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IQ2 Debate: Capitalism is destroying us

IQ2 covers the biggest issues of our times, building a bridge between ideological extremes to deliver smart, civil and engaging debate. This year IQ2 Australia celebrates its tenth anniversary – and there's never been more important time for respectful conversations about the issues that matter. 

How will those of us with jobs being made obsolete by automation survive in a capitalist society?
Universal basic income is being seriously considered as one solution and trialled around the world.
Like communism was, this is a radical shift from our current capitalist political and social system. Can a change really be made? And should it?
Capitalism is criticised for being woefully unsustainable. Its pursuit of profits and accumulation of private ownership continues to bring massive environmental degradation and unstoppable levels consumerism that further pollute an Earth that is well past its tipping point.
Social inequalities are growing. Does anyone really believe a single person deserves more money than entire populations? The rich might be good and generous people, but every dollar earned is someone else’s loss. The poor are getting poorer.
As the saying goes though, a rising tide floats all boats. China is often given as the great example of this. The once impoverished communist nation embraced capitalism and became the world’s cheap manufacturer. Its capitalist approach allowed it to prosper and grow into the dominant super power with the world’s largest elite class.
So is capitalism serving us now and is it capable of sustaining us well into the future? Or do we need to engineer another type of social and political system?

View the Twitter highlights from the debate here.







Alan Schwartz AO is an investor with 30 years’ experience in the not-for-profit and community sector. He is the president of Philanthropy Australia, the managing director of Trawalla Group and the founder and funder of the Universal Commons Project. Alan says capitalism’s focus on financial profit is overlooking other things of value for human happiness, like the environment.



Kween G is a Sydney based hip hop artist and radio producer. She sits on the advisory panel of the Australian Women in Music awards, and her accolades include Marrickville’s Young Citizen of the Year. Kween says capitalism is “profit over people”. She thinks our never ending consumption and pursuit of financial growth is destroying culture and the environment.







James Bartholomew is a London based author and columnist with The Spectator who coined the term “virtue signaling”. James has published two books: The Welfare of Nations and The Welfare State We’re In. James says capitalism has been the best economic system for human flourishing and points to the horrors of communism as a comparative example. 



Eugenie Joseph is an economist from the Centre for Independent Studies. She specializes in regulation and taxation, with experience in both the private and public sector. Eugenie says capitalism has been instrumental in eradicating worldwide poverty rates and blaming it for existing inequality is not only unfair, but untrue.

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