Business: The Many Coats of Capitalism

Etymologically, "capitalism" implies no more than a system that stresses the accumulation and use of capital—and all forms of economic organization do that. Some free-enterprisers even shun the word because it was popularized by Karl Marx and other socialist thinkers as a name for a system that they were attacking, and it retains a pejorative flavor. Adam Smith never mentioned capitalism in any of his works; he preferred the term natural order.

Still, the essentials of capitalism are clear. The touchstone is private ownership of most industry. A necessary corollary is that most production and services are motivated by the drive...

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