From wikipedia:
Quote:Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for profit, usually in competitive markets. There is no consensus on the precise definition of capitalism, nor on how the term should be used as a historical category. There is, however, little controversy that private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit in a market, and prices and wages are elements of capitalism. The designation is applied to a variety of historical cases, varying in time, geography, politics and culture.

Karl Marx provided a differentia specifica for capitalism: People sell their labouring-power to a buyer, not to satisfy the personal needs of the buyer, but to augment the buyer's capital.

Other writers define capitalism as a system in which all the means of production are privately owned, and some define it more loosely as one in which merely "most" are in private hands. Ideology further complicates the definition. Classical liberals such as Mises, Rand, and Rothbard define capitalism as a market system with no interference by States (laissez faire). Some define capitalism as a system governed by capital accumulation regardless of the legal ownership titles.

It seems that with the crises striking it recently (financial crisis) and some of the responses to the crises (impact of Arab Spring), capitalism may be in trouble.

Any thoughts on capitalism? Is it a sustainable/good/fair system?
Capitalism has far surpassed the successes of any former mode of production and even the masthead of communism, Karl Marx understood that as it is evident in his "Communist Manifesto." I think capitalism is here to stay at least in the 21st century for quite some time. Can a post-capitalist society exist? Perhaps. But I wouldn't count on it. I have bittersweet relationship with capitalism. Of course, it's unlikely we'd be posting on this forum had it not been for the developments of the internet which were commercially and publicly supplanted into our social sphere by, capitalism. But, it's corporate "avatar" with its host of oligarchs as present throughout much of the world is certainly a problem. Capitalism creates an ideological construct of society which is well imprinted into culture. To ever get rid of that, would need merciless questioning and a nihilistic sort of critical thinking which has a political purpose. With the failure of the left, I wouldn't count on that either. I think you should check out the economist Paul Krugman's Keynesian alternatives which are partially being implemented in Obama's "New New Deal." But, the most important economist to read these days from my limited understanding of the subject, would be the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter who, contrary to what you may think, belonged not to the Austrian School but rather the Walrasian one.

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