So you don't see a qualitative difference between someone having the option to obtain an education and find meaningful work in something they enjoy versus having to work two or three terrible jobs just to put oneself barely above the poverty line? That's a much more realistic example of what I'm talking about.
There's a difference, but it's not a difference of choice, it's a difference of environment, technology, economic wealth, etc. And neither one has anything to do with the free market vs socialism, either scenario can exist under either, and do.
I mean, have you noticed that your country has a third world country smack in the middle of it? There's no legislation to keep people in ghettos in the U.S., just abject poverty and a complete lack of jobs.
Yes, since I live in it and grew up in it, of course I know that. Although complete lack of jobs is an exaggeration: I live in Paterson, NJ, one of the poorest cities in NJ (I think only Camden and Newark are worse), but I still managed to find "jobs" online: independent game development and freelance writing, despite that the best local job is working at the local game store or something (where my sister works). Of course, she makes more than me, so my jobs are only better in self-fulfillment rather than money, but they at least have room for growth, whereas the jobs around here do not.
These are real problems we are currently facing. For one, there are still many people unable to meet their basic needs, for another, capitalism can only flourish through economic growth, which requires constantly increasing consumption above and beyond people's real needs or even wants, which requires the control of culture in order to create new needs, which has edged out basically all of the rest of our culture to the point where we are largely defined in our culture by our consumption. We've also started to take a massive toll on our limited natural resources in the process. Free market capitalism doesn't address any of these things, but I think they are important.
I think the assertion that capitalism can only flourish through economic growth and that it requires the control of culture in order to create new needs is false. That is true of corporatism, that is true of state capitalism, it's not true of capitalism. I'm just as much an enemy of state capitalism as of socialism.
I don't think it's enough to follow a point that one would prefer one's choice restricted by large corporations and the implicit threat of force instead of by large government and the explicit threat of force.
Large corporations and the implicit threat of force don't have anything to do with capitalism.
As a bit of a side note, by implicit threat of force, I of course mean that the government still stands by big business 100% of the way. If I'm a poor person squatting in your abandoned warehouse, you can get the cops to throw me out, but if you're a big corporation and you want the apartment block I happen to live in, you can just buy it. If I decide not to leave, then you will use force. While legally we are both entitled to the same property rights, poorer people are forced to live in disadvantageous circumstances, and any possible dissent is simply punished with imprisonment.
If there's a government, it's not a capitalism. If there are cops, it's not a capitalism. You're arguing against something I don't believe in, and equating me with defending something I'm against.
The main thing that makes me decide on one over the other is that governments have killed hundreds of millions of people, the markets have killed no one (directly). And even indirectly you'd be hard-pressed to show that the markets have killed more people than governments have.
But that has absolutely no logical connection to people's individual economic well-being.
Yes, but I didn't say it did. I simply said I prefer one thing to the other. I prefer economic poverty to death. I prefer immense unfairness to slavery.
Oh, I left out America's massive, massive reliance on foreign slave labour, to the point where most of its clothes and consumer goods are manufactured by completely destitute people living half a world away.
I think it's a mistake to call *most* of foreign labor slave labor. The African-Americans were slave labor. Chinese sweatshops (usually) are not. There is still slave labor today, including slave labor within the US by US prisoners (1% of the population or something), slave labor within North Korea, within parts of Africa, and other isolated areas. But *most* of labor in the world is not slave labor, not even in the third world, and I think there's an important distinction between a sweatshop and a slave labor camp. To call such people slaves is an insult to real slaves.
I don't think the free market model addresses the collusion of companies in the U.S. with oppressive foreign governments.
That's true, but neither those companies or those countries has anything to do with the free market.