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The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty--of the indefinite expansion of possibility.

SUSAN SONTAG, Aids and Its Metaphors

When I say that I mean to defend capitalism, what I have in mind is the capitalistic freedom to proceed by trial and error, without having to ask rulers and border officials for permission first. That is the liberty that I once thought anarchy would bring, but under the control of laws ensuring that one person's freedom will not encroach on other people's. I want everyone to have that liberty in abundance. If the critics of capitalism feel that we already have a superabundance of that liberty today, I would like to have more still--a superduper abundance if possible--especially for the poor of the world's population, who as things now stand have little say regarding their work and consumption.

JOHAN NORBERG, In Defense of Global Capitalism

Capitalism continually renews and reinvents itself. This helps us to understand the fact that despite its severe internal contradictions, contradictions that Marx anticipated would bring about the ultimate collapse of capitalism, the capitalist system has managed to remain vibrant over the centuries.

VICTOR D. LIPPIT, Capitalism

Capitalism improves the quality of life for the working class not just because it leads to improved wages but also because it produces new, better, and cheaper goods.... Indeed, with capitalism, the emphasis shifted to producing goods as cheaply as possible for the masses--the working class--whereas artisans had previously produced their goods and wares mostly for the aristocracy. Under capitalism every business wants to cater to the masses, for that is where the money is.

THOMAS J. DILORENZO, How Capitalism Saved America

Capitalism is an art form, an Apollonian fabrication to rival nature. It is hypocritical for feminists and intellectuals to enjoy the pleasures and conveniences of capitalism while sneering at it.... Everyone born into capitalism has incurred a debt to it. Give Caesar his due.

CAMILLE PAGLIA, Sexual Personae

Ignorance, as well as disapproval for the natural restraints placed on market excesses that capitalism and sound markets impose, cause our present leaders to reject capitalism and blame it for all the problems we face. If this fallacy is not corrected and capitalism is even further undermined, the prosperity that the free market generates will be destroyed.

RON PAUL, speech, U. S. House of Representatives, Jul. 9, 2002

The word capitalism was coined by none other than Karl Marx, who hoped that it would help in his crusade to denigrate the system of private property and free enterprise and to promote socialism. Marx insinuated that the only beneficiaries of capitalism were the capitalists. Of course, nearly every one of Marx's assumptions (government would wither away under communism, capitalism would make workers poorer, etc.) turned out to be wrong, including this one. Free-market capitalism, based on private property and peaceful exchange, is the source of civilization and human progress. Human beings have a natural propensity to "truck, barter, and exchange," as Adam Smith said more than two centuries ago, and free-market capitalism is by far the best-known means by which this can be accomplished.

THOMAS J. DILORENZO, How Capitalism Saved America

If it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism we should have to say that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalislm.

VLADIMIR LENIN, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism

I am not a die-hard capitalist. I do not view capitalism as a credo. Much more important to me are freedom, compassion for the poor, respect for the social contract, and equal opportunity. But for the moment, to achieve those goals, capitalism is the only game in town. It is the only system we know that provides us with the tools required to create massive surplus value.

HERNANDO DE SOTO, The Mystery of Capital

The genius of capitalsim consists precisely in its lack of morality. Unless he is rich enough to hire his own choir, a capitalist is a fellow who, by definition, can ill afford to believe in anything other than the doctrine of the bottom line. Deprive a capitalist of his God-given right to lie and cheat and steal, and the poor sap stands a better than even chance of becoming one of the abominable wards of the state from whose grimy fingers the Reagan Administration hopes to snatch the ark of democracy.

LEWIS H. LAPHAM, "Moral Dandyism," Harper's, Jul. 1985

Capitalism has invaded physical as well as virtual space.... It has confiscated and hidden wealth like never before, it has taken it out of reach of people by hiding it in the form of symbols. Symbols have become the subjects of abstract exchanges that take place nowhere else than in their virtual world.

VIVIANE FORRESTER, L'Horreur économique

What Americans should by now be able to see is that neither the laissez-faire marketplace nor strong government has given them a satisfying or permanent resolution. The problem is not the marketplace and it is not government. The problem originates in the contest of clashing values between society and capitalism and, since this human society cannot surrender its deepest values, it must try to alter capitalism's. As we look deeper for the soul of capitalism, we find that, in the terms of ordinary human existence, American capitalism doesn't appear to have one.

WILLIAM GREIDER, The Soul of Capitalism

History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.

MILTON FRIEDMAN, Capitalism and Freedom

To condemn free-market capitalism because of anything going on today makes no sense. There is no evidence that capitalism exists today. We are deeply involved in an interventionist-planned economy that allows major benefits to accrue to the politically connected of both political parties. One may condemn the fraud and the current system, but it must be called by its proper names — Keynesian inflationism, interventionism, and corporatism.

RON PAUL, speech, U.S. House of Representatives, Jul. 9, 2002

The key problem is to find out why that sector of society of the past, which I would not hesitate to call capitalist, should have lived as if in a bell jar, cut off from the rest; why was it not able to expand and conquer the whole of society?... [Why was it that] a significant rate of capital formation was possible only in certain sectors and not in the whole market economy of the time?

FERNAND BRAUDEL, The Wheels of Commerce

Capitalism inevitably and by virtue of the very logic of its civilization creates, educates and subsidizes a vested interest in social unrest.

JOSEPH A. SCHUMPETER, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

The far right seeks to retain the material progress of American capitalism while removing some of its crucial causes and consequences--as though a bridge could be made to change part of its function by blowing up part of its supports and part of its exit.

RONALD SEGAL, America's Receeding Future

Resentment is at work when one so hates somebody for his more favorable circumstances that one is prepared to bear heavy losses if only the hated one might also come to harm. Many of those who attack capitalism know very well that their situation under any other economic system will be less favorable.

LUDWIG VON MISES, The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality

For Americans enjoying both peace and prosperity, it has been all too easy to ignore the turmoil elsewhere. How can capitalism be in trouble when the Dow Jones Industrial average is climbing higher than Sir Edmund Hillary? Americans look at other nations and see progress, even if it is slow and uneven. Can't you eat a Big Mac in Moscow, rent a video from Blockbuster in Shanghai, and reach the Internet in Caracas?

HERNANDO DE SOTO, The Mystery of Capital

What breaks capitalism, all that will ever break capitalism, is capitalists. The faster they run the more strain on their heart.


When the press writes scare stories about the global labor supply draining jobs from rich to poor places, the story is usually presented as a "race to the bottom" simply in terms of wages. Capitalism supposedly looks for labor wherever labor is cheapest. This story is half wrong. A kind of cultural selection is also at work, so that jobs leave high-wage countries like the United States and Germany, but migrate to low-wage economies with skilled, sometimes overqualified workers.

RICHARD SENNETT, The Culture of the New Capitalism

Capitalism is of this material world; it provides us with the means to live; it empowers us within the known world of sense and human reason. If it is to be measured by a strict standard of holiness, by religious normativity alone, then there can never be a moral capitalism.

STEPHEN YOUNG, Moral Capitalism: Reconciling Private Interest with the Public Good

At this late stage in the history of American capitalism I'm not sure I know how much testimony still needs to be presented to establish the relation between profit and theft.

LEWIS H. LAPHAM, Money and Class in America

It should be everyone's right in a capitalist system to have some way to take advantage of compound interest.

KATY LEDERER, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Capitalist", Gelf Magazine, January 19, 2009

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