extracted from a conversation in an Internet forum
If I didn't agree to [capitalism] in principle, I'd agree to it because of its practical effects: the easiest way to rise up in a free market society is to be productive and produce value for others, who will pay you very well if you can create value for them.
In addition, if you can come up with novel ways to do so more effectively than everyone else, you will make even more money, because other people will be paying less to have access to the particular good/service you provide. Therefore, a system is in place where what's individually best for each one (if one's interested in living a life with access to more services and goods) is to be useful for others, and everyone profits.
This is just beautiful if you ask me, and this is what's been responsible for the whole world today (even the poorest) having better living standards than a noble Englishman in the 17th century. Now that guy was a 1%er if there ever was one! He would have better (absolute) living standards if he were on the lowest 1% in England today!
The whole world got richer and nobody got poorer. Wealth was created. It didn't get redistributed. It got created. Thanks to the 1% geniuses and very productive people who do the breakthroughs in science and manufacturing.
The idea that there's a fixed amount of wealth in the world is the most easy-to-fall-for idea in the history of mankind.
We, the 99%'ers (yes, I'm nowhere near the top 1%, or even the top 10% actually, in the country where I live), think we are at a loss but, were it not for the 1%ers of the world, the very richest among us would still be dying in their 30es due to diseases nobody has found the cure for or paying a days' worth of work for a plateful of food, because nobody had figured out very efficient ways to produce food that make it so cheap.
Mind you, that engineer only worked so hard to discover new ways to produce food in order to make a larger profit for himself. He would be among those who are filthy rich today and get insulted for being a 1%er.
Thank god (for lack of a better term) for selfishness and individuality because it has enabled people to hack their minds at the deepest possible levels to discover stuff that has made life easier for me, a mere 99%er (what's worse, a 99%er in a third-world country!).
Someone else's selfishness is the reason you and I have a computer in front of us right now and we can afford to write stuff in an internet forum in our leisure time and still are able to afford food, clothes, cars and whatnot.