We conservatives don't believe that capitalism is a perfect form of economic arrangement, just that it is the LEAST IMPERFECT. Capitalism has at least three basic beliefs: private property the market and personal responsibility.
Let's take private property first, because that's what communists want to do away with first. Private property isn't necessarily your house or your yard (although it can be that); private property is your dreams, your destiny, your risk!
Take for example a woman--"Betty"--who makes her sandwiches so delicious that her daughter tells her to open a deli and sell her sandwiches for a profit. Betty then opens a sandwich shop and begins making sandwiches so delicious that the whole community wants to eat them. Betty then starts selling her sandwiches for a profit. This profit represents the community's appreciation of her sandwiches--the quality of the meat, the freshness of the tomato, the crispness of the lettuce.
People buy her sandwiches because they LIKE them, and they keep coming back.
Now, the cost of her sandwiches are, say, two dollars a piece. Add rent on her building, electricity and water bills, and we come to 2.75 a sandwich. After that, Betty needs something to live on, so she charges 4.50 for each of her sandwiches.
Well, Betty doesn't want to keep paying rent on her building forever, does she? So when she reads in the paper that the land on which she does business is for sale, Betty is delighted. In fact, that very day, her landlord calls her to ask if she would be interested in buying the land. Would she ever!
Of course, the deal has to close soon, within a month. Betty needs at least $50,000 cash--a pretty hefty downpayment. But Betty's landlord likes her, so he'll give her an extra two months in which to raise the funds with which she can buy the property on which her business stands.
Even with the extra two months, Betty just doesn't have the cash. She has to raise her prices to 5.00 dollars a sandwich, then 5.50. Then 6.00!
But Betty finds that her sandwiches are quite popular and that she can't keep up with the demand. So, she begins hiring people to do the work, mostly high-school and college students. These people share none of the risks associated with Betty's business (creditors, spoiled food, bankruptcy) and are therefore paid in wages, "x dollars per hour worked.
Betty thinks this a very fair arrangement, for some days Betty makes nothing after her workers' pay. Sometimes she makes more than that, which is what she went into business for in the first place.
When she gets enough money, Betty can buy the property. Tehn it becomes her private property. Betty is now a capitalist. She is responsible to herself and to herself alone.
In addition to making sandwiches which the public will eat, she has to pay wages which will attract the best group of people she can. To this end, Betty will pay a higher wage than, say, McDonald's, because she wants to attract a higher level of employee, and thus attract a higher level clientele. So, the free-market comes into play not only in the sandwiches that Betty makes, but the people that Betty hires to make those sandwiches.
Finally, the issue is one of personal responsibility. Betty didn't have to open the sandwich shop, but she did. Her "exploited workers" didn't have to work there but they did. It's all a matter of the personal choices we make in life, not some Government telling us what we can and can't do. That's what capitalism has over communism.
Does anyone here agree?