Segments in this Video

Debate "Housekeeping" (03:05)


Moderator John Donvan frames the debate on whether capitalism is a blessing and introduces panelists.

Opening Statement For: John Mackey (06:49)

Whole Foods Market Co-Founder and CEO Mackey cites the failure of 40 socialist experiments, compares capitalism to socialism, and highlights rankings on the Index of Economic Freedom. GDP per capita has significantly increased over the last 200 years.

Opening Statement Against: Bhaskar Sunkara (06:19)

"Jacobin" Founding Editor Sunkara acknowledges the material gains of capitalistic development, but states it has not solved two problems that could be resolved by an alternative system such as self-management firms—distribution and ownership.

Opening Statement For: Katherine Mangu-Ward (06:33)

"Reason" Editor in Chief Mangu-Ward states that capitalism makes people better off and is a morally better system. It is not predicated on zero sum thinking and voluntary interactions are a cornerstone.

Opening Statement Against: Richard Wolff (06:29)

University of Massachusetts Amherst Prof. Emeritus of Economics Wolff states that capitalism is not a market, it is a way of organizing production that has divided society in half. He cites four reasons capitalism is not a blessing.

Capitalism Gives People What They Want (10:36)

Dovan summarizes opening statements. Sunkara questions the point of production—freedom for whom? Mangu-Ward counters that capitalism defends the rights of a minority. Wolff states that life is about more than outputs; Mackey cites negative socialist outcomes.

Successful Socialism? (02:54)

Wolff cites business practices of the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation. Mangu-Ward states that people in capitalistic societies make trade-offs; they have room for choices.

Socialism, Oppression, and Democracy (07:08)

Sunkara cites Sweden as an example of a political economy pushed by anti-capitalist forces; coercion is necessary. Proponents counter claims that capitalism is antidemocratic. Wolff argues that capitalism and democracy do not have a one-to-one relationship.

Q/A: Capitalism and Blessings (06:28)

Proponents believe capitalism is a remedy for poverty and morally superior. The poorest people in economically free nations have a higher income percentage than their counterparts. Wolff counters economic claims about China.

Q/A: Freedom of Choice (01:54)

Everyone is in a condition of market dependence. Sunkara explains how democracy works in large firms.

Q/A: Pay Gap (03:54)

Mackey makes one dollar a year and donates stock options; other CEOs are becoming servant leaders. The world and capitalism are evolving. Wolff argues income and wealth distribution.

Q/A: Economic Freedom (01:44)

People want to leave countries with less economic freedom for countries with more liberties; capitalism is not the reason for all positive virtues.

Q/A: Can Capitalism Go Too Far? (01:38)

Mackey admits economic freedom can go too far and cites the need to focus on making capitalism better. Wolff argues that the wealthy buy the rule makers.

Closing Statement For: Mangu-Ward (02:23)

Capitalists are not unfeeling. YouTube cochlear implant videos are an example of the blessings of capitalism.

Closing Statement Against: Sunkara (02:23)

The inventor of penicillin intentionally created it without a patent to benefit the public good; some people cannot afford the drug. Take the power to withhold investment away from capitalists.

Closing Statement For: Mackey (01:58)

Mackey tells a story about an Uber driver who left Bhutan for the United States; happiness is overrated. Capitalism is the way forward.

Closing Statement Against: Wolff (02:17)

Every economic system has three phases—birth, evolution, and death. We can do better than capitalism.

Time to Vote (05:32)

Donvan instructs the audience to vote, thanks panelists for their participation, and reflects on the philanthropic nature of Intelligence Squared. Panelists discuss democratic candidates challenging capitalism.

Audience Voting Results (00:56)

Pre-debate For: 56% - Against: 21% - Undecided: 23% Post-debate For: 62% - Against: 28% - Undecided: 10%

Credits: Capitalism Is a Blessing (00:10)

Credits: Capitalism Is a Blessing

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Capitalism Is a Blessing

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Recent polls suggest that two out of three Americans favor capitalism over socialism as an economic system. But with the wealth gap widening and the number of people who identify themselves as democratic socialists rising, some Americans are questioning whether capitalism is the best way to organize a nation's economy. Supporters of capitalism argue that no other system has been as effective in creating wealth, increasing prosperity, and producing the jobs and growth that have lifted billions of people out of poverty. The free market, they contend, encourages competition and human ingenuity, values individual choice, and structures society in a fair and just way. Critics, however, argue that capitalism is inherently exploitative and unfair and that business owners seek profits above all else, leading to the distortion of human worth as one defined by an individual's labor power. The capitalist system is inherently rigged to benefit the rich and powerful, they contend, and has created unsustainable waste and decimated the world's wildlife and natural resources. Who is right? Is capitalism a blessing?

Length: 82 minutes

Item#: BVL202789

ISBN: 978-1-64867-660-4

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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