Well I guess that depends upon how we define “capitalism”…
I have a friend who lives in an “intentional community”. In this community all income goes to the collective and the needs of all members are met by the collective. Every member works 44 hours per week making hammocks and there are something like 30 members. The land is owned and the collective holds 501(c)3 nonprofit status.
This means that 30 people produce 1,320 man-hours of work each week and, basically, have nothing to show for it. They don’t have any great deal of money saved. They aren’t buying more land. They don’t embark on any great philanthropic undertakings for the people surrounding their commune. They just eat and crap and work 44 hours per week to continue doing the same thing ad infinitum.
On top of all this, if any member of this community takes a second job in the surrounding area, they’re not allowed to keep all the money they earn. It must be submitted to the collective so that no one “feels bad” that one member has more than another.
This is my friend’s “thing”, so I support him in doing it. To me it sounds miserable and unnecessary. No one has outside employment because there is no incentive to do so. More than this, any other group of 30 people putting 1,320 man-hours per week into any other thing in a “capitalist” scenario would have to work pretty hard to have nothing but sustainability to show for it, indicating to me that either most of these members aren’t putting heart and soul into the hammock thing, that the collective itself is wasteful, or both.
Also, at the end of the day, they’re selling these hammocks. For money.
No sane person likes the crap that enormous, multi-national corporations pull, but in that list I include all corporations including governments. It is clear to me that exactly zero of those enormous corporations would be able to accomplish their evil deeds without the guns of government.
When I look at nurses, doctors, schoolteachers, etc., I see great people working hard and building value who are not paid for that value. The reason they are not paid for that value is clearly not that individuals do not see the value they produce, nor is it that they are unwilling to pay for that value: they would and they actually do.
Like everyone else, the money I use to feed my family is taken at the point of a gun by the state, under the threat of taking my family’s home, to pay the school teacher. My only question is “what has the state done with that money they robbed from me?” God only knows. I’ve asked every single person I know, “if the state did not take your money by force, would you pay a teacher to teach your children?” Every single parent said yes, every single person who wasn’t a parent said they would help pay a teacher for a parent who was unable. Based on my unscientific calculations, including prime cost calculations and other conceivable overhead, if the state was out of the way — if the state stopped taking anything from people to pay for the “service” of providing schooling of any kind — the average teacher in my area would be paid nearly $200,000 per year. But they’re not. That’s simply criminal.
When I used to go to the doctor, even the simplest thing cost hundreds of dollars. Serious things cost tens or hundreds of thousands. The phenomenal doctor I use had his home foreclosed on because he couldn’t make the mortgage payment. Why? If I go to the store, I can buy most medicines for only a few dollars and they’re making money hand-over-fist. If I go to the pharmacy, I’m guaranteed to pay hundreds and my pharmacist shops at Goodwill. Why? At the store there is competition and there are no rules. I could sell a bottle of aspirin for $100 and no one can stop me. But all the neighboring store has to do is sell that same bottle for $99 and I’m done for. If my neighbors don’t like that choice, the reality is we’ve created an amazing opportunity for literally anyone who wants to drive to the neighboring town, buy a case of aspirin at $2 per bottle, and sell them for $40 each out of his trunk all day long.
Competition without rules always (always) brings prices down and quality up.
But the state and other collectives don’t work that way. The state says there are reams of rules (ostensibly to keep everyone “safe”) that must be followed. Those making the rules have no good way to know what rules are really important or which ones are more important than others. These rules are largely arbitrary and uncalled for, and they cost money to follow. They cost even more money to enforce. The insurance companies tell the doctor how much his services are worth rather than the patient who is willing to pay for them. Rather than the doctor or nurse getting the money directly from the customer for the services rendered (valued), the money is funneled through a bureaucracy that skims a fat cut off the top, and this is true whether it’s a corporate business or a corporate state that runs the scheme. Business licenses keep qualified people out of all manner of professions and keep prices artificially high.
Where such rules don’t exist, better outcomes are produced by simple market forces: if my friend gets sick or dies from bad medical care (unfortunate), his family sues the doctor and no one who knows the story uses that doctor again (problem solved). None of this mouldering, languishing depravity these current collectivist systems produce; if there’s a problem, there’s an automatic reaction that no one really initiates or puts effort into, and the problem is solved.
So, if we’re talking about the kind of capitalism that comes with guns, teams of lawyers, and large faceless bureaucracy, we’re in agreement. All of those businesses and states need to go, and the way to do that is to end do away with the cause: end the state.
If we’re talking about the kind of capitalism that involves one person exchanging something of value with another person for something else of value, I cannot imagine a more ethical, mutually-beneficial manner of two people both getting their needs met to everyone’s betterment. :-)