Capitalism is a system of voluntary exchanges between individuals. The reason for a particular individual’s action within this system is not capitalism’s but the individual’s. The notion of voluntary exchange also seems to be free from any inherent racism or other prejudice. Capitalism simply allows people to act in a variety of ways, one of them being racist.
If capitalism has a preference for action, it is a preference for the most efficient way to please the consumer. Any company irrationally rejecting applicants because of their race will have a smaller pool of talent to hire from. This results in poorer quality products, less efficient production and a business wide open to competition; everyone knows that these are three things a company wants to avoid.
Therefore, capitalism is, if anything, supportive of non-prejudicial behavior. By contrast, socialism is founded upon prejudices that seek to divide rather than unite society as a whole.
The classist, often called socialist, perspective is that those with control over the means of production or vast amounts of wealth are always the oppressors. For example, if I have less money than Bob has, he must have done something wrong. Regardless of whether Bob worked exceptionally hard for the money that was voluntarily given to him because of what he gave in return, he is wrong. One may want Bob to give some of his money to their favorite charity, but don’t we all like Bob to spend his money in accordance with our wants? Socialism, rather than explaining how and why Bob has more than me, attacks him for it, thereby dividing society up into “classes” of people who look up to the others as unjustly having more.
This approach plays extremely well because socialists pose the question: “Does Bob deserve more than you do?” The word “deserve” seems to imply that there is something about Bob that warrants his additional wealth.
Of course this is not the case, but that doesn’t mean someone should not have more than you do. We should all have as much as people are willing to give us. In this case, Bob should have more than me. Saying it should be otherwise implies that there is a justification for physically interfering with Bob and his consumer’s personal actions. This is something I find rather difficult to argue for.
Instead of pitting society against itself, from both the individual and economic perspective, a social theory should seek to treat individuals equally and respectfully. Reliance on the benevolent actions of individuals is not a sign of weakness or indifference, but an indication that the people, and not some select group, are the rightful determiners of their own destiny.
Both capitalism and the notion of individual sovereignty are antithetical to any justification of social engineering. Pragmatically, social engineering ruins the foundation from which society can grow. Unjustly, it abolishes the individual’s right to self-determination. Rather than argue directly for these ends, classists seek to divide the populace using a prejudice whose victim is unlikely to be seen as such.
Without a truly free market to compare our mercantilist system to, it is not until socialist policies are fully enacted, as in the former U.S.S.R., that people realize that they are the victims of their own misguided ambitions.