L. Bird pkeets at
Sat Jul 24 00:26:41 CDT 2004

>And, Ms. Keets needs to know that I'll take the definition of Capitalism
from a Harvard Phd'd professor in Economics over "" anyday.

<sigh>  This group certainly does like to squabble over definitions, doesn't 
it?  Anyhow, Mr. Economist,  here's what Campbell McConnell has to say about 
it.  (You remember McConnell, right?)  Hopefully this will clarify things to 
the satisfaction of at least some of us.  Notice that a free market system 
is not required by all capitalist systems.

Unfortunately, there is no neat and universally accepted definition of 
capitalism.  (Aha!)

Pure or laissez faire capitalism is characterized by the private ownership 
of resouces and the use of a system of markets and prices to coordinate and 
direct economic activity.  In such a system each participant is motivated by 
his or her own selfish interests...

The polar alternative to pure capitallism is the command economy or 
communism, characterized by public ownership of virtually all property 
resources and collective determination of economic decisions through central 
economic planning.

Authoritarian capitalism...the economy was subject to a high degree of 
governmental control and direction, but property was privately owned.

Market socialism is characterized by public ownership of resources coupled upon free markets to organize and coordinate economic 

Here's what McConnell has to say about the US's current economic system:

...Government plays an active role in our economy in promoting economic 
stability and growth, in providing certain goods and services which would be 
underproduced or not produced at all by the market system, in modifying the 
distribution of income and so forth.  In contrast to the wide dispersion of 
economic power among many small untis whcih characterizes pure capitalism, 
American capitalism has spawned powerfull economic orgainizations in the 
form of huge corporations and strong labor unions.  The ability of these 
power blocs to manipulate and destroy the functioning of the market system 
to their advantage provides a further reason for governmental involvement in 
the economy.


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