- an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.
Origin of capitalism
On the surface, the meaning of capitalism seems straightforward, referring to an economic system in which private individuals, rather than governments, own property and businesses. But beneath the surface, strong currents of opinion and theory swirl about the term. Many people fiercely espouse capitalism as an economic freedom inseparable from democracy, as reflected in several books considered classics and still avidly read today: for example, Capitalism and Freedom by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman (first published in 1962), and Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph A. Schumpeter (first published in 1943). So it may be a challenge to use the term without triggering a discussion of its broader political context.
— The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism: A treatise on economics and political science by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, first published in 1928.
— The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures: 2009 play by Tony Kushner. The play's title was inspired by Shaw's book and Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
— Capitalism: A Love Story: 2009 documentary film written and directed by, and starring, Michael Moore.
—Monopoly, the classic capitalism board game, from Hasbro. (“The success of Monopoly mirrors the success of capitalism,” noted Philip E. Orbanes, in his 2006 book, Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game. )
- "History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition."-Milton Friedman Capitalism and Freedom (1962)
- "[F]rom the beginning, capitalism has been characterized by a tension between laissez-faire and intervention—laissez-faire representing the expression of its economic drive, intervention its democratic political orientation."-Robert Heilbroner and Lester Thurow Economics Explained (1982)
- "[C]apitalism works better than it sounds, while socialism sounds better than it works."-Richard M. Nixon Beyond Peace (1994)
Examples from the Web for capitalism
Contemporary Examples of capitalism
He expected European capitalism to evolve spontaneously into a market socialism of worker-owned cooperatives.American Democracy Under Threat for 250 Years
December 28, 2014
By the implicit laws of capitalism, I'm pretty sure this makes Bieber the new commander in chief.Justin Bieber Isn’t Even 21, Yet Makes More Money Than Meryl Streep
November 25, 2014
In other words, the Supreme Court has defined democracy as a branch of capitalism, right up to the point of actual vote-buying.Undo Citizens United? We’d Only Scratch the Surface
November 12, 2014
Early advocates of the free market, like Adam Smith, made two distinct arguments for capitalism.
The other argument for capitalism was that markets make people nicer.
Historical Examples of capitalism
It is a race as to whether this peninsula will be captured by communism or capitalism.Rosinante to the Road Again
John Dos Passos
One is reminded of the saying of Marx that capitalism produces its own gravediggers.
His position was rather that Socialism must come, simply because capitalism could not last.
It is apparently forgotten that capitalism ruled by hereditary power.The New Society
In Russia and China, there was the frenzied resistance to capitalism.The Status Civilization
- Also called: free enterprise, private enterprise an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, characterized by the freedom of capitalists to operate or manage their property for profit in competitive conditionsCompare socialism (def. 1)