Odds and Ends
When yes means no
6 2, 12:07pm
Free markets aren't what make a system Capitalist or not, that's just Commerce, practically every economic system deals in commerce.
Ultimately the difference is about who owns the means of production. AKA: when you are working, who is benefiting from your labor? In a Capitalist system, it's your employer, they pay you a wage and take everything else as profit. In most pre-Capitalist systems, the state owns the means. You work the lord's land in exchange for the pleasure of living under his protection.
Socialism has generally operated on the goal of ensuring that people are the owners of their own means of production. AKA: you are paid the value of your labor, rather than others leeching off of it. Unfortunately, the exact means of ensuring this are difficult. Many Socialist Governments resorted to forming a Government that would be obligated to return the value of the people's labor to them fairly. Unfortunately, practically none of the countries that adopted Socialism had ever had a history of Democratic Governance, and so the Government instead ended up being seized by parties primarily interested in ensuring their own power.
Personally my preference is towards more Syndicalist economies. In Syndicalism, you don't rely on the Government to hold the means of Production, recognizing that Governments are generally untrustworthy for such an important job. Instead, the means of production are hold collectively by the people that use them, who are organized akin to a Labor Union.
So for instance, in a Syndicalist system, a factory wouldn't be owned by a single person who profits off of it and makes all the decisions in how it is run. Rather, each worker there would be paid a portion of the factory's profits, and decisions on how it would be run would be resolved by voting, essentially treating all the workers as if they were shareholders in a Company.
The big rule is that in a Syndicalist system no one can just buy a factory though, unless you are making use of something than it isn't actually your property. That way no one is able to exploit the labor of another. In many ways it's much more like the romanticized version of Capitalism that some people believe exists. Since you have to produce something of value in a Syndicalist system, you can't just sit around collecting money from other people who work on your behalf like a mob boss to his victims.