Last month two debates took place between the Socialist Party and organisations standing for free market capitalism. On September 10 in Islington, with 83 people present, Ron Cook of the SPGB debated with David Steele of the Libertarian Alliance. The declared principles of the Libertarian Alliance include “The right of all persons to life, liberty and justly acquired property”. For the Libertarians, “justly acquired property” includes the wealth accumulated by the owners of capital through the work carried out for them by the rest of us, with the threat of enforced hunger if we refuse.
David Steele’s objection to socialism was that without the mechanism of profit and prices, goods could not be efficiently distributed to those who need them. It was pointed out that millions starve at this moment, precisely because they cannot afford to pay the prices, and that a system of production for use according to needs could be based on the modern means of communication which already exist. People could declare needs directly and worldwide as the basis for production, instead of the present buying and selling mechanism. The following day, in Guildford, Steve Coleman of the Socialist Party debated with Professor Anthony Flew of the Philosophy Department of Reading University. 65 people attended the debate, which was on the question of “Is Equality Just a Socialist Myth?”