In Steven Pinker's 2018 bestseller Enlightenment Now, he brings to light two vital pieces of information that piss off people on all sides of the political spectrum.
1. All capitalist societies have done better than socialist ones
2. Of these capitalist societies, it is the ones with _more_ regulation and wealth distribution that have been more prosperous
The word capitalism brings stars to the eyes of some and flames of anger to that of others. But what does it mean? What does it entail?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the line between Capitalism and Communism is clear cut.
- In capitalism, the means of production is *privately owned*; that is; it is *private capital*
- In communism, it is *owned by the people*; that is, it is *communal / community-owned*
But are these definitions even close enough to encapsulate what we mean when we uphold or condemn them? Is this truly the difference that people are so passionate about? Is the crucial matter that people care so much about "who owns the means of production", or is there so much more? And if so, what else, exactly?
What do we really mean when we talk about capitalism? Is it simply leaving things to the free market? Does it entail a profit motive? How does it work, what makes it good? Is it competition? Is that the secret sauce of capitalism?
Where do free markets shine? Where do they fall? What are their limits? When is it the role of the state to restrain them, and how? Are there better and worse ways to do it? What kind of culture do we need for it to prosper?
This is a conversation about capitalism: What it is, and what are its virtues and vices.