I believe our free market system works best when it rewards hard work.
~ President Barack Obama
This is rather redundant. Capitalism works by rewarding hard work. Self-interest and incentives are at the foundation of any free market system. True, there are times when the market fails to reward hard work – but these instances are, by an overwhelming margin, caused by government intervention in the market. When any one group gains unfair advantages in the marketplace, it is normally because the government has intervened on their behalf. Throughout U.S. history, various groups have gained unfair advantages in our society which they have used to violate the rights of other groups. Corporations have gained coercive monopolies by which they have exploited consumers, workers have possessed unnatural influence over their employers, one race has oppressed another, and so on unto near-infinity. But in all the above-mentioned cases, it has been the hand of government that allowed these various groups to gain their power. It is government that has mandated utility monopolies, allowing companies to operate without competition and to exploit their customers. It is government that has shackled companies with anti-trust laws but allowed unions to engage in the type of collusion that has bankrupted entire industries. It is government that gave whites the authority and the power to enact Jim Crowe laws in the South. When the free market fails to reward hard work, it is not due to an inherent fault in capitalism. It is due to government intervening with force on behalf of a particular group, instead of protecting individual rights and thus protecting the free market and clearing the way for freedom, equity, and prosperity.