Portal:Capitalism

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Portal:Capitalism

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Capitalism is an economic system and a mode of production in which trade, industries, and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned. Such private firms and proprietorships are usually operated for profit, but may be operated as private nonprofit organizations. Central characteristics of capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labour and, in some situations, fully competitive markets. In a capitalist economy, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which assets, goods, and services are exchanged.

The degree of competition, role of intervention and regulation, and scope of state ownership varies across different models of capitalism. Economists, political economists, and historians have taken different perspectives in their analysis of capitalism and recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free market capitalism, corporatism, crony capitalism, welfare capitalism, "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, is a matter of politics and policy. Many states have a mixed economy, which combines elements of both capitalism and centrally planned economies. Capitalism has existed under many forms of government, in many different times, places, and cultures. Following the demise of feudalism, mixed capitalist systems became dominant in the Western world and continue to spread.

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Norwich Market from Gentlemans Walk.jpg
Norwich Market (also known as Norwich Provision Market) is an outdoor market consisting of around 200 stalls in central Norwich, England. Founded in the latter part of the 11th century to supply Norman merchants and settlers moving to the area following the Norman conquest of England, it replaced an earlier market a short distance away. It has been in operation on the present site for over 900 years.

By the 14th century, Norwich was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in England, and Norwich Market was a major trading hub. Control of, and income from, the market was ceded by the monarchy to the city of Norwich in 1341, from which time it provided a significant source of income for the local council. Freed from royal control, the market was reorganised to benefit the city as much as possible. Norwich and the surrounding region were devastated by plague and famine in the latter half of the 14th century, with the population falling by over 50%. Following the plague years, Norwich came under the control of local merchants and the economy was rebuilt. In the early 15th century, a Guildhall was built next to the market to serve as a centre for local government and law enforcement. The largest surviving mediaeval civic building in Britain outside London, it remained the seat of local government until 1938 and in use as a law court until 1985.


Selected biography

Chester Irving Barnard (November 7, 1886 – June 7, 1961) was an American business executive, public administrator, and the author of pioneering work in management theory and organizational studies. His landmark 1938 book, The Functions of the Executive, sets out a theory of organization and of the functions of executives in organizations. The book has been widely assigned in university courses in management theory and organizational sociology. Barnard viewed organizations as systems of cooperation of human activity, and noted that they are typically short-lived. According to Barnard, organizations are generally not long-lived because they do not meet the two criteria necessary for survival: effectiveness and efficiency.


Selected quote

If competition is contrasted with energetic co-operation in unselfish work for the public good, then even the best forms of competition are relatively evil; while its harsher and meaner forms are hateful. And in a world in which all men were perfectly virtuous, competition would be out of place; but so also would be private property and every form of private right. Men would think only of their duties; and no one would desire to have a larger share of the comforts and luxuries of life than his neighbours. Strong producers could easily bear a touch of hardship; so they would wish that their weaker neighbours, while producing less should consume more. Happy in this thought, they would work for the general good with all the energy, the inventiveness, and the eager initiative that belonged to them; and mankind would be victorious in contests with nature at every turn. Such is the Golden Age to which poets and dreamers may look forward. But in the responsible conduct of affairs, it is worse than folly to ignore the imperfections which still cling to human nature.

History in general, and especially the history of socialistic ventures, shows that ordinary men are seldom capable of pure ideal altruism for any considerable time together; and that the exceptions are to be found only when the masterful fervour of a small band of religious enthusiasts makes material concerns to count for nothing in comparison with the higher faith.

— Alfred Marshall (1842 – 1924)
Principles of Economics , 1890

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