Capitalism is an economic system in which the four factors of production (entrepreneurship, capital goods, natural resources, and labor) are owned by private entities with the aim of generating a profit. Capitalism requires a free market economy driven by supply and demand. There is a lack of government intervention. Competition helps keep prices moderate and production efficient. This stands in opposition to socialism, a system in which the means of production are owned by the state.
Capitalism is good
There are many positives of capitalism. Capitalism ensures efficiency because it is self-regulated through competition. It promotes innovation, freedom, and opportunity. Capitalism meets the needs of the people and is beneficial to societies as a whole.
Capitalism promotes innovation in a free market economy
A free market encourages innovation because people have incentives to work harder, which leads to higher productivity. Innovation allows societies to develop rapidly and gives people a better quality of life.
Under a capitalist society, businesses that manufacture products in high demand flourish. These businesses compete with each other to meet the demands of consumers, giving people more choices when buying a product, and ensuring that their needs are met.
Capitalism ensures economic efficiency because it is self-regulated through competition. Companies must adhere to the ethical and moral standards of society, or else be at risk of being damaged by boycotts.
Capitalism and society both focus on freedom and opportunity
Capitalism promotes individual freedom by providing choices, the right to private property, and allowing people to set the price of goods. Capitalism promotes political freedom by limiting the power of the government. Capitalism promotes equal opportunity by rewarding hard work and innovation.
Capitalism helps societies as a whole through the invisible hand and a higher GDP which leads to a higher standard of living for people. Capitalism in one nation also helps other nations through globalization.
Capitalism ignores peoples' needs, results in wealth inequality, and does not promote equal opportunity. Capitalism also encourages mass consumption, is unsustainable, and provides an incentive for business owners to harm the environment for monetary gain. Capitalism is also ineffective and unstable.
Capitalism is harmful to the environment
Capitalism has led to significant environmental degradation. Capitalism encourages mass consumption, is unsustainable, and provides an incentive for business owners to harm the environment for monetary gain. Business owners manipulate people to consume more of their products, which impacts the environment.
The success of capitalism is entirely contingent on the premise of every citizen being able to work. Capitalism doesn't provide for people that cannot work (the disabled or elderly). It is a system that values profit over the needs of the people.
Capitalism results in wealth-inequality. The richest in society have more money than they could ever need while other people in the same society are homeless, hungry, and/or living in poverty. This is morally wrong. We should redistribute this wealth to help others.
Capitalism is ineffective because the formation of monopolies eliminates competition that is essential for capitalism to function properly. Also, corporations being "too big to fail" and economic cycles of booms and busts make capitalism unstable.
Capitalism does not promote equal opportunity. Some people inherit great wealth while others are born into poverty. Limited access to resources and opportunities (such as education, adequate nutrition, and healthcare) from the start limits peoples' ability to move up. Workers lack opportunity because their labor is exploited with companies trying to pay them as little as they can.