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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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Hong Kong Skyline Restitch - Dec 2007.jpg
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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Carl Menger (German: [ˈmɛŋɐ]; February 23, 1840 – February 26, 1921) was an Austrian economist and the founder of the Austrian School of economics. Menger contributed to the development of the theory of marginalism, (marginal utility), which rejected the cost-of-production theories of value, such as were developed by the classical economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Menger used his “Subjective Theory of Value” to arrive at what he considered one of the most powerful insights in economics: both sides gain from exchange.

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No matter how long may be the series of periodical reproductions and former accumulations through which the capital now invested may have passed, it always retains its primal virginity. So long as the laws of exchange are observed in every act of exchange, individually considered, the mode of appropriation may be completely revolutionized without in the least affecting the property right bestowed by the production of commodities. The same right remains in force, whether it be at a time when the product belonged to the producer, and when this producer, exchanging equivalent for equivalent, could enrich himself only by his own labour, or whether it be under capitalism, where the social wealth becomes in an ever increasing degree the property of those, who are in a position to appropriate to themselves again and again the unpaid labour of others.

This result becomes inevitable, as soon as labour-power is sold as a commodity by the "free" labourer himself. It is from that time on that the production of commodities becomes universal and a typical form of production. Henceforth every product is intended at the outset for sale, and all produced wealth passes through the circulation. The production of commodities does not impose itself upon the whole society, until wage-labour becomes its basis. And only then does it unfold all its powers. To say that the intervention of wage labour adulterates the production of commodities means to say that the production of commodities must not develop, if it wishes to remain unadulterated. To the same extent that it continues to develop by its own inherent laws into a capitalist production, the property laws of the production of commodities are converted into the laws of capitalistic appropriation.

— Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)
Das Kapital , 1867

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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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