Watch Nick Gillespie and Katherine Mangu-Ward Debate Capitalism Against Jacobin Magazine in New York City

Reason's top editors go up against Vivek Chibber and Bhaskar Sunkara from the socialist publication.

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Reason's Nick Gillespie and Katherine Mangu-Ward are debating the merits of capitalism right now with Vivek Chibber and Bhaskar Sunkara from Jacobin magazine at Cooper Union's Great Hall in New York City. The event is moderated by New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg.

Watch here, or head over to our Facebook page to sound off in the comments:

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146 responses to “Watch Nick Gillespie and Katherine Mangu-Ward Debate Capitalism Against Jacobin Magazine in New York City

  1. Audience seems to like the Jacobins.

    1. It’s a stacked deck.

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    2. Jacobins are the radicals from the French revolution: St. Just, Robespierre, etc. Jacobites are supporters of ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie,’ the Catholic throne claimer.

  2. CRIPPLE FIGHT

    1. When you concede the language to Marx you have no chance of victory.

      1. The use of the word “force” was a classic missed opportunity. “Workers are Forced to”…. over and over again. In a free market there is no “force”, only choice. In socialism there is no choice, only force.

  3. Leftists don’t support Soviet-style socialism!

    1. Funniest thing those Jacobites said.

  4. The New York Times is a model employer!

  5. The left got us our gun rights?

    1. The left taketh, the left giveth away.

      1. Great (and accurate) one-liner.

  6. SIV, any comment on the Reason debate strategy?

  7. Apparently slavery still exists…

  8. The fact that we’re still having this debate tells me we’d have better luck arguing the sun rising in the West.

    1. The left has been arguing the equivalent of the sun rising in the west for decades and still gets away with it. When it’s pointed out that the sun has been repeatedly spotted rising in the east the left argues the equivalent that the means of observation are owned by the rich who corrupt the observation process.

      1. …and that wasn’t a real sunrise, anyway.

  9. Why am I the only one commenting?

    1. Never mind.

  10. Go on the attack! Go on the attack! Screw this.

  11. So many own goals.

  12. Others owe you a living, I want, you pay for it.

  13. The socialists are winning, you sad sacks.

  14. The event is moderated by New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg.

    Take comfort knowing she’s in charge.

    1. “Not only would my children have to learn about Donald Trump in school, but by the time they are old enough for college, there will probably be whole academic departments devoted to the study of him. (That is, assuming we still have colleges, and America, by then.)”

        1. On the scale of people whose existence will be blighted by the Trump presidency, Clinton is nowhere near the top.

          Yet.

  15. Is this worth listening to?

    1. Not so far…

  16. OK, now the socialists set up a target – the Western European welfare states.

    1. There’s a lot to criticize there.

    2. Those places with privatized airports and bus systems, less regulation than the US, lower minimum wages than the US, and less socialist healthcare than the US? Or, like Switzerland, lower government spending as % of GDP than the US?

      These retards should be honest: they don’t want – “European” system; they want a Greek system. Maybe a Spanish or French system, neither of which is much better.

      1. “Or, like Switzerland, lower government spending as % of GDP than the US?”

        Or Singapore, with higher government spending as % of GDP than pretty well everywhere in the universe.

  17. Which are just market economies with high individual taxation, but lower rates of corporation tax rates. At least they understand where the wealth is coming from.

  18. Nick’s scored the first hit for the good guys.

  19. Food and housing to be dealt with the same way as education.

  20. “This historical record” for American socialists – yes, go there!

  21. Positive rights, no such thing exists…

    1. Positive rights?

      1. Positive rights are government-extended privileges, e.g. “we will give you healthcare”. It requires being given something, which often means you must take from others and violate their negative rights

        Negative rights are rights such as “other people do not have the right to take your property”. No theft is required, since indeed that is a violation of those rights, nor is a government necessary to enforce them (though some still favor it doing so)

    2. Yeah, fuck Gideon v. Wainwright, and if you can’t raise a private army to defend your condo, you should suffer the consequences of your ineptitude.

  22. To be provided with goods or services generated by the sweat and labor of others.

  23. Everyone applauds nonviolent drugs.

    1. Those are a lot better than the drugs that jump out of the bottle and start slapping us around.

  24. Scandinavia!

    1. Sure, point to a region that has no diversity and is extremely xenophobic.

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  26. Goldberg wants to pin the Jacobins down on what specifically they want – are they different from Scandinavian welfare-statists?

    1. Ah, Scandinavia is too capitalist!

  27. Technical things (like calculation problems) are not as important as the struggle!

    1. Were calculation problems addressed? I certainly hope so. It basically destroyed the socialist economists in the first half of the 20th century

  28. Abuses on both sides!

    1. At least in a free market you can be made whole through the judicial system.

  29. “Livestream of Nick Gillespie and Katherine Mangu-Ward Debating”

    don’t care

  30. Public Education has been choked for funding!!

    1. One of them needs to point out the Native American school system.

    2. Choked by all that funding they keep getting.

  31. This Vivek Chibbler dude sure doesn’t perpetuate the stereotype of the radical lefty prof.

  32. Social democracy is too capitalist!

    1. Right! Eventually they might vote for people that would reverse course. Can’t have that.

  33. Rand or Friedman would have chewed this pair of socialists up and spat them out…

  34. At last some fire from Nick!

  35. Are the Jacobins lamenting the fact that the new generation of leftest is much more interested in identity warfare than class warfare these days? Most of them probably know Jack about Marxism. They may shout out some of the old slogans but that’s not their hobby horse.

  36. Was aight.

  37. Good final word, Nick. The amount of people cheering for the Vivek character makes me fear for our species.

  38. Only saw the last 15 mins. Loved the good cop/bad cop last 5 mins. Mangu-Ward loaded the bases with her nicey-nice and they ate it up. Gillespie finished with an aggressive truth for the nature of most things (aka: markets) for a Grand Slam!

    So sorry I didn’t get to see more. Prob post later so that’s great.

  39. Nick and Katherine were far too gentle with those two barbarians, should have been far more aggressive and on the attack, it’s not as if there’s a lack of ammunition to aim over at the other side.

    1. If our country were running right, someone there would have tipped off the FBI that a bunch of subversives gathered to debate libertarians and the communists would have been rounded up and taken away. Like back in the 50’s.

      Marxism has no right to exist.

      1. In such an environment, the state would attack Libertarians all the same, as we seek to eliminate large swaths of the federal government. People will defend their paychecks to the death, and this includes government bureaucrats and agents.

  40. Check out YouTube for how Milton Friedman or Ayn Rand deals with the arguments for socialism for object lessons on dismantling this intellectual and pernicious crap.

  41. Where is the wingnut in this debate?

    A Fat Rush or Hamhead Hannity type?

    You can’t have two rational people debating each other.

    1. Pay your bet.

      1. And stop supporting rape and a disgusting rapist like Weinstein.

    2. If those two socialists strike you as rational, then you probably have a brain tumor.

      Also, you’re obsession with Limbaugh and Hannity is getting unhealthy.

      1. Dave “Sad Clown” Weigel is indeed a pretty fucked-up little sad sack.

    3. Hannity and Limbaugh are both extremely rational people. You just hate the for being right when you’re so wrong.

      1. Rational but mendacious.

  42. More focus on pinning down the socialists on specifics, fewer own goals – is that too much to ask?

    They praise the mixed economies of Scandinavia – then when pressed they say the Scandinavians are still too capitalistic. If you reduce the capitalistic elements of Scandinavian economies, will the benefits they boast of still exist?

    The mixed-economy division of labor is that capitalists are allowed to produce a large amount of wealth, and the government seizes some – but not all! – of it in order to give it to worthy causes (education! health care!).

    Reduce the capitalist element in the economy – as they admit they want the Scandinavians to do – and there won’t be as much money to “redistribute” in the ways they’ve been publicly praising.

    Good for those socialists who warned about the Leninists – of course the reactionaries were much more unanimous in warning about this.

    They spend more time saying what kind of socialists they *arent* than in saying what kind of socialism they actually want. Apparently it’s the “struggle for democracy” which is important – they can figure it out as they go along. We’re entitled to demand more from socialists in light of their past record.

    Feel free to use these points in any future debate.

    1. entitled to demand more *specificity*

    2. The mixed-economy division of labor is that capitalists are allowed to produce a large amount of wealth, and the government seizes some – but not all! – of it in order to give it to worthy causes (education! health care!).

      You are entirely correct whoever you are.

      Northern Europe is a triumph of capitalism despite their large social safety net.

      1. It’s also a hotbed of Muslim rape, which you support and endorse.

        1. Fuck you asshole. I despise Islam.

          Actually I despise all religion but Islam is the most conservative and despicable.

          1. So it was just the rapes by Weinstein you support and endorse.

            1. I support due process. I’m just a classic liberal who questions overzealous prosecutors. I bet you said the Duke lacrosse team “raped” that lying bitch too. You are like that for sure.

              1. And you also support the rapes committed by Harvey Weinstein. We were there bruh.

                1. And you also support the rapes committed by Harvey Weinstein.

                  You must hate the Bill of Rights, little retard.

                  1. You don’t have to convict him to be classy about discussing the issue, rape apologist. But it is fun to watch you cast aboutfor a fig leaf to hind behind.

                    You’re almost certainly a rapist yourself, and we know it now.

                    1. It’s way more likely that Weigel got raped by his mom or the babysitter himself.

      2. Which is why socialists used to denounce these mixed economies are mere bourgeois reformism.

        When socialists start to admit that the capitalist goose is laying golden egges, then I would think the socialist goose would be cooked.

      3. PB, if you adjust for cost of living, the best European countries are on par with Mississippi and Alabama.

        Yes, two of our biggest shitholes are better than pretty much all of Europe.

        Let’s be more like Europe!

    3. I’m just the Buttplug, by the way.

      Ye Olde Buttplug. Buttpluggerimo, etc

        1. Innocent till proven guilty, you dickbag.

          That is the way it works. I know you hate it with your star chambers.

          1. Which has nothing to do with anything you said tjat not, rape denier, but please continue with your post facti attempt at rehabilitating your rep.

            As a rape apologist. Which you are.

              1. I agree, Fuck sevo. It’s in my name. So you’re stupid, a rape apologist, and almost certainly a rapist, pathetically pretending you did it because you’re not a rape denier.

                1. And you’re a shitty cop with a arrest quota.

                  1. At least I’m not a rape apologist like you. That’s never gonna wash off you stupid fucking hick trash.

                    All your bullshit denials won’t scrub the collective memory, you inbred sister fucking piece of garbage.

                    1. You’re no doubt a deranged homo who buries his victims in the basement.

                      Since you’re new poster (or hiding behind a new screen name) you should be easy to find.

                    2. Am I sevo, a cop, or the traget of your bigotry and homphobia?

                      Why not just post the thread if your motives were si pure? Yeah.

      1. You’re the dipshit named Dave Weigel who used to work here and got your sorry ass fired.

        And you live e at 1435 Euclid Street Apt. 2 in Northwest Washington D.C.

  43. I was sympathetic to Nick, but let’s face it, the system he was defending has a lot of explaining to do. KMW kept falling back to the whole “capitalism isn’t perfect” argument as a result. I can see why.

    I guess the main problem I have with Nick is that he comes across as a perfectly reasonable person who inexplicably debases himself by associating with the worst kind of right-wing apologists.

    1. Really? You’re going the guilt-by-association route in defending socialism? You might want to reconsider that line of argument…

    2. We don’t need to be told to “face” anything. Everyone knows capitalism isn’t perfect because humans aren’t perfect. Libertarianism isn’t a utopic religion like socialism that thinks we can forge society into something perfect, it’s a realistic view saying we can’t and that attempts to do so are actually hurting.

      Also of course capitalism has the important benefit of not requiring you violate those pesky fundamental rights people have.

      1. Great analogy (to use on liberals especially): drug legalization. People will always get addicted and overdose because there will always be ignorant and stupid people. People who support drug legalization don’t need to “answer” for that problem of human nature.

        Whereas a statist system which tries to prevent those problems is:

        1. failing to do so, probably making them worse.

        2. violating people’s rights by restricting their freedoms to take actions with their own bodies which victimize no one else.

    3. Jesus. You’ve learned nothing. Nick is literally the go-to example of a “beltway libertarian”, most of whom are derided for going harder at the right than they do at the left

      The whole “capitalism has a lot of explaining to do” argument is laughable. We don’t have to explain poverty. People have been poor for most of human history. What we do have to explain is wealth

    4. You attack capitalism for failing to solve every human problem so far. Same people attack socialism for doing nothing but cause massive problems.

      1. Capitalism at it’s worst has done far more to elevate humanity than socialism at it’s best.

      2. The equality of the grave is all socialism guarantees.

  44. If I may make so bold as to offer a few suggestions for Nick and KMW:

    Use the term “goods and services,” not “crap.”

    Go ahead and make the obvious concession that from the beginning of time huge numbers of people have had awful jobs. Then compare the capitalist route toward ameliorating that situation with the feudalist route, the slavery route, and the socialist route.

    In general, if you’re denying capitalism is the best system, you have to show how other systems are superior. Use examples. Mixed economies are better? OK, but you socialists admit you’re itching to reduce the role of capitalism in those economies.

    1. Also, by all means show us how totally sustainable all these mixed economies are.

  45. Capitalism has improved everything, including socialism.

    Socialists used to deny the benefits of capitalism as a wealth-generating mechanism. Socialism would make the whole community richer!

    Now they praise wealth-distribution schemes which grab slices of the capitalist pie while the means of production, distribution and exchange remain in private hands.

    They’re still unclear on the concept of free markets, but apparently they’ve learned at least *something* from experience, and *of course* they’re not like those other socialists from history except when it’s time to praise some bourgeois reform which *some* socialists endorsed in the past.

    1. That’s a great argument to put in their faces. Capitalism is so good it’s even able to improve your bullshit system.

      1. Example: even the USPS has improved service in the face of competition from UPS, FedEx and others. Although much of their operations continue to be subsidized by their first class mail monopoly.

    2. Every version of “socialism” ever implemented is just a corrupted form of capitalism.

      Even the “purest” versions of communist systems (i.e. the only alternative anyone has tried which eliminated the investment and profit bases for everything) is primarily just a rough imitation of a capitalist system. Where’d they get the idea to build factories? How’d the come up with what products to build there? All the details were copies of western systems.

      Same as how the socialist healthcare systems imitate (or just outright buy) the technology and practices determined by capitalist systems.

      1. It seems to keep getting watered down, so that they’ve become capitalist welfare-statists with a dollop of anti-capitalism rhetoric.

        1. which is bad enough. Too bad they can’t be honest about it, and instead keep playing class warfare and defending the USSR’s and Castro’s of the world.

          1. That’s because they secretly wanna be Castro but have accepted (for the time being) that they have to allow for capitalism in their arguments lest everyone point out that communism sucks.

        2. Yep.

          Socialism used to mean public ownership of he means of production.

          Now it just means capitalism + welfare.

          They had to destroy socialism to save it.

          1. Never let the left get away with changing the definition of socialism to mean capitalism + welfare.

            Socialism still controls the means of production to give welfare. The means of production can include instruments of labor (tools, machines, property), subjects of labor (i.e. raw materials), and distribution of labor.

            The USA government controls much if not all the raw materials in the USA and you must get a permit for nearly all raw materials. The welfare state then taxes and regulates people and businesses oppressively under threat of death or theft of property.

            The welfare state is designed to make it seem like you are keeping the fruits of your labor but usually at least 50%+ is taken from you.

            1. That’s cause you didn’t build that. The People built it. By taxing you to pay for it, probably, but let’s not confuse things. Some socialist-minded person who might agree with us contributed at least some of it along the way in all likelihood, so we own your ass.

            2. Never let the left get away with changing the definition of socialism to mean capitalism + welfare.

              Agreed, but I can say the same of how the other side conflates capitalism and markets. They are not necessarily the same.

              1. Not sure I get what you mean. A market economy requires property rights. Isn’t capitalism just basically private property rights?

                1. A market economy only requires markets, and that can take the form of co-operatives, Dutch auctions, western style markets, etc.

                  And even those markets can take a myriad of forms, with multitudes of regulations either through enforcement or common practice.

                  Nothing within a market economy presupposes private ownership. It just happen to be the most common form.

    3. Of course capitalism improves socialism. Capitalism creates a far stronger host for the socialist parasite to infect. So socialism fares far better, yet ever the malignant parasite.

  46. Vid?
    Stuff it, Nick.

    1. What he said.

      Wait, what did he say?

  47. Nick was solid, Katherine ineffective and better writing than debating.

  48. This debate proves that you cannot accept your opponents terminology and expect to win. The fundamental error was in accepting the idea that the “means of production” are constituted by factories and land. The real means of production is human ingenuity. Ford was dying a slow death until Alan Mulally became CEO. He accepted no government money during the “Great Recession” and saved what had been a hide bound unproductive pathetic excuse for an automobile company. Many people had tried to rescue Ford from its own ineptitude but only Mulally succeeded. His successor proved just how talented Mulally was by damn near destroying Ford.

    A hammer in the hands of a skilled carpenter is a means of production. In my hands it’s more a means of destruction. The difference is the mind behind the tool. Factories, offices, land and even corporations themselves are merely tools whose value is dependent upon those who run them.

    The most important part of a market economy is that the best people tend to end up controlling the tools. Profit and loss are one of the means that steer the movement of people and capital into their most productive situations.

    We must refuse the enemy’s misconceived notions of how the world works. We’ve seen a hundred years of what happens when you don’t.

    1. “A hammer in the hands of a skilled carpenter is a means of production. In my hands it’s more a means of destruction. The difference is the mind behind the tool.”

      Excellent.

    2. Well put Bob.

    3. Very well said indeed. As someone else correctly noted above, if you accept Marx’s language and his terms of debate, you can’t possibly win the argument.

  49. You could have nerfed their entire argument by stating early on that their reliance on employer-employee relationships to shore up their arguments is an incomplete picture of the economy.

    I am a freelance IT professional. I negotiate my rates and the body of work I will perform for all of my customers. I have autonomy and freedom to do that in a capitalistic economy. Capitalism is freedom to engage in any aspect of the economy.

    If you had just said, “take employer-employee and expand that to the market and instead view it broadly as suppliers and consumers, that is a more complete application of capitalism versus the very narrow and minority view as only an employer-employee relationship.”

  50. I am not @#$%ing going to facebook. What a lame place to host a debate. What a lame place to host anything.

  51. I am not @#$%ing going to facebook. What a lame place to host a debate. What a lame place to host anything.

  52. Nick and Katherine really owned the socialists.

  53. If socialism is so great why am I forced to be a socialist ?

    What was Henry David Thoreau’s social security number?

    Of course, he didn’t have one.

    Once we had a right to be left alone, FDR, the socialist god, took that away.

    It was FDR, the socialist god, who packed with Supreme Court with socialist yes men, who in turn reinterpreted the US Constitution as if it was written by the demented Karl Marx, who then passed a law which mandated all Americans to have a government issued ID number for controlling and tracking purposes.

    Socialism, an immoral philosophy.

    I take a shit on Karl Marx’s grave and also on FDR’s, the socialist god.

    I burn the communist flag along with the communism manifesto, then take a big stinking shit on the ashes.

  54. Talk about a stacked deck. I love how the Jacobins get a pass when they say “Stalinism/Maoism/Pol Pot,etc were “real” socialism, so we’ll instead talk about an idealized quasi-Denmark as the model.” But Katherine and Nick DO have to defend capitalism as some grungey reality where your employer orders you not to take a piss. WTF? Even when I was 16 and working as a stock boy part time, no one told me not to go take a piss. What the hell kind of jobs do these Jacobins imagine most people work at?

    Also entirely absent was the question of authoritarianism. Power corrupts, pure and simple. Positions of power also attract the shittiest people. The problem with socialism is that it concentrates all the power in the hands of a very few, while the rest are all “equal” ? as in equally miserable. In that, it is not much different from feudalism with its lords and serfs. At least capitalism, in the sense of free market capitalism, not government-colluded cronyism, spreads the power much much more broadly.

    Bottom line, if my boss does ever tell me I can’t go pee, I can tell him fuck you and walk out. Try doing that to a party boss, or government functionary, secret police operative, or apparatchik. See how quickly you get shot.

    1. Capitalism requires worker mobility, so that you can tell your employer to go fuck and walk out. You need to have enough income to tide you over during a job search and you need to be able to sell your home in the area you are walking out of if you have one. Most middle-class and over can manage this. Lower-middle and working class have a more difficult time.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_mobility

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