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Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private property ownership and private ownership of the means of production. Both individuals and companies compete for their own economic gain through the acquisition of capital and the employment of labor. Capitalism is based on the premise that government intervention in the economy should be minimized and that free enterprise, the forces of supply and demand, should determine the prices of goods and services and will ultimately maximize consumer satisfaction. The role of the state is to regulate and protect the public from the potential abuses of capitalism, which have historically ranged from slavery and apartheid to more contemporary monopolies, cartels, and financial fraud.

The principles of capitalism can be found in Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. Its ...

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