Engage three intellectuals in a conversation about economic capitalism and you will get three different views, floating abstractions mostly, describing everything but capitalism. The problem for many is they loath capitalism for purely mythical altruistic reasons, or they fabricate arbitrary definitions used to serve fallacious arguments which they defend ferociously.
Having said that, it’s imperative to know what capitalism is before we can engage in a discussion involving its metaphysical nature. Capitalism is based on the free market principle that consumers, be it individuals or corporations, buy the best goods and services at the best prices.
For example, if I sell quality gadgets at fair market value, I can expect to capture market share, if I cease to provide quality gadgets at fair market value my customers will buy gadgets from my competitors, who continue to innovate and develop their businesses to stay on top of the gadget industry.
Herein lies the simplistic beauty of capitalism; any entrepreneur with a sound business plan, strong work ethics, and working capital can enter the market, and if they can produce superior products, or services at competitive prices, they will gather market share.
By its nature, capitalism is endowed with inherent market forces, these market forces can be brutal. For example, if you stop producing goods and services at competitive prices you will fail. If you adopt poor business strategies you will fail. If you steal from your company and shareholders you will fail (and hopefully go to jail). It is these inherent market forces that set the bar for success while terminating those who can’t or won’t play by the rules; consider this quality assurance if you will. By design this is how capitalism works providing extraneous entities (the government) doesn’t manipulate the market.
Lately, we have heard politicians, partisan pundits, and journalists alike blame the current fiscal crisis on capitalism. When our government subsidizes the energy industry, the auto industry, the housing industry, the banking industry, when our government subsidizes Wall Street; this is not capitalism! Our government has all but eradicated capitalism while pursuing a quasi mixed economy that it manipulates to serve its own ends, and unfortunately our demise. (More on this later)