Capitalism is an economic system based on some very simple principles:
- Creating scarcity is essential to sustain economic growth;
- The means of production are privately owned;
- The main purpose of producing goods or services is profit.
Competition lies often at the hearth of a capitalist-system.
Markets and Trade
Capitalism is not necessarily the same as exchange (trade for example). Exchange is a way of distributing goods and services based on certain principles, which not necessarily have to be under capitalistic rules. Capitalism rather defines how those goods and services are produced and comes with "rules" for trading. Through laws it shapes those conditions how trade, or the market, should operate. Exchange or even trade can exist outside of a capitalist system, when it is based on different rules than the capitalistic ones. Think here of Free exchange for example.
Sharing and Capitalism
What is the relationship between sharism and capitalism. Does it exclude each-other; could they co-exist in the same system; are they complementary or maybe a combination of both is possible?
Free Software is both inside and outside capitalism. On one hand, the social basis for Free Software clearly would not exist without a flourishing capitalism... On the other hand, Free Software is outside of capitalism because of the absence of scarcity and [because it is based on] self-unfolding instead of alienated labor in a command economy. -- Stefan Merten of the group Oekonux <ref>Free Software and GPL Society - Interview with Stefan Merten, Oekonux, Germany. By Joanne Richardson, November 2001</ref>
Hybrid Systems are generally considered as a necessary step in the transition from a competitive economy towards a sharist econonomy, although an antagonist theory would argue differently: one cannot reproduce elements from a capitalist system while building up an alternative system.
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