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Katherine Mangu-Ward Argues Capitalism Is a Blessing at Intelligence Squared Debate

Reason Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey debate the merits of capitalism with Jacobin's Bhaskar Sunkara and U Mass economist Richard D. Wolff


At an Intelligence Squared debate tonight in New York City, Reason Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward will argue for the motion that capitalism is a blessing. Here's the proposition:

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?

Also arguing in the affirmative is Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. Arguing against the motion that capitalism is a blessing is Jacobin Founding Editor Bhaskar Sunkara and University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Emeritus of Economics Richard D. Wolff.

You can watch the debate live starting at 7 pm eastern today right here.

(click here if the video is not working)


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  1. >>Whole Foods CEO John Mackey

    ask him why he charges so much for old chicken

    1. Because he can?

      1. yeah i walked right into that on a capitalism thread. how about “tell him he sucks for charging so much for old chicken”

        1. You used to hang around Philly. Remember Pierre on WMMR playing This One?

          1. ’cause the Frankford El goes straight to … Frankford lol

            I have Pierre’s autograph on a Hooters poster … my high school won an MMR contest in ’84/’85 and the Hooters played our gym.

            1. No kidding! Mark the Shark visited us in ’85.

              1. love it. i tell people about how the Morning Zoo would play Kip Adotta’s “Wet Dream” but nobody believes me


                1. I totally forgot about this song.

                  1. Get a room, you two.

        2. But it’s illegal to sell young chicks.

          1. the demand side gets peeps in trouble too.

    2. It’s not old it’s aged.

    3. Perhaps because he managed to create a prestige grocery store chain, where you are paying for the brand more than the quality of the products sold. If you do not buy overpriced “old” chicken from them maybe the price will come down..

  2. “Katherine Mangu-Ward Argues Capitalism is a Blessing ”

    Free Markets are a blessing !
    Capitalism is beside the point.

    1. The idea that libertarians should (or are required) to support capitalism is false

      It only requires libertarians to support free markets as opposed to state-mandated markets.

      1. So you don’t support the means of production being privately owned?

      2. It depends on how you define “capitalism”. In it’s purest form, capitalism IS the free market. It’s not a system that’s imposed by government, heck it’s not a system at all. It’s just the private ownership of the means of production.

        Where there’s a problem with capitalism is where government gets involved. Then you get corporatism and cronyism, regulatory distortions, tax codes favoring the largest firms, etc.

        A libertarian must favor free markets, but in any vaguely properterian culture, free markets are going to rise to capitalism.

        1. Capitalism is what marxist fanboys giggled while pointing to mystical monarchic monopolistic slaveholding colonial mercantilism in which the King owns all and sets prices for trade between metropole and colony. The theory that something has to be good if looters hate it is as imperfect as the theory that “laissez-faire” is unpronounceable and therefore HAS to involve guillotines. Friedman gamely wrote “Capitalism and Freedom” in response to “Capitalism and Slavery,” but copying that mislabeling does not make it better. In fact, when Uncle Tom’s Cabin followed the Communist manifesto as literature, people were bought and sold in southern states. Furthermore, capitalism is what Nixon and Wallace partisans praised while enslaving as conscripts libertarians not already imprisoned as leaf Satanists.

  3. The best thing about capitalism is that it permits people to accumulate fortunes in the tens of billions of dollars, then use that wealth to promote open borders. I seriously doubt any communist countries have an equivalent of Charles Koch.


    1. OBL, I hope you got a chance to watch John Oliver’s show on legal immigration.

      What was your favorite part?

    2. Oh yeah, I forgot. Capitalism sucks if you you’re trying to work in a country filled with dipshit racist assholes, but don’t carry the proper papers. I mean, I’m i’m A middle-aged White guy and an incredible asshole to boot so it works for me.

      1. A strong back is a terrible thing to waste.

    3. > I seriously doubt any communist countries have an equivalent of Charles Koch.

      They do, but he’s in the Gulag breaking rocks.

  4. Whatever you say, dude

    1. Huh, this was supposed to be a response to “George Shelley”, but apparently he’s been banned yet again. Weird.

      1. “Huh, this was supposed to be a response to “George Shelley”, but apparently he’s been banned yet again. Weird.”

        Is that someone’s sock? I’ve never read anything under that handle.

        1. I think he was new. No finesse, just over the top asshole behavior.

      2. lmao it’s hilarious you think Reason actually bans accounts when there’s an account here every day that literally posted kiddie porn. It’s even more hilarious that Mango Chutney is as much a thin skinned snowflake little bitch as you are. Such a stronk wamen is sure to win this debate. Now smash that report button for me little bitch.

  5. Capitalism is the only system which doesn’t violate the NAP.

    1. Well, as long as some company doesn’t spew pollution all over your house or as long as you don’t try to form a labor union or as long as you don’t criticize a company and get a SLAPP lawsuit filed against you, or you don’t propose to nationalize an oil well. Outside of those constraints mostly capitalism is pretty non-violent.

      1. Spewing pollution is violence. Capitalism does not oppose voluntary labor union or the criticism of companies. And nationalization is inherently violent.

        The NAP is against pollution, for voluntary collective action, for free speech, and the theft of oil wells by the state. And it is not at all opposed to free market capitalism.

    1. Go, ACLU, go! More of this, less wokeness!!!

  6. KMW, how is capitalism possible under the anarchism you profess?

    1. As long as the anarchism gives rise to private property, capitalism is not only possible, but probable.

      And there’s no reason to think that private property would not arise under anarchy. That does NOT mean property under an anarchist system would exactly resemble what we have today. But the idea that a land would be nothing but endless utopian communes and kibbutzes is silly.

    2. Given that she specifically endorses anarchocapitalism, I feel it should be obvious.

    3. Newspaper accounts for the past two centuries make it clear that all anarchists are communists. The difference is the ability to lay hands on a gun or bomb. But the instant the LP in 1972 began using votes to undo all looter legislation since 1892, communism and GOP/Dixiecrat theology went into an emergency huddle. An altruist gentlemen’s agreement emerged whereby prohibitionist conservatives jocosely insinuated libertarians are anarchists, while communists swore that the conservatives weren’t lying, and that bomb-throwing anarchism with legalized murder and arson HAVE ALWAYS BEEN the heart and soul of libertarian thought. Pay no attention to those thousands of looter leaflets, news stories and trial transcripts of anarchist murderers and hangings behind the curtain. The process was analogous to the Inner Party declaring that Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. If it gets simpletons to invite communist infiltrators to rewrite our platform, that’s a win for communism libertarian freedom.

  7. Actually both sides are correct.

    Capitalism creates opportunities for labor (promotions, training, mobility), for investors, for suppliers/vendors, for consumers, and of course for owners.

    At the same time, capitalism (and we really should say unscrupulous, greedy decision makers) – when unchecked – has created environmental disasters, caused financial crashes, abused labor, and defrauded investors.

    Capitalism, with the appropriate safeguards (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC, OSHA, EPA, etc.), can and has been tremendously successful.

    1. You are correct, sir.

    2. And every time actual socialism has been tried on a national scale it has produced environmental disaster, financial chaos, rampant labor abuse. But fortunately no defrauded investors, because all investors were sent off to the Gulag to break rocks.

  8. USA! USA! USA!

  9. Rick’s “Advanced Marxian Economics” class at UMass was my red pill moment. When someone suggests that all babies should be taken from their mothers and raised in state orphanages, it makes you understand the end game of communists. He’s a nice guy in person though.

    1. They did that in kibbutzes. It’s not just some scare story told by capitalists. Fortunately the kibbutzes were voluntary communes, so that system of child rearing quickly crumbled, so that modern kibbutzes are essentially ideologically driven co-ops.

  10. Arguing against the motion that capitalism is a blessing is Jacobin Founding Editor…

    Stop right there.

    1. I mean, who else would they dig up to publicly argue against capitalism except the guy who made a magazine to do exactly that? I was honestly more perplexed by the economist arguing against capitalism, but I have a feeling that’s a problem of definitions.

  11. Katherine Mangu-Ward is my hero.

    1. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

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