posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 11:47 PM
Unfortunately, "captialism" is not what the West in general and America in particular was about, at least until recently.
The Western economic system was the "Free Market". Capitalism is a newish concept and has to do not with the free exchange of goods and money in
the marketplace, but rather the accumulation and deployment of capital (i.e., productive assets be they cash, land, equipment ... or "human") and
the destruction of competitors.
Further, the Free Market was constrained by Christian morality (see the Pilgrim Father's / Puritan laws in effect in New England for the first
several hundred years - severe punishments for exploitation, fraud and failure).
"Capitalism" seems to have been adopted as the favored term for the Free Market system only in a submissive response to the Marxist/Leninist USSR's
adoption of the Communist/Capitalist language prevalent in central Europe in teh late 19th and early 20th. Neither concept was associated with
Christianity at the time.
It would seem anti-Soviet counter-propaganda aped the Soviet original and thus the US became self-described as "capitalistic" even though this was
emphatically untrue until the mid-Cold War period, when the affect of mass mobilization and indoctrination of WWII draftees came to practical fruition
in the form of massive US-based multinational corporations managed and manned on the WWII military model.
Furthermore, capitalism has certain (oft unspoken) connotations. As the most ready form of capital is money, banking is the most common association
made when "capitalism" is invoked. The stock markets would be the secondary association. Neither group actually makes anything, nor do they add
economic value -- they are merely middlemen who take a lucrative cut of the action win, lose or draw.
Finally, the 20th C economist Milton Freeman did the most damage with respect to the "free market" versus "capitalism" struggle when he posited
his "Maximization of Shareholders' Value" theory that divorced public corporations from acting in the public's actual good. Until his idea that
making shareholders rich caught on, corporations were considered a luxurious grant made of the sovereign on the basis that the sovereign would be
rewarded as well. Theoretically, the American sovereign is the American people themselves, so the corporation was to serve the general interest of
the US citizenry.
Under Freedman's idea, this was quickly and permanently jettisoned as an impediment to profit.
The rest is intuitively inevitable.
Joe of the Mountain, MS, MBA, etc etc
Financial Management Consultant to the Big Guys from the Big Guys (one time Price Waterhouse, IBM and Andersen big thinker)