The Philosophical Foundations of Capitalism

THE ARTFUL DILETTANTE

The greatest era of capitalist development—the last two centuries—has taken place under the ongoing cultural influence of the philosophy of the Enlightenment.

An excerpt from Chapter 1 ofCapitalism: A Treatise on Economics, Volume I.

This book shows that the laws and social institutions necessary to the successful functioning, indeed, to the very existence, of thedivision of laborare those of capitalism. Capitalism is a social system based on private ownership of the means of production. It is characterized by the pursuit of material self-interest under freedom and it rests on a foundation of the cultural influence of reason. Based on its foundations and essential nature, capitalism is further characterized by saving and capital accumulation, exchange and money, financial self-interest and the profit motive, the freedoms of economic competition and economic inequality, the price system, economic progress, and a harmony of the material self-interests of all the individuals…

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