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Debates
November 12, 2019
Capitalism Is a Blessing
Capitalism Is a Blessing

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?

Post-Debate
Winner

Against The Motion
28 %
62 %
For The Motion
10 %
Undecided
Pre-Debate
Against The Motion
21 %
56 %
For The Motion
23 %
Undecided
Breakdown
Against The Motion
17% - Remained For the Against Side
5% - Swung From the For Side
6% - Swung From Undecided
For The Motion
2% - Swung From the Against Side
49% - Remained For the For Side
11% - Swung From Undecided
Undecided
2% - Swung From the Against Side
2% - Swung From the For Side
6% - Remained Undecided
Post-Debate
Winner

Against the Motion
58 %
41 %
For the Motion
1 %
Undecided
Pre-Debate
Against the Motion
51 %
39 %
For the Motion
10 %
Undecided
Breakdown
Against the Motion
50% - Remained For the Against Side
5% - Swung From the For Side
3% - Swung From Undecided
For the Motion
1% - Swung From the Against Side
34% - Remained For the For Side
6% - Swung From Undecided
Undecided
0% - Swung From the Against Side
0% - Swung From the For Side
1% - Remained Undecided
About The Debaters
For The Motion
An image of John Mackey
John Mackey − Co-Founder & CEO, Whole Foods Market
John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, has led the natural and organic grocer to become an $18... read bio
An image of Katherine Mangu-Ward
Katherine Mangu-Ward − Editor-in-Chief, Reason
Katherine Mangu-Ward is editor-in-chief of Reason, the libertarian magazine of "free minds and free markets," and... read bio
Against The Motion
An image of Bhaskar Sunkara
Bhaskar Sunkara − Founding Editor, Jacobin
Bhaskar Sunkara is the founding editor of Jacobin magazine and publisher of Catalyst journal, both of which offer... read bio
An image of Richard D. Wolff
Richard D. Wolff − Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Richard D. Wolff is a Marxian economist and professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts... read bio
Main Points
For The Motion
  • By promoting market competition and rewarding innovation, capitalism has lifted billions out of poverty and ensured consumers have access to cutting-edge ideas and products while hard-working and industrious workers reap the rewards of their efforts. 
  • Under the capitalist system, workers from every social and economic background have the opportunity to compete in the free market and to have their talents recognized. This promotes social equality and provides for upward social mobility.  
  • Capitalism provides workers and consumers alike the freedom to choose where to earn and spend their money, contributing to an overall society where the free exchange of goods and ideas is paramount.  
Against The Motion
  • Capitalism serves the interests of large corporations and business, not consumers or workers. Rather than benefiting individuals, the market system prioritizes profits and contributes to social harms including income inequality and poor labor conditions.  
  • Free markets are often criticized for disproportionately benefitting those who have existing resources and capital to support their vision. Plus, capitalism often depreciates those who are not able to work and produce wealth. 
  • Some argue that capitalism is dependent on a culture of consumption, which can lead to unsustainable waste and social and environmental problems globally.