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Why Use The Term "Capitalism"

    Someone presented me with an interesting question: "Why do you use the term "Capitalism" to refer to a political system argue for, if that word was coined by Karl Marx as a pejorative term?"

    The Oxford English Dictionary points to novelist William Thackeray as the first to use the term, with the simple meaning of "to own capital". For the sake of argument, let us assume that Marx was the first to use the term to refer to a political system (although the Anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon did it first). Marx defined Capitalism as "the political-economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production". To Marx, the essence of capitalism was private property - and private property is fundamentally bad.

    That is precisely why I use the word "Capitalism". I am not rejecting Marx's idea of what Capitalism is, and attempting to replace it with something else, like "industrial production" or "a free banking system". I am not rejecting Marx's idea of what the essence of Capitalism is, and trying to claim that it is "economic prosperity", or "the most useful system for the common good". I agree with Marx on what Capitalism is, and what it is based on - and reject his moral appraisal of it.

    Capitalism is an individualistic system. It is based on the institution of private property. It has its roots in the idea that one does not owe his fellow man anything but respect for their own property - certainly not the fruits of one's labour. That is why Capitalism is not just "useful" in material terms, but morally and spiritually good.

  -  January 17th, 2020