There’s a set of assumptions that seem to go with liberal/progressive descriptions of capitalists: wealthy, greedy, exploitative, and most of all evil. That set of assumptions is built in to their explanations of everything that’s wrong with the American economy today. The only problem is none of them are true. Jonathon Moseley explains at American Thinker explains what a capitalist is, and what it is not:
Most voters — who cancel out your vote — have very different ideas than you do. Buried assumptions and widely-varying definitions are being exposed by a recent debate over Christianity, socialism, and capitalism. Controversy sparked by Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation and Rush Limbaugh’s criticism has revealed enormous differences in people’s assumptions about what the words “capitalism” and “socialism” actually mean.
Your author asserts at the outset that the true definition of a capitalist is anyone who places his capital (money, tools, equipment, property, real estate, etc.) at risk, with no guarantee of making any money or even getting that capital back, in the hopes of earning enough money to pay back the cost of the investment and then go on to earn a profit for his troubles. It can also mean an advocate for such behavior as a preferable national system.
Capitalism is the only approach that can bring prosperity to humanity, especially the poor and disadvantaged, because in free enterprise, businesses cannot force anyone to buy their products or services. Companies must offer products or services that benefit society more than the purchase price or the capitalist will go out of business. This discipline of the marketplace is why government bailouts are poison.
Only transactions which produce a net benefit to society will occur — others will be blocked by consumer choice. Freedom is the essential ingredient in this magic “invisible hand.” As soon as government bails out bad actors or plays favorites, this pivotal factor of voluntariness in purchasing is destroyed. Of course, if businesses lie or commit fraud, voluntary, fully-informed transactions are also destroyed.
While the naïve observer may see money coming in the door, a business has to earn a lot of money just to repay the original investment, before earning any “return.” And then any “profit” may serve only as the modest income that the owner needs to put food on his family’s table, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads.
Based on a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, your author’s proposed definition makes crony capitalism not capitalism at all. It is a big problem and a monstrous evil. But as the comedy character Barney Simpson remarks, “It’s not gambling if you are sure you are going to win.” If politicians are corrupting the marketplace in favor of their cronies, they are not truly risking their capital. The game is rigged.