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Capitalism is an economic system comprised of the following key components:

  • private production ownership
  • profit as a primary motivation for most economic activity
  • allocation of production resources based on free market demands rather than centralized decisionmaking

More specific definitions:


Capitalism is the astonishing belief that the nastiest motives of the nastiest men somehow or other work for the best results in the best of all possible worlds.

John Maynard Keynes (WikiQuote)

Slide from "History of Economic Thought" presentation by Peter Joseph, 2013-03-17:

  1. Market-Based Production/Distribution: Commodity production is based around interrelationships that usually do not involve direct personal interactions between producers and consumers. Supply and demand is mediated by a mechanism called the "Market".
  2. Private Ownership of Production Means: This means that society grants to private persons the right to dictate how the raw materials, tools, machinery, and buildings necessary for production can be used.
  3. Decoupling of Ownership and Labor: "Capitalists", by historical definition, own the means of production, but yet have no obligation to contribute to production itself physically. Everything is produced by the Laborers, who, in effect, only own their own labor itself, is owned by the Capitalist, by legal authority.
  4. A Self-Maximizing Incentive assumed: Individualistic, competitive and acquisitive interests are necessary for the successful functioning of Capitalism since a constant pressure to consume and expand is needed to avoid recessions, depressions, and other negatives.


  1. Property and
  2. the Labor Theory of Value
  3. Utilitarianism and
  4. the Utility Theory of Value
  5. The "Invisible Hand" metaphysic and
  6. Conclusion that Classes, Imbalance and Suffering is Inevitable