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Former good article Capitalism was one of the good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.

Surplus value and profit[edit]

Appears as if the editor is equating (surplus) value exclusively with profit when s/he writes "labor is the source of all value, and thus of profit"

Surplus-value, is not the same thing as profit; surplus-value can take the particular form of profit as well as rent and interest: “Rent, interest, and industrial profit are only different names for different parts of the surplus value of the commodity, or the unpaid labour enclosed in it, and they are equally derived from this source and from this source alone. (Value, Price, and Profit, XI. “The Different Parts into which Surplus Value is Decomposed”) In other words, all profits derive from surplus value but not all surplus value can end up as profits. The second important distinction between surplus-value and profit is that profit is the mask behind which bourgeoisie conceals the exploitation (or the utilization of another person or group) involved in the extraction of surplus value: “Surplus value, however, necessarily assumes the form of profit in the bourgeois mind — and this is not just a way of looking at things. (Marx’s Economic Manuscripts of 1861-63; Capital and Profit, “Surplus Value and Profit” V33, MECW, p. 70) and that “the capitalist knows nothing of the essence of capital, and surplus value exists in his consciousness only in the form of profit, a converted form of surplus value, which is completely abstracted from the relations under which it originates and by which it is conditioned. (Ibid.)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 08:15, 3 December 2013

Ferdinand Lundberg[edit]

FL said USA has never been a democracy, we've always been an oligarchy. Hillmon7500 (talk) 04:46, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

That has nothing to do with this article. TFD (talk) 18:55, 29 March 2014 (UTC)


I read the articles on Socialism and Communism. The articles depicted them as the greatest ideas ever--on paper, that is. It didn't mention the suppression, the human rights problems, and the unrest associated with them, but once as an afterthought in the "critic" section. When I got to the article on Capitalism, there were several quotes, ideas, and opinions from ANTI-CAPITALISTS all through each section of the article....not just limited to the "critics" part. There were virtually NO quotes and opinions from the Founding Fathers...or anyone from the Free World. It isn't an unbiased article.Charlottewalsh (talk) 02:54, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

None of the Founding Fathers said anything about capitalism. TFD (talk) 03:12, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

OK. Still, in an article about a subject, the people who are AGAINST it will have personal BIAS--not "just the facts"--information and should not be quoted. It should only be the encyclopedic or dictionary-type information.Charlottewalsh (talk) 02:39, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

All encyclopedias not only give definitions, but also give the views of great thinkers on each subject, so an encyclopedia article on capitalism will give the views of Marx, but also the views of those who see capitalism as the road to prosperity. The important thing is to give a balanced view. If you think the article is unbalanced, then you should suggest specific ways to improve it. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:43, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I do not see that the article presents a view against capitalism. Marxist views are mentioned, but they are so notable that they should be included. Can you provide examples? TFD (talk) 15:34, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
From the 'Economic elements' section "Capitalism and capitalist economics is generally considered to be the opposite of socialism, which contrasts with all forms of capitalism in the following ways: social ownership of the means of production, where returns on the means of production accrue to society at large, and goods and services are produced directly for their utility (as opposed to being produced by profit-seeking businesses)." This is unsourced, but no doubt corresponds to a large number of theoretical Socialist mantras in books. Can anyone support this statement with reference to the real world as opposed to Socialist lala lands?
Gravuritas (talk) 11:51, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

I have a problem with the sentence you quote, but I don't think it is the same problem you have. The meaning of "socialism" has changed so greatly over the past century that to use the word to mean "social ownership of the means of production" sounds quaint. It is, however, the actual meaning of the word. I'll try to find a quote that might be clearer to a modern reader. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:32, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

There is a general problem that enthusiasts for one system or another wish to emphasise the theoretical benefits & gloss over the actual faults. Contrasting actual capitalism as it exists with theoretical socialism is intellectually indefensible. I think much of your edit is helpful- I've just added 'other' to the list of reasons governments intervene as sometimes their intervention is not for the worthy reasons you listed.
Gravuritas (talk) 13:20, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Does the edit I made address your concerns? Rick Norwood (talk) 12:57, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

If I'm an enthusiast for any system, it is for capitalism. In any case, I'm not contrasting anything with anything, I'm citing a source. I'm not sure where your idea that someone is contrasting actual capitalism with theoretical socialism comes from. Where do you find that in the article? Rick Norwood (talk) 14:56, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

There is nothing POV about contrasting capitalism with other possible systems. And "means of production" is a term used by neo-classical economists such as Mises and Friedman. TFD (talk) 17:14, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Do what? the term I used was intellectually indefensible, not POV. Legitimate contrasts are real-on-the-ground capitalism with its socialist equivalent, or 'possible capitalism' with 'possible socialism'. Contrasting real capitalism with 'possible socialism is not legitimate, which this example did before RN's edit.
Gravuritas (talk) 18:55, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
But that is what writers about capitalism do. If you think that all of them, from Marx to Mises to Milton Friedman are POV-pushers, then you need to take that up in academic discourse. We merely reflect what experts say. TFD (talk) 19:28, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

We have to be careful to respect NPOV, whether it is called that or called "intellectually indefensible". I think the big problem is that some people, in their support of capitalism, which after all has won every battle, confuse "socialism" in the old sense of public ownership of the means of production, which has always failed, with "socialism" in the new sense, which is some government control to prevent monopoly, environmental collapse, the boom and bust cycle, and the extreme concentration of wealth, which has always succeeded. Rick Norwood (talk) 20:07, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

The end of work[edit]

Shouldn't you mention the part about automation eliminating all work, for example the book by Jeremy Rifkin "The End of Work? This has been brought up by Marx & many others. Hillmon7500 (talk) 06:34, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

If it is tightly focused on the impact the end of work (or at least the decreasing number of jobs) has on the capitalist system, and is carefully referenced, I think it would be a good addition. Rick Norwood (talk) 11:31, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Like this?> In the United States, corporations are eliminating more than 2 million jobs annually. Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). Today, all three of the traditional sectors of the economy - agriculture, manufacturing, and service - are experiencing technological displacement, forcing millions onto the unemployment rolls. While the new sector of knowledge is the only one growing, it is not expected to absorb more than a fraction of the hundreds of millions who will be eliminated in the next several decades. Hillmon7500 (talk) 18:26, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Sounds ok if referenced, preferably with a page number and a quote. Rick Norwood (talk) 18:41, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

I'll try Hillmon7500 (talk) 21:03, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

As the elimination of all work is a prediction – like, for the future – WP:CRYSTALBALL must be observed. – S. Rich (talk) 15:41, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Despite the title of the book, the citation does not predict the future, but reports on current job loss in three sectors of the economy. That noted, since the book is 1995, more current information is preferable. Rick Norwood (talk) 18:26, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Oh, my! Hillmon said automation was eliminating all work, and since all work has not been eliminated, I was thinking future tense. Whew! If all work were eliminated we'd have a slew of new people available to edit WP.
Actually, I'm having a little fun. The serious aspect of my comments is a concern about how much we make of trends. Experts in these matters can't predict what's going to happen and we must be careful of what we seek to add to WP when we read their predictions. – S. Rich (talk) 21:39, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Actually, look at the number of Wikipedia edits from 9 to 5 on weekdays, and the number of Wikipedia edits on weekends. Most people who edit Wikipedia do so at work. Rick Norwood (talk) 00:22, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Actually, S. Rich, if all jobs are eliminated there won't be any people with money, so they'll all be homeless and starving to death. They won't ever be able to have computers or the Internet, so there will be almost no Wikipedia edits. Money doesn't grow on trees. It only comes from having a job, except for the 1%. Hillmon7500 (talk) 04:28, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
Egad, it's that 1% again! Let's get rid of them, or at least tax away their wealth. But then the next lower 1% would move up into their place and we'd have to tax them too. Hillmon, in fact I was poking a little fun at the "eliminating all work" comment you made. What you are really trying to say (I believe) is that jobs are shifting from one type of work to other types of work. (But how does that relate to Capitalism as a topic?) And it's an interesting observation – for other articles. I can't figure out how it will fit into this article. The challenge is how can we incorporate Rifkin's observations into the article. If we can't, then perhaps he can be used elsewhere. But if wrath about the 1% is the motivation for any editing, then POV will hamper our editing efforts. – S. Rich (talk) 04:47, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
And source used must explain how it relates to capitalism. Automation has btw increased employment over time. The U.S., UK, China and India all have vastly greater populations than they did before automation. TFD (talk) 05:05, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
And, BTW, automation (which is just another term for "technology") eliminated a lot of farming jobs. John Deere (inventor) alone took hundreds of thousands of farm workers out of that job market with his damn plow. And then he joined the 1%! Capitalism at its worst. – S. Rich (talk) 05:22, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
Deere rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. TFD (talk) 07:32, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

It pleases some conservatives to pretend that people who want the 1% to pay taxes hate the 1%, and that if the 1% had to pay taxes at the same rate I do it would destroy them utterly. But my tax rate is about 35% (25% federal, 10% state) and I'm doing just fine. I suspect that if Mitt Romney's tax rate went up from 15% to 25%, it would not leave him destitute.

The Rifkin quote is not about the end of work, really. Note the question mark in the title. It is about the shift of jobs from the private sector to the public sector, and from manufacturing to information technology. The relevance to this article is that the economics of scarcity is being replaced by the economics of plenty, and that changes capitalism in fundamental ways. I don't think even the conservatives believe that everyone who those with capital do not want to hire should be allowed to starve. Certainly Milton Friedman did not believe that, recommending instead a negative income tax for the poor. Conservatives, in the sense of traditionalists, have trouble adapting traditional beliefs to the new economy of plenty.Rick Norwood (talk) 22:30, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Rick, I need your help, so where do we do this? The sandbox above? Hillmon7500 (talk) 14:43, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

By "sandbox", are you looking at the link in the right hand corner (that's where mine is). Click it and see what you get. (It should open a subpage for you to work on, but it's not a subpage for the article.) – S. Rich (talk) 14:50, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

I have not read the book. It sounds interesting, and I think it is a scholarly source, but whoever incorporates what it has to say about capitalism into this article needs to have read it and also have some background in economics. I note that the Wikipedia article The End of Work is largely hostile toward the book.Rick Norwood (talk) 15:18, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes they're hostile, because capitalism is about one thing only: wage jobs. which are all being eliminated. Hillmon7500 (talk) 15:42, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

Dissolve Advocacy section[edit]

Per the reasoning expressed in this closed discussion [1], I wish to propose the contents of the Advocacy section be distilled down to the essential points and assimilated into the general article. That an advocacy section does not exist for the Socialism article but does in thIs one represents a conflict of style between two very close topics. Also, it is the current effort of Wikipedia to try to move away from advocacy or praise sections since they are NPOV. Autonova (talk) 18:21, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

I agree. That fact that capitalism spurred economic growth should be mentioned, and does not belong in an advocacy section. Both conservative and socialist critics of capitalism acknowledged it. TFD (talk) 17:12, 1 July 2014 (UTC)


This is a superbly written introductory article. I should just like to thank all those who honed it to make it as terse and intelligible as it is. Obviously there are more technical articles, but as an introductory article, I don't think it would be possible to do better.

Thank you once again. From a long-time Wikipedia contributor (not banned or warned) but who is editing anonymously because of abusive remarks: the storm will pass, so just standing aside for a bit. If I could write like that I would be proud. I know it is a collaborative effort; but I thank you one and all. Superb. (talk) 12:10, 25 July 2014 (UTC)