as capitalism is understood an economic system, which is characterised by private property at means of production as well as production for a market determining the price. The term was introduced to the German-speaking countries by Werner Sombart into the scientific discussion.

As capitalistic becomes furthera society designates, if the division of labor regulated by the market is dominating and structuring principle of this society. Production ways, which on slavery, rural Subsistenzwirtschaft or feudalen industrial conscriptions is created, are not called therefore capitalistic. Capitalism began with thatFar from trade in the outgoing Middle Ages and in Europe town economy relating to crafts replaced the Feudalismus and the civil. To the increasing development capitalism came since the industrialization in the 18.Jahrhundert.

Table of contents

word origin

Ethymologisch originally comes the word of lat. capitalis(Main), which comes again from caput (head). According to an interpretation originally „the capital was measured “after the size of the herds of cattle, thus after the number of heads in a cattle herd etc. In latin however “caput, capitalis” likewise already made oneMeaning change through, which is reconstructed in the German through „main “. „Summa capitalis “was the principal sum in accounts, from which then „capital “was to have developed. In Europe the words appeared „capitaliste “and „capitalisme “for the first time in 18. Century in France. In German that becameWord „to capitalism “, like many do not believe, from Marx or Engels imported, but it emerged only 1902 in Werner Sombarts „modern capitalism “and then 1904 in max of weberthe Protestant ethics and “the spirit” of capitalism “.

Approacheseconomiceconomics regulation

the capitalist gets by the net yield of its own capital funds the risk, which it took with the employment of its capital on itself, as well as the provisional renouncement of the invested capital paid off (Opportunitätskosten, see. also entrepreneur wages)- in quite different height (this depends both on its negotiation fate and on the not influenceable general price history on the job market and sales market ). It strives thus for the maximization of its yield on equity.

Capitalism and free-market economy

capitalism are asKey term marxism no neutral term, which is used therefore in the economic science and is not replaced by the not completely congruent and term of the free-market economy more extensively which can be understood. This generalization is however only as demarcation of the mostly socialist planned economy (Central administration economy) meaningfully and understandably. Otherwise can be quite differentiated between free-market economy and capitalism - there were markets already before the invention of the coined money.

Substantial elements

private property and decentralized decision

by private vested titles at means of production (capital) become thosePowers of decision of the policy to a large extent extracted and in markets decentralized, there each owner (capitalist) legally (not necessarily actually) his own planning has.

Private means of production become today only in rare cases directly from the owner, but by the majority from a person or finance company administers. Decides their managing director (manager) on behalf the remaining owners, what according to the principle aluminum agent theory to conflicts can lead. These interest conflicts between owners and managers are by clear legal and institutional basic conditions (Corporate Governance) limitedbecome.

Co-ordination by the market

the planning of the particular is coordinated by the market mechanism. The market is defined as the place of the trade, at the offer and demand one on the other meets. The exchange of supply and demand causes ideal-typically oneCo-ordination over the price, the quantity and the kind of the goods

of aspects of capitalistic Ökonomien

private sector

in capitalism are offered many services as economical goods on markets. Public one and/or. national services (so-called precaution for existence) and private free achievements are subjectthe pressure, into economical goods acted on markets to be likewise converted (Kommodifizierung). Examples are social services, culture and educational provisions.

Proponents of capitalism argue that only in this restaurant economics a certain life is possible, there only in capitalismall trade relations on voluntariness, and not on national obligation are based. This argument will represent particularly from trailers of the liberalism.

Critics do not object that purely altruistische behaviors are unprofitable after market laws, at the market tendentious to exist could, and in such a way in favor ofby maximization of profit strategies were displaced, just like human activities, which do not represent goods or services tradable inquired at the market and: The time used for it does not bring (a financial) profit, while the cost of living must be further covered. There is a strong tendency toRationalization of all areas of life, which were organized throughout regarding use and profitability. Everyone is to arrange the own life in this way according to the requirements of the market, „well sells itself “. Single fates often came thereby into the background. Critic of capitalismit demands therefore that the economy for humans existence must, in reverse, as it is alleged in capitalism the case.

Economic growth

capitalism is subjected to a change of economic situations and crises, has however historically regarded to enormous economic growth and prosperityfor broad social classes led. In individual epochs, regions and/or economic sectors came and/or. it comes however also to the decrease of the economy. The world economic crisis was particularly pronounced into the 1930er years. Critics of capitalism maintain that only the intervention of the State of one Collapse of the capitalistic Ökonomien prevents. From the view according to the free market oriented analyst crises are at all only released or strengthened by national interventions (fiscal policy , monetary policy, monetary policy).


the majority of the economists regards capitalism as a stable system,only by temporary economic crises one impair. However also by different critics the fall is prophesied or prognosticated to him:Marxist critics assume that, he is sometime terminated by increase in value accumulation and from this resulting monopoly formation intolerablly and inevitably by a revolution.

Technical progress

major item in addition: Technical progress

by the competition of the enterprises gives it for the market-focused producers the permanent obligation to improve their products and/or. to develop new products to optimize as well as procedures. This leads to investments in research andDevelopment (R&D, „research and development “) and in their consequence to always new techniques, if promise this paragraph. Use and dangers of many new techniques are discussed however very controversially, see for example nuclear power, Transrapid or genetic engineering. Alsothe consequences of general automation and Kybernetisierung are economically not assessable. Critics of this development (club OF Rome) argue that growth (even a growth, which would be directed by democracies) of a certain border at in principle the human societyDamage brings, about if a restaurant basis (D. h. goods production) for their part the environment lastingly destroys.


capitalism brought in the so-called industrial nations broad social classes to prosperity. Critics criticize however the unequal distribution of the prosperity. By balance mechanisms, like it those Social free-market economy plans, can the distribution be adjusted (see. Ordoliberalismus). An unequal distribution is not generally regarded however as negative, since capital, which collects itself in some hands, can be invested again, and there it above all an obligationin the direction of achievement it mean - contrary to many before-capitalistic societies, where wealth had enticed to achievement reduction, or where conceptions one braked „appropriate profit “(as in the handicraft organized in guilds) the technical progress.

Market domination

by the Automatisisierungproduction can large enterprises due to their size of company advantages more cheaply produce and thus smaller enterprises the market displace. Also on the markets, on which no technological market barriers exist (e.g. Lemonade) knows an enterprise (like Coca-Cola) by advertisement and mark politicsa dominating market position achieve. The development to monopolies takes place according to Karl Marx inevitably, it calls this centralization of the capital. Critics see the danger that dominating the market oligopolies and monopolies tend to superelevated prices as well as a Unterversorgung of the market, to z.B. in the Pharmaindustrie.


and persons free agreements can meet network architecture in capitalistic Ökonomien with one another (principle of the freedom of contract). The economics reacts to changes in the technology, to discoveries and to other new situations with the help of the companies andtheir management (their participants), which evaluates their arrangements again again among themselves. The control mechanisms of the economics seem accordingly to change and them information flows concerned again and again. Analyses of the networks and arrangements in capitalism have a degree of similarityto other networks, as for instance to the telephone system or Internet shown.


individuals the financial means for their living costs receive occupation in a capitalistic society by remunerated work on a job. Many different (relatives) become indirect over this acquisition workalong-financed. This can turn around, as soon as manpower is increasingly maschinisiert.

In the crises of the capitalistic societies it occurs frequently that humans do not find a job, thus nobody, which buys its offer of worker „“, about because in its surrounding field noneNeed is present, or because they are not determined to offer their worker for the price ordered by the enterprises (the payment).

In capitalistic national economies certain work, which does not require a special qualification, is offered often for low wages, as too smallare regarded, in order to be able to cover living costs of the worker. As way out therefore often nationally guaranteed minimum wages are regarded. However by it just like incentives financial by national indemnifications such as unemployment pay for accepting a badly paid work are reduced. AlsoTax rearrangement (of “above” after “down”) can diminish these incentives. All these means against-strive theoretical zero-unemployment, as more or less fair or fair are however often felt. National interferences are from reasons of the social justice and internal securityeven necessarily. They give an additional security and catch ill, old and weak society members, even if system-dependent certain unemployment is tolerated in this way.


by private vested titles at means of production (capital) the powers of decision are decentralized. Each owner(Capitalist) has its own planning. This is coordinated by the market mechanism. Critics criticize unknown and unchecked planning in the social yardstick: Due to the horizons of the planners limited by Unwissen and self-interest give it no general economiceconomics direction, no reliableeconomical forecasts. It is held out to that that nobody can plan better than the market, and referred to successes of market managing compared with central administration managing.

The thesis will represent connection

with democracy and peace of proponents of capitalism, capitalistic societiestended on a long-term basis to constitutional state and democracy, and they referred thereby to the democratic developments in Europe, America and parts of Asia. A fact is that democracies lead among themselves significantly less war as against Nichtdemokratien and than these among themselves. From thisit is altogether concluded that capitalism serves the peace. Contradictions in addition are however in differently restaurant economics like from John the May pool of broadcasting corporations Keynes, according to which armament and war actions are economic situation-promoting and capitalism therefore to restaurant economics slope.


Adam Smith

important theoretician of capitalism is a Scottish political economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith with its Hauptwerk „the prosperity of the nations “(1776). It justifies the self-interest as an important engine for prosperity and fair distribution and means that the self regularizationthe market by Gleichgewichtspreise more confidence earns („the invisible hand “). In its work „“it writes theory of the ethical feelings: „Defiance of the natural self craze and robbery greed that realms and although they have only their own comfort in the eye, although thatonly purpose, which they want to reach by the work all the thousands, which employ it, the satisfaction of their vain and unersättlichen longings is, nevertheless divides it nevertheless with the arms the yield of all improvements, which introduce it to the agriculture.They are led by an invisible hand to carry out almost the same distribution of the goods necessary for the life which would have come, if the earth had been distributed in equal parts under all their inhabitants, and so promotes them,without intending it to know without it and the means grant the interest of the society for the Vermehrung of the kind. As planning the earth under a small number of gentlemen and owners, distributed, there has it those, thoseshe apparently when her division turned into, but leave not forgotten and not completely.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Im Kapitalismus sind die Produktionsmittel Privateigentum der Kapitalisten
in capitalism are means of production private property of the capitalists

the term „of the capitalistic production way “became relevant from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels coined/shaped (as term they did not use “capitalism”). Each commodity has a double character, it is both exchange - and value in use (see also goods fetischismus). The Vermehrung of the capital is made by the exploitation of strange worker as Lohnarbeit,as the commodity worker is paid on the one hand in principle to its value, this value is however on the other hand systematically under the altogether again created value, since the workers do not obtain the value of production, but only as much, as they need, overto keep as workers. This is the value of the worker, whom the workers sell to the capitalists. The difference between original value (creation of value) and value of the worker is the increase in value - the attainable increase in value becomes however at the same time in relation toassigned capital (profit rate) „tendentious “less and less (see. Law of the tendentious case of the profit rate).

Marx meant, in view of its, how the capitalistic dynamics are driven in front by its own internal antagonism, is the last border of capitalism, the capitalistic,advancing productivity, the capital, i.e., err dance of its unconditional productivity spiral is in the long run nothing as a desperate escape forward, in order to escape from it inherent and it weakeningcontradiction “. Thisthe hour of the communist revolution is inevitable by the Proletariat.

Max weber

the sociologist max of webers set up the Protestant ethics in its book and the “spirit” of capitalism the thesis that capitalism in Europe for religious reasonsdeveloped and one - in the mental reflecting advancement of the reformation movement represents (see. „the Protestant Arbeitsethos “and the Protestant ethics generally). Since this was not durable for Japan, weber examined (functionally corresponding) the role of the Samurai.

Joseph Schumpeter

the political economist Joseph Schumpeter judged, „the machine capitalism “does not function not badly. Their drive is free employers; the straight success, which shows up also in monopolies, brings it however with itself that capitalism protects its own social structure, it andsupports, again and again destroyed and again established.
He saw it first as engine of the social development. However produce it increasingly a cutterhead miller of bureaucratic structures and one „crisis of the tax state “(by the state to weaken undertaking), which means its endcan, like also that the democracy. From Schumpeter also the idea of the cycle free-market economy comes.

To criticism at capitalism

see article capitalism criticism

of quotations

  • „I see in the near future a crisis up-pulling. In times of peace the financial power strikes booty from the nation, andin times of hostilities it colludes against it. It is more the-poetically than a monarchy, more impudently than an autocracy, more addicted than a bureaucracy. She slanders all those as people enemies, who question their method and throw light on their crimes.A time of the corruption in highest places will follow, and the financial power of the country will strive to extend their rule until the wealth is destroyed in the hands accumulated by few and the republic. “ Abraham Lincoln, US-Präsident, 21.November 1864
  • capitalism is inherent in a vice: The unequal distribution of the goods. Socialism however a virtue is inherent in: The even distribution of the misery.“- Sir vienna clay/tone Churchill (1874-1965), British journalist and late prime minister

see also


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