The L&H saw a classic cash of ideologies last week with the annual Capitalist vs Communist debate. The debate as a whole resulted in both sides trying to discredit the other by finding out which ideology had committed the worst atrocity.
Speaking first in favour of Capitalist was Moore McDowell a UCD Economist who joked at first about how he would most likely not be adhering to the seven-minute rule that applies to house debate. He noted with amusement that these debates were always discussing a reality vs something that has according to its proponents, never truly existed. McDowell also noted that there was no overarching text for the capitalist ideology.
His main argument claimed that in the absence of markets as seen in the capitalist system, the state would need to replicate not only the production of goods and services but also the distribution of goods and service. This would lead to inefficiencies in the system and he, therefore, questioned why would we convert to a less efficient system. McDowell went on to discuss how Marx, the father of Communism was a proto-macro economist who in his mind extrapolated micro-economic theories too far to prove his point.
Speaking first for the Communist side for Anne Marie Mc Nalley the political director for the Social Democrats. Mc Nalley said that she was not here this evening as an economist, but rather a social justice activist and that under the current system the market only asks us to survive.
Mc Nalley said that she did not, in fact, believe that Communism was the way forward, but rather unsurprisingly believed in a social democratic future which offered a balance between the two. She spoke mostly of the need to regulate the market for the social good, particularly markets of necessities such as housing and banking. She also went on to discuss how politics needed to go against the economic theory in order to service the social good.
Speaking next for the capitalist side was Mark Smyth who noted how difficult it was for people to change their minds in house debates. He did ask however that the audience would consider changing their minds on a singular part of the debate, namely in the area of climate change and which ideology can tackle it more effectively. He said that some of the most polluting industries and groups around the world were state-owned ones.
Smyth went on to talk about how since under the communism there is no value attached to land or resources, the state will exploit them with no regard for the environmental damage it does. He particularly referenced the Black Sea and the damage the USSR did to the surrounding land through overexploitation.
Shane Sweeney followed up for the Communists by first off just refuting the idea that state-backed industries were the biggest polluters on the planet. He went on to speak about how the drive for profit under the capitalist system led to companies committing and facilitating crimes around the world. His number one example of this was HSBC facilitating money laundering around the world because there was more profit involved in it than there were possible fines.
Sweeney also spoke of how competition, as exists under the capitalist system inevitably, leads to cheating. This has best been shown in the recent Dieselgate scandal where it was found that most if not all of the major car manufacturers around the world were, in fact, falsifying their test results. He also noted that given the capitalist system changes so slowly due to its decentralised nature that it would not be able to act fast enough to avert the coming climate crisis.
Kevin Heavey was the final speaker for the capitalists and criticised the nature of the debate saying that on their side of the house you had an economic system that had consistently improved peoples lives over the last 100 years, a.nd on the other side you had the mystery box of communism. He said that if we wanted to undo the last 100 years of progress we also had that option, we could embrace communism.
Heavey noted that the other side could not find a single example of communism that they were willing to stand over and that in and of itself was a stunning indictment of their argument.
Finally speaking for the communism was Anthony Treacy who also attacked the idea that states were the biggest producers of pollution, saying that they were also the biggest providers of goods and services. Treacy also attacked the capitalist for taking a supposed moral high ground over their consistent improvements to peoples lives around the world, pointing out that many of the people that they were lifting out of poverty were only there because of the colonial nature of the capitalist societies.
Treacy agreed with the proposition that they would not stand over any historical communist society, as none of them had achieved what he called true communism. He asked the audience who worked harder in the world, the sweatshop employee or the fat banker on the top floor. Rounding up his speach he said that Marx was not wrong, he had just yet to be proven right.
The house, in the end, fell safely on the side of the capitalist.