SteveInCO, you got it and said it exactly as I experienced it. No matter how you look at that situation, slave labor was alive and well.
G, your question, "Which is better?" has brought out some interesting views but you haven't contributed for a while.
Is there a reason?
I'm wanting to stir another view into the discussion: "Privatize the profits; socialize the costs."
It explains the environmental damage in America, which Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring shocked us into seeing.
Capitalism is not as good for polluters as it once was. It's better for people who breathe than it once was.
The curious blend of communism/capitalism in China is still pretty good for polluters but even there, changes are happening.
What say you?
What say others? We've only scratched the surface of the issue G raised.
For instance, has American capitalism contributed to American religiosity?
Capitalism does not guarantee each citizen a right to access to education, or start-up loans, or access to health care. Any one of these could knock a family off their pins and prevent good, qualified, intelligent, hard working people from getting ahead.
Capitalism protects property. That is the way it is designed, the way it is intended, and to pretend it makes possible equal access to opportunity leaves one in a very big ocean without a paddle.
Does one of these two, or a third, suck less?
I can't answer the question, having lived only under capitalism. It does seem to me that any answers here will be swayed by the politics of the government under which you live.
The problem, as I see it, is people believe their tradition is valid and appropriate, some even assume "everyone does it this way." When people in our country have a very limited exposure to other cultures, and if they grow up in a fundamentalist value system, they have very parochial beliefs. Going away to college often puts cracks in such thinking. Of going to other nations, one sees very different belief systems and sometime question their own traditions. Sadly, far too often, people's opinions become concretized, hard as rock, and blind to seeing any other way and unable to think any other thoughts.
I grew up in a small town and Baptists were right in their beliefs; Methodists thought their version was correct; Roman Catholics had yet another version; a Mormon family held still other beliefs. A little town, split four way. Going away to school, then doing some traveling convinced me they all held on to beliefs based on delusions. I go back and express my thinking that there is no god, life has no meaning, there is no purpose to life, there is no heaven or hell and they think I am insane.
Why should I expect two countries to get along when our little village has chasms?
Michele, thank you; you've added much to this discussion.
I've long said that when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union he committed Germany to suicide. We can say the era's communists saved its capitalists; they did.
American capitalism would have died long ago but for its evolution toward socialism:
1) bailouts by taxpayers after its many recessions and depressions, and
2) laws protecting Americans from its excesses.
Indeed, had America been small-d democratic rather than oligarchic since 1787, we would have less of the dog-eat-dog capitalism we now have.
Corporations DON'T HAVE too much clout to be regulated; they have paid the campaign costs and other expenses of enough politicians.
Rather than be sick and tired of people saying corporations have too much clout to be regulated, be sad that they are saying they feel powerless to change anything.
America has long had an increasing number of employee-owned companies.
It will someday have a national initiative and referendum and more democracy.
"Rather than be sick and tired of people saying corporations have too much clout to be regulated, be sad that they are saying they feel powerless to change anything."
Powerlessness, helplessness, hopelessness are all learned behaviors and can be unlearned. If one person at a time, joins with others to form democratically managed groups, slowly the nation will grow into what it could be and what we prefer it to be.
I haven't been able to figure out how people who have learned to be obedient from childhood can make the shift to entrepreneurial thinking. If we raise our children to be not only independent but interdependent, they develop the brain connections that last them all their lives. They can take charge of ideas and develop them.
So, what will happen to all those dependent people or all those who bully their way through conflict?
Can enough employee-owned companies even get started when rules and regulations favor BIG agriculture, food distribution, and box stores?
"...are all learned behaviors and can be unlearned."
Can be; sometimes are not. Younger people find the changes easier to make.
"I haven't been able to figure out how people who have learned to be obedient from childhood can make the shift to entrepreneurial thinking."
In my two-year-younger brother's case, some youthful gangsterism helped. He did more of both than I.
"...what will happen to all those dependent people or all those who bully their way through conflict?"
During years in senior organizations I've met some very dependent seniors and some very bullying seniors. I've been most intrigued by a few who want dictatorial leaders and when denied, become dictatorial.
"Can enough employee-owned companies even get started...?"
I've seen references to a federal tax law that since the 1970s has given breaks to entrepreneurs who, when they retire, sell their businesses to their employees. I haven't seen the law itself.
According to a recent PBS program, during labor negotiations some managements threaten to close and move. Unions have caved. Sometimes unions have not caved; they bought the closed plants, re-opened them as employee-operated, and the employees' experience helps them succeed.
Idealism does not go away easily.