If I were to list some problems with modern American society and include on that list these items:
Would you conclude that “aha, that is exactly why capitalism sucks and we need to consider alternative social models?” I used to think such an idea was silly, but now I believe it is the default view of many very thoughtful people who worry about the same sorts of issues that we worry about here. I am seeing more evidence in my students than before that this is the default view of the world.
What is especially clever about such a view is that it can take virtually any activity that is the result of private benefit seeking, such as corporations accepting the chance to manage prisons, and paint that as a problems with a free society. It’s quite clever. But the defense of a free society is not a defense of corporations – it is a defense of peaceful voluntary exchange with robust competition and no special privileges. It is not surprising to see people try to capitalize on such an income earning opportunity. Indicting commercial society on those grounds is much like indicting Catholicism on the grounds some people become lay ministers to satisfy their own egos.
Finally, the default view also includes the absurd notion that free societies are inherently immoral and that there is a moral supremacy to alternate social systems. Oceans of ink have been spilled on this topic, all I will add is that someone is doing a crappy job discussing what a free society is if this is the default view. And while I am on that thought, what the heck do they teach young kids these days about the spirit of the American experiment ?