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Recent polls show that two out of three Americans support capitalism. But with the wealth gap widening and democratic socialist politicians gaining support, some Americans are starting to consider socialism as a viable economic and political model. Supporters of capitalism claim that no other system has been as effective in creating value, increasing prosperity, and producing the wealth that has lifted billions of people out of poverty. The free market, they argue, encourages competition and human ingenuity, values individual choice, and organizes society in a fair and just way. Critics of capitalism, however, paint a different picture. They argue that capitalism is inherently exploitative and that business owners seek profits above all else, leading to the distortion of human worth as one distilled to an individual’s labor power. Further, they claim that a capitalist system is inherently rigged to benefit the wealthy and powerful, and the byproducts of which have created unsustainable waste and decimated the world’s wildlife and natural resources. Who is right, and is capitalism here to stay?

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For:

John Mackey

4 Items
John Mackey
  • Co-Founder & CEO, Whole Foods Market
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“While everyone processes change differently, this is an exciting new step to fulfill our higher purpose. Together, we have built an amazing company and have positioned ourselves to deliver outstanding value for Whole Foods Market shareholders—which includes many of you.”

Friday, June 16, 2017
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"Intellectuals have always disdained commerce" says Whole Foods Market co-founder John Mackey. They "have always sided...with the aristocrats to maintain a society where the businesspeople were kind of kept down."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
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“Deeply, profoundly, to his core, John Mackey is a capitalist. Though critics over the years have labeled him any number of things—anarchist, socialist, even Marxist—make no mistake, Mackey is a true believer in (mostly unfettered) free enterprise, and his love for it is like that of a convert who finds salvation later in life.”

Thursday, August 20, 2015
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“There is a growing network of people — including the leaders of companies such as the Container Store, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Patagonia and Whole Foods Market (of which one of us is the co-CEO) — building their companies based on the idea that business is about more than making a profit. It’s about higher purpose.”

Monday, January 14, 2013
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For:

Katherine Mangu-Ward

4 Items
Katherine Mangu-Ward
  • Editor-in-Chief, Reason
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"What prohibitionists get wrong about one of modernity's greatest inventions"

Thursday, October 1, 2015

"Reason Magazine Editor-In-Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward discusses the report that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 1970s supported nationalizing most major industries in the U.S."

Thursday, March 14, 2019

"Don't believe news reports—we're healthier, richer, and safer than ever before."

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"Socialists did not sweep the midterms. That is because it would have been mathematically impossible for socialists to sweep the midterms."

Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Against:

Bhaskar Sunkara

5 Items
Bhaskar Sunkara
  • Founding Editor, Jacobin
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"The “class-struggle social democracy” of Bernie Sanders is exceedingly difficult to pull off. If he wins, he'll face structural pressure to compromise: administering a capitalist state requires maintaining corporate profits. We'll need to create our own pressure through strikes and protests."

Monday, February 25, 2019
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"[Mr. Chotiner] recently spoke by phone with Sunkara, who, in addition to his work on Jacobin, is a columnist for the Guardian US. During [their] conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed the different approaches that Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have taken to progressive reform, why Americans vote against their economic interests, and whether liberals are too focussed on the explanatory power of race."

Friday, April 26, 2019
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"That’s the socialist vision: abolishing private ownership of the things we all need and use — factories, banks, offices, natural resources, utilities, communication and transportation infrastructure — and replacing it with social ownership, thereby undercutting the power of elites to hoard wealth and power."

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
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"To make sure newly elected socialists don’t end up looking like corporate Democrats, we need a democratic socialist caucus in Congress."

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
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"Capitalists aren’t the friends of democracy and liberty that they like to claim they are."

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
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Against:

Richard D. Wolff

6 Items
Richard D. Wolff
  • Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
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"Whatever distractions candidates promote to win voters, some underlying issues will wield their influence on 2020 election outcomes in any case. The biggest of these are the historically accumulated anger and betrayal felt by millions of working class Americans."

Monday, June 3, 2019
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In a video produced by Democracy at Work, Professor Richard D. Wolff discusses "the parallels of declining capitalism in the UK and U.S." as well as capitalism's impact in Central and South America.

Monday, September 16, 2019
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"In this interview, Wolff discusses how market-based economies have had their critics since the times of Plato and Aristotle, how both major US political parties have become subservient to the gospel of capitalism and how technology isn’t always constructive."

Saturday, December 29, 2018
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"As the economist Richard D. Wolff explains, the company's valuation, and Bezos' personal wealth, are signs not of unrivaled innovation, but of economic extortion."

Thursday, February 7, 2019
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"It is important to notice how leaders carefully, consistently avoid any critique of the capitalist system and its internal structure for generating yet another economic downturn in its long, long history of doing that repeatedly. That absence speaks very loudly once you note it."

Monday, September 30, 2019
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"By democratizing our workplaces, we can supplant the dominant ecomomic system which cannot escape its intrinsic exploitation of labor"

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
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Background

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"Editors and academic scholars took part in a debate focusing on the ideologies of capitalism and socialism. Reason.com editor in chief Nick Gillespie and Reason Magazine editor in chief Katherine Mangu-Ward argued in favor of capitalism. In contrast, Jacobin Magazine editor Bhaskar Sunkara and New York University sociology professor Vivek Chibber, argued in favor of socialism. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg moderated the event held at Cooper Union Great Hall in New York City."

Friday, November 3, 2017
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Nick Gillespie, Bhaskar Sunkara, Vivek Chibber, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Michelle Goldberg

The World Bank's overview and fact page on poverty, including The World Bank's poverty eradication goals leading up to 2030.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
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The World Bank

"Socialism’s critics say it weakens work ethic; those with positive views say it fosters equality"

Saturday, October 7, 2017
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Pew Research Center

For the Motion

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"There is a near totalitarian “progressive” dogmatism on some campuses that, like its Marxian ancestor, views everyone to their political “right” as agents or apologists for exploitation and oppression. These new ideologues believe that individualism, capitalism, and an impartial rule of law based on equal rights (not privileges) are a smoke screen to delude the masses into accepting abuse by businessmen and the privileged."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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Richard M. Ebeling

"Capitalism has been blamed for the bad behaviour of the banks – which is akin to blaming democracy for voter fraud"

Sunday, February 3, 2019
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Eugenie Joseph

Employers and economists dicuss the slowing down of job creation in February 2019, the unemployment rate, the need for more employees across the country, and what that means for job seekers with or without experience in the field.

Friday, March 8, 2019
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Heather Long

"Ingenuity, not capital accumulation or exploitation, made cotton a little king."

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
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Deiredre McCloskey

"The countries with the most freedom are those with the highest environmental quality. There does not seem to be a trade-off between environmental quality and economic development — rather, it shows the opposite."

Friday, January 12, 2018
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Daniel Fernández Méndez

"Politicians and reporters often rail about 'the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.' But John Stossel explains it's not true."

Monday, May 6, 2019
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John Stossel

"It is widely believed that China’s success is based on a uniquely Chinese “third way,” a political and economic model that occupies the ground between capitalism and socialism. According to this interpretation, China is successful because the state continues to play an important role in the Chinese economy. But this interpretation is wrong."

Monday, July 8, 2019
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Rainer Zitelmann

"A growing number of academics are claiming that economic growth must stop because the planet is crossing environmental boundaries, and inequality between humans is increasing. They are wrong on both counts, and their agenda is a recipe for keeping poor people poor."

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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Bjørn Lomborg

Against the Motion

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"'Today, the top one-tenth of 1 percent of the population’s net worth is equal to the bottom 90 percent combined. In other words, a big giant wealth gap.'" Billionaires Ray Dalio and Warren Buffett discuss the wealth inequality gap in the United States.

Thursday, January 3, 2019
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Catherine Clifford

Extracted from his monologue on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" in January, Carlson criticizes Mitt Romney's political views, practices, and the economy at large.

Thursday, January 3, 2019
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Tucker Carlson

"A new report from Oxfam puts Walmart above Amazon-owned Whole Foods on workers' rights issues throughout the supply chain."

Thursday, October 10, 2019
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Kate Taylor

"The New York Times is right that slavery made a major contribution to capitalist development in the United States — just not in the way they imagine."

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
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John Clegg

Reeves breaks down capitalism's recent history, defines late capitalism, and the effect that late capitalism has on workers.

Monday, April 29, 2019
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Richard V. Reeves

"The world's billionaires became 12 percent more wealthy last year, while wealth for the poor half of the world's population declined by 11 percent, according to a new Oxfam study. Paul O'Brien, vice president of campaigns at Oxfam, joins CBSN's Tanya Rivero with more details."

Monday, January 21, 2019
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CBS News

"The Soviet Union disintegrated, Xi Jinping said when he became the leader of the Chinese Communist Party seven years ago, because its leaders changed their ideals and beliefs too quickly and too radically."

Sunday, September 29, 2019
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Anna Fifield

"Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
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Drew Hansen

The American Economy and 2020 Implications

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"Our flawed measures of inflation understate wealth and improvements in consumer well-being."

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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Phil Gramm and John F. Early

"The countries with the most freedom are those with the highest environmental quality. There does not seem to be a trade-off between environmental quality and economic development — rather, it shows the opposite."

Thursday, March 3, 2016
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Monique Morrissey

Andy Puzder of Fox News argues the benefits of a capitalist market without the restrictions and regulations put in place by the Obama administration.

Monday, April 23, 2018
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Andy Puzder

"His policies coddle fellow oligarchs while leaving ordinary people at the mercy of the free market."

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
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Bernie Sanders

"The senator from Massachusetts’s strong primary campaign suggests that ideas still matter"

Saturday, June 22, 2019
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The Economist

"Maybe Trump and Warren should team up for their 2020 run to make room on the ballot for better ideas."

Thursday, August 29, 2019
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J.D. Tuccille

Working Conditions

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"More than 157 million Americans are part of the U.S. workforce, and many of them (but not all) will spend the Labor Day holiday weekend away from their desks, assembly lines and checkout counters. As we mark the day, here’s what we know about who American workers are, what they do and the U.S. working environment in general."

Thursday, August 29, 2019
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Drew Desilver

"Chicken is the most popular meat in America, and the poultry industry is booming. But workers on the processing line do not share in the bounty. Poultry workers 1) earn low wages of diminishing value, 2) suffer elevated rates of injury and illness, and 3) often experience a climate of fear in the workplace."

Monday, May 9, 2016
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OXFAM

"A lack of wellness in the labour force is estimated to cost the global economy between 10 to 15% of global GDP. In the US alone, work-related injuries, illnesses and stress, and workers’ disengagement are estimated to cost the economy more than $2.2 trillion a year."

Thursday, March 23, 2017
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March 23, 2017

"Job-hopping increases, in possible boon to wage growth and productivity"

Wednesday, July 4, 2018
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David Harrison and Eric Morath

"Capitalism is improving workers’ lot faster than it has in years, as tight labour markets enhance their bargaining power. The zeitgeist has lost touch with the data."

Thursday, May 23, 2019
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The Economist