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Capitalism

The King's Question Answered

 Slums and Luxury Liners

A Lesson in Terms

 Distinctions the workers must understand

 Wealth used for the reproduction of wealth is capital, says the orthodox school of political economy. This definition can only arise through failure to understand the fact that only in certain historical conditions and in a certain mode of production, does wealth become capital.

 It is the habit of the orthodox school to treat of the present system of society as though it had always existed and always will. Hence wealth and capital are to them synonymous.

Analysing an Economic System

One criticism of Marx’s Capital is that, written 150 years ago, it is describing conditions in mid-century Victorian Britain which have long since disappeared. It does do this, but this is to miss the point. Marx was analysing an economic system, not the particular political, sociological and historical conditions under which it happened to operate in his day. It was written not, or not just, as a criticism of conditions in mid-Victorian Britain but as an analysis of capitalism in general, of the capitalist economic system as such irrespective of the conditions in which it operated.

Cooking the Books: Boo to Capitalism

Writing in the Times (3 July) mad marketeer Matt Ridley complained:

'”Capitalism” was a word largely invented by the opponents of commerce. The socialist Louis Blanc first used it in its modern sense in 1850, defining it as “the appropriation of capital by some to the exclusion of others.” (“Capitalist” had been used much earlier.) Marx and Engels then made it into a proper “boo” word. Ever since, the left has used “capitalism” to imply that all free-market commerce is run by big financiers, with massive investments, rather than merchants and entrepreneurs taking risks on behalf of consumers and driving down prices.'

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