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What Is Capitalism?

July 11, 2017

As an increasing number of evangelicals grow hostile toward capitalism, it’s useful to have a simple definition. Writing for the Intercollegiate Review, Paul Mueller provides that kind of simple definition. He also discusses several varieties of capitalism, detailing strengths and weaknesses. For example,

Unfortunately for us, the outcome of both the public-private partnerships of the Bush administration and the social consciousness and corporate responsibility of the Clinton and Obama administrations has been what people are increasingly calling “crony capitalism.” Under crony capitalism, private owners of the means of production use the coercive power of government to advance their own interests. While we see high-profile cases of large corporations receiving government favors in the news, cronyism runs deep in our society through zoning and permit laws, occupational licensing, and numerous other barriers to free entry into the economy and free competition. These protective rules enrich incumbents at the expense of consumers and would-be competitors. But another effect of crony capitalism has been the increasing power of the Washington bureaucracy to direct economic activity—undermining capitalism itself.

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