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Capitalism is an economic system and a mode of production in which trade, industries, and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned. Such private firms and proprietorships are usually operated for profit, but may be operated as private nonprofit organizations. Central characteristics of capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labour and, in some situations, fully competitive markets. In a capitalist economy, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which assets, goods, and services are exchanged.

The degree of competition, role of intervention and regulation, and scope of state ownership varies across different models of capitalism. Economists, political economists, and historians have taken different perspectives in their analysis of capitalism and recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free market capitalism, corporatism, crony capitalism, welfare capitalism, "third way" social democracy and state capitalism. Each model has employed varying degrees of dependency on free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition, and inclusion of state-sanctioned social policies.

The extent to which different markets are free, as well as the rules defining private property, is a matter of politics and policy. Many states have a mixed economy, which combines elements of both capitalism and centrally planned economies. Capitalism has existed under many forms of government, in many different times, places, and cultures. Following the demise of feudalism, mixed capitalist systems became dominant in the Western world and continue to spread.

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Towards the late 1970s, Hong Kong became established as a major entrepôt between the world and China. The city has developed into a major global trade hub and financial centre, and is regarded as a world city and one of the eight Alpha+ cities. It ranked fifth on the 2014 Global Cities Index after New York City, London, Tokyo and Paris. The city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, and the most severe income inequality among the advanced economies. It has a high Human Development Index and is ranked highly in the Global Competitiveness Report. Hong Kong is the third most important financial centre after New York and London. The service economy, characterised by low taxation and free trade, has been regarded as one of the world's most laissez-faire economic policies, and the currency, the Hong Kong dollar, is the 13th most traded currency in the world.

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Thomas John Watson Sr. (February 17, 1874 – June 19, 1956) was an American businessman. He served as the chairman and CEO of International Business Machines (IBM) and oversaw the company's growth into an international force from 1914 to 1956. Watson developed IBM's management style and corporate culture from John Henry Patterson's training at NCR. He turned the company into a highly-effective selling organization, based largely on punched card tabulating machines. A leading self-made industrialist, he was one of the richest men of his time and was called the world's greatest salesman when he died in 1956.

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In 1995, in The Road Ahead, I used the term friction-free capitalism to describe how the Internet was helping to create Adam Smith's ideal marketplace, in which buyers and sellers can easily find one another without taking much time or spending much money. Finding the other interested party is the first problem in most markets. The second is understanding the nature and quality of the goods and services being offered. The Internet make it easy for a buyer to get background information about a product-how it's rated by consumer organizations or other independent reviews-and to compare prices easily. Buyers can also tell sellers more about their requirements, and sellers will be able to target their wares to the people most interested and to cross-sell related products.
— Bill Gates (1955)
Business @ the Speed of Thought , 1999

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Capitalism .. Private property .. Capitalist mode of production .. Laissez-faire .. Ludwig Von Mises .. Murray N. Rothbard .. Economic freedom .. Adam Smith .. Money .. Ronald Reagan .. American capitalism .. Criticisms of socialism .. Patent .. The Wealth of Nations .. Corporate capitalism .. Democratic capitalism .. Milton Friedman

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