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Debates Forum

  1. 08 Apr '15 23:56
    Would you agree that capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state?

    This is the definition the Google search returns.
  2. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    09 Apr '15 02:12
    Originally posted by JS357
    Would you agree that capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state?

    This is the definition the Google search returns.
    Not a good definition. A lot is hidden in the word "private" and "rather than the state" implies a false dichotomy.

    Capitalism is an political and economic system in which the state forces the poor to pay the rich in order to earn money. This is usually in the form of business overhead, property rent payments, interest etc.
  3. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    09 Apr '15 02:44
    Originally posted by JS357
    Would you agree that capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state?

    This is the definition the Google search returns.
    At capitalist economic system is not inherently controlled by anybody. It is not a political system at all.
  4. 09 Apr '15 05:27
    In modern political discourse, "capitalism" has become such a loaded term that it has lost any relevant meaning.
  5. 09 Apr '15 07:09
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    In modern political discourse, "capitalism" has become such a loaded term that it has lost any relevant meaning.
    Sortof like the word communism, or socialism. It's ironic really.
  6. 09 Apr '15 09:38 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    Would you agree that capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state?

    This is the definition the Google search returns.
    I see the word as generally referring to a system in which a livelihood is obtained via labour, whereas socialist implies that livelihood is given to members of a society merely for being members and not in proportion to their labour. Here I am including things like education and healthcare as part of livelihood.

    Of course most societies contain a mix of the two, and the words are often used to refer to other aspects of political and economic systems and I am not claiming my definition is the 'correct' one.

    In reality, a capitalist system usually results in some people having inherited wealth, and not all 'labour' is equal.
  7. 09 Apr '15 12:15
    Originally posted by JS357
    Would you agree that capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state?

    This is the definition the Google search returns.
    i would rather say "owned" instead of controlled
  8. 09 Apr '15 15:29
    Originally posted by JS357
    Would you agree that capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state?

    This is the definition the Google search returns.
    Capitalism is an economic system, but not necessarily a political one, which works best when combined with a laissez faire government (minimal political involvement). The political implications are added by its opponents who are in fact usually Statists who look at any economic system as controlled by the State.

    Lots of economists, and writers from Adam Smith forward, and even before him, have expressed views on capitalism, but the most consistent are those of Murray Rothbard, Hans Herman Hoppe, and Ayn Rand.
  9. 09 Apr '15 15:31
    Originally posted by sh76
    At capitalist economic system is not inherently controlled by anybody. It is not a political system at all.
    Point made, a bit less wordily than I did.
  10. 09 Apr '15 15:35
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Not a good definition. A lot is hidden in the word "private" and "rather than the state" implies a false dichotomy.

    Capitalism is an political and economic system in which the state forces the poor to pay the rich in order to earn money. This is usually in the form of business overhead, property rent payments, interest etc.
    Not political. Politicizing it makes it instead Fascism.
  11. 09 Apr '15 15:37
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    In modern political discourse, "capitalism" has become such a loaded term that it has lost any relevant meaning.
    This is the intent of those favoring controlled economic systems, political economies. Capitalism is the only laissez faire system, and it is the goal of collectivists to make it as similar to their systems as possible.
  12. 09 Apr '15 15:40
    Originally posted by C Hess
    Sortof like the word communism, or socialism. It's ironic really.
    Not ironic, but intentional.
  13. 09 Apr '15 15:59 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    In reality, a capitalist system usually results in some people having inherited wealth, and not all 'labour' is equal.
    I'm in the middle of reading Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. He makes the point in the second chapter, that demographic growth has a great deal of input into how much inherited wealth effects income distribution.

    Of course demographic growth has to do primarily with birth rates vs. deaths, as well as longevity. With large families, inherited wealth is less of a factor, simply because inheritances are divided into more, smaller slices. As birth rates diminish, in most Western countries to 1.5 or fewer, inherited wealth becomes more of a factor, although even then the previous generation's skill and ingenuity is not necessarily equaled by the following one. The two most fabulously wealthy Americans Gates and Buffet are adamant that they will not directly pass their wealth along to their children.

    To be sure those kids are advantaged by their parents, but why not? Don't all parents want to help their kids succeed? But nobody can guarantee it.
  14. 09 Apr '15 16:00
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I see the word as generally referring to a system in which a livelihood is obtained via labour, whereas socialist implies that livelihood is given to members of a society merely for being members and not in proportion to their labour. Here I am including things like education and healthcare as part of livelihood.

    Of course most societies contain a mix ...[text shortened]... st system usually results in some people having inherited wealth, and not all 'labour' is equal.
    In the 19th Century discussions between political economists, "capitalism" referred to the private ownership of the means of production, while "socialism" referred to common ownership of the means of production.

    Now we are 150 years further and anyone who has made the slightest effort in studying 20th Century history knows that a mixture of private and common ownership works best. The question just remains in the finer details of what (sub)sectors of the economy ought to be privately and which ought to be collectively owned, and how it should be put into practice.
  15. 09 Apr '15 16:14
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Now we are 150 years further and anyone who has made the slightest effort in studying 20th Century history knows that a mixture of private and common ownership works best. The question just remains in the finer details of what (sub)sectors of the economy ought to be privately and which ought to be collectively owned, and how it should be put into practice.
    This assertion ignores the fact that a pure laissez faire capitalist system hasn't been tried.