What is capitalism??
Imagine you want to build a sled that your classmates will help you with because you could not do it alone. But you yourself provide all the resources needed for the construction, so the tools, the required wood, a place where you can tinker the sled in peace, like the garage of your parents – then you are the entrepreneur.
Because when the sledge is ready, you set the price and sell it over the Internet. For that you get a good price. It was agreed with your friends that they receive a small salary. Fortunately, you were able to sell the sled very well, so you made a very good profit, also called profit. However, if you had not been able to sell the sled, e.g. In a winter when there is no snow, you would have stayed on the sled and would have taken the risk alone.
So you are the capitalist. He just cuts the profit, but carries the risk, while the "worker", So your classmates, had no risk, but also only a small share of the profit. This is of course somewhat simplified, but the basic principle of capitalism.
So what is an entrepreneur??
The entrepreneurs own the means of production. Just as you could call all tools etc. for the sled your own. He also decides what exactly happens with these means of production, how many and which products are made with them, and who in the end exactly cuts those products at what price.
Incidentally, an entrepreneur can be a single person, but also several people who become one "society" join together. Most entrepreneurs have set themselves the goal of earning as much money as possible. The means of production are private, the market depends on supply and demand. If many people want to buy sledges, then the entrepreneur gets a good price, if only a few, he stays on his sled.
When was the high capitalism?
Closely related to capitalism is the era of industrialization, the time when more and more goods were made in factories and machines were used. It’s been a while and was in the 18th and 19th centuries. This is also called the time of high capitalism.
What does capitalism have to do with the Industrial Revolution??
It’s called that too "Time of the Industrial Revolution". This was also the heyday of high capitalism. At that time many people had to suffer from the working conditions in the factories. They were paid little, were not protected and had almost no rights. They lived in great poverty and had problems feeding their families. While the workers remained poor, the factory owners became rich.
This entrepreneur is also called "capitalists" designated. These took advantage of the workers and exploited them. The critics say everything was all about profit and growth. Those who make the products would not be paid accordingly. Incidentally, this is still one of the main criticisms of capitalism today.
But even then there were people who criticized these conditions and wanted to support the workers. One of those critics was Karl Marx, he was a thinker and at the same time a philosopher. He has in common with Friedrich Engels thinking about how to improve the workers’ situation.
What did Karl Marx want??
Above all, Karl Marx wanted justice and that the exploitation of the workers by the entrepreneurs (ie capitalists) should stop. He aspired to the "classless society" on.
What should a classless society be??
It has nothing to do with your class. As you read, on the one hand there were the workers who were paid too little for their work, and on the other hand the entrepreneurs who were getting richer and richer. These were classes. These classes wanted to abolish Marx. The means of production should belong to everyone and the profit should belong to everyone.
That sounds fair, right? If we stick to the example of the sled, everyone would ultimately have had to pay for the tools, the wood, the screws and whatever else they need, and the means of production would have belonged to everyone. In the end, you would have sold the sledge together and shared the profit. If the sledge had not been sold, everyone would have looked into the tube.
And what about capitalism??
In the end it actually happened reforms. It emerged the unions, who are increasingly committed to the rights of the workers. The state also tried to control the developments. And there was also the counter-movement to capitalism, communism. Maybe not quite as Marx had thought.
Is capitalism just stupid?
This question is not so easy to answer. There are many different opinions. For one thing, today’s capitalism is different from the time of the Industrial Revolution. And there are very different forms in quite different systems, capitalism is as possible in democracies as in dictatorships.
Some say that the market must be free and that companies can act without restrictions, and others that the state must intervene and regulate as much as possible with the aim of achieving justice. That’s easy. As so often, the truth may lie somewhere in the middle. Competition and competition sometimes also spur and are not always bad. You wanted to build the best sled to sell it well and not some.
By the way, Marx, who wanted classless society, wanted as little as possible a state.
Capitalism has prevailed
Despite all criticism, capitalism has prevailed, despite all its downsides such as low wages, environmental destruction or exploitation. In America, one would have little trouble with it, as "capitalist" to be designated. Here in Germany there is a negative connotation because it is always about "exploitation" goes, and no one wants to be someone who exploits other people.
If everything is geared towards economic gain, with no regard for people, the environment and society, and pure profit at the center, and few have any of it, that is certainly bad. Therefore one tries today – as one says so beautifully, the "capitalism" to curb, so to limit and control. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, because the gap between those who own something and those who are poor and exploited is growing all over the world, even in rich countries. Today, the term capitalism is also often with "globalization" related.
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