The current frustration with economic conditions in the USA and Europe has at its core two main elements. First the anti-capitalist concentration of power in a few monopolistic and oligopolistic corporations (along with the support and encouragement of governments and the governments failure to regulate markets to encourage capitalist practices). And second the consequences of living beyond our means finally becoming much more challenging.
What we have had has been very questionably capitalist. The largest reason for this “questionable” nature is not related to labor but instead to the inordinate power given to a limited number of large corporations. The corporations are suppose to not have “market power” in real capitalism. They have huge and growing market power. To me the main problem is that power disruption to the functioning of capitalist free markets.
There is also the problem that we have been living far beyond our means. This has nothing to do with capitalism or not capitalism. It is as simple as you produce 100 units of goods and use 110 that can’t continue forever. The USA started building a surplus in the 1940′s, I imagine Europe did in the 1950′s. Since about the 1980′s both areas have been living far beyond their means. While they were consuming what they saved over the previous decades it wasn’t so bad. While they mortgaged their future to live lavishly today that was worse. We continue to live beyond our means and are beginning to see some consequences but we haven’t come close to accepting the lavish lifestyles we enjoyed (while Europe and the USA lived off past gains and off very advantageous trade with the rest of the world) is not possible any longer. We can’t just have everyone in Europe and the USA live exceeding well and the rest of the world support us. Eventually we have to realize this (or in any event we will experience it, even if we don’t realize it).
Those 2 factors need to be addressed for our economic future to be as bright as it should be.