Socialism DOES Work | Ben Sullivan | Oxford Union



most of you will probably think that we onside opposition are the underdogs in this debate socialism is an outdated and disproven ideology with no place in the globalized economy of the 21st century don't get too excited this this ladies and gentlemen is exactly my point this evening we in the West and particularly in Britain have an arrogant misconception of our recent economic history we believe that Margaret Thatcher inaugurated period of rightful consensus and proved socialism to be an unworkable ideology we are also arrogant about the role our economic philosophy will play in the future and misguided in our belief that China predicted to become the world's largest economy by 2013 is on its way to becoming a paragon of capitalist organization these two narratives need to be dismissed ladies and gentlemen there is no reason why socialism might not work in Britain and there was no reason why it will not be the predominant global ideology in future as the first opposition speak of this evening though it falls upon me to introduce our honourable guests on side proposition we have just heard from mr. Andrew Rosendale the Conservative MP for Rumford mr. Rosendale caught a controversy in 2012 when he expressed a huge admiration for the Chilean dictator Pinochet he also referred he has also been referred to as a prospective left-wing hate figure and touted as a potential London mayoral candidate albeit by the blogger Guido Fawkes to continue the case for the opposition is mr. Theodore Dalrymple the author journalist and former prison doctor was written extensively on how progressive values undermine traditional traditional morals and lead to crime drug abuse and other social ills our third opposition speaker is the MEP mr. Daniel Hannan the journalist and Member of Parliament for southeast England ex-president of Oxford University Conservative Association now considered one of the most eloquent speakers in the European Parliament finally we are joined this evening by the Member of Parliament for Wokingham former Secretary of State for Wales and 2-time contender for the leadership of the Conservative Party mr. John redwood mr. president these are your guest speakers and they almost were this evening though I must also say a few words about a man who needs no introduction in his very own words life membership does not equal life presidency and unfortunately next weekend our president Peres Watterson's and John's College will be leaving us Parrot you do not need to be told how great your term as being countless chamber events the visit of Hamid Karzai Sepp Blatter to name but a few even yesterday we were joined by Katie Hopkins and King Joffrey parrot you've been an excellent friend and an excellent president thank you for everything you have done for all of us you have provided a very tough act for anyone to follow I will begin this evening by discussing what this debate is not and secondly what socialism is the motion before the house tonight is not this health believes that socialism is better than capitalism if it was who knows I might be on the opposite side in order to win the debate tonight we on side opposition do not need to prove that socialism is better than any votes of any of its alternatives but rather that it is a simply a workable system the debate this evening is also not a philosophical one we are not asked whether socialism is a force for good along the lines of our religion debate earlier this term we are being asked not whether it is desirable but whether it is workable this is a trap which the opposition have already fallen into we are not talking about the relative merits of socialism as at per se we are talking about whether or not it can work we heard from side up proposition just then if socialism was bad we did not actually hear that it did not work it is worth pointing out also that socialism is fundamentally an economic philosophy when we discuss socialism we are not obviously discussing the political systems that have accompanied it but rather the operation of economies where a large or substantial proportion of that output come from state or communal ownership and program that is what we mean by socialism ladies and gentlemen socialism does not require all assets to be controlled by the state in the same way that capitalism can operate alongside government spending and limited state ownership but now and it makes sense it follows on very nicely from one point made by side proposition I would like to consider the first piece of capitalist narrative the narrative that in Britain socialism say failed and capitalism saved when Peter Mandelson famously said we are all fat rights now he was correctly highlighting the saturated consents Thatcherite consensus that Britain and the socialism was a failure on a good dose of capitalism who needed to get us back on our feet much of the reason why people believed socialism does not work is because of this narrative of capitalism being comparatively better as a socialist or as a socialist or somewhat socialist nation Britain let us say from 1945 to 1979 had two major recessions one at the beginning of the 1970s and another towards the end now at the end of 2013 we are now we are roughly 68 months on from the beginning of the recession in 2008 68 months on from the socialist recession of 1973 British GDP was 6.7 percent higher than it had been at its peak pre-recession 68 month on from the 1979 recession GDP was up 5.8 2% the figures for other British recessions in the night 20th century such as the recession of the early 20s the Great Depression in the recession of the early 90s are six point nine three percent seven point two four percent and thirteen point eight two percent respectively as of October 2013 sixty eight months on from the start of our recession in 2008 where do you think we are compared to a pre-recession peak ladies and gentlemen we are at minus two point five one percent that has a hole eight percent worse than any other recession we have seen in the 20th century socialism in Britain was admittedly not perfect but it was workable although the period of socialism saw high inflation towards the end at least and a number of economic problems it also brought an extraordinary increase in living standards and a decent record of growth for a considerable part of its period as we have seen recessions happen or the time the point of my argument is not to say that socialism would work better in Britain and capitalism necessarily it is to say that economies undergo stresses and strain and as we have seen we have seen recently capitalism has the same problems as socialism and to use that argument against socialism to say it does not work is fallacious and not actually suggests the capitalism also does not work if side proposition want to admit the capitalism also doesn't work maybe we should all just go home and another point side socialism say so I proposition side capitalism even say socialism does not work I should probably remind sides proposition of the year 2008 when it was socialism bear in mind nationalization which came in to completely completely save the British economy look at Iceland for example where all of its banks went completely bankrupt as they didn't have the money to nationalize them you cannot begin to imagine where we would be today if ready yes go on it Meishan Iceland has grown about 4% since then no no no that's all sure maybe that's not true items rather than no healing out the poor in order to rescue some wealthy bankers Bob that's that's an incredibly an incredibly clever use of statistics there yes Iceland has probably recently grown 12% but because its economy collapsed and went to 50 percent roughly of its original value in the wake of the recession thank you to that intervention it's not hard to grow from an incredibly low base ladies and gentlemen there is another point I've said today or I've said it already this evening all socialism has worked in Britain and I'm not saying that there are certain circumstances where capitalism has not worked better I think there are but I also like to point out that today and it's not not often recognized socialism is working very very well in one certain country ladies and gentlemen the world's second largest economy as I'm sure you all know is China it is also one of the world's second it is also one of the world's fastest-growing economies yes it is of course true that China in recent years has moved towards the Western model of a Western economic model however in China state-owned companies still produce over 50% of output producing over half employing over half of workers 65 companies in the fortune 500 company list are Chinese state-owned Chinese companies Chinese state-owned companies that's 13 percent and in 2011 43 percent of profit in the People's Republic of China came from companies either wholly or largely controlled by the state the point I'm trying to make is that we are incredibly arrogant that capitalism is an accepted and accepted as the best method of running our economy and we do believe a lot of people you know everyone everyone in the West or the neoliberals assume that China sort of coming towards us they're accepting our idea ideologies ladies and gentlemen they are not China's on a free market economy it is a socialist market economy and they are doing much much better than us free market economies here in the West sorry which is a point of information could you compare the income level the income level in the United Kingdom I think you look Laura of course they are of course they are but it's to do with whether with or without the reason why the reason why China is currently not historically performing much better than us is because there are there are a lot of benefits of combining a socialist and a capitalist system and keeping a dare I say a slight socialist bent in that system as China does things like economies of scale they exploit massively choice and also I mean the greatest argument for socialism and for China's current economic model is the fact they invest a considerably high proportion of their gross domestic product than we do indeed they invest over thirty five percent of the gross domestic product higher than Britain or America ever did while they are industrializing which sets them up in a much better position for the future who knows in 100 years who knows where trial will be I dare say will probably be in a better position than us and finally lays in judgment I said I hope tonight when you walk out the doors you make an informed decision you do not make a decision based on the narrative provided by side proposition here socialism has been successful here in Britain it is now successful in writing nations such as China and I dare say it will be successful in future mr. president parrot congratulations on the best terms of side B in Oxford we will miss you and we wish you all the best of the future I beg to replace you




Comments
  1. I see that, from both sides, people like to simply lie.

    "Capitalism has the same problems as Socialism"

    "There are no examples of a functional Socialist nation"

    What's the point of a debate if you're just going to lie and spout wild generalisations and sweeping statements without addressing another of the details that should (and would not) prove your point?

  2. I'll just put this here

    "Liberalism is not Socialism, and never will be. There is a great gulf fixed. It is not a gulf of method, it is a gulf of principle … Socialism seeks to pull down wealth; Liberalism seeks to raise up poverty. Socialism would destroy private interests; Liberalism would preserve private interests in the only way in which they can be safely and justly preserved, namely by reconciling them with public right. Socialism would kill enterprise; Liberalism would rescue enterprise from the trammels of privilege and preference … Socialism exalts the rule; Liberalism exalts the man. Socialism attacks capital; Liberalism attacks monopoly." Winston Churchill – 1908

  3. I wonder if this guy would be so supportive of socialism in China if he were aware of their social credit system…as for his argument about it being more efficient, is he on drugs or something? China have a huge national housing crisis and literally have huge empty shopping centres due to state allocation of Capital under a command economy, think pork barrel politics on a huge scale!

  4. course these hooray henries amongst his own cronies are gonna say Capitalism is king I'm surprised he doesn't have it tattoo across his up his own arse fucking forehead pounce

  5. 4 mins in and all I’ve heard is errant talking points. The oxford union has really outdone itself.

  6. Everyone should be allowed to hear him speak. He can show everyone how pitiful the case for socialism is.

  7. A British socialist wearing tails. I love this… This is like watching a dog dancing on its hind legs

  8. there are more poeple in china that there is the Uk. production mattters. UK IS DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Apart from, USSR, China, Cuba, North Korea, Angola, Vietnam, Cambodia, Eastern Europe, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Venezuela Socialism works, it was paradise for the people in those countries and do not let anyone else tell you any different.

  10. The only place where socialism survives is in social democracies and even there the people pay for the misadministration of a government who overstretch its responsibilities and runs on debt. A rich country can hold that for more time if it has low corruption but ultimately what awaits is failure.

  11. What people debate about socialism and capitalism which one is better than another one in macroeconomics but it is not the main purpose for socialism. Socialism is good because it is equally good for all the people in a society.

  12. Marx admitted that Soviet leaders were bourgeois and would be killed. Like Darwin's peacock, Marx couldn't get his mind around the need to kill bourgeois socialist philosophers/leaders.

  13. Socialism is a trick of ruling class for purposes of control. All you need is to have leader over a barrel (an oil barrel) and you're in business–Big Business. Socialism violates categorical imperative–"Do Unto Others….." How would you like to be the one who is robbed by Socialists. Socialists already steal enough–if you work less, college tuition drops dramatically–here you see the fallacy of removing work ethic under socialism. Evolves out of feudalism but is only tried in pre-feudal societies, China and Russia. Socialism/Communism seems to be the way in which pre-feudal societies justify their pre-feudal autocratic governments. Communism assumes that man is good and leaders of Soviets can be trusted with all the wealth of society. Actually, in Russia, the ruling elements or nomenclatura became corrupt after the revolution faster than John McEnroe's return of service. Anarchist Bakhunin knew this would happen and destroyed Marx in debate–the Soviets would be corrupted because of corrupted human nature. Also, economist Menger destroyed Marx's theory and Marx apparently actually accepted Menger's critique–Marx stopped writing and just studied, gambled, drank, and goofed off for most of his adult life after starting 'Das Capital'–he was writing about a false, disproven theory and he knew it.

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