"The promise, the deal, was almost unheard of: "work hard, work smart, create value for society, and you'll become wealthy, your own master for all eternity." The slave works for his owner. The indentured servant for his master. The communist for everyone. The American for himself. It's a powerful idea, a powerful motivator, and a powerful system. [...] And they make perfect competitors.
For those who have forgotten their first Economics lecture:
Perfect Competition: 'In a perfect market the sellers operate at zero economic surplus...This equilibrium will be a Pareto optimum, meaning that nobody can be made better off by exchange without making someone else worse off.'Oh. Right. That sounds fun.