Johnson notes four different concepts of ‘capitalism’: (1) free markets; (2) corporatism; (3) wage-labor economics; and (4) consumerism. These are all different, though not necessarily mutually exclusive (save for the first two), concepts and different people depending on self-interest, politics, and so forth may think of capitalism in one or more of these terms. (Johnson goes into some detail on each, but it’s too much to excerpt here.)Libertarian Anticapitalism por Charles Johnson:
Free markets are how many libertarians and anarcho-capitalist types have come to think of capitalism, but free markets are capitalism in a pure sense, sans state intervention and cronyism.
It’s important to note, then, that while “capitalism” in the first two senses — that of the freed market, and that of pro-business politics — are mutually exclusive, “capitalism” in the latter two senses are conceptually independent of the political oppositions involved in the first two senses of the term. In concept, a fully free labor market might develop in any number of directions while remaining a free market — you might have a market dominated by big corporations and traditional employer-employee relationships; or you might have worker co-ops, or community workers’ councils, or a diffuse network of shopkeeps and independent contractors; or you might have a pluralistic mish-mash of all these arrangements, without any one of them clearly dominating.
Similarly, interventionist states might intervene either against, or in favor of, “capitalism” in the latter two senses — when states adopt heavy-handed “growth” policies and prop up corporate enterprise, they are attacking the free market, but they may very well be entrenching or expanding workplace hierarchy, concentrations of economic ownership, or commercial motives and activities, at the expense of other patterns of ownership, or other forms of peaceful activity, that might be more common were it not for the intervention.
.. many critics of “capitalism” may be pointing to very real social evils, while misdiagnosing the causes; and that many of the evils most commonly ascribed to “capitalism,” and thus blamed on the free market, really are not the results of market activities, but the results of “capitalism” in quite a different sense — in the sense of government-backed commerce and politically-enforced corporate privilege.