Definitions of Capitalism



The Guardian had an article predicting the end of capitalism. I was curious which definition of capitalism the author was using. The two generally accepted definitions are: a political system based on the free market, or an economic system based on factories. Using the latter definition, socialism is sometimes called state capitalism.

I was about halfway through the article when I figured out he wasn't using either. His definition was an economy based on buying and selling. His point was that we are moving towards an information economy and information tends to have prices approaching zero, like water at a water fountain. Examples of a free information economy would be Wikipedia, The Gutenberg Project, YouTube, and free online courses.

We need a better set of words. For the political definition of capitalism, we should use free market, laissez-faire, or minimal government. The antonym would be regulation, dirigisme, or statism.

For the economic definition, we should use industrialism, manufacturing economy, or materials economy. The antonym would be post industrial economy, communication economy, or information economy.

For the new definition, we should use price economy, scarcity economy, or limited economy. The antonym would be free economy, post scarcity economy, or limitless economy.

Posted 2019/October/24