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Capitalism

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Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit.

In economics and sociology, the means of production are physical, non-human inputs used for the production of economic value, such as facilities, machinery, tools, infrastructural capital and natural capital.

An economic system is a system of production, resource allocation, and distribution of goods and services within a society or a given geographic area.

Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities.

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2

Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets.

Capital accumulation is the dynamic that motivates the pursuit of profit, involving the investment of money or any financial asset with the goal of increasing the initial monetary value of said asset as a financial return whether in the form of profit, rent, interest, royalties or capital gains.

In economics, a price system is a component of any economic system that uses prices expressed in any form of money for the valuation and distribution of goods and services and the factors of production.

Wage labour is the socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer, where the worker sells their labour power under a formal or informal employment contract.

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3

In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by the owners of the factors of production in financial and capital markets, and prices and the distribution of goods are mainly determined by competition in the market.

Competition is, in general, a contest or rivalry between two or more organisms, animals, individuals, economic groups or social groups, etc., for territory, a niche, for resources, goods, for mates, for prestige, recognition, for awards, for group or social status, or for leadership and profit.

A market economy is an economic system in which the decisions regarding investment, production and distribution are guided by the price signals created by the forces of supply and demand.

A capital market is a financial market in which long-term debt or equity-backed securities are bought and sold.

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Economists, political economists, and historians have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice.

A historian is a person who researches, studies, and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it.

An economist is a practitioner in the social science discipline of economics.

5

These include laissez-faire or free market capitalism, welfare capitalism, and state capitalism.

State capitalism is an economic system in which the state undertakes commercial economic activity, and where the means of production are organized and managed as state-owned business enterprises, or where there is otherwise a dominance of corporatized government agencies or of publicly listed corporations in which the state has controlling shares.

A free market is a system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and consumers, in which the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority.

Laissez-faire is an economic system in which transactions between private parties are free from government interference such as regulations, privileges, tariffs, and subsidies.

6

Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition, and state-sanctioned social policies.

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The degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism; the extent to which different markets are free, as well as the rules defining private property, are matters of politics and policy.

A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes.

8

Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies, which combine elements of free markets with state intervention, and in some cases economic planning.

A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of market economies with elements of planned economies, free markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise.

Economic planning is a mechanism for the allocation of resources between and within organizations based on an iterative procedure to solving a constrained maximization problem.

9

Market economies have existed under many forms of government, in many different times, places, and cultures.

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The development of capitalist societies, however, marked by a universalization of money-based social relations, a consistently large and system-wide class of workers who must work for wages, and a capitalist class which dominates control of wealth and political power, developed in Western Europe in a process that led to the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution, now also known as the First Industrial Revolution, was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840.

Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a particular country or socio-economic context, or is easily converted to such a form.

Western Europe is the region comprising the western part of Europe.

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Capitalist systems with varying degrees of direct government intervention have since became dominant in the Western world and continue to spread.

The Western world or the West is a term usually referring to different nations, depending on the context, most often including at least part of Europe.

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Capitalism has been criticized for establishing power in the hands of a minority capitalist class that exists through the exploitation of a working class majority; for prioritizing profit over social good, natural resources, and the environment; and for being an engine of inequality and economic instabilities.

The working class are the people employed for wages, especially in manual-labour occupations and in skilled, industrial work.

Natural resources are resources that exist without actions of humankind.

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Supporters believe that it provides better products through competition, creates strong economic growth, yields productivity and prosperity that greatly benefits society, as well as being the most efficient system known for allocation of resources.

A society is a group of people involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.

Economic growth is the increase in the inflation-adjusted market value of the goods and services produced by an economy over time.

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