On The Justice of Capitalism

Nice post from Julie Ponzi highlighting a good Bill McGurn column (My Big, Fat Government Takeover) about "government by the smart." She takes issue, however, with the claim that the marketplace is wise --or at least wiser than the government.

She makes a useful distinction between wisdom and justice:
There is no special "wisdom" in the marketplace--but there is, perhaps, more justice. And this is where we need to make our stand. In the first place, the "chaos" that the market produces cannot be distinguished from the "chaos" produced by modern-day wise men--except in the relative justice of it. We are bound to have some measure of chaos in government and in markets. Perfect justice is impossible. So the question is not whether we will have chaos or whether or not some people will end up getting the shaft, but who or what should be controlling that inevitability.
Why, I was just railing about the injustice of gubmint solutions! Mr. W. pointed out in comments there that what we have available to us presently is not a free marketplace at all, which perhaps is one reason the market doesn't appear any more wise or just than the gubmint.
I am finding that more and more good people who attack "capitalism" are actually attacking a phony form of it which we call "crony capitalism." This is the form practiced in Europe, Latin America, and other backward nations, in which large established businesses "partner" with government bureaucracies. They combine to accomplish 2 things: (1) close market access to new, small potential competitors, and (2) establish a system of rules with virtually no appeal process -- in contrast to true free markets (genuine "capitalism") which always work to offer alternatives if you don't like the current rules.
I think the defenders of capitalism, or as the popes would prefer to call it, "market economies," can't point this out enough, because it's an important reason sensible people distrust big companies as much as they mistrust government. And rightly so, because as corporate donations to the Democratic party illustrate, big business is not necessarily a defender of the free market: often quite the opposite. (Why, yes, I do have a handy video example!)

I also think Julie is right: it's justice that must be defended.