Democratic capitalism

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Democratic capitalism, also known as capitalist democracy, is a political, economic, and social system and ideology based on a tripartite arrangement of a market-based economy based predominantly on a democratic policy, economic incentives through free markets, fiscal responsibility and a liberal moral-cultural system which encourages pluralism.[1][2] This economic system supports a capitalist free market economy subject to control by a democratic political system that is supported by the majority. It stands in contrast to authoritarian capitalism by limiting the influence of special interest groups, including corporate lobbyists, on politics.

It is argued that the coexistence of modern capitalism and democracy was the result of the creation of the modern welfare state that allowed for a relatively stable political atmosphere and widespread support for capitalism during the Golden Age of Capitalism in the post-war era.[3]

The United States is often seen as having democratic capitalism as its political-economic system, although Robert Reich argues it has become more authoritarian in recent decades.[4]


The ideology of "democratic capitalism" has been in existence since medieval times. It is based firmly on the principles of liberalism, which include liberty and equality. Some of its earliest promoters include many of the American founding fathers and subsequent Jeffersonians.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Novak, Michael, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, p. 31 
  2. ^ Benne, Robert, The Ethic of Democratic Capitalism, p. 97, ISBN 0-8006-1445-3 
  3. ^ Capitalism and Inequality, by Muller, Jerry Z. 2013. Foreign Affairs, March 2013.
  4. ^ Robert Reich: Supercapitalism
  5. ^ Prindle, David, The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism: Politics and Economics in American Thought, ISBN 0-8018-8411-X 


  • Novak, Michael (1993), The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, New York: The Free Press, ISBN 0-02-923235-X 
  • Novak, Michael (1982), The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, New York: Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0-671-43154-4 
  • Benne, Robert (1981), The Ethic of Democratic Capitalism: A Moral Reassessment, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, ISBN 0-8006-1445-3 
  • J. Michael Miller, ed. (1996), The Encyclicals of John Paul II, Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor 
  • Prindle, David (2006), The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism: Politics and Economics in American Thought, Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0-8018-8411-X 

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