The Capitalist Society and Its Characteristics

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A capitalist society is the type of society that exists in the Western world, but in other parts of the world as well. In this type of society, capital assets are owned privately; services and goods are produced for profit. Although it has only gained majority in the 20rh century, capitalism has existed for a much longer time, and under various forms of government too. Depending on the levels of activity and the public control of capital, capitalism can take various forms, the most common of which are laissez-faire capitalism – prominent in agrarian societies -, welfare capitalism and state capitalism.

Capitalism, like many other forms of government, sounds very good in theory, because it allows individuals to gain as much wealth as it is legally possible for them. Unlike socialism, which encouraged the erasure of social strata, capitalism encourages it through fair play competition. But what takes place in theory can be very different from what takes place in practice, and people’s personal interests are often more important than general ones. This is pejoratively described as crony capitalism, and it defines a society where nepotism, corruption and greed dominate or monopolize the system, thus making it difficult or even impossible for others to have better financial opportunities. In a capitalist society, this is to be expected, and short of proof that illegal activities have taken place, not much can be done. A capitalist society is also usually one where political views can be freely expressed, so a country supporting capitalism usually has at least a Democratic Party and a Republican or Conservator one. Just like people are free to invest in whatever they want, so are they free to believe in anything they want, and to try and change society based on their personal views of the world. So you can be a capitalist adhering to the Democratic Party, or you can be a capitalist with no political views and preferences, and it usually makes no difference.

Thus, a capitalist society is one which encourages privately-owned businesses, and where supply and demand dictate what and how much of it will be produced. Supply and demand can also affect prices, though in all fairness, numerous other economic factors, including understandings between corporations, can have an influence as well. It can be easier to understand what it is all about by contrasting it with socialism; here, it is the government and state which decide how resources are divided, what products are created and to whom they are sold. In most parts of the world, this system has proven to be unreliable, because human error, and even human corruption, have led to a corruption of the ideas as well.

In a capitalist society, the people demand the products they need, and the government plays only a small role in regulating these desires. Separating the government from business reduces the chances of corruption and gives the people more freedom in their choices. Although so far capitalism has proven effective, there are faults in it as well. For example, certain economists evoke the need for governments to prevent monopolies, because they usually have the worst effects over global economy. Moreover, monopoly can mean the exact opposite of choice, which capitalism is supposed to support. If a certain corporation has monopoly over apple production for example, they can decide to grow a single type of apples on all their farms.

This not only reduces consumer options, but it creates a monoculture which can have serious consequences over the environment. By growing the same apples year after year, they become more sensitive to parasites and disease, so more chemicals are needed to protect them. Similarly, corporations have already begun investing in genetically-modified foods in order to support an increased need for food; but in order to have our present, we might be sacrificing our future, so we must become more aware of the steps we’re taking.

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