Capitalism is a system that has been deeply ingrained in our society. It is very different from socialism, and it definitely has its strengths and weaknesses. This is why we suggest reading about capitalism pros and cons to understand this economy type better.
Capitalism is one of the economic variations that exist in society. Many people are curious about the definition and features of this system.
What is capitalism?
Cambridge Dictionary defines it as "an economic, political, and social system in which property, business, and industry are privately owned, directed towards making the greatest possible profits for successful organisations and people". Unlike socialism, where most financial issues are controlled by the government, capitalism is focused on private ownership.
Like every other big economic system, this one has multiple strengths, but also various weaknesses. For a better understanding of those, you can check our list of pros and cons of capitalism and possibly make up your mind about this phenomenon.
Advantages of capitalism
There are multiple benefits of capitalism which have made this system so popular.
1. Political freedom
If the government has control of funding and spending money, there is a risk of establishing an unequal power dynamic in the political forces and leading to a bureaucracy. This could later impact other areas of everyday life.
There is a motivation for the firms to be efficient, as their products are in high demand. This means that motivated businesses will always be pressured to produce the right amounts of goods and cut unnecessary costs. Businesses owned by the state, on the other hand, are usually less efficient and have tendencies to stay unmotivated (more workers and less modern practices).
3. Growth of economy
Since the capitalist society is all about working hard and creating new ideas, there is a climate of being innovative, which, in turn, creates more opportunities for growth and expansion. For instance, it leads to increased real GDP and constantly improves the standards of living for people.
While one of the most recognisable flaws of socialism is lack of motivation, capitalism creates a climate where workers and business owners are in constant search for profit. This inspires them to develop products that could potentially bring income.
5. Not many alternative options
Even though there are many problems with this system, the experience of many countries shows that this is the most effective economy to establish in society.
Disadvantages of capitalism
Not all sides of this system are effective, and sometimes there can be clear problems with capitalism.
1. The power of monopoly
When companies are owned privately, the owners have power over labour and products. This means that the position that they have in business can be exploited by changing prices in their favour and overcharging people.
2. Lack of social benefits
The socialist system is all for equal access to opportunities, including health care and education. However, one of the major cons of capitalism is a lack of access to all these goods. The focus is on maximising profit for the companies, which is why social benefits can be underprovided to people who might need them.
3. The unequal dynamic of wealth
There is a huge margin between the rich and poor, and this means there will always be inequality in society, which leads to various conflicts and resentment. The wealthy property owners have a right to pass their possessions to their descendants, and this results in more people being born in a privileged society as they inherit businesses and money.
4. Damage to the environment
Large businesses usually do not profit from helping the environment and are more likely to dismiss people's concerns about pollution, climate change, and other issues. This can provide an outcome where standards of living will be affected.
5. Diminishing marginal utility of wealth
Imagine that someone wealthy earned $1 million. This person already has a lot of money, and for them, their financial situation would not change much. However, someone else's wealth could benefit a lot from the same amount of cash. Therefore, there is a lasting argument, whether it is a good thing that wealthy people can expand their possessions, leading to even more financial and social inequality.
Conclusion about capitalism pros and cons
Economists think that there are both positive and negative sides of this economy. The market-based economy might be an effective approach to social stability. However, as opposed to socialism, this model of the economy creates a lot of problems like wealth inequality and lack of social benefits.
Now that you know about capitalism pros and cons, you can analyse all of them and come to your own conclusion whether this phenomenon has a more positive or negative influence on society.