Its interesting to note that its possible to obtain a Nobel prize in economics without taking into account the realities of Capitalism. See this comment on the latest shenanigans by congress on the bail out of wall street by Joseph Stiglitz on CiF. Joseph Stiglitz is well meaning but where he goes wrong is by believing you can control Capitalism and protect people against its worst excesses.
History shows that you can't - that's why half the worlds population are living in dire poverty - three billion on $2 a day or less. Ordinary people create wealth. Capitalists expropriate that wealth for themselves, leaving a few crumbs behind. Capitalists have no interest in providing pensions, holidays, health, & welfare because that all eats into their (sic) profits. All the gains we have made in the west have historically come from democratic and trade union activity - i.e. we have taken back from the Capitalists some of the wealth we created in the first place! - in the form of pensions etc.That is why (some of us) have a reasonable standard of living - but they still keep the lions share. While the Soviet Union existed it suited Capitalists to keep us 'on-side' by allowing us to keep the benefits we had won from then.
Now the USSR has gone and there is(allegedly) no serious alternative threat they are determined to reverse the gains we made. Hence privatisation and deregulation - making us work harder for them - for less. The end result of this process will be third world levels of poverty in the USA and Europe - for most of us - if we don't stop it from happening. The truth is we need Capitalism like a hole in the head because it is Capitalism that makes us poor. What we need to do is keep the wealth we make for ourselves - i.e. by ending Capitalism as an economic system. That is what Socialism is really all about - not nationalisation - that is just one option for an alternative economy.
Capitalists want us to think that Capitalism is part of the natural order of things like gravity - it isn't. Its a system which is artificially maintained by a set of rules, and the rules are made by Capitalists - so no wonder it works for them! The wealth you have is something you (and you forbears) have had to fight Capitalists for - whether through the ballot box or industrial action.