Activists Debate Merits of Capitalism, Socialism in America

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On Wednesday evening, Georgetown University welcomed Ryan Mosgrove, national organizer for the Young Democratic Socialists (YDS), and Charlie Kirk, founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, for a spirited debate on the future of capitalism and socialism in America.

The event was organized to promote a constructive debate on the issues facing American society and millennials in particular.

During the debate, Mosgrove argued that democratic socialism is the only viable path for the United States to tackle issues such as a climate change, income inequality, workers’ rights, innovation and government corruption.

To defend his point, Mosgrove took aim at American oil companies. He argued that the investment of nearly $20 trillion of untapped fossil fuels represents enough carbon dioxide to “push the planet past the point of no return.”

“The billionaire class is literally invested in the destruction of our planet,” he added.

In addition to climate change, the YDS national organizer discussed how the government is the most efficient facilitator of innovation, while the price incentives of the free market are a “drag on innovation.”


“If socialism was so great, why aren’t people fleeing to countries like Venezuela?” Kirk asked.


Mosgrove noted that government is willing to take bigger risks in the pursuit of long-term goals, whereas capitalism does not encourage investment in projects in which returns are not immediately realized.

Charlie Kirk, on the other hand, defended Adam Smith’s belief in the invisible hand of the free market system. He argued that history shows that capitalism is the main driver in liberating individuals, ensuring basic rights and civil liberties, and encouraging the innovation of tomorrow.

Kirk began by referring to a United Nations study which showed “that for the first time in human history, global poverty has been below the 10% threshold” which he credited to capitalism and the “liberation of free trade.”

He then focused on the role of profit incentives in driving change in society. Kirk discussed the evolution of a Walkman to Apple’s iPhone and how companies, like Apple, spend billions on research and development to design better products that simplify the lives of consumers.

Kirk also highlighted socialism’s track record of mass murder and its abuse of human rights.

“If socialism was so great, why aren’t people fleeing to countries like Venezuela?” Kirk asked.

He ended the debate by posing a larger question.

“Do you trust the [institution of] government?” He questioned the audience. “Then, why would you give the government more power?”

Hunter Estes, president of Georgetown’s Turning Point chapter, believed that the debate accomplished its goal of facilitating a serious discussion on the issues.

“I was excited to see that even on this campus, on which just about all issues are politicized to unnecessary degrees, we could have a substantive and polite conversation about such an emotionally charged topic as to whether socialism or capitalism is better,” Estes said.

The Georgetown Review reached out to the Young Democratic Socialists for comment but did not receive a reply by the time of publication.

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