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What is capitalism?

by Anaarkei

Capitalism is generally defined as an economic system in which trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. More broadly, capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights, which politically entails laissez–faire or economic freedom, and legally a system of rules that are universally applicable. Economically, when such freedom is applied to the sphere of production its result is the free–market.

Capitalism is characterised by respect for property rights, with pure or “sticky” propertarianism the prodominant position taken by advocates of the system. By sticky it is meant that property remains owned by an individual or group regardless of whether they are in direct possession or occupation, which contrasts with the less popular view — held by Georgists and mutualists — that certain kinds of property can be considered abandoned the moment the owner is no longer in immediate contact with it.

Another aspect of capitalism is the understanding that money, as a medium of exchange, is more beneficial to society than other forms of exchange, such as barter, which suffers from the problem of the coincidence of wants. Capitalism also recognises the importance of profit, which not only serves as a reward for hard–work and risk–taking, but also serves as a means of investing in the growth of an enterprise, which results in benefits to the rest of society in the form of cheaper goods and services, as well as creating more opportunities for employment, whether that be working for oneself or for someone else.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Politics

What is democratic socialism?

What is international socialism?

What is authoritarian socialism?

What is social democracy?

What is libertarian socialism?

What is national socialism?

What is progressivism?

What is centrism?

What is liberalism?

What is authoritarian capitalism?

What is conservatism?

What is libertarian capitalism?

What is fascism?

What is neo–conservatism?

What is neo–liberalism?

What is minarchism?

Economics

What is capitalism?

What is communism?

What is Marxism?

What is corporatism?

What is Georgism?

What is socialism?

What is syndicalism?

What is primitivism?

What is mutualism?

Anarchism

What Is Anarchism? What Beliefs Do Anarchists Share?

Why Should One Consider Anarchism In The First Place?

Don’t Anarchists Favour Chaos?

Don’t Anarchists Favour The Abolition Of The Family, Property, Religion, And Other Social Institutions Besides The State?

What Major Subdivisions May Be Made Among Anarchists?

Is Anarchism The Same Thing As Libertarianism?

Is Anarchism The Same Thing As Socialism?

Who Are The Major Anarchist Thinkers?

How Would Left-anarchy Work?

What Criticisms Have Been Made Of Anarchism?

What Other Anarchist Viewpoints Are There?

What Is Anarcho–Capitalism?

What Is Anarcho–Communism?

What Moral Justifications Have Been Offered For Anarchism?

What Are The Major Debates Between Anarchists? What Are The Recurring Arguments?

How Would Anarchists Handle The “Public Goods” Problem

Are Anarchists Pacifists?

Are Anarcho–Capitalists Anti–War?

Have There Been Any Historical Examples Of Anarchist Societies?

Isn’t Anarchism Utopian?

Don’t Anarchists Assume That All People Are Innately Virtuous?

Aren’t Anarchists Terrorists?

How Might An Anarchist Society Be Achieved?

Why Should One Consider Anarcho-Capitalism?

Do Anarcho-Capitalists Favour Chaos?

Is Anarcho-Capitalism Utopian?

What Justifications Are There For Anarcho-Capitalism?

Are There Different Types Of Anarcho-Capitalism?

How Do Anarcho-Capitalists Compare With Other Anarchists?

Is Anarcho-Capitalism The Same Thing As Libertarianism?

How Would Anarcho-Capitalism Work?

How Would Anarcho-Capitalists Handle The “Public Goods” Problem?

What Will A Stateless Society Look Like?

Have There Been Any Anarcho-Capitalist Societies?

Can Anarcho-Capitalism Work?

How Might An Anarcho-Capitalist Society Be Achieved?

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