"Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you." – William Blake (1757-1827) from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Capitalism - the origins and meaning of a phrase

"Capitalism," a term of disparagement coined by socialists in the mid-nineteenth century, is a misnomer for "economic individualism", which Adam Smith earlier called "the obvious and simple system of natural liberty" (Wealth of Nations). Economic individualism's basic premise is that the pursuit of self-interest and the right to own private property are morally defensible and legally legitimate. Its major corollary is that the state exists to protect individual rights. Subject to certain restrictions, individuals (alone or with others) are free to decide where to invest, what to produce or sell, and what prices to charge. There is no natural limit to the range of their efforts in terms of assets, sales, and profits; or the number of customers, employees, and investors; or whether they operate in local, regional, national, or international markets. - from Capitalism: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics | Library of Economics and Liberty:

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