Capitalism works because humans are naturally greedy. Yes Gekko nailed it. But it only works — on its own — to a degree. Without intelligent rules constraining capitalistic practices capitalists all gravitate toward that ultimate market force, the monopoly. Without boundaries capitalistic entities seek to control all that they can; their resources, their costs and their consumers, for their ultimate goal of maximum capital.
The problem today is that regulations which govern markets are not intelligent enough. If they were we wouldn’t need the DOJ to continuously investigate companies like Microsoft. While Gates was “doing the rest of us an immense service” he was also making boat loads of money and scheming how to make more. His greed, as does all pure capitalists’ greed, led him to subsume and control all that he could. Better rules would help level the playing field between the 1s and the 99s, between the rentiers and the renters, between the capitalists and the workers.
Socialism does suffer from being a coercion of sorts. Although altruism, some believe, allowed humans to group, team-up, support and help themselves and each other during evolution’s long march, its influence cannot compete with greed. Greed wins every time. So to get people to share, openly and consistently, against their natural tendency toward avarice, people must be forced to contribute in a socialistic society. Which, as we know, in its pure form, tends to break down (primarily due to this conflict between greed and enforced altruism).
The rules are inadequate. Better rules are required. Our current rule set, the U.S. Constitution, may need some adjustments (corporations are not people, congressional term limits, campaign contribution reform). Without more intelligent constraints capitalism will continue to be looked at as a necessary evil, but an evil none-the-less.