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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.
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Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
By focusing, however, on the separation of social capital and the competition of capitals as the unique characteristics of capitalism in order to combat these arguments, Sweezy and Magdoff not only divert our attention from what is essential in "Soviet-type" economies but also obscure Marx's own argument and method of analysis.
These three characteristics of capitalism are what define it; and while their intensity may vary from time to time, they are ever present and constitute the very essence of the system.

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