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The formal definition of capitalism (provided by Dictionary.com) is an economic system in which investments in and ownership and of the means of production, distribution and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

The earliest form of capitalism, which was called merchantilism, originated in Rome, Middle East, and early Middle Ages.

Capitalism can also be defined as mercantilism due to the fact that they both have to do with distributing goods to receive a profit. (source)

external image capitalism-bound.jpgCapitalism is a social system which is based on recognition of individual rights. Under Capitalism, the state is separated from economics. It is also the system of political freedom. (Source.)






Capitalism is when a country or corporation owns a certain amount of profits that another country makes.
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Capitalism is a social system that depends on individual rights that include property rights that are all privately owned, meaning that capitalism is about individual gain and societal gain (economic growth). Individuals are free to pursue their own interests. From this comes the "class system". Class is more apparent in a capitalist society, i.e, "middle class".
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Capitalism is an economic system that is characterized by ownership of capital goods. Capitalism is the exchange of wealth. Privately owned companies produce and distribute their goods without any involvement from the government (free trade).
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Capitalism includes productive labor. Human work is necessary to produce good and distribute them, and instead of working for product, they were now working for pay. (source)
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Then comes the question, who founded, or came up with the idea of capitalism? That would be Adam Smith, who is considered the father of capitalism. "Adam Smith is known for his explanation of how rational self-interest and competition, operating in a social framework depending on adherence to moral obligations, can lead to economic prosperity and well-being." (source)

"The uniform, constant and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition, the principle from which public and national, as well as private opulence is originally derived, is frequently powerful enough to maintain the natural progress of things toward improvement, in spite both of the extravagance of government, and of the greatest errors of administration. Like the unknown principle of animal life, it frequently restores health and vigour to the constitution, in spite, not only of the disease, but of the absurd prescriptions of the doctor." - Adam Smith

"The earliest forms of capitalism—which we call "mercantilism"—originate in Rome, the Middle East, and the early Middle Ages. Mercantilism might be roughly defined as the distribution of goods in order to realize a profit".

Capitalism is a form on economic system where big industries and companies are owned by a small amount of people where other people work for that small amount of people . The people at the bottom of this system can hardly get to be at a more higher level in the system
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http://www.capitalism.org/faq/capitalism.htm