Sometimes when I am talking about economic systems with other people, it often feels as if we're talking past each other. With capitalists, often the standard answer is that the free market will take care of a problem, with very little details to back it up. With communists, capitalism is often talked about as a great evil and that the ideal economic system would have no element of capitalism included, also with very little details to back it up. Needless to say, I don't agree with either camp.
Socialism seems to be alive and well in America, despite rhetoric to the contrary. The government bailed out Bear Stearns with a very large subsidy, while Congress has passed a law to support homeowners that are in danger of foreclosures. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but there's a slight cognitive dissonance in that a lot of people in power extol the virtue of a pure free market with minimum regulation.