. Until we are willing to
challenge collectivism, and moral altruism, until we are willing to embrace the morality of individualism in a political system of individualism, a political system that elevates the freedom of the individual, that is built around
freedom for the individual, I don’t see how capitalism comes about. I think you see in the West movements to move towards a little bit more free market, but then as soon as they
fixe things a little bit and the economy starts growing again and people feel comfortable, they immediately bounce back to socialism. You saw that with Reagan
and it bounced back, you saw that with Thatcher
and it bounced back. Because neither Reagan
nor Thatcher challenged the fundamental beliefs that are required in order to build a capitalist society. And those are deeply rooted
and they are philosophical, and they require changes
at university level and change in young people’s thinking. And I see that move towards capitalism towards my vision as much harder, much more challenging and much more educational than political. I don’t like political,
because politics is what? Politics is force. But think about how it eats at you but this guy is lazy and
he’s going home early, this is exactly what
happened in the kibbutz, and you work very hard and
you start resenting him, and you start hating him. Every time I see socialists, socialism, what you see is malevolence
towards other people, resentment, hatred. Because it creates
envy, rivalry and hatred because it’s a zero-sum world. I don’t get paid for what I produce, I get paid what was negotiated, what was voted on, what people agreed. Not based on my productivity. And somebody else might get
exactly the same as I do. Even though they are
a lot less productive, that’s what collective action does, and that’s why unions are declining. Unions have declined because of union members don’t
want to be in unions, because it doesn’t make any sense to them, particularly in the modern era where they negotiate
salaries for themselves. Unions have declined because manufacturing jobs, physical labor is in decline
because of technology, because of robots and
because of computers. And no software engineer, no software engineer who is an employee wants a union to represent them. Are they gonna be able to bounce around from company to company like
they do in Silicon Valley, bringing their salary up
every time they do it. No, not under socialism
you can’t do any of that. – So this conversation
seems to be shaping up to be a lot about coercion, so I want to ask people a question, respective of your
preferred economic system about coercion. So let’s start with you Yaron, one thing that I hear as
a critique of capitalism is that if you pit
economics against each other that there is an incentive for businesses to get government on their side and use that coercion
against their competition. And the question when we’re talking about transitioning to a
purely capitalist system from the mix that we have right now it is due to really big companies already have the advantage, so they can wield the power
against smaller businesses and against entrepreneurs in a way that there’s no coming back from. – So let me be clear. Cronyism, which is what you’re describing is a feature of statism, it’s a feature of systems like socialism, it’s not a feature of capitalism. If you have a complete separation
of state from economics businesses don’t lobby the state, because the state has no power, no goodies to give them. It’s only because the state has power, has resources, has
favors to give businesses do you get the lobbying, do you get the manipulation,
do you get the cronyism and then develops into protecting
themselves from others. So if we talked about the transition, my first if I were president, God forbid, the first thing I would do
is pass an anti-cronyism law, and it would be very simple, zero subsidies. Zero corporate taxes,
which are stupid taxes, if you know anything about economics corporations don’t pay
taxes, you pay the taxes, all taxes are consumption taxes. All corporate taxes are
consumption taxes or leaver taxes, so employees and consumers
pay all corporate taxes. So zero corporate taxes, so you can’t give any
loopholes and favors there. Zero subsidies, and dramatic reduction in
regulation across the board, so every year I would eliminate 25% of the regulations on the books. And once the state is
separated from economic power, lobbying goes away I’ll give
you one click story about this. In the early 1990s the
largest corporation in the world based on market
capitalization was Microsoft. How much money did Microsoft spend in those years lobbying Washington? while the exact figure is zero. Largest company in the world, did no cronyism, no lobbying, no law firm, no building, nothing in DC, they had no presence in DC, nothing. And Congress invited them in, Whatever Congress does it’s an invitation, there’s a gun, they’re
saying you better come. They came in and sat in
front of a Senate committee headed by a Republican, a young Aaron Hatch from Utah. And Aaron Hatch stood
up and he yelled at him and he said you better
appear here in Washington DC you have to build buildings
here you have to hire lawyers in other words you have to bribe me. Now you can’t say that in America, so you coach it in other terms. You can find this, this
is all well documented. And Microsoft said, you know what, you leave us alone, we leave you alone, we are not interested. And the went home and continued to devote exactly zero
dollars to lobbying. Six months later, or several months later
a knock on the door, we’re hear from the Justice Department. you violated such and such laws
and we’re coming after you. Remember what the violation was, anybody know what Microsoft
did that was so evil that they had to be harassed for over 10 years by
the Justice Department? Anybody know? The give away something for free, a browser. I remember downloading
Netscape for 70 bucks. You guys can you believe you
had to pay for a browser, you don’t pay for anything, and everything is free in this
economy, it’s pretty amazing. And they gave it away for free and that was an anti-trust valuation, and guess how much money Microsoft
spends today on lobbying. Tens of millions of dollars, if you go downtown in DC about an equal distance from
the White House and Congress they have a beautiful building, they’ve got massive numbers of lawyers. Because they realized that Washington won’t leave them alone, so they’d better fight back. So you want to get rid of cronyism, get rid of government intervention. – Alright, so here’s one question to you, we were talking about literal
transfer of ownership, violation of property rights in a way. And I guess my question for you is what happens when a business owner says no, I don’t want to give
this company up to workers? – Well I think that we have to separate private property rights and personal property rights. – Can you clarify for me that a bit? – So in other words
your right to own a car, own a toothbrush, own
whatever else, own a home, this is not a right that impinges on the rights of other people. Now if we say that the
workplace is the sole domain because of private property rights it belongs to the capitalists
and the capitalists alone, like he would say, then the terms of negotiations of work just up to the capitalists and whatever internal
power dynamics of pressure, so there’s still gonna be a battle of industrial conflict that’s gonna go on between workers demanding certain things and capitalists demanding other things. By way, a lot of those programmers are gonna see in the next 20 or 30 years as they get de-skilled,
it’s already happening, they might want the union really badly in 10 to 15 years as they go from Artisans to just regular workers
like the rest of us. Now all this involves taking and enshrining certain rights
that these workers have, or taking a victory in one union contract and applying it across
the sector for instance. This implies an erosion
of property rights. Now if there are certain sectors that I will admit right away at the snap of a finger I do want to take away from private hands
and put into public hands. Not even necessarily the hands of workers, but the hands of the state. There’s limited sectors, there’s natural monopolies where I think that would make sense, there’s the health insurance industry which I think vitally as a moral imperative within
the next five years we need to take from a commodified sphere and bring to a Medicare for all system into the public as a right. What happens if the CEOs
of these companies say no? They don’t have the right, they have the right to contest the ruling, they have the right to use law to contest the judicial systems, contest an expropriation, but I think there are certain sectors where we don’t want the private sector and we have in the past taken sectors away from the private sector and brought into the public sector. The New York City subway system, one reason why it’s so
difficult to maintain as because it’s essentially
the amalgamation of three or four different
private subway lines. They all had different tokens,
they all had different cars, they all had different types of tracks. I think even most defenders of the existing capitalist
system would say yes, the public transit is something that the state should probably do because it allows people to move around and exchange goods and services. And I think in that case yes, it was an expropriation,
but it was done lawfully and it was done in a transparent way and it was done by rule of law. It’s not something where
a leader struts around and points at something and
says and says expropriated this, don’t expropriated this,
I know this person. No, it has to be done in such a way that’s governed
by certain principles, but we are for, and most people are for
all sorts of intrusions on the rights of private property. We just believe in democratically setting what these limits are and in what way we want to
intrude on these rights. Most people agree with an eight hour day, most people agree that
there’s certain resources and people shouldn’t be fired
on the basis of their gender or race or whatever else, most people agree on these
things, these aren’t coercions. – All right, so I want
to shift a little bit. – Can I comment? – Sure. – Who is we? Notice we are going to decide who gets to keep their property and who doesn’t get to
keep their property. We are going to decide if you get to keep your toothbrush or not, we are going to decide
which workplaces are to be privately owned and
which workplaces are not okay. We are going to decide, in
other words the rule of the mob, the rule of the majority
is going to decide. And I don’t see why this we
stops with private property, why can’t we decide to kill Socrates. We certainly have in the past. But property rights are essential, without property rights,
without the entrepreneurs without the owners of
property there is no industry. This is a fantasy and a joke. There is no example in history of a system that can work
even on a small scale that can work with we by vote decide what iPhone to produce. Imagine what this would look like if the committee designed it. Imagine what this would
look like if we voted on it, I know how I’d vote, it wouldn’t look as pretty. It’s insanity to think that you
can run any kind of business even a small grocery store never mind a complex supply
chain global supply chain business on the basis of voting and on the basis of public opinion and on the basis of coercion. Because the we, the whole point of the we
is to coerce the individual. The whole point of the we
is to tell the individual what they can and cannot
do in the realm of profit. You can speak all you want, can you? If I can’t have property if
I don’t own the microphone, if you don’t let me own the
microphone, can I speak? Is there are a relationship
I wanted between private property and freedom
of speech, of course there is. But all rights are eviscerated once you eviscerate the right to property, and once you place the
we above the individual. And that is the real danger that the individual becomes a cog, the individual becomes
a sacrificial animal, the individual becomes
somebody to be exploited and expropriated, that’s what socialism is about, socialism doesn’t care
about you as an individual it cares about the group, about the we, about the majority, and the majority in any
particular situation is gonna be different. – There’s a couple of
just very quick misnomers. First of all if you want to look at even the success of the
cooperatives within capitalism, well the fourth or fifth largest business corporation in the entirety of Spain is run on this basis. The mantra down collective. Now on the case yes shouldn’t
an iPhone as a commodity be produced with direct
democracy at every level, no, what I am proposing is a system in which worker owned firms, so there is ownership, but it’s collective and it’s regulated just like
every other market economy, and yes just like every capitalism
will always be regulated, I don’t think we are
living in a mixed economy in the way he describes it, I think we’re living
in a capitalist economy that’s been chastened in certain key ways. So yes, of course they will
have to be firm failures and will have to be innovations, and of course there is limited to the things that we can
decide through democracy. I think there is a role for
markets and consumer goods. I don’t think there is a
need or role for a market necessarily in the provision of healthcare and other
basic social goods, so I think it is a difference there. But the key is, when we say as socialists, that there are certain collective rights that belong to people, of course when I say it
now it’s just rhetoric, but these are rights that
people need to deliberate upon, that we need to democratically enshrine. And yes like any right and
any just democratic system, it’s a right that can be rolled back. We can enhance through our
democratic deliberative processes the rights of the state
providing guarantees over the provision of childcare over the provision of healthcare. And then eight years later we could say, this system isn’t working,
it’s more inefficient, we want to go back to the private system and we could roll it back. That’s the way any just society works. And am I suggesting a year
zero leap into the unknown? No, certain principles that exist, how to regulate speech something like the
clear and present danger seems like a good way to regulate what state inference in speech should be in
a socialist society. I don’t think socialist jurisprudence could be spun full cloth
out of whatever else. What I’m proposing taking
what works in our society because it’s filled with people who want to live in a more just place, and it’s filled with many
wonders and abundance and whatnot and providing a base level of guarantees and deepening our democratic
participation in society so we don’t have a class of
people that are traveling that are devils and are
around taking decisions that affect everyone else, but the rest of us are accountable to corporate bureaucracies. Libertarians and others close to them are just so obsessed
with state bureaucracies, they can’t see how much of their lives are dependent and decided
by corporate bureaucracies in boardrooms most of us
will never get a chance to be in the same building
as much less enter. – All right when I’m gonna open it up to audience Q&A in just a moment, but I did want to ask
you one more question and I’d like to responses to be somewhat shorter
so we can open it up. So let’s try to make it a minute or two. But I would like both of you to answer whether or not you
think income inequality, economic inequality in and
of itself is a bad thing? – So, no I don’t think it’s a bad thing. If it’s generated in a free market. I think the only situation
in which income inequality is a bad thing is when it’s
a consequence of coercion. When it’s a consequence of cronyism, which is not part of capitalism
which is anti-capitalism, it’s a part of every socialist system in every state system. Or it’s a part of the
distribution of wealth. So I believe that any wealth you earn you should own, if you own a lot of wealth because you produce a
huge amount of value, then you own a lot of
wealth, huge amount of value. I don’t envy billionaires, I actually cherish billionaires, I think billionaires are fantastic, they have created a
much better world for me and I think that’s wonderful we have all the products they created, they have changed the world. So I don’t think inequality
is a problem at all. And I think what we conflate
when we talk about inequality, is income and wealth inequality which I think are irrelevant, both economically and morally
with political inequality. Political inequality is crucial. All men are created
equal was not a statement about income or wealth, it
was a statement about rights. We all have the right to life living in the
pursuit of happiness, whether the majority wants it or not, whether the majority likes
what I do with my life or not, I have the right. So the only system, the only system consistent
with equal rights, with equal liberty is capitalism. Socialism might generate
equality of outcome but it undermines by definition, it undermines equality of
freedoms and equality of rights, it’s a violation of the principal
of the quality of liberty. – While I don’t believe that income, I don’t believe that income inequality in and of itself is the goal. The goal is equality in power, for us to as to as political actors have the same democratic stakes, for us to have certain guarantees and will be able to reach
our individual potentials. It might be that in the
society that I envision if someone working at one firm wants to work longer hours, has the position of more responsibility or is doing really socially
undesirable job but still vital, like sanitation workers or whatever, should be compensated more
than people in other jobs. That’s not a problem unless it’s connected to inequality of power. Unless it means that this
extra wealth that I have isn’t just more spare time for
me for more money for leisure or for trips or for whatever else but in fact it means that
I hold more power over you. And today, often when we talk on the left, more broadly the populist
left or the socialist left when people talk about income
inequality and announce it, often it’s because it’s correlated to these inequalities of power. Because in our society if you have wealth and you have power, you’ll use that wealth and power to keep your foot on someone else’s neck, you’ll use that wealth and power naturally it’s not just a cabal
of crony capitalists, you’ll naturally use that wealth and power to set up regulations and
systems but keep you powerful and keep your competition behind. This isn’t an aberration
this is a natural outgrowth of living in a class society. What I propose is going towards a society in which we have a free
association of producers, income inequality isn’t the main problem, the problem we have is that inequality is
rooted in the workplace, and rooted in civil society and it’s a product of capitalism. – All right, with that
I’m gonna open up to Q&A. It has to be an actual Q&A though, so if after a sentence– – You have to go to the mics at the side. – If you’re not gonna ask a question, then I’m gonna cut you off really. And also just a reminder I’m really excited we’re
having a civil debate, so let’s keep it civil. – [Man] Hi, I have a
question for Mr Brooke. So I was especially
intrigued by this concept of state with complete
separation of state and economy. And what I was wondering is if you would lay out for me how exactly a small state such as this could enforce these anti-trust rules especially in industries in
which economies of scale apply. – I don’t think there
should be anti-trust rules, that’s exactly what I mean by separation of state from economy. I think anti-trust rules were
the first great violation of economic rights in the
United States in 1890. There are no such things as
monopolies in the free market. And I’ll take the classic examples, I’ve encouraged audiences
to challenge me on this in hundreds of engagements,
never found one yet. Standard Oil, Standard Oil had 92% of all the refining capacity in the United States in the 1870s. A monopoly, you’d expect a monopoly. What were you taught in
economics 101 monopolies do, they raise prices and they lower quality. Well go to the data,
the data is available, it’s all archived and
you’ll find that the prices went down every single year and quality went up
dramatically every single year. And by the way, wages went
up as well every single year in spite of the monopoly of power supposedly that Rockefeller had. Not only did prices not
move in the way we expected, who ultimately competed Rockefeller out of the business that he was in? Because he ultimately got a zero market share in the
market he was in in 1870, and 1870 he was producing what? Kerosene, which was used for lighting. Who competed him out of existence? Thomas Edison. Who would have predicted that? Which bureaucrat, which government entity would predict that Thomas Edison was actually a competitor of Rockefeller. And by the time anti-trust laws broke Rockefeller up in the 1920s how much of the percent of the oil market did Rockefeller have then? 23 I think percent. So market competition
drove him from 92 to 23, and wiped out a whole industry for him through what we call an
economic substituted product in electricity. So the idea that a bureaucrat
that the government, that voters, that a majority can figure out what the monopoly is and when it’s appropriate and
when it’s not it is absurd, and this is why the principal has to be. And I believe in principles, no government intervention in economy. Not for anti-trust, not for any other cause you or a bunch of economists
might think is worthwhile. There is no cause worthwhile enough to violate somebody’s property rights. – All right, we’ll take one from the side, and by the way if you guys
want to ask questions, it would be helpful if you
head to the side over there, one side or the other. – So I should very quickly
say that has very little to do with the debate around socialism. I’m not Elizabeth Warren, I’m not in favor of necessarily every form of anti-trust legislation, I think there’s often efficiencies
with economies of scale. Often as we saw in social democracies the wage pressures from
sectorial bargaining and social democracy led to the concentration in larger firms. You’re answering the
question, I’m just saying. – [Woman] Thank you very much, this has been very fascinating, and I’ll stick to transparency. I agree with both of you and
I disagree with both of you, but I do have a question for Mr Brooke. So let’s say you’re living in Indiana and one of your friends is an
entrepreneur who has a plant, and needs energy, another entrepreneur friend of yours opens up a
coal powered fuel plant, as a result you have arsenic
and other heavy metals that are leaching and radium
leeching into the water and you and your family drink that water you will get sick and go to the doctor and you don’t get better
because you find out the doctor is not actually a doctor, he’s just someone pretending. What’s the reckoning for all of that? – Property rights. So if water is private property and if you have recourse
to the legal system where you can show that
somebody has hurt you. We have always known you can’t drop your
garbage in my backyard. We’ve always known you can’t poison me, that in civil law going
back a thousand years. And the legal system takes care of that. And once a certain compound is proven to be destructive to human life it’s completely appropriate
for the government to then step in in protection
of life of the right to life, and say you can’t emit that product. But there has to be a process by which that is objectively defined, the legal system has always
worked pretty well to do that, that’s the system by which you do that. But remember, let me just
make a general comment. People talk about the
environment all the time, and your generation is pretty depressed about the environment, the world is gonna end in 12
years or something like that. Life has never been as
good as it is right now. You’ve never lived longer,
you’ve never lived healthier, you’ve never breathed cleaner air. You’ve never drunk cleaner water. You know why they drink tea in China because it used to being in ancient times the water was polluted, they had to boil the water, one way to guarantee
that was by drinking tea. Same about beer in northern Europe. We live in this amazing world, the human environment
has never been better, primarily because of the
capitalist elements in society. So these questions are easily dealt with in a property rights
respecting capitalist society. By the way, the most dirty places in the world are socialist, always have been. When the wall came down,
Eastern Europe was filthy because nobody takes
care of public property, but you take care of your property, so we want more of your property
and less public property. – All right, over here? – [Man] Mr. Sunkara would you please explain
Venezuela’s state of socialism? – First of all on that point, there are also countries in eastern Europe that didn’t have democratic
socialist or green parties that freely enacted the title legislation that cleaned up Western Europe and cleaned up these countries from the muck of the damage
the industrial revolution did. They had their own industrial revolution which left behind that part of it. When it comes to Venezuela, Venezuela in my mind is
not a socialist society, it never was, it’s a society that always maintained property rights, but it was a society that
embodied in many ways, came to embody the worst of both worlds. You had systems of
patronage that developed from oil rents being trickled down. You had a populist style of mobilization used by all sectors of
political parties in Venezuela. You had certain programs
that were in fact misguided, you had a price control program which I think backfired tremendously. So in many cases there were huge mistakes being done in Venezuela, and it’s an economic crisis that was worsened by
continuing US sanctions, by violent opposition, and it’s a disaster on many levels. I don’t think it reflects
one way or the other on socialism in particular. If you have parties, an
actual socialist party governing within the
confines of capitalism in Bolivia and in Ecuador. Many people have complaints
about the Morales government, they have complaints about the record of the Correa government. If complaints about the first two terms of the PK government in Brazil, but these were countries that were able to preside over long periods
of economic growth. They were able to redistribute
the proceeds of that growth to create stronger social infrastructure, social indicators went way up. So I think you saw during the same time the successes of left of center
government in Latin America, as you saw the decline in
Venezuela under Madura. So I think at a certain level we have to say that certain
factors are in fact contingent. I wouldn’t sit here and claim that a capitalist is responsible, someone on the procapitalist side is responsible defending the systems that we saw under Pinochet in Chile in the same way we
could say that socialism and egalitarian redistributive systems and populist systems in particular can lead in very dark directions, or they can lead towards further
progress and emancipation. You saw both at the same
time in the same continent, so I think we need to make clear that we are for certain
bedrock social rights that need to be combined
with political rights, we are for free press, we are against government
authority in any context, no matter who’s using it, no matter what flag they’re flying. – So let’s be very clear, Venezuela is clearly a
failure of socialism. If you look at industry by industry, the industries that failed in Venezuela are those that were either
nationalized or collectivized. Farming in Venezuela used to be private and that that point Venezuela
was an exporter of food was nationalized creating
communes that made decisions about where to grow and how to grow it and as a consequence
production has plummeted. Now this is the case everywhere that you collectivized farms, from the kibbutz to Maoist
China, to the Ukraine, everywhere where farming
has been collectivized the result has been starvation. The oil industry, elements
of it used to be private, it was nationalized by
Chavez, and as a consequence, a country that has more oil
reserves than Saudi Arabia it is now has no oil. It can’t get to the oil because it doesn’t have the technology and the ability because
it collectivized them. So it’s exactly because of
socialism that Venezuela failed, now true, they didn’t
collectivized everything. And those parts that
they didn’t collectivize are still somehow functioning and while Venezuelan still doesn’t have tens of millions of people
dying of starvation, just hundreds of thousands of
people dying of starvation. – [Man] You emphasized a lot
about capitalistic things like that of individual
freedom, happiness and rights. But you vocalize that society
with men are more individuals who pursue their rights in different ways. Some go to extremes regarding
the effects their choices cause to other members of the society. So with a uniform or without
a partisan regulatory body how do you govern where some individuals with extreme ideas exist? Thank you. – So I have no problem with
people having extremist ideas, I think a lot of people
think I have extremist ideas, and it worries me when people want to silence people
with extremist ideas, because I would be one
of the first silenced. It’s not your ideas that
worry me, it’s your actions. If your actions violate anybody’s rights, and again violation of rights
is poisoning the water, violating their rights
is stealing from them, violating their property rights, or harming them physically or
committing fraud against them, those things you put them in jail. Those are the laws that
a capitalist society passes because the laws
protect individual rights. But everything else is up to you, as long as you’re not
violating people’s rights you can do what you want,
you can start a company and build a business, you
can become an employee, you can decide you don’t want to work and you can be a panhandler upstate. You can choose what you want
to do, and it’s your life. I don’t have to help you
if you made bad choices, I don’t have to help you
if you’re out of luck. I can choose to help you if I want to, and I can choose not to
help you if I don’t want to. So any help, any safety
net is voluntarily. Every interaction between human beings
should be voluntarily. Capitalism is very simple, it’s a system in which we interact with one another voluntarily. We don’t pull guns out, we don’t collect little gangs
to vote to take your property to take your stuff away from you. Each individual interacts
with other people on a voluntary basis. If I don’t want to deal with
you for whatever reason, I don’t deal with you, I walk away. – Actually I want to get your
answer to that question too, because how do socialist systems deal with extremist ideas? – Well I think by much the same standard, a level of if you’re
presenting an immediate harm or physical threat if you are
inciting people to violence, then no, but if you’re just
marching down the street with a swastika or whatever else, I think we have to trust the vast majority of people
will not go down that path. Today it’s not illegal to start a monarchist party in the United States. There is no monarchist party, because few people want to get
rid of a democratic republic. And I think the standard has to be a very high standard
for state intervention and stopping the so-called
extremism and whatnot, and I think the standard has to be direct incitement
to harm and violence. – All right, well we are unfortunately out of time for more questions, I’m gonna kick this off to the gentleman to give closing statements and then I’m really interested to see
if they changed anything. – Do you want to cede
our closing statements? – I’m willing to cede our closing statements
to take more questions. – Maybe we could take two
at a time or something? – Yeah okay, we’ll take two more. We’ll take two at a time, so
you get one and you get one. – Well let’s do four and
we’ll choose what to answer. That will be our closing statement. Four questions straight and we’ll go. – [Man] Can we vote on the questions? – No you don’t get a vote,
I don’t believe in voting. – Okay, two from each side. – [Man] I wanted at the
beginning to define some terms, what socialism is and what capitalism is, I think even more fundamental is that you define what we mean by rights. Because the definition of
rights as being your right to education means that somebody else’s rights have to be violated. – So the question is what is rights? – [Man] Right. – Great. (audience laughs) – I did define them by the way. – And over here? – [Man] That was about my question, to just go off of that I was wondering if you
happen to agree with the idea of positive rights to acquire somebody else’s
labor or someone else’s actions, how do you justify that
given how that might– – We should just have
closing statements on rights. Two more questions? – [Man] You mention that it
is the role of government to protect our freedom, and yet you also admit that the nature of government, the nature of the state is to is that of coercion and one of violence. How can you expect an institution that is apparently violent
to protect our rights? – It’s an anarchy question, I always get one in every
event I always do, yes? – [Man] In “The Wealth of Nations”, Adam Smith argued that
the role of the government once to regulate the market forces. As I believe he understood that there is a limit to market forces and
they needed to regulate it. So then my question would be if we do get rid of regulations and
we get rid of the government, assuming you can have a functional economy a functional capitalist
society a small government, how do you ensure that we
do not fall into a system that political scientists
would call totalitarianism where you have the inverse
of classic totalitarianism where the corporations capture the state and we live under the
tyranny of the corporations instead of the tyranny of the government. – All right, you each have two minutes. – I should start, I
guess you started before? – You go ahead and start, and give him a– – Okay, so let me just quickly
do the rights question. I said in my opening statement that rights are the
recognition that we have the freedom to act in
pursuit of our values, that’s what a right is and that’s how I defined it earlier on. They cannot be positive
rights in that sense, I think rights are positive. The positive nature of action, that is they sanction your ability to act on behalf of your life
in pursuit of your values in pursuit of your rational mind. So in that sense they are positive. But this is the principle with rights, you cannot have a right
to other peoples stuff. Any time you think there’s a right, but it requires taking
stuff from other people, it can’t be a right. You can’t have other
people working for you we call that slavery without compensation. You can’t have a right to healthcare that makes the doctor, the nurses, all the people who have worked
hard and educated themselves in order to provide a product, a service, they become your slaves, they
have to provide it to you without any compensation,
because you have a right to it. So you cannot have a right
to other peoples stuff. The only right you have
is to be left alone, in other words the only right you have it is to be free of coercion, free to act in pursuit of your own values. And I’ll just say quickly
on the last question, this idea that somehow corporations will take over the state. The state has guns, corporations don’t. The state is the monopoly
over the use of force, and if you separate state from economics. Corporation is about making
money, creating values, producing stuff, they’re
not about political power. And if you leave them alone
they’ll leave you alone. And if a corporation doesn’t, they can use the power of
the states to stop them. That is, if they are violating rights, if they are using force against citizens or they are using force
against the government then the government has every right to stand up and stop them. – Corporations not too
long ago used to have guns. The Pinkerton’s ran amok in
this country and killed workers and decided law in its own terms. Corporations still had cons via the state after that in
the twentieth century. Look at what US Fruit
did in Latin America. US corporations have always had guns, this is the natural
dynamics of what happens if you allow a concentration
of wealth and power in a so-called private
sphere and let it spill over. Now when it comes to the kinds of rights and freedoms that we want to see, yes I believe strongly
in our negative freedoms, I believe strongly in the Bill of Rights. I also believe that there needs to be a second Bill of Rights, and in this I share with not
just democratic socialists but also with the best
of American liberalism that share the same belief. From FDR’s speech in 1944 onward there’s been demands for a
certain bedrock of guarantees and a certain bedrock of rights. But yes I agree, it does mean taking away something from someone else or
from another group of people. I think there’s limits to what one can take from someone else. You can’t abridge someone’s speech, you can’t take someone’s life,
there’s all sorts of limits. But taking someone’s right to provide you, your HMOs right provide
you with health insurance and turning that into a social guarantee, that’s a right that I’m more
than happy to take away. And in this vision of society you have, I think it just doesn’t jive
with what most people think which is that it’s not about
altruism or whatever else. Most people want to take care of themselves and take
care of their families, and they’re seeing themselves
get squeezed in every moment, they’re seeing an establishment in both the left and the right, both the Democratic Party
and the Republican Party take them for granted, take
their votes for granted. They say, you know what, I
feel a little bit more relief, I need a little bit more
freedom to do what I want and not have to worry
about my medical thing, not have to worry about how I’m gonna pay to
send my kid to school. I need to not worry about
whether this banker writing me a mortgage is trying to rip me off, this is what people want and this is why I don’t know if socialism is for everyone, I don’t know if socialism will work, but I do know that social democracy is the path that most
Americans believe in, and it’s a path that
America is gonna march into into the next 10 or 20 years. – All right, with that I want
to know what you guys think, so who here still supports capitalism? – It’s hard to tell. – Who support socialism, and put up both your
hands if you’re a convert. All right, who’s still undecided? Great, well thank these gentlemen and give them a round of applause. (audience applauds) (upbeat music)

25 thoughts on “Socialism Vs. Capitalism

  1. What is stopping socialists in a capitalist societies from setting up communes and companies to compete against capitalist businesses. If it so much better it should work in a capitalist country, no one is stopping them

  2. 35:40 – "We have to separate between private property rights and personal property rights"

    Personal Property is what Ayn Rand would call an anti-concept:

  3. I believe in Capitalism, NOT Socialism. Socialism takes away freedom. I have a voice, so let me speak for myself. I don't need someone to speak for me. I don't need someone to tell me how to ask. I don't need someone to wipe my tush. I don't need someone to force me to support some lazy stranger by seizing my tax dollars. I don't want someone telling me what I can or can't own. I want my freedom. I want my freedom to speak, act, and do. I am a free person, NOT a Slave.

  4. 20:01 Sunkara: "The dynamics of having your conditions of life determined by someone else … it's a contract signed under duress."
    The context: Signing a working contract that one did not determine the rules of. One being the job taker.

    Question: If a collective of people determine the conditions, how is that collective not "someone else"?

    20:21 Sunkara: "Can you not recreate forms of wealth and abundance and innovation [can't hear the next word], from worker owned firms?"

    Answer: Who is stopping you from doing this?
    Go ahead if you can. You are free to do it. Do not coerce all other people who do not want to participate in this voluntarily to do it though. That is immoral.

  5. You can't pin a good socialist down. That isn't MY socialism (A isn't A). 'We' can fine tune what doesn't work (who is to decide what works and for whom) by rolling it back, a little private sector here, a little public there. 'We' can do anything we want and yet somehow individual rights will still be respected.

  6. The sound is terrible in this video. How hard is it to set a mic up beside one of the speakers if you cant tap directly into the sound system?
    That said. . .Great job Yaron.

  7. This is why so many Socialists won't participate in events. They're ripped apart on the moral and economic arguments. This is also why they're hiding behind environmentalism now, play on people's emotions with an illogical demand for Socialism as the answer to climate issues

  8. The right response to socialism, or communism, or anarchy, or fascism, or monopoly privilege (i.e., what we too easy refer to as "capitalism") is found in the writings of Henry George. Remove all monopoly privileges from the systems of law and taxation and the result is cooperative individualism: full equality of opportunity, full individual liberty, within a cooperative social framework. To paraphrase Adam Smith, the role of government is to ensure that a fair field with no favors exists. Markets operate efficiently and fairly when none of the participants enjoys privilege. Few understood better than Henry George the true nature of privilege and what must be done to remove all forms of privilege from our socio-political arrangements and institutions. Of these, he counted "rentier" (i.e., landed) privilege as the most destructive to the promise of democracy.

    Edward J. Dodson, M.L.A., Director

    School of Cooperative Individualism

  9. Everyone please note this event was sponsored by "The Steamboat Institute," which is a far-right think tank funded by the Koch's. Nothing in this debate was supposed to be fair, even calling it a debate is intellectually dishonest.

  10. Mixed economies, like the one Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders support is most effective for GDP growth. It’s not one or the other.

  11. Sad that Yaron is so dismissive of Voluntaryism (Anarcho-Capitalism) that he dodged the logic of, "If the State (government) is violence, why rely on it to protect us?" I'll add to that: if free markets are so much better than government in terms of efficiency and freedom, why stop at courts, police, and armies? Yaron is relying on old ideas. Https:// is possible and a better way.

  12. The way Mr. Sunkara describes 'rights' as something that can be expanded or contracted through merely democratic process is a terrible definition of rights and not in line with the idea that there are principles at play. He cannot logically demarcate a reason why people ought to have a 'right' to healthcare versus a right to pancakes. The whole meaning of rights becomes meaningless through his conception of the idea. What he is describing is more like, rule by discretion of the mob. Total garbage.

  13. Once upon a time, a teacher decided to try socialism in her class. Every test She would take 20 points from the students who worked really well and gave those 20 points to the students with low grades. The smart kids noticed that no matter how hard they studied they would always get around a 70%, so they stopped trying. The not as smart kids noticed that the smart kids were always giving them points so they decided to stop trying because they thought they were being taken care of. At first it looked like a way of making everyone have a passing grade, it seemed like a great idea, but then it lead to chaos with no one working, no one gaining, and the whole system failing.

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