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Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, private property, property rights recognition, voluntary exchange, and wage labor. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investments are determined by owners of wealth, property, or ability to maneuver capital or production ability in capital and financial markets—whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.

Economists, historians, political economists and sociologists have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free-market capitalism, state capitalism and welfare capitalism. Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition and state-sanctioned social policies. The degree of competition in markets and the role of intervention and regulation as well as the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism. The extent to which different markets are free and the rules defining private property are matters of politics and policy. Most of the existing capitalist economies are mixed economies that combine elements of free markets with state intervention and in some cases economic planning.

Market economies have existed under many forms of government and in many different times, places and cultures. Modern capitalist societies developed in Western Europe in a process that led to the Industrial Revolution. Capitalist systems with varying degrees of direct government intervention have since become dominant in the Western world and continue to spread. Economic growth is a characteristic tendency of capitalist economies. (Full article...)

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Norwich Market from Gentlemans Walk.jpg
Norwich Market (also known as Norwich Provision Market) is an outdoor market consisting of around 200 stalls in central Norwich, England. Founded in the latter part of the 11th century to supply Norman merchants and settlers moving to the area following the Norman conquest of England, it replaced an earlier market a short distance away. It has been in operation on the present site for over 900 years.

By the 14th century, Norwich was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in England, and Norwich Market was a major trading hub. Control of, and income from, the market was ceded by the monarchy to the city of Norwich in 1341, from which time it provided a significant source of income for the local council. Freed from royal control, the market was reorganised to benefit the city as much as possible. Norwich and the surrounding region were devastated by plague and famine in the latter half of the 14th century, with the population falling by over 50%. Following the plague years, Norwich came under the control of local merchants and the economy was rebuilt. In the early 15th century, a Guildhall was built next to the market to serve as a centre for local government and law enforcement. The largest surviving mediaeval civic building in Britain outside London, it remained the seat of local government until 1938 and in use as a law court until 1985. (Full article...)

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Carl Menger (German: [ˈmɛŋɐ]; February 23, 1840 – February 26, 1921) was an Austrian economist and the founder of the Austrian School of economics. Menger contributed to the development of the theory of marginalism, (marginal utility), which rejected the cost-of-production theories of value, such as were developed by the classical economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Menger used his “Subjective Theory of Value” to arrive at what he considered one of the most powerful insights in economics: both sides gain from exchange. (Full article...)

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I have heard employers say that there was great danger that the masses of the people might become too well educated to be content in their useful and necessary occupations. It has required an effort upon my part to listen to this doctrine with patience. It is all wrong; I give it an unqualified contradiction. The trouble between capital and labour is just in proportion to the ignorance of the employer and the ignorance of the employed. The more intelligent the employer the better, and the more intelligent the employed the better. It is never education, it is never knowledge, that produces collision. It is always ignorance on the part of one or the other of the two forces. Speaking from an experience not inconsiderable, I make this statement. Capital is ignorant of the necessities and the just dues of labour, and labour is ignorant of the necessities and dangers of capital. That is the true origin of friction between them. More knowledge on the part of capital of the good qualities of those that serve it, and some knowledge upon the part of the men of the economic laws which hold the capitalists in their relentless grasp, would obviate most of the difficulties which arise between these two forces, which are indispensably necessary to each other. I hope that those of our men who possess that inestimable prize, the taste for reading, will make it a point to study carefully a few of the fundamental laws from which there is no escape, either on the part of capital or labour. If this library be instrumental in the slightest degree in spreading knowledge in this department, it will have justified its existence.
— Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919)
The Empire of Business , 1902

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Capitalism topics

Capitalism .. Private property .. Capitalist mode of production .. Laissez-faire .. Ludwig Von Mises .. Murray N. Rothbard .. Economic freedom .. Adam Smith .. Money .. Ronald Reagan .. American capitalism .. Criticisms of socialism .. Patent .. The Wealth of Nations .. Corporate capitalism .. Democratic capitalism .. Milton Friedman

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