The word Capitalism is used for many different meanings, sometimes opposite ones. However, most of them are variants on the definition economic system where capital goods belong to private individuals.
An opposing term would thus be collectivism (and variants).
Capitalism and political ideologies
There are many different and opposite ideologies that defend capitalism:
- libertarianism (sometimes also called classical liberalism) defends a "pure" form of capitalism with minimal State intervention.
- conservatism varies depending on countries in its specific stances, but in western countries, usually defends something not unlike the status quo of current capitalist practices (see political conservatism).
- mercantilism defend state intervention to protect domestic commerce and industries against foreign competition (see protectionism).
- social democracy argues for extended state regulation and partial intervention in a capitalist background (see welfare state, political liberalism, liberal democracy, new liberalism).
Many different and opposite ideologies fight capitalism and argue for collectivism, which
- socialism argues for extensive State control of economy, though with small tolerated areas of capitalism.
- fascism argues for extensive State control of economy, with delegation of its powers to complacent capitalists.
- communism argues for complete and direct State control of economy.
- libertarian socialism argues for collective control of economy without the need for a State.
Arguments for and against capitalism
Since there are so many divergent ideologies backing or fighting capitalism, there is no possible agreed upon argument list for or against it. See under each of the above ideologies what it has to say about capitalism.
- Related topics: History of Economic Thought.
- Related words: capitalist.
- Related ideologies: classical liberalism (libertarianism, minarchism, anarcho-capitalism), conservatism (political conservatism), mercantilism, protectionism, social democracy (welfare state, liberalism, political liberalism, liberal democracy), state interventionism, socialism, fascism, communism, libertarian socialism.