Check out these paragraphs from my Freeman essay and you will see the context that I believe my student may have had in mind.
The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty - November 1997
Vol. 47 No. 11
Features: Business and Morality in a Free Society
By Edward W. Younkins
There can be no morality without responsibility and no responsibility without self-determination. Responsible self-determination implies rationality, honesty, self-control, productiveness, and perseverance. In order to provide the maximum self-determination for each individual, the state should be limited to maintaining justice and defending against internal or external coercion, thus protecting life, liberty, and property.
A social system such as capitalism is a system of relationships and cannot be moral or immoral in the sense that a person can be—only individuals can be moral agents. However, a social system can be moral in its effects if it promotes the possibility and likelihood of moral behavior by individuals who act within it. It follows, then, that there is a moral imperative to create a political and economic system that permits the greatest possibility for self-determination and moral agency. Capitalism is that system.
Capitalism is itself only a means and requires its individual participants to decide on the ends to be pursued. No economic system can make people good. The best that an economic system can do is to allow people to be good. But morality and virtue require that individuals be free to be immoral and of bad character. Only when an individual has choice and bears responsibility for his actions can he be moral. Capitalism, more than other economic systems, allows the exercise of individual free will. Thus, though capitalism cannot guarantee a moral society, it is necessary for one.
Human development usually requires more than material wealth. However, prosperity enables individuals to cultivate their talents, abilities, and virtues. Thus, capitalism, the best system for wealth creation, permits individuals to spend less time on physical concerns, leaving them more time to engage in higher pursuits.