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Economic system where the means of production are privately owned
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  • Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment is determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.


    Capitalism, by Robert Hessen, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    Includes list of works for further reading
    "Capitalism," a term of disparagement coined by socialists in the mid-nineteenth century, is a misnomer for "economic individualism," which Adam Smith earlier called "the obvious and simple system of natural liberty" (Wealth of Nations). Economic individualism's basic premise is that the pursuit of self-interest and the right to own private property are morally defensible and legally legitimate ... Subject to certain restrictions, individuals (alone or with others) are free to decide where to invest, what to produce or sell, and what prices to charge.
    Capitalism, by Stephen Davies, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Examines the origins of the term "capitalism" and describes distinctive features of a modern capitalist market economy; includes list of works for further reading
    Capitalism as an economic system is the central feature of economic modernity. No other way of organizing a modern economy has proved successful. Libertarians broadly support and defend it against its critics while arguing for a purer, less compromised version ... There also is a strong undercurrent of hostility to the managerial class that has emerged as a key part of capitalism. Radical libertarians of this sort tend to advocate a different kind of market economy, one not dominated by large business organizations and with much less wage labor.


    Altruism? Bah, Humbug, by Radley Balko, Apple Daily, 22 Dec 2004
    Contrasts the story of Aaron Feuerstein and Malden Mills with that of Jack Welch and General Electric to argue against activists that believe that corporations that put "altruism" before profits lead to better, more moral results
    Capitalism has proven to be the best way of creating wealth because it trusts that the collective wisdom millions of people voluntarily engaging in millions of mutually-beneficial transactions every day is the best way for an economy to allocate its resources. When we're free to pursue what's best for us individuals, we inevitably create the kind of order and produce the wealth that is best for us as a society. We need to get away from the notion that unfettered capitalism is amoral or, worse, immoral.
    Ayn Rand (1905–1982), by Cato Institute, Mar 2003
    One of the "Three Women Who Launched a Movement" articles, celebrating during Women's History Month the 60th anniversary of the publication of The Fountainhead (as well as Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel Paterson books published in the same year)
    Rand's former secretary Robert Hessen gave ... this explanation for her profound impact:
    There were lots of defenses of capitalism versus socialism when Atlas came out in the 1950s, but they were mostly "bathtub economics"—you know, capitalism is superior because it is more efficient and it makes bigger and better bathtubs than the Soviet system. She provided a moral defense that had an electrifying effect on people who had never heard capitalism defended in other than technological terms. She made it clear that a free society is also a productive society, but what matters is individual freedom.
    Ayn Rand at 100, by David Boaz, 2 Feb 2005
    Discusses the influence of Ayn Rand, after the publication of her two main novels, during the 1960s through the 1980s and to this day, with sales of about half a million of her books per year
    George Gilder ... explained [Rand's] impact ... especially [on] the world of capitalist ideas: "Rand flung her gigantic books ... when even Dwight Eisenhower ... confessed his inability to answer Nikita Khrushchev's assertion that capitalism was immoral because it was based on greed." Rand's books first appeared when no one seemed to support freedom and capitalism, and when even capitalism's greatest defenders emphasized its utility, not its morality ... Her books attracted millions of readers because they presented a passionate philosophical case for individual rights and capitalism ...
    Related Topics: Libertarianism, Ayn Rand
    Benjamin Ricketson Tucker, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Aug 2007
    Biographical essay on Benjamin Tucker from birth to the early years of the periodical Liberty
    The [New England Labor Reform League] ... was a broad and active coalition of labor reformers, who sought to sweep away the evils of capitalism. The antipathy toward capitalism came largely from the belief that "profits"—e.g., interest—were created and maintained by state regulation. As strange as it sounds to modern ears, their solution to capitalism was the free market. For example, to destroy the capitalistic monetary system, they advocated free banking: the removal of all governmental restrictions. Their antipathy was also based on an acceptance of a version of the labor theory of value.
    Bernie Is Not a Socialist and America Is Not Capitalist, by Marian Tupy, The Atlantic, 1 Mar 2016
    Clarifies the meaning of various terms which young people tend to misunderstand, including socialism, communism, capitalism and corporatism, and then discusses the relative levels of economic freedom in the United States and other countries
    Capitalism means different things to different people. To many people on the left, unfettered capitalism implies individual greed, vast income inequality, and lack of government protections for the poor ... Many people on the right eschew using the word "capitalism." ... A purely capitalist economy ought to have the following characteristics: private ownership of the means of production and capital; low levels of taxation and regulation; competition unfettered by subsidies, bailouts, and protectionism; and the free flow of goods, services, and capital both domestically and internationally.
    Böhm-Bawerk, Eugen von (1851-1914), by Lawrence H. White, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Short biographical and bibliographical essay
    For Böhm-Bawerk, the "nub and kernel" of the phenomenon of interest was that "present goods are as a general rule worth more than future goods of equal quality and quantity." Thus, the fact that capitalists normally sell the product of labor for more than they pay the workers, and thus receive a "normal rate of profit" (interest) on investment in wages, does not represent an exploitation of the workers. Rather, it represents the discounting of future sums relative to present sums. Capitalists pay factory workers in advance of sales.
    Related Topic: Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk
    Bourgeois Virtues?, by Deirdre McCloskey, Cato Policy Report, May 2006
    Offers an apologia (formal defense) of capitalism, in particular of the phrase "bourgeois virtues" as being neither a contradiction in terms nor a lie
    Modern capitalism does not need to be offset to be good. Capitalism can, on the contrary, be virtuous. In a fallen world the bourgeois life is not perfect. But it's better than any available alternative. American capitalism needs to be inspirited, moralized, completed ... One of the ways capitalism works "pretty well," Mueller and I and a few other loony pro-capitalists ... claim, is to nourish the virtues. Mueller argues for one direction of causation: "Virtue is, on balance ... essentially smart business under capitalism: nice guys, in fact, tend to finish first."
    The Businessman and the Defense of Capitalism, by Benjamin A. Rogge, Can Capitalism Survive?, 1979
    Chapter 1 of Part IX, "an explicit follow-up to the Schumpeter-based 'Can Capitalism Survive?'" (the lead essay in this volume); offers business leaders suggestions as to what to do and not to do in helping "the cause of freedom"
    The question ... is not whether the survival of capitalism is in doubt (this is admitted). The question for us, as it was for Lenin at an earlier time, is, What to do? His concern was how best to hasten the collapse of capitalism; our concern is how to postpone or ward off that collapse ... [T]he ideas that finally count are those that relate to such fundamental questions as the nature of man, his purpose here on earth, and the moral character of human action. Arguments on the basis of economic efficiency are not alone capable of saving capitalism.
    Capitalism and the Intellectuals [PDF], by Robert Nisbet, Regulation, Dec 1977
    Review of Paul Johnson's The Enemies of Society (1977); reprinted from The Wall Street Journal
    One of the persistent mysteries of Western intellectual history has been the question of why capitalism, with its unique record in the production of goods and services and its utterly vital role in making possible the liberal democracies of the West, has been almost from its beginning the object of continuing attack. Why from the outset was it faced with the radical question of whether it could continue to justify itself by spreading the enjoyment of goods it was able to produce to the great mass of mankind? This is the mystery explored by Paul Johnson in ... The Enemies of Society ...
    Capitalism Saves Us All, by Bernard Chapin, 14 Jun 2004
    A review of Thomas J. DiLorenzo's How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present (2004)
    DiLorenzo illustrates that even the poorest of the poor continue to have the chance to rise through our capitalist system, and they frequently make use of this opportunity ... Capitalism, through its cheaper goods and higher wages, has distinctly benefited the working class. A hundred years ago, the fattest of the fat cats could not purchase the same type of goods that your average retail worker can purchase today, and the fact that such unbelievable wares are available is strictly due to the incentives created by a capitalist system.
    Capitalism Should Be Our Weapon of Choice in Cuba, by Rand Paul, 20 Jun 2017
    Argues that instead of tightening the embargo and severing relations with Cuba, the United States government should allow free trade with and travel with the island
    Since [Obama's] decision to allow more travel and commerce with Cuba, Americans are visiting in record numbers and on their trips they are displaying the greatness of American capitalism: wealth. Every dollar left in the hands of cab drivers, hotel workers, waitresses, and valets is a show of what awaits Cubans if they reject socialism. We can't spread democracy through force, as we have shown time and again in our recent foreign policy. But we can model capitalism to the world, export it through our people and goods, and win the debate without one bullet being fired.
    Related Topic: Cuba
    Child Labor and the British Industrial Revolution, Part 1, by Lawrence W. Reed, Freedom Daily, Sep 1999
    Contrasts the situation of "free labour" and "parish apprentice" children, as defined by J.L. and Barbara Hammond, during the British Industrial Revolution, the latter being mostly orphans placed in the custody of parish, i.e., government, authorities
    It was the age of the Industrial Revolution, complete with a cascade of technical innovations, a vast increase in industrial production, a renaissance of world trade, and a rapid growth of urban populations ... The mass exodus from the socialist continent to increasingly capitalist, industrial Britain in the first half of the 19th century strongly suggests that people did indeed find the industrial order an attractive alternative. And no credible evidence exists that argues that parents in the early capitalist days were any less caring of their offspring than those of pre-capitalist times.
    Dialectics and Liberty, by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, The Freeman, Sep 2005
    Written ten years after publication of the first two of Sciabarra's "Dialectic and Liberty" trilogy, discusses Hayek's and Rand's dialectical analysis approaches and suggests that such context-keeping analysis is important in radical libertarian theory
    The socialists ... criticized many of the advocates of capitalism for having embraced a dogmatic, ahistorical social ideal ... But as F. A. Hayek and others have pointed out, the very word "capitalism" was a product of the socialist conception of history. It took a major effort by twentieth-century thinkers to provide a thorough reconceptualization of the market society ... Among these were Austrian economists ... who viewed the market in dynamic and institutional terms, and philosophers, such as Ayn Rand, who articulated an objective moral ethos at the base of "capitalism: the unknown ideal."
    The Disastrous Middle Of the Road Policy, by Ludwig von Mises, The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, 4 May 1950
    From a speech to the University Club of New York on 18 Apr 1950; argues that the middle of the road policies of interventionism, such as price controls and progressive taxation, eventually lead to socialism via central planning
    The antagonism between capitalism and socialism ... is a controversy about which two schemes for society's economic organization ... is conducive to the better attainment of those ends which all people consider as the ultimate aim of activities commonly called economic, viz., the best possible supply of useful commodities and services. Capitalism wants to attain these ends by private enterprise and initiative, subject to the supremacy of the public's buying and abstention from buying on the market ... The antagonism ... refers to the mode of producing all those goods which people want to enjoy.
    Don't Blame the Thermometer for the Fever, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Jan 1999
    Discusses President Clinton's calls for worldwide regulations limiting capital movements and a global regime similar to the New Deal, comparing his views on private property with those of Hitler
    Supposedly, we were all capitalists now. But this is clearly not the case. The world's political leaders show no signs of a commitment to capitalism, if by that term we mean truly free markets and individual liberty ... [T]he bureaucrats ... have never been comfortable with free markets and they have yearned for the elusive "third way" between capitalism and full socialism. The current downturn gives them the opportunity to realize their long-held ambition—egged on by the usual gang of anti-capitalist intellectuals who absurdly blame today's economic problems on "market worship."
    The Economics of Errant Entrepreneurs, by Israel Kirzner, The Freeman, Aug 1987
    Discusses whether entrepreneurial error, that is, unsuccessful, unprofitable entrepreneurs provide some benefits to society, compared to the benefits derived from successful ones
    The case for capitalism, for free entrepreneurial entry, does not ... rest upon the possible residual benefits that some may derive from unprofitable entrepreneurial ventures. The great economic virtue of capitalism lies in its ability to stimulate vigorous and imaginative entrepreneurs who create profitable enterprises ... The virtues of capitalism rest not on any supposed altruism evinced by entrepreneurs who lose money while catering to the tastes of a too-narrow group of consumers, but on the daring and judgment of entrepreneurs who see socially valuable opportunities before others do.
    Related Topics: Entrepreneurship, Montana
    The Economics of Here to There, by Jeffrey Tucker, Mises Daily, 17 Jan 2007
    Discusses the necessity of product advertising, how more people are becoming aware that it is needed and why it is "tacky and unbearable"
    [I]t is not as if the capitalists welcome the chance to spend vast sums on television advertising. How great it would be if all a capitalist had to do was to create something, and that alone would cause the multitudes to flock to the warehouse and buy! ... How does a product or a service go from being a good idea or even a physical possibility to being available for people and available for consumption? Here is the major issue that has never been solved by any other system but capitalism. And capitalism solves it in a way that is wealth-generating and leads to constant improvements.
    Entrepreneurship and Social Progress, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Mises Daily, 20 Dec 2006
    Discusses the two usage senses of entrepreneurship, the attributes of an entrepreneur in the "more narrow and heroic sense" and contrasts politicians with entrepreneurs
    In fact, material progress represents the social ratification of the ideas and actions of dreamers in a capitalistic marketplace, people seeking to bring us better ways of living, and using peaceful means to do so ... Unlike capitalism, hardly anyone today is prepared to argue against philanthropy. We all understand that it is crucial to creating a better world. But how often do we think of the source of the funds? They come from the store of wealth generated by capitalism, and that wealth would not exist without entrepreneurship.
    Epistemology and Politics: Ayn Rand's Cultural Commentary, by David Kelley, Navigator, Dec 2004
    Discusses the continued currency of Rand's 1960-1970s writings, citing as examples "Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World", "Racism", "The Age of Envy" and "The Anti-Industrial Revolution"
    Capitalism is the social system based on trade—exchange to mutual benefit—in which "every person, every individual, is an end in himself, not a sacrificial animal serving anyone's needs." But conservatives, afraid to reject altruism, limited themselves to the argument that capitalism serves the public good by producing economic abundance. The point is true but nonessential. It leaves the opponents of economic freedom with the moral high ground and produces the bizarre spectacle of defenders of capitalism speaking as if self-interest and the profit motive played no role in it.
    Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk:Capital, Interest, and Time, by Roger W. Garrison, 15 Great Austrian Economists, Jan 1999
    Biographical and bibliographical essay; chapter 8
    Most significant ... is [Böhm-Bawerk's] devastating critique of the exploitation theory, as embraced by Karl Marx and his forerunners: Capitalists do not exploit workers; they accommodate workers–by providing them with income well in advance of the revenue from the output they helped to produce ... [I]nterest, or agio, paid to capitalists allows workers to receive income on a more timely basis than would otherwise be possible. Böhm-Bawerk's "agio theory" ... broke new ground and was able to parlay his refutation of socialist doctrine into a new understanding of the capitalist system.
    The Foundation for Economic Education: Success or Failure?, by Benjamin A. Rogge, Can Capitalism Survive?, 1979
    Adapted from remarks at FEE's 25th anniversary celebration in 1971; chapter 3 of part IX of Can Capitalism Survive?; also reprinted in The Freeman, May 1996
    [C]ontrary to the popular impression, it is the "little man," the member of the masses who, far from being the exploited victim under capitalism, is precisely its principal beneficiary. Under all other arrangements, those possessed of intelligence, high energy, and a strong desire to achieve (i.e., precisely those who tend to become the entrepreneurs, the businessmen under capitalism) get ahead by using their positions in the ... hierarchy to exploit the masses. Only under capitalism can the stronger get ahead only by serving the weaker—and as the weaker wish to be served!
    Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850): Between the French and Marginalist Revolutions, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, 2000
    Biographical and bibliographical essay which also analyzes Bastiat's ideas in relation to the Austrian School
    While Bastiat was shaping economic opinion in France, Karl Marx was writing Das Kapital, and the socialist notion of "class conflict" that the economic gains of capitalists necessarily came at the expense of workers was gaining in popularity. Bastiat's Economic Harmonies explained why the opposite is true that the interests of mankind are essentially harmonious if they can be cultivated in a free society where government confines its responsibilities to suppressing thieves, murderers, and special-interest groups who seek to use the state as a means of plundering their fellow citizens.
    Free Markets Aren't Conservative, by Sheldon Richman, Feb 2001
    Explains why businesses, especially the larger and well established ones, favor regulations and taxes, and why a free, unregulated or "self-regulating" market protects consumer better
    What the critics of capitalism have never realized is that there is nothing conservative about capitalism. Even most conservatives don't realize this. Capitalism—the self-regulating market economy—respects no established interests. Why is that so? Because the driving force of capitalism is the consumer. For a business to do well, it must please consumers. Businessmen understand that ... Once we understand that capitalism is not pro-business but pro-consumer, we will understand that it is time to dump the regulatory state we have labored under for so long.
    Give Me Liberty [PDF], by Rose Wilder Lane, 1936
    Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
    From the first, Americans were gamblers, speculators ... An American farmed if he hoped to make money farming ... The Capitalist cannot be found; he does not exist. Men of many different minds and for many purposes, or by accident or luck or the skill of a pirate, created huge business and financial organizations and fought to make them bigger and to draw bigger profits from them. But here everything was fluid, changing and uncertain; nothing was static and secure. Here was no solidly established class, placed in a social order and holding lower classes steady like cows to be milked.
    Government in Business, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Freeman, Sep 1956
    Contrasts characteristics of government-run enterprises with those of privately operated businesses and counters the argument of running government "like a business"
    Private firms are models of efficiency largely because the free market establishes prices which permit them to calculate, which they must do in order to make profits and avoid losses. Thus, free "capitalism" tends to set prices in such a way that goods are properly allocated among all the intricate branches and areas of production ... Capitalist profit-and-loss calculation makes this marvel possible—and without central planning by one agency. In fact, central planners, being deprived of accurate pricing, could not calculate, and so could not maintain a modern mass-production economy.
    Government Interventionism in Ireland, Part 1, by Scott McPherson, Freedom Daily, May 2004
    Account of Irish history in the early 20th century, contrasting the views of unionists in Ulster with those of nationalists desiring home rule or outright separation from Britain
    In 1914, Britain, like the United States and other industrialized countries, was experiencing the tremendous material benefits of a century of laissez-faire economic policies. In Ireland, the most visible advantages of 19th-century capitalism could be seen in Ulster, where industries thrived and living standards soared, relative to the rest of the country. The Protestant businessmen of Ulster knew, from a century of evidence, that free trade and limited government were the keys to wealth and prosperity. Such men would have been strongly suspicious of government interference.
    A Hit Man Confesses, by Christopher Westley, Mises Daily, 12 Dec 2006
    Comments and criticizes John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004)
    The first [popular path to wealth in the private sector] is [the] tried and true method: you try to anticipate consumers' needs, and then risk your capital trying to satisfy them. Successful entrepreneurs anticipate and satisfy correctly, while the unsuccessful ones don't ... [Perkins] often confuses (what he calls) the "corporatocracy"—the teaming of the feds and select private sector firms to advance political hegemony and economic rent—with capitalism itself. Perkins's primary problem is in assuming that all global capitalism is sinister in the sense described in his book.
    H. L. Mencken, America's Wittiest Defender of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Sep 1995
    Biographical essay, highlighting Mencken's tenure at the Baltimore Sun, the books he authored, the founding and his work at the American Mercury monthly and his brief relationship with Sara Haardt
    As for capitalism, Mencken declared that "We owe to it almost everything that passes under the general name of civilization today. The extraordinary progress of the world since the Middle Ages has not been due to the mere expenditure of human energy, nor even to the flights of human genius, for men had worked hard since the remotest times, and some of them had been of surpassing intellect. No, it has been due to the accumulation of capital. That accumulation permitted labor to be organized economically and on a large scale, and thus greatly enhanced its productiveness ..."
    H. L. Mencken: The Joyous Libertarian, by Murray N. Rothbard, New Individualist Review, 1962
    Examines the themes and style in Mencken's writings, mainly from selected pieces in A Mencken Chrestomathy
    Mencken ... saw clearly that capitalism, the consequent of individual liberty in the economic sphere, was the most productive and rational economic system. He bitterly opposed the New Deal for being anti-capitalist as well as anti-libertarian. Of capitalism, Mencken wrote:
    We owe to it almost everything that passes under the general name of civilization today. The extraordinary progress of the world since the Middle Ages ... has been due to the accumulation of capital. That accumulation ... provided the machinery that gradually diminished human drudgery ...
    How Empires Bamboozle the Bourgeoisie, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Mises Daily, 28 Oct 2006
    Speech at the Mises Institute Supporter's Summit; comments on two issues related to the U.S. population reaching 300 million: what kind of economy is needed to support that population and do all these people need to live under the same central government
    There is only one system that can support a national and world population on this scale, and it is not socialism, primitivism ... It is capitalism alone that has supported this level of population growth and keeps it contributing to the common good. And by naming capitalism as the benefactor of mankind, I also intend to include the many millions of entrepreneurs, workers, savers, and investors who push forward economic growth ... Partly because of ... propaganda, capitalism today is hamstrung, taxed, regulated, regimented, distorted and twisted in a hundred million ways.
    The Idea of Liberty is Western, by Ludwig von Mises, American Affairs, Oct 1950
    Argues that the "idea of liberty is and has always been peculiar to the West", beginning in ancient Greece and moving westward to Europe and America, and discusses "liberty" as viewed by Harold Laski, contrasting life under Stalin with Italy under fascism
    In the market economy people have the opportunity to strive after the station they want to attain ... They are free to choose the vocation ... to serve their fellow men. In a planned economy they lack this right ... But under capitalism everybody is free to challenge the vested interests of everybody else. If he thinks that he has the ability to supply the public better or more cheaply than other people do, he may try to demonstrate his efficiency. Lack of funds cannot frustrate his projects. For the capitalists are always in search of men who can utilize their funds in the most profitable way.
    "I Have a Plan...", by Ron Paul, Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk, 18 Oct 2004
    Criticizes political ads and speeches that present plans for government to "run" the economy or the country
    By contrast, capitalism—which is to say economic freedom—raises the standard of living for everyone in a society. But we must understand what capitalism really is. Capitalism is not a system, but rather the result of free individuals taking economic actions without interference by government. A true capitalist economy is neither planned by bureaucrats nor steered by regulators. This is why it's so important that we resist the idea that any president should plan our economy ... We must understand that economic liberty is every bit as important as political and civil liberties.
    Related Topics: Limited Government, Socialism
    The Impoverishing Effects of Foreign Aid [PDF], by Manuel Ayau, Cato Journal, 1984
    Analyzes the 1980s debt crisis, from the viewpoint of creditor and debtor countries, suggesting some solutions such as removing trade barriers, ending debtor government interventionist policies and creditor government foreign aid and subsidized bail-outs
    It is ironic that the utter failure of our interventionist economies are typically blamed on the market, on capitalism ... The high tariffs in Latin America, the overregulation, economic controls, and so on do not seem to affect the perception that "capitalism" is the cause of our problems, and that to solve them, we must intervene further and receive more aid. Our systems are not even identified as "state capitalism." We do not allow the market to work, but blame it for our failures, while ... the underground economies (the very hampered free markets) keep our economies from total collapse.
    Individual Rights or Civil Rights?, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Dec 1995
    Contrasts the right not to be discriminated against with the right of freedom of association and concludes that one of them is invalid, also discussing private vs. government discrimination
    The best protection against what we may call economic bigotry is laissez-faire capitalism. The open, competitive marketplace assures that members of minorities (and women) have the maximum number of options, diluting the influence of bigots ... [A]n employer who decides he will not hire blacks leaves talented workers available to his competitors. In an open economy, some of those workers may themselves become entrepreneurs and hire the others. If because of discrimination the workers are willing to work for less than whites, the firms hiring them will have a competitive edge over other firms.
    The Invisible Gnomes and the Invisible Hand: South Park and Libertarian Philosophy, by Paul Cantor, 4 Dec 2006
    General discussion of South Park with more detailed review and discussion of the season 2 "Gnomes" episode
    "Gnomes" offers the most fully developed defense of capitalism ... The gnomes represent the ordinary business activity that is always going on in plain sight of everyone, but which they fail to notice and fail to understand. The people ... are unaware that the ceaseless activity of large corporations ... is necessary to provide them with all the goods they enjoy in their daily lives. They take it for granted that the shelves of their supermarkets will always be amply stocked with a wide variety of goods and never appreciate all the capitalist entrepreneurs who make that abundance possible.
    Is Capitalism Why We Fight?, by Gregory Bresiger, Mises Daily, 6 Apr 2006
    Critical review of the theses presented in the 2005 documentary Why We Fight, also inquirying about topics omitted from the film
    [U]nfortunately the filmmakers ... blame capitalism for the woes of our nation when the opposite is actually the case. Charles Lewis ... is given lots of time to make a quasi-Leninist case that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism ... This ... was destroyed many years ago ... Capitalism wants peace, Schumpeter argued. Wherever capitalism was the purest, wherever laissez-faire reigned, there were considerable peace parties ... [W]e rarely hear from American capitalists, who historically have opposed much of the inflation and disasters that have been the result of the imperial policies ...
    Letters to Mr. Malthus, on Several Subjects of Political Economy, and on the Cause of the Stagnation of Commerce, by Jean-Baptiste Say, 1820
    Original title: Lettres à M. Malthus, sur différens sujets d'économie politique, notamment sur les causes de la stagnation générale du commerce
    Series of five letters from Say to Malthus, written in response to the latter's criticisms in Principles of Political Economy (1820); the letters were translated from the French by John Richter
    First, the capitalist, by augmenting his capital, increases his income, which invites him to multiply his enjoyments. A capital increased in the course of the year, purchases the following year a few more industrious services than before. These services being thus more in demand, are a little better paid; a greater number of the industrious find employment and reward for their faculties ... If [capitalists] save, I say, that they promote industry and production, and that this increase of production is distributed in the most advantageous manner to the public.
    Libertarian Class Analysis, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Jun 2006
    Examines the class analysis of Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer and Augustin Thierry and its basis on the work of J. B. Say, drawing on writings by Ralph Raico, Leonard Liggio, David M. Hart and Walter E. Grinder
    Marx ... placed owners of capital among the exploiters because of his labor theory of value (inherited from Adam Smith and David Ricardo): since the value of goods was equivalent to the socially necessary labor required to produce them, the profit and interest collected by "capitalists" must be extracted from workers' just rewards—hence their exploitation. If the labor theory of value fails and if exchange is fully voluntary, void of state privilege, then no exploitation occurs. (Marx's exploitation theory was later systematically refuted by the Austrian economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk.)
    The life and times of F.A. Hayek, who explained why political liberty is impossible without economic liberty, by Jim Powell, 2000
    Lengthy biographical essay, with extensive quotes; alternate version of "The Worst on Top" chapter of The Triumph of Liberty (2000)
    [E]scalating regulatory burdens on free markets were due, in part, to the view that untrammelled capitalism generated tremendous wealth while impoverishing millions. In 1954, Hayek gathered work of economic historians [into] Capitalism and the Historians ... Hayek explained, the 19th century Industrial Revolution enabled millions to survive ... Hayek concluded that "... only after its beneficial effects had come to be widely noticed did the economists later undertake to explain the connection and to argue for the removal of the remaining barriers to commercial freedom."
    Mises: Defender of Freedom, by George Reisman, Mises Daily, 29 Sep 2006
    Written on the 125th anniversary of his birth, describes several of Mises' contributions to economics theory and other areas, along with some of Reisman's personal reminiscences
    The leading argument of the socialists was that the institutions of capitalism served the interests merely of a handful of rugged "exploiters" and "monopolists" and operated against the interests of the great majority of mankind ... Mises challenged everyone's basic assumption. He showed that capitalism operates in the material self-interests of all, including the non-capitalists—the so-called proletarians. In a capitalist society, Mises showed, privately owned means of production serve the market. The physical beneficiaries of the factories and mills are all who buy their products.
    Module 5: Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (Part II)
    Fifth module of the Cato Home Study Course, includes link to listen or download audio program (2:34:19), questions and suggested readings
    To overcome the natural poverty of mankind, Smith emphasized, there must be growth in the capital stock. Capital accumulation changes the ratio of labor to capital, meaning that an additional unit of labor can produce more wealth than before, thus raising the living standards of the working masses of the population. Those who are concerned about poverty must be concerned about increasing the stock of capital ... As Adam Smith and subsequent generations of economists have shown, the free market is probably the most humanitarian institution the human race has ever produced.
    Related Topic: Adam Smith
    Objectivist Ethics in the Information-Age Economy, by Nathaniel Branden, Navigator, Feb 2001
    After reviewing human progress, from hunter to farmer to laborer to thinker, argues that what he calls "Objectivist ethics" are more relevant to current society
    The Industrial Revolution, the introduction of machinery into the process of production, was the expression of human intelligence now placed in the service of improving the conditions of material existence. The capitalist system that emerged with it was characterized by free markets and open competition, in which goods and services were produced for profit, labor was performed for wages, and the means of production and distribution were privately owned ... With ... the increasing emergence of merchants, shopkeepers, ... entrepreneurs, a number of shifts in people's consciousness took place ...
    On Equality and Inequality, by Ludwig von Mises, Modern Age, 1961
    Examines the premise that "all men are created equal" and some possible as well as purported conclusions
    The market economy—capitalism—radically transformed the economic and political organization of mankind ... While under precapitalistic conditions superior men were the masters ..., under capitalism the more gifted and more able have no means to profit from their superiority other than to serve to the best of their abilities the wishes of the majority of the less gifted ... The entrepreneurs, capitalists, and landowners who fail to satisfy in the best possible and cheapest way the most urgent of the not yet satisfied wishes of the consumers are forced to go out of business ...
    Rand, Ayn (1905-1982), by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical and bibliographical essay, also examining Rand's relationships with several leading thinkers
    For Rand, the "trader principle," giving value for value, is the only appropriate social maxim. Because human beings must be free to pursue the values that sustain their own lives, the doctrine of individual rights is indispensable to ensure freedom within a social context ... Because capitalism, in her view, was based on the "trader principle" and on the principle of nonaggression (i.e., that no human being should attain values by initiating the use of force against others), she maintained that it was the only social system consonant with a genuinely human existence.
    A Real Free Market Benefits Workers, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Nov 2006
    Discusses The State of Working America: 2006/2007, a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and arguments from both progressives and their opponents as to whether workers are losing ground in spite of increased productivity
    For EPI the system isn't working fairly. But what system is that? EPI would probably say "capitalism." Most of its ideological opponents would probably agree. Among people who favor capitalism, the most common response to the EPI study was the same as it has been to similar past studies ... People inclined to dislike capitalism tend to embrace the bleak reports. People inclined to favor capitalism look for data that paint a different picture. That isn't hard to do. Any economic situation is complex, ensuring that you can find statistics and time series to support your predilections.
    A Reviewer Remembered: John Chamberlain 1903-1995, by Edmund A. Opitz, The Freeman, Jun 1995
    Memorial and biographical essay
    John's The Roots of Capitalism (1959) explained simply in his elegant prose how the capitalistic economic system functions and how economic freedom encourages entrepreneurs and increases the well-being of all. In the early 1960s, John wrote a series of articles for Fortune about various industrial firms and business tycoons. Writing these articles ... led John to realize how much these able, far-seeing men had been maligned and falsely attacked by the ideologues of the left. These articles were published as John’s story of American capitalism, The Enterprising Americans (1963, 1991).
    The Road Ahead, by John T. Flynn, The Freeman, Oct 1995
    Excerpted from Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays of John T. Flynn (1995); original article published in the Feb 1950 Reader's Digest as a condensation of Flynn's 1949 book
    We must ... begin planning to make our free system of private enterprise operate at its fullest capacity. Since 1933 the Government has waged relentless war upon the capitalist system—at first ignorantly, but recently with a definite design ... The man who runs a business has been pilloried as a criminal, and the Government has taken measures to prevent him from accumulating those savings which make expansion possible. It has held him up to public scorn and hatred. It has taxed away his savings, and it has so choked the streams through which savings flow into investment that our system is wilting away.
    Related Topics: Liberty, Socialism
    The Sanctity of Private Property, Part 2, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Jan 1991
    Contrasts the attitudes of 20th century American citizens towards international trade and the oil business to citizens in communist countries, the former believing they live under a "private property" system which is not socialistic in nature
    Americans honestly believe that the American system of "free enterprise" has prevailed in the battle of "capitalism" vs. socialism; and they believe that the world should now simply copy the "private property" system of the American people ... [W]hile proclaiming the superiority of the American "free enterprise" system over socialist systems in which governments maintain extensive controls ..., the American people approve of these same socialist principles ... [O]f course, they do so under the rubric of the American "private property" system rather than under the American "socialist" system.
    Schumpeter, Joseph (1883-1950), by Thomas M. Humphrey, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical and bibliographical essay
    Schumpeter pushed one big idea all his life: that capitalism means growth and growth requires innovation. His most original book, The Theory of Economic Development (1912), states for the first time his view that capitalism is the system that delivers faster growth and higher living standards than any other system, albeit in a disruptive, jerky, anxiety-producing fashion. Like a perpetual motion machine, capitalism generates its own momentum internally without the need of outside force. Even technological change ... is treated by Schumpeter as a purely endogenous matter ...
    Socialism and Medicine, Part 2, by William L. Anderson, Freedom Daily, Jun 2008
    Examines the economics of medical care in the United States, including the influence of third-party payers and comparisons to medical care in Canada
    The owners of the MRI devices in Allegany County earn an income from those devices, which obviously cost more than a million dollars apiece. Thus, as long as it is profitable to the owners to purchase and employ them, they will do so ... In a capitalist system, such decisions are made within the nexus of economic calculation, in which one makes economic choices based on the prospect of profit. For example, if it could be shown that a new MRI or CAT scan could have a good return on investment, it would make sense for a medical center to purchase such a device.
    Socialized Medicine in a Wealthy Country, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 2 Dec 2006
    Discusses the view of socialized medicine held by left-socialists, examining the problems that existed in Soviet-controlled countries as well as current U.S. problems, and urges a "complete separation of health and state"
    [L]et's say that we can show that under a capitalist health market, the poor will be better off in absolute terms. I doubt ... that this will satisfy the true socialist ... [T]he socialist is not persuaded by the argument that the poor will be richer under capitalism because they are aware that inequality will continue to exist under capitalism ... We need an economic system that can calculate the best use of resources. It requires the division of labor and a complex capital structure for products to reach a general market ... [W]ithout capitalism, medical services cannot reach the multitudes.
    Thanksgiving the first Libertarian holiday, by Matthew A. Givens, The Crimson White, 19 Nov 2003
    Explains how and why the Pilgrims of Plymouth colony turned from the socialist requirements of the Mayflower Compact to a capitalistic approach
    The harvests of 1621 and 1622 were adequate enough ... but that did not last. Deaths from malnutrition continued ... After the poor harvest of 1622, the colony brainstormed for a way to raise more corn and obtain a better crop. The solution, like the Thanksgiving story told today, was simple. In 1623, Bradford "gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit." The socialistic experiment ... was abandoned and replaced with capitalism. That turned the colonists away from failure and forward into success and growth.
    Related Topics: Socialism, Thanksgiving
    The Top 25 Liberty Songs, by Bill Winter, Libertarian Party News, Aug 2001
    List of 25 "Liberty's Best Songs" chosen from over 200 suggestions, each with a short summary and highlighted lyrics, and a supplementary list of 25 runners-up
    I think the lyrics speak for themselves as to why ["Capitalism"] best exemplifies the spirit of liberty: "There's nothing wrong with Capitalism / There's nothing wrong with free enterprise / Don't try to make me feel guilty / I'm so tired of hearing you cry / There's nothing wrong with making some profit / If you ask me, I'll say it's just fine / There's nothing wrong with wanting to live nice / I'm so tired of hearing you whine / About the revolution / Bringin' down the rich / When was the last time you dug a ditch, baby?" We are the only party who unabashedly supports capitalism ...
    What Is the Enemy?, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Apr 2006
    Discusses why corporatism, also known as state capitalism or political capitalism, is the "the great institutional threat to liberty"
    If capitalism means feudalism (stealing land from peasants), virtually forced labor in factories and mines, and wholesale violations of civil liberties (including torture), who would want any part of it? Similarly, if capitalism at home means a system rigged in favor of cartelized industries and a nearly prohibitive regulatory/tax morass for small and would-be competitors, who needs it? In other words, U.S. policy for years has made anti-capitalism appealing to millions of people at home and abroad by associating capitalism with corporatism and imperialism.
    W(h)ither Public Schools?, by Sheldon Richman, Separating School & State, 1994
    Chapter 1, made available online on 19 May 2004 to celebrate the tenth publication anniversary; discusses how even mild "public school" reforms are treated as "deadly threats", why a new vision is needed and the role of the family in educating children
    Contrary to Gilliam, capitalism has a central role in education. Facilitating education involves the provision of products and services. If we have learned anything from the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, it is that nothing can outperform the private economy in the delivery of goods and services ... Private enterprise is activity that must attract and please willing customers. Government is force. That difference explains much of what goes on in the world. The choice in education, as in so much else, is between a system that respects people and one that does not.
    Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism? [PDF], by Robert Nozick, Cato Policy Report, Jan 1998
    Posits that "wordsmith" (as opposed to "numbersmith") intellectuals often resent capitalism because the market society does not reward them as their schooling did
    A capitalist society is peculiar in that it seems to announce that it is open and responsive only to talent, individual initiative, personal merit ... Despite the created expectation, a capitalist society rewards people only insofar as they serve the market-expressed desires of others; it rewards in accordance with economic contribution, not in accordance with personal value. However, it comes close enough to rewarding in accordance with value ... Capitalist societies reward individual accomplishment or announce they do, and so they leave the intellectual, who considers himself most accomplished, particularly bitter.
    Related Topics: Free Market, Socialism, Society
    Why You Can't Just "Reject" Capitalism, by Michael Munger, 15 May 2016
    Examines the contents of a Washington Post article headlined "Majority of Millennials Now Reject Capitalism, Poll Shows" and counters with an example from a Syrian refugee in Jordan
    The notion of profit and loss, explained beautifully by Ludwig von Mises, is what drives capitalism. The usual definition of "private ownership of the means of production," is a diversion. The point is that producers get paid if—but only if—they produce more value for consumers than the production uses up in resources. Everyone gets a benefit:
    • Labor, owners of machines, and sellers of other inputs all get paid.
    • Consumers only buy if the price is less than what they as individuals value the product (Subjective value, anyone?).
    Only if there is something left over does the producer get paid.
    Related Topic: Socialism
    The Yin Yang of Value Creation and Value Capture, by Bill Frezza, 18 May 2009
    Contrasts collectivist vs. laissez-faire ideologues and their views on the relationship between value creation and capture
    The lack of acknowledgment [by collectivists] that wealth is not prima-facie evidence of theft and that you can only distribute value that someone has been motivated to create is the sort of willful ignorance that drives laissez-faire capitalists crazy ... One the other hand, do you think laissez-faire capitalists will ever openly acknowledge that financial intermediaries can sometimes become wizards at disproportionately capturing value created by others, even to the point of milking asset bubbles until they burst and crater the economy?


    UpdCapitalism For Kids, by Carl Helstrom, The Freeman, Jul 1988
    Concise review of Karl Hess' Capitalism for Kids (1987) concluding with "I wish [this book] had been around when I was a kid"
    [Hess] deals with the philosophical and practical problems of society and presents capitalism—the free market, private property system—as the best solution ... The capitalistic system is best, he says, because it encourages people to be open to new ideas, to be ready to change, and to be able to make choices which, from an economic perspective, are beneficial for all. In such a society each person is responsible for his or her actions and is encouraged to practice honesty, integrity, and fairness—aware that such actions foster practical and material success.
    Related Topics: Children, Karl Hess
    Liberty Against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr., by Doug Bandow, The Freeman, Jun 1995
    Review of Liberty Against Power (1994), a collection of Roy Childs' "best writings and speeches", edited by Joan Kennedy Taylor
    In a prize-winning essay presented at the Mont Pelerin Society, Roy emphasizes the importance of defending the morality of capitalism. Market economies long ago won the "bathtub" test by providing better bathtubs, but, in Roy's view, that doesn't provide a sufficiently solid ground for the market's defense. Warns Roy: "If wider philosophical issues are ignored, then we run the risk of seeing not only liberty disintegrate before our eyes, but the very foundations of civilization itself. And from that, recovery may not even be possible."
    The Nightmare of the New Deal, Part 1, by George Leef, Freedom Daily, Dec 2007
    Review of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (2007) by Amity Shlaes; introduction and focus on the "bad guys"
    If you ask a random sample of Americans who know ... something about U.S. history to discuss the twin subjects of the Great Depression and the New Deal, most will say something like this: "The Depression hit the country because capitalism has a tendency to sometimes collapse ..." That view is not just mistaken—it's a key component of the statist mythology in America ... With her new book, The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes has dealt a shattering blow to that mythology. Her lucid and highly readable book leaves the reader with the understanding that capitalism got a bum rap in the 1930s ...


    Interview with the Vamp: Why Camille Paglia hates affirmative action, defends Rush Limbaugh, and respects Ayn Rand, by Camille Paglia, Virginia Postrel, Reason, Aug 1995
    Topics discussed include: NOW, affirmative action, the Clintons, libertarianism, capitalism, academic administrators, conservatives, Rush Limbaugh, television, Christina Hoff Sommers vs. Naomi Wolf, institutions, homosexuality, nostalgia and Ayn Rand
    Paglia: In the first chapter of Sexual Personae, I made a defense of capitalism. I feel that capitalism has a very bad press with the pseudo-leftists who clog our best college campuses and that in point of fact capitalism has produced modern individualism and feminism. Modern capitalism has allowed the birth of the independent woman who is no longer economically dependent on her husband. I despise the sneering that our liberal humanists do about capitalism even while they enjoy all of its pleasures and conveniences. I just despise it.
    September 11 and the Anti-Capitalistic Mentality: An Interview with Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., for, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Myles Kantor, FrontPage Magazine, 12 Mar 2002
    Discusses the insights of Mises' The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality particularly with regard to the attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 Sep 2001
    Rockwell: ... [M]ost intellectuals hate commercial culture ... [T]he glory of capitalism is that it permits you to choose what to consume and what not to consume. If intellectuals prefer the music of Anton Webern to Britney Spears, fine. Tower Records offers both ... They are appalled that capitalism permits a B-school dropout to become a billionaire while they scrape by for a measly raise when promoted from assistant to associate professor ... The watchwords of capitalism are persuasion and contract. Buying and selling is a cooperative act. No one ever forced a Parisian to eat a Big Mac.
    Walk for Capitalism: An Interview with Prodos, The Gypsy King of Capitalism, by Vince Miller, Freedom Network News, Sep 2001
    Topics include Prodos' background and philosophy of life, his influences, the Walk for Capitalism and his future plans
    Prodos: ... Only under laissez faire capitalism do creative people have a chance. Capitalism is the system of the mind ... Walk For Capitalism is the first ever global rally FOR Capitalism ... We've also set up the "Capitalism Awards" (Formally known as the "The Annual International Freedom & Prosperity Awards") which will be presented every year in every city to the individual who has done most to promote freedom and prosperity and/or who, through their actions most gloriously embodies the spirit of Capitalism. And "Capitalism Day" ... This will occur every year on the first Sunday of December.
    Related Topic: Ayn Rand


    The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality
        by Ludwig von Mises, 1956
    Partial contents: The Social Characteristics of Capitalism and the Psychological Causes of its Vilification - The Ordinary Man's Social Philosophy - Literature Under Capitalism - The Noneconomic Objections to Capitalism - "Anticommunism" versus Capitalism
    Capitalism and Freedom
        by Milton Friedman, 1962
    Partial contents: The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom - The Role of Government in a Free Society - The Control of Money - International Financial and Trade Arrangements - Fiscal Policy - The Role of Government in Education
    • ISBN 0226264203: Hardcover, University Of Chicago Press, 40th anniv edition, 2002
    • ISBN 0226264017: Paperback, University Of Chicago Press, 2nd edition, 1982
    • ISBN 0226264211: Paperback, University Of Chicago Press, 40th anniv edition, 2002
    Capitalism for Kids: Growing Up to Be Your Own Boss
        by Karl Hess, 1987
    Partial contents: Money and You - What Kind of Person Are You? - Capitalism and Other Isms - The Wonderful World of Work - Your Friend, The Computer - The Family That Works Together - Investing Time and Dollars - Are You a Volunteer?
    Related Topic: Children
    Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
        by Nathaniel Branden ("Common Fallacies About Capitalism" and "Alienation"), Alan Greenspan, Robert Hessen, Ayn Rand, 1946
    Essays by Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan and Robert Hessen; partial list: What is Capitalism? - Gold and Economic Freedom - The Anatomy of Compromise - Conservatism: An Obituary - The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus - The Nature of Government
    How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present
        by Thomas DiLorenzo, 2004
    Partial contents: What Is Capitalism? - Anticapitalism - How Capitalism Saved the Pilgrims - America's Capitalist Revolt - Highways of Capitalism - How Capitalism Enriched the Working Class - The Truth About the "Robber Barons" - Antitrust Myths
    The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
        by Hernando de Soto Polar, 2000
    Contents: The Five Mysteries of Capital - The Mystery of Missing Information - The Mystery of Capital - The Mystery of Political Awareness - The Missing Lessons of U.S. History - The Mystery of Legal Failure - By Way of Conclusion


    Song written by Dan Elfman, performed by Oingo Boingo


    Is Capitalism Part of the Answer? - 04 - David Graeber speaks, by David Graeber, 3 Nov 2014
    Part of the Putney Debates 2014: professor David Graeber of the London School of Economics gives the opposing view

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Capitalism" as of 23 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.