My problems with capitalism are multiple and layered, but this is at the heart of it. Anything that is important to anyone has value, and that value is what must be considered in the process of a “good deal”. Money and value are not synonymous, despite capitalism. Money is often not the most important value in a “deal”.
Note: I have thought and written reams on the relationship between money and value in modern economic systems, and would be very happy to discuss it at length if you are interested. For now I will leave it at this:
We tend to think of deals like the ones you described above, wherein one party exchanges some thing for an amount of money. I posit that by exchanging money for any thing, we are automatically devaluing the thing by the amount of value that does not have any monetary equivalent. As a hypothetical (but very possible) example: I am unqualified for a large number of jobs in my area, and I am over-qualified for a large number of other jobs. There are a few jobs for which I am well-qualified. Given the state of the economy and my own financial needs, I am likely to take a job for which I am over-qualified. I will be offered an amount of money that does not compensate me for the value that I bring to that job (but is “enough” to ease my financial needs); thus, value is lost in a process I think of as “economic friction”.
In any given town (or other geopolitical designation), I would posit it as economic truth that the number of people in “my” situation above is guaranteed to always be greater than the number of people in jobs for which they are precisely qualified or under-qualified, due to the nature of hiring — it is not independent assortment, but the sorting of employees into the most beneficial “baskets” for each individual employer (everyone tries to get the best staff they can for the least capital outlay). Therefore there will always be a certain amount of value lost due to economic friction. That value does not return; it is the nature of capitalism at its most personal lowest denominator.
If we lived in a socially “fair” society, all parties would bear the cost of this economic friction equally, but we do not. Individuals bear a higher cost, and individuals with “less-valuable” skills bear the highest cost. This same relationship (or worse) pertains in any transaction involving the conversion of some non-monetary value into money, whether it be art, parenting, teaching, farming , or whatever.
We need some form of socialism. We must ensure that people are somehow compensated for producing non-monetary value (or, perhaps, having value intrinsically, as I believe all people do) that is destroyed in the pursuit of capital.