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an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.
Contemporary Examples

The first half of the book is concerned about the science of happiness and the morality of capitalism.
Arthur Brooks’ Road Noah Kristula-Green May 16, 2012

Having studied overseas, Kim Jong-un himself might even understand what capitalism is.
North Korean Refugees Have Mixed Emotions About Kim Jong-il’s Death B. J. Lee December 19, 2011

Ultimately, do most Americans believe more in capitalism or in labor?
Obama Pits Republicans Against the Work Ethic John Stoehr February 2, 2014

Without the carried interest rate, lobbyists will tell you with a straight face, the engine of capitalism would break down.
The Secret Billionaire Tax Break Randall Lane June 8, 2010

It’s capitalism, I suppose: if enough of your customers go crazy, you must go crazy with them.
Stock Up On Cash, Not Baked Beans David Frum May 7, 2012

Historical Examples

For another, there was no clear-cut distinction between the capitalism that owned newspapers and the capitalism that advertised.
The Free Press Hilaire Belloc

It is a race as to whether this peninsula will be captured by communism or capitalism.
Rosinante to the Road Again John Dos Passos

The “social question” is solved; at least we are upon the way to “social peace,” capitalism is saved, socialism is sloughed off.
Socialism and the Social Movement in the 19th Century Werner Sombart

His position was rather that Socialism must come, simply because capitalism could not last.
Socialism John Spargo

He begins to see that capitalism has its good points, after all.’
The Red Conspiracy Joseph J. Mereto

Also called free enterprise, private enterprise. an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, characterized by the freedom of capitalists to operate or manage their property for profit in competitive conditions Compare socialism (sense 1)

1854, “condition of having capital;” from capital (n.1) + -ism. Meaning “political/economic system which encourages capitalists” is recorded from 1872.

An economic and political system characterized by a free market for goods and services and private control of production and consumption. (Compare socialism and communism.)


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