capitalism

Robert L. Heilbroner
From The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, 2008
Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume
Alternate versions available: 1987 Edition
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Abstract

Capitalism is a unique historical formation with core institutions and distinct movements. It involves the rise of a mercantile class, the separation of production from the state, and a mentality of rational calculation. Its characteristic logic revolving around the accumulation of capital reflects the omnipresence of competition. It displays broad tendencies to unprecedented wealth creation, skewed size distributions of enterprise, large public sectors, and cycles of activity. Whereas students of capitalism traditionally envisaged an end to the capitalist period of history, modern economists show little interest in historical projection.
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How to cite this article

Heilbroner, Robert L. "capitalism." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Second Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online. Palgrave Macmillan. 21 September 2014 <http://www.dictionaryofeconomics.com/article?id=pde2008_C000053> doi:10.1057/9780230226203.0198

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