Over the years, U.S. social programs propped up the system to provide increased levels of support and care for the disabled and elderly. The programs were a way of blending the opposing theories and practices of socialism and capitalism into a more balanced and potentially more equitable approach.
Other balancing mechanisms that have evolved are communications and mobility. They've both given individuals greater leverage, which allows more freedom of choice. First, improved communications have helped workers find out about other employment opportunities. Just look at the dramatic rise of the use of the Internet for recruiting and job searching. Secondly, the improved transportation infrastructure has made it easier to move to other areas to take these jobs.
These two factors have helped equalize the balance between individuals and the companies they work for. Two obstacles have been removed from the path of a free-floating market:
- Ignorance of other opportunities
- An inability to capitalize on them
Therefore, in the last half of the 20th century, the world, and in particular the Communist block countries, watched as America's free enterprise economy pulled further and further into the lead. And overall, as individuals, we maintained, and even increased, our freedom.
Safer working conditions, health insurance, company-sponsored right-to-work policies, paid time off and generally better working conditions are now the norm.