资本主义

一种经济制度,生产工具大多为私人所有,主要透过市场的运作来指导生产和分配收入。自从重商主义结束以後,资本主义就一直主宰着西方世界。资本主义不仅受到16世纪宗教改革运动的激励(恪守艰苦工作和生活俭朴教条),也因工业革命的兴起而大为发展,特别是16~18世纪的英国纺织工业。其发展特点与过去不同︰它将生产超过消费的余额用於扩大生产能力,而非用於投入像大教堂等非生产性项目之中。重商主义时代的强大国家社会提供了资本主义兴起所必需的要件:统一的货币和法典。亚当斯密的《国富论》表达了古典资本主义的观念,19世纪时,他的自由市场理论被广为采用。1930年代的全球性经济大萧条迫使多数国家终止自由放任主义经济政策,但在前苏联和东欧国家实施的控制经济瓦解後(参阅communism),以及中国采取了某些自由市场原则,使资本主义仍保持领先地位到20世纪末。

capitalism

orfree-enterprise systemEconomic system in which most of the means of production are privately owned, and production is guided and income distributed largely through the operation of markets. Capitalism has been dominant in the Western world since the end of mercantilism. It was fostered by the Reformation, which sanctioned hard work and frugality, and by the rise of industry during the Industrial Revolution, especially the English textile industry (16th-18th cent). Unlike earlier systems, capitalism used the excess of production over consumption to enlarge productive capacity rather than investing it in economically unproductive enterprises such as cathedrals. The strong national states of the mercantilist era provided the social conditions, such as uniform monetary systems and legal codes, necessary for the rise of capitalism. The ideology of classical capitalism was expressed in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776), and Smith's free-market theories were widely adopted in the 19th century. In the 20th century the Great Depression effectively ended laissez-faire economics in most countries, but the demise of the state-run command economies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (see communism) and the adoption of some free-market principles in China left capitalism unrivaled (if not untroubled) at the end of the 20th century.

参考文章