Defining Terms: A Brief Squib
There is an interesting FB discussion going on over a post by Carl Jones on the question of capitalism. I would suggest that people who use terms like free market and capitalism begin by understanding the literal meaning of the words they are using.
Start with reality and you gain in understanding; start with abstraction and you end up in the NeverNever Land of Classical Liberal abstractions. Markets are a place where people buy and sell things. The place can eventually be virtualized and institutionalized in the form of stock exchanges, telephone and telegraph, and the internet, but the basic notion remains. To do business in a market, one has to follow the rules of the people who control the market, accept their regulation of weights and measures, their arbitration in disputes, their acceptance or refusal of currencies, and the tolls the impose. No markets, for practical purpose, can be free, either in the sense meant by the term "free market," because the authorities who own and control the market determine who gets access, and in the other sense of free, namely, gratis, because they are going to tax your participation.
The second point of reality to start with is that capitalism is not reality, and the word does not refer to the way a society operates economically. It is essentially a theory, mostly a Marxist theory, that those who own the means of production control society as a whole.