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capitalism

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noun cap·i·tal·ism \ˈka-pə-tə-ˌliz-əm, ˈkap-tə-, British also kə-ˈpi-tə-\

Simple Definition of capitalism

  • : a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of capitalism

  1. :  an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

Examples of capitalism in a sentence

  1. Capitalism is at once far too rational, trusting in nothing that it cannot weigh and measure, and far too little as well, accumulating wealth as an end in itself. —Terry Eagleton, Harper's, March 2005

  2. The United States has assumed a global burden—not just fighting terrorism and rogue states, but spreading the benefits of capitalism and democracy … —Brian Urquhart, New York Review Of Books, 9 Oct. 2003

  3. The city was then the great maw of American capitalism. —Christopher Hitchens, Atlantic, August 2002

  4. I am not the first to point out that capitalism, having defeated Communism, now seems to be about to do the same to democracy. The market is doing splendidly, yet we are not, somehow. —Ian Frazier, On The Rez, 2000

  5. Even Cuba's famed health-care system has been unable to resist the siren song of capitalism. The Frank Pais Hospital … now offers “for pay” surgery to foreigners. —Ann Louise Bardach, Vanity Fair, March 1995



Did You Know?

Capital is wealth—that is, money and goods—that's used to produce more wealth. Capitalism is practiced enthusiastically by capitalists, people who use capital to increase production and make more goods and money. Capitalism works by encouraging competition in a fair and open market. Its opposite is often said to be socialism. Where a capitalist economy encourages private actions and ownership, socialism prefers public or government ownership and control of parts of the economy. In a pure capitalist system, there would be no public schools or public parks, no government programs such as Social Security and Medicare, and maybe not even any public highways or police. In a pure socialist system, there wouldn't be any private corporations. In other words, there's just about no such thing as pure capitalism or pure socialism in the modern world.

Origin and Etymology of capitalism

(see 3capital)


First Known Use: 1826


CAPITALISM Defined for Kids

capitalism

play
noun cap·i·tal·ism \ˈka-pə-tə-ˌliz-əm\

Definition of capitalism for Students

  1. :  a system under which the ownership of land and wealth is for the most part in the hands of private individuals





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