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Capitalism is an economic system in which trade, industry, and the means of production are privately owned and operated via profit and loss calculation (price signals) through the price system.<ref>"Capitalism" Oxford Dictionaries. "capitalism. 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." Retrieved 4 January 2013.</ref><ref>Chris Jenks. Core Sociological Dichotomies. "Capitalism, as a mode of production, is an economic system of manufacture and exchange which is geared toward the production and sale of commodities within a market for profit, where the manufacture of commodities consists of the use of the formally free labor of workers in exchange for a wage to create commodities in which the manufacturer extracts surplus value from the labor of the workers in terms of the difference between the wages paid to the worker and the value of the commodity produced by him/her to generate that profit." London, England, UK; Thousand Oaks, California, USA; New Delhi, India: SAGE. p. 383.</ref> Central characteristics of capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labour and, in some situations, fully competitive markets.<ref>Heilbroner, Robert L. "capitalism." Durlauf, Steven N.and Lawrence E. Blume, eds., The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. 2nd ed. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) doi:10.1057/9780230226203.0198</ref><ref>Louis Hyman and Edward E. Baptist (2014). American Capitalism: A Reader. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781476784311.</ref> In a capitalist economy, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which they exchange assets, goods, and services.<ref>"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"</ref>

The degree of competition, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism.<ref name="Modern Economics 1986, p. 54">Macmillan Dictionary of Modern Economics, 3rd Ed., 1986, p. 54.</ref> Economists, political economists, and historians 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, welfare capitalism, crony capitalism, corporatism, "third way" social democracy and state capitalism. Each model has employed varying degrees of dependency on free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition, and inclusion of state-sanctioned social policies.

The extent to which different markets are free, as well as the rules defining private property, become matters of politics and of policy. Many states have a mixed economy, which combines elements of both capitalism and centrally planned economics.<ref name="Stilwell"> Stilwell, Frank. “Political Economy: the Contest of Economic Ideas.” First Edition. Oxford University Press. Melbourne, Australia. 2002. </ref> Capitalism has existed under many forms of government, in many different times, places, and cultures.<ref name="Scott"/> Following the decline of mercantilism, mixed capitalist systems became dominant in the Western world and continue to spread.<ref name="mercantilism"></ref>

Capitalism sections
Intro  Etymology  Democracy  History  Characteristics  As a mode of production  Wage labour  Systemic weaknesses  Capital accumulation  Supply and demand  Capitalism and war  Types of capitalism  Role of government  Criticism  Economic freedom  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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