capitalism(redirected from Encyclopedia entries for Capitalism)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
The economic system in which the means of production is privately held. In capitalism, the most important means of production is money rather than land (as in feudalism) or labor (as in socialism). That is, the ability to raise and use money for the production of goods and services is more important than owning the land from which goods come, or the ability to work in order to create a good or service. As a result, government policies generally target the regulation (or not) of money and its uses rather than those of property and/or labor. While capitalism is often associated with laissez-faire policies, governments often involve themselves in capitalist countries. The appropriate amount of government intervention in a capitalist system remains hotly debated.