Communism vs Capitalism Socratic Seminar



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Communism vs Capitalism Socratic Seminar

Possible Questions




  • Which is the better economic system; capitalism or communism?

  • Which economic system does more for stimulating economic growth and innovation?

  • Which economic system does the most good for people in poverty?

  • What about capitalism allows industry to grow?

  • What about communism allows industry to grow?

  • Which economic system does the least amount of damage to the poor?

  • Why is it that no nation has ever been completely capitalist or completely communist?

  • Are the terrible actions of Joseph Stalin (or any communist regime) justifiable considering the benefit that was received by the Soviet economy?

  • Are the terrible living and working conditions and low wages of Britain during the Industrial Revolution justifiable considering the benefit that a free market did for the British economy?

  • What is it about capitalism that leads to so many innovations? (spinning jenny, water shuttle, cotton gin, et cetera)

  • What is it about communism that leads to increases in production but also shortages in food and quality goods?

  • Could communism be successful in the hands of another leader, or does human nature not allow for the system to be successful?

  • Is it really possible to eliminate poverty?

  • Was Adam Smith’s analogy from On the Wealth of Nations correct when it said that greed was the motivator for people to do their job and that was the greatest organizer of society?

  • Was Karl Marx correct when he said that the history of all mankind was a history of class struggle between the rich and the poor?

  • Can a quota system like Stalin’s 5 Year Plans work?

  • Was the Triangle Shirt-Waist fire solely the fault of America being a capitalist system?

  • Are low wages and child labor a problem?

  • Does Marx’s prediction of an overthrow of the bourgeoisie come true?

  • What created shortages under the Soviet Union?

  • Are the ‘persuasive’ techniques of Stalin’s regime necessary for success in a communist nation?


Communism vs Capitalism Socratic Seminar
Essential Question: Which is the better economic system; capitalism or communism?
Prompt: For this unit, the argumentative summative assessment will be a Socratic Seminar addressing the essential question. The Socratic Seminar will begin with everyone providing an answer to the Essential Question and continue on with discussions on each question.
Grading: You will be graded on a scale of 1-4 following along several aspects of the same rubric used for your papers.

  • Controlling Idea: This aspect of the rubric will be scored based on your 30 second answer to the Essential Question. Every member of the class MUST answer the Essential Question in the first part of the Socratic Seminar. Your answer should be similar to what your thesis would be if this were an essay format. It should clearly state a credible or substantive claim and back it up with general reasons.

  • Your responses and arguments during the second part of the Socratic Seminar will be scored on a scale of 1-4 on each of the following aspects of the rubric:

    • Focus: Each of your responses should correspond with your answer to the Essential Question, allowing you to maintain a clear and steady focus and not jumping between supporting both communism and capitalism.

    • Reading/Research: Each of your responses should be backed up with specific examples that you have researched or we have learned about in class.

    • Development: Each of your responses should have clear connections to your response to the Essential Question and those connections should clarify the argument.

    • Content Understanding: Your responses should demonstrate your knowledge of the history content, using it to back up any of your arguments throughout the Socratic Seminar.

  • Each statement you make throughout the Socratic Seminar will be scored and, when complete, your scores will be averaged out to get a score between 1 and 4. This will then correspond to a point grade (out of 100 points) just like your essays.


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