Ian Walsh explains what a market is, what capitalism is, and what its social consequences are.
What matters is not whether fictional entities are making money, or even if all human beings are making money, but whether decision makers are making money.
Prices are not set solely by markets, they never have been and they never will be. Governments lean on prices through direct and indirect subsidies, taxes, and so on. Roads are a subsidy for trucking, auto-manufacturing and a host of other businesses, for example. The US interstate highway system was the death-knell for the hugely powerful railroads that preceded it.
This is true despite the FACT that, if you include all costs, shipping people and (especially) freight by rail is cheaper. The final price, as it effects the individual decision makers responsible for those individual, economic decisions, is what matters.
Markets are a way of telling people what to do and what not to do and how much of either…
Capitalism is dis-empowering. Serfs and peasants, for all we sneer at them, could support themselves, because they had access to the land they needed to do so. They spun their own clothes. They raised their own houses.
Peasants and serfs were better off than the industrial workers who replaced them. There is a reason land clearances had to be done by law and force: The peasants and serfs didn’t want to leave. They weren’t stupid, they weren’t fools–they knew they lived better than the people working six and a half days a week, ten to 12 hours a day, in the new factories amidst cities and towns, choking in their own filth before modern sewage was put in place.
Capitalism forces most people to base their decisions on price (salary, comissions, hourly wage vs. goods they buy) levels. It takes away their ability to support themselves without working for someone else.
Capitalism is the concentration of the means of production in the hands of a few people.