The word capitalism is now quite commonly used to describe the social system in which we now live

The word capitalism is now quite commonly used to describe the social system in which we now live

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The word capitalism is now quite commonly used to describe the social system in which we now live and exists in most countries of the world. In fact, capitalism is a relatively new social system. But what exactly does 'capitalism' mean? Under this system, the means for producing and distributing goods (the land, factories, technology, transport system etc) are owned by a small minority of people. We refer to this group of people as the capitalist class. The majority of people must sell their ability to work in return for a wage or salary (who we refer to as the working class.) The working class are paid to produce goods and services which are then sold for a profit. The profit is gained by the capitalist class because they can make more money selling what we have produced than we cost to buy on the labour market. In this sense, the working class are exploited by the capitalist class. The capitalists live off the profits they obtain from exploiting the working class whilst reinvesting some of their profits for the further accumulation of wealth. This class division is the essential feature of capitalism. It may be popular to talk about various other 'classes' existing such as the 'middle class', but it is the two classes defined here that are the key to understanding capitalism. It may not be exactly clear which class some relatively wealthy people are in. But there is no ambiguity about the status of the vast majority of the world's population. Members of the capitalist class certainly know who they are. In capitalism, the motive for producing goods and services is to sell them for a profit, not to satisfy people's needs. The products of capitalist production have to find a buyer, of course, but this is only incidental to the main aim of making a profit, of ending up with more money than was originally
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The word capitalism is now quite commonly used to describe the social system in which we now live

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