This is an interesting debate to have, because when you are talking about capitalism, it depends on what version of capitalism you are talking about. Because there are several versions of capitalism. Like socialism, there are many versions of it. And another thing about capitalism is that it’s not a political philosophy, but an economic idea that private enterprise is best over state enterprise and state ownership, at least generally speaking. Thats what it is this idea that individuals are better off making out of life what they do themselves economically.
Instead of government trying to make their economic decisions for them and trying to run the economy for them. Thats Capitalism in its basic form. So when you are talking about capitalism, or debating capitalism, unless you are discussing, or comparing capitalism with state ownership, meaning government owns the means and production of society, you should know what type of capitalism you are talking about, because again there are several versions of it.
To know how there are several different versions of capitalism in the world, but also in America as well. Just look at Europe, which for the most part made up of social democracies, or socialist republics. But they all have private enterprise systems where the majority of the people in those countries work for private companies and organizations. But the difference being that they have democratic socialist systems. Where yes the economy and enterprise is private for the most part, but where the state meaning the Federal Government there plays a big role in providing human services.
Human services that Social Democrats and even some Euro Conservatives don’t trust the private sector to provide. Things like health care, health insurance, but most of the countries also have private hospitals and clinics as well. Plus private health insurers, take Germany which has a private health care system. And where there health care system costs half of ours, but where the state also has a role in providing these services. Education, pension, childcare to use as other examples.
So this is not a debate about capitalism vs socialism, but different forms of capitalism and which are better than the others. Or capitalism vs state enterprise and its real hard to make the case that state enterprise is better than capitalism. Take North Korea to use as an example. But a better debate is whether democratic socialism like you see in Europe is better than economic liberalism, or economic conservatism that we have in America.
Where we tax and spend a lot less, but where we also regulate like in Europe and where we also have a safety net. Both private and public to help the people who fall through the cracks of the private sector. And where we also have a public education and public infrastructure system so products that are created by private enterprise as well as their workers can move around in a timely and affordable way. But then you also have state capitalism like you see in China and now in Cuba a mixture of private and state enterprise.
The American economic system is not perfect and needs to be improved. But myself as a Liberal like the notion that individuals can make out of life what they put into it and be able to collect the rewards of their production. And deal with the consequences of their bad decisions with a system that promotes economic and job growth and success. With a good public education system,a good infrastructure system, a national energy policy that promotes and utilizes all of our natural resources and a safety net that empowers people who fall down so they can get back up on their own.
Commonsense Cap: Milton Friedman- Why Capitalism is Best