Capitalism has nothing to do with Free Markets, Capitalism creates Capital and it requires no particular economic system to do that; one can “capitalize” on power, goods, services, space, talent, their name or any million and one other things. Capitalism occurs in Communist countries, Socialist countries, Dictatorial countries and every other societal formation.
Free Markets however provide the opportunity for the largest portion of the society to “Capitalize” on whatever is at their disposal, but the act of “Capitalizing” will absolutely NOT preserve the Free Market; unregulated Capitalism will destroy the Free Market without exception.
Free Markets work by raising quality and lowering prices due to the innovation and efficiency REQUIRED to remain competitive, as soon as the competition is reduced the Capitalism will remain but the innovation and efficiency will cease.
Capitalists will ALWAYS seek to use their success to prohibit new competition, they want to protect their Market; not the hard way by innovating and organizing in a superior manner as to beat their competition but by destroying their competitions ability to exist.
In an academic world these things are taught hypothetically by using a “Widget” as a commodity which has a Market, the competition keeps the “Widget” affordable and of high quality for the consumers and profitable for the suppliers; if one supplier sells too cheap they go bankrupt and if another sells them to high they also fail while those suppliers who get the numbers right live on to make profits.
This is fine for a rudimentary understanding of how a Free Market reaps benefits for a society as a self regulating entity but in the real world there are very few “Widget” companies, most companies that sell have thousands upon thousands of products available to their customers; to be successful they need to make a certain mark of profit each day, week, quarter and year regardless of what these individual “Widgets” sell for.
If the mark is made it matters not if some “Widgets” were sold for a loss and others for a profit, it only matters that the stores profits were at or above the desired mark for the desired time period.
The author of the article quoted earlier by RWNJ is correct when he describes the living hell a small business will go through to get started and the red carpet that is rolled out for large corporate businesses; but his conclusions that what Trump is doing is effectively attacking Free Markets is a non sequitur to his former points.
A Free Market cannot benefit everone if only one group is able to sell, the benefits of a Free Market only exist when EVERYONE is able to buy AND sell based on actual competitive neutrality (or as close to that as is possible); if all companies focused on one “Widget” their would be little need to intervene but that is simply not the case and it never has been for very long.
Laws (or trade deals if the Markets are in different political regions) prevent the attempts to monopolize a Market sector and they will be needed to prevent certain Market MODELS if we are to restore the Free Market.
Capitalism dictates that there will never be a time when those seeking to Capitalize will not devise ways to protect themselves from competition; when one method is closed another will always be dreamed up.
Up until now other nations have seen how to eliminate the United States from much of the supply chain and many native corporations have developed ways to undermine the more efficient competitive business models (small businesses) so that their own less efficient model can thrive; all of this has been legal because these models were created by politicians who either didn’t know better or did but sold their support for big donations.
The Free Market is basically dead in most Market sectors today, the Markets for almost everything have been consolidated to a very few entities and when something new is developed they quickly buy it up; this makes a millionaire out of one man but insures the future will not be populated by small business competition for their new “Widget” (which is added to their list of thousands of offerings).
Trump is counting on there being enough economic power in the United States to force other nations to stop walling off our products from their consumers, he figures they need us more than we need them; He is simultaneously reducing regulations and taxes that target small businesses far more destructively in our own Nation. I think he is right and I also think that what will follow this wrestling match is a Market that is much more “Free”.
Trumps critics are hoping the short term discomfort of this fight will cause the people to demand a return to the former structure where most are Peons and Surfs to the Corporate and International entities that can buy loyalty from our political class; I for one have been preaching about having this fight for decades to restore genuine Free Market competition so I am under no illusions that it can happen without some short term apple-carts getting tipped over.
After getting raped for decades by my own government I will happily contend with the obstacles of a short term “trade war” (idiot fodder term from Leftists I know); at least something positive can be gleaned from this struggle.