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82 of 6,095 quotations related to Capitalism

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Alexander, Scott
The basic rule of free enterprise: You must give in order to get.

Bakatin, Vadim
Making capitalism out of socialism is like making eggs out of an omelet.

Bandow, Doug
What some social conservatives overlook is that, while the market possesses no morality of its own, it accommodates individuals who value more than just money ... The fact that capitalism protects the right to profit does not mean entrepreneurs are not often engaged in sacrificial and even noble endeavors.

Mar. 19, 1997 - from an editorial column in the Wall Street Journal
Berger, Peter L.
Income distribution is a function of modern economic growth, and is affected to only a limited degree by the institutional arrangements and policies of a society. Capitalism, then, does not come out very well in the perspective of [the value placed on equality]. But neither does socialism, or any presently existent or plausibly imagined form of societal organization. Those for whom equality is a paramount value would thus be well advised to cease blaming or defending either of the two major contemporary systems [viz. capitalism and socialism] for the existing state of affairs. Their concern would logically lead to an overall critique of modernity and to the practical question as to how modernization could be reversed or at least modified.

1987 - from The Capitalist Revolution, Gower, Aldershot
The critics of capitalism are right when they reject policies that accept hunger today while promising affluence tomorrow ... the critics of socialism are right when they reject policies that accept terror today on the promise of a humane order tomorrow.

1974 - from Pyramids of Sacrifice: Political Ethics and Social Change, Allen Lane, London
Bevan, Aneurin
Freedom is the by-product of economic surplus.

Branden, Nathaniel
The old enemies of capitalism used to denounce it on the grounds of its alleged exploitation of the worker. But today, when the American worker is so well off materially, that argument doesn't carry much weight, not that it ever did. Now the emphasis is shifting; now the talk is all about 'alienation' and how capitalism and technology 'alienate' man from his 'true self.' When that argument wears thin or wears out, they'll come up with something else. But why? What is it they really hate? That's the question. And why do they hate it? That's another good question.

Oct. 01, 1971 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
Buckley, William F.
Socialize the individual's surplus and you socialize his spirit and creativeness; you cannot paint the Mona Lisa by assigning one dab of paint to a thousand painters.

from Up From Liberalism
Chesterton, Gilbert K.
Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.

1921 - from The Uses of Diversity
Churchill, Sir Winston
Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is - the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

Clarkson, Adrienne  
 We [are] more like the Europeans ... in our ability to understand and employ state capitalism, our ability to distinguish between social democracy and communism, our social programs, and our lack of urban violence. I think if we go through with this [North American Free Trade] deal, those arguments are going to be no longer possible to put forth to Europeans.

Sep. 9, 1999 - quoted in "Broadcaster has lived her life in the public eye", by Jonathon Gatehouse, published in the National Post
Coolidge, Calvin
The general welfare cannot be provided for in any one act, but it is well to remember that the benefit of one is the benefit of all, and the neglect of one is the neglect of all. The suspension of one man's dividends is the suspension of another man's pay envelope.

Jan. 7, 1914 - from a speech delivered to the Massachusetts Senate when he became its president
The business of America is business.

Jan. 17, 1925 - from a speech
Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.

Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.

Jan. 7, 1914 - from a speech delivered to the Massachusetts Senate when he became its president
Durant, William
The experience of the past leaves little doubt that every economic system must sooner or later rely upon some form of the profit motive to stir individuals and groups to productivity. Substitutes like slavery, police supervision, or ideological enthusiasm prove too unproductive, to expensive, or too transient.

1968 - from The Lessons of History
Einstein, Albert
It's no accident that capitalism has brought with it progress, not merely in production but also in knowledge. Egoism and competition are, alas, stronger forces than public spirit and sense of duty.

Forbes, Steve
As the 20th century draws to an end, the world is certainly learning from America that the economic and political freedoms that come from capitalism and democracy are the most powerful and productive ways to organize society. At the same time, however, we ... are learning that if you want a healthy, vibrant society, capitalism and democracy alone are not enough... capitalism and democracy are necessary but insufficient elements of a successful, virtuous and vibrant society.

Oct. 21, 1997 - from "The Moral Basis of a Free Society", an address to the Heritage Foundation
Foster, Peter  
One criticism of Helms-Burton is that it threatens to derail a more gradual transition towards democracy in Cuba, but such a view is hard to square with the facts. No gradual transition appears in sight, either to democracy or to capitalism. The notion that foreign investment will somehow 'reform' Castro seems either nave or self-serving.

Friedman, Milton
History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom.

1962 - from Capitalism and Freedom
What kind of society isn't structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm; capitalism is that kind of a system.

Fukuyama, Francis
Over the past couple of generations there has been a monumental cultural disestablishment in the United States, the effect of which is that the country's earlier Protestant-Christian foundations can no longer be taken for granted. One of the staples of the scholarly literature on American exceptionalism used to be that American conservatives were different from conservatives anywhere else in the world because they were actually Lockean liberals -- that is, believers in limited government and laissez-faire, and reconciled to the creative-destructive energies of a capitalism that was constantly remaking the social order. This could be the case only because there was a substantial degree of cultural consensus among political elites, Right and Left, on matters like religion and values. There was no tension, in other words, between the country's Lockean liberal political order and its sectarian Protestant cultural inheritance, because the latter could be taken for granted.

Feb. 09, 1997 - from a collection of essays published under the title "On the Future of Conservatism" by Commentary magazine
Gilder, George
Capitalists are motivated not chiefly by the desire to consume wealth or indulge their appetites, but by the freedom and power to consummate their entrepreneurial ideas.

Gompers, Samuel
The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.

Gorbachev, Mikhail
The market is not an invention of capitalism. It has existed for centuries. It is an invention of civilization.

Grant, R.W.
Perhaps the real guardian of civilized behavior is not the political state at all, but the enlightened self-interest of the marketplace.

1999 - from The Incredible Bread Machine, published by Fox and Wilkes
Men such as J.P. Morgan, Vanderbilt, Hill, Carnegie and Rockefeller, were genuine builders to whom the nation owes an immense debt. Although many today agree with [author of the anti-capitalist tract The Robber Barons, Matthew] Josephson that all of it was 'fearful sabotage practiced by capital upon the energy and intelligence of human society,' the fact remains that the millions these men earned would not compare to the value of what they left behind.

1999 - from The Incredible Bread Machine, published by Fox and Wilkes
Many intellectuals despise capitalism ... not because it is undemocratic, but precisely because it is democratic: Capitalism responds to the inelegant tastes of the marketplace rather than to the more 'progressive' judgements of its resentful critics. In the process it places economic power in the hands of crass business people who, in the activist's opinion, are less enlightened, less intelligent, less well-educated and less worthy than he is.

1999 - from The Incredible Bread Machine, published by Fox and Wilkes
Hayek, Friedrich
It is now often said that democracy will not tolerate "capitalism." If "capitalism" means here a competitive system based on free disposal over private property, it is far more important to realize that only within this system is democracy possible. When it becomes dominated by a collectivist creed, democracy will inevitably destroy itself.

1944 - from The Road to Serfdom

Hazlitt, Henry
Every ... leftist calls himself a liberal! ... We are the true adherents of liberty. Both words--liberal and liberty--come from the same root. We are the ones who believe in limited government, in the maximization of liberty for the individual and the minimization of coercion to the lowest point compatible with law and order. It is because we are true liberals that we believe in free trade, free markets, free enterprise, private property in the means of production; in brief, that we are for capitalism and against socialism. Yet this is the philosophy, the true philosophy of progress, that is now called not only conservatism, but reaction, the Radical Right, extremism...

Nov. 29, 1964 - from "Reflections at 70", a speech to friends and admirers at the New York University Club on his 70th birthday
Hook, Sydney
I was guilty of judging capitalism by its operations and socialism by its hopes and aspirations; capitalism by its works and socialism by its literature.

from Out of Step
John Paul II, Pope
Where self-interest is suppressed, it is replaced by a burdensome system of bureaucratic control that dries up the wellsprings of initiative and creativity.

May 1, 1991 - from Centesimus Annus
Jonas, George  
Western left-wing journalists tend to be cynics in relation to their own societies, and naive in relation to trendy Utopias (not to mention ancient or distant cultures.) For instance, they'll know all about the price of capitalism, but little about its value, while they'll see the value of socialism, but won't have a clue about its price.

Feb., 1999 - from "From Soup to Nuts: Aphorisms on liberals and conservatives", published in the Pith Review
Klaus, Vaclav
We started to dismantle communism six years ago without the slightest flirtation with the possibility of reforming it. We knew there was no fundamental structural difference between communism and socialism, that the system was not reformable, that there was nothing like socialism with a human face, and that there was no third way between capitalism and socialism. At least in our country, our position in this regard was clear and straightforward.

Dec. 1, 1995 - from "From Communism to Democratic Capitalism: The Role of Visions", an address to the James Madison Institute
It would be a disaster to accept the accusations of enemies of democratic capitalism that economic behavior is egoistic, whereas political behavior is or should be altruistic, that economic transactions and morality are incompatible, that culture is noble and superior, whereas financial markets are nasty and inferior, and so forth. We human beings are consistent and coherent in our behavior...

Dec. 1, 1995 - from "From Communism to Democratic Capitalism: The Role of Visions", an address to the James Madison Institute
[The European Union] We see more governments and more bureaucrats; we see more an inward-looking (outward-looking) mentality; we see more room for special interests and rent-seeking; we see less democratic constraints, and ... we see more opponents of capitalism in important positions of international institutions than at home [in the once-communist Czech Republic].

Dec. 1, 1995 - from "From Communism to Democratic Capitalism: The Role of Visions", an address to the James Madison Institute
Limbaugh, Rush
Poverty and suffering are not due to the unequal distribution of goods and resources, but to the unequal distribution of capitalism.

1992 - from an essay in Policy Review
Llosa, Mario Vargas
Prosperity or egalitarianism - you have to choose. I favor freedom - you never achieve real equality anyway: you simply sacrifice prosperity for an illusion.

Marx, Karl
There is only one way to kill capitalism - by taxes, taxes, and more taxes.


Mencken, Henry Louis
Socialism is simply the degenerate capitalism of bankrupt capitalists. Its one genuine object is to get more money for its professors.

Capitalism undoubtedly has certain boils and blotches upon it, but has it as many as government?

Sep. 28, 1924 - from "The Library" in The American Mercury
The chief difference between free capitalism and State socialism seems to be this: that under the former a man pursues his own advantage openly, frankly, and honestly, whereas under the latter he does so hypocritically and under false pretenses.

What we confront is not the failure of capitalism, but simply the failure of democracy. Capitalism has really been responsible for all the progress of the modern age. Better than any other system ever devised, it provides leisure for large numbers of superior men, and so fosters the arts and sciences. No other system ever heard of is so beneficial to invention. Its fundamental desire for gain may be far from glorious per se, but it at least furthers improvement in all the departments of life. We owe to it every innovation that makes life secure and comfortable.

Montesquieu, Baron de
Commerce is the cure for the most destructive prejudices.

Novak, Michael
Capitalism is ... a social order favorable to alertness, inventiveness, discovery, and creativity. This means a social order based upon education, research, the freedom to create, and the right to enjoy the fruit's of one's own creativity.

from "Errand into the Wilderness
... capitalism better helps the poor to escape from poverty than any other system, especially better than socialism. ... Capitalism rewards effort, talent, inventiveness, and luck [but not] equal outcomes, because ... equality can be achieved only by abandoning liberty for tyranny.

Orwell, George
Fascism after all is only a development of capitalism.

Paglia, Camille
I feel that capitalism has a very bad press with the pseudo-leftists who clog our best college campuses and that in point of fact capitalism has produced modern individualism and feminism. Modern capitalism has allowed the birth of the independent woman who is no longer economically dependent on her husband. I despise the sneering that our liberal humanists do about capitalism even while they enjoy all of its pleasures and conveniences.

Aug. 01, 1995 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
Capitalism is an art form, an Apollonian fabrication to rival nature. It is hypocritical for feminists and intellectuals to enjoy the pleasures and conveniences of capitalism while sneering at it. ... Everyone born into capitalism has incurred a debt to it. Give Caesar his due.

Capitalism, whatever its problems, remains the most efficient mechanism yet devised to bring the highest quality of life to the greatest number. Because I have studied the past, I know that, in America and under capitalism, I am the freest woman in history.

Podhoretz, Norman
Far from being grateful defenders of the system from which they have profited, the children of capitalism tend to turn against it. Thus it is that radicals and even revolutionaries almost always stem from the middle and upper classes rather than the working class or the poor, in whose name they presume to speak. And thus it is that what is called liberalism today is increasingly identified with the more, rather than the less, prosperous sectors of American society.

1981 - from an essay in Harvard Business Review
Rae, Bob  
The issue of the twentieth century isn't between capitalism and socialism. The question is what kind of capitalism do we want to have.

1998 - from The Three Questions
Rand, Ayn
[Re: support of "liberals" for social engineering] The grim joke is on them: their alleged 'ideals' have paved the way, not toward socialism, but toward fascism. The collector of their efforts is not the helplessly, brainlessly virtuous 'little man' of their flat-footed imagination and shopworn fiction, but the worst type of predatory rich, the rich-by-force, the rich-by-political- privilege, the type who has no chance under capitalism, but who is always there to cash in on every collectivist 'noble experiment.'

1966 - from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
Businessmen are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life from the totalitarian statism that is swallowing the rest of the world. All the other social groups- workers, farmers, professional men, scientists, soldiers- exist under dictatorships, even though they exist in chains, in terror, in misery, and in progressive self-destruction. But there is no such group as businessmen under a dictatorship. Their place is taken by armed thugs: by bureaucrats and commissars. Businessmen are the symbol of a free society...

Reagan, Ronald Wilson
All systems are capitalist. It's just a matter of who owns and controls the capital - ancient king, dictator, or private individual. We should properly be looking at the contrast between a free market system where individuals have the right to live like kings if they have the ability to earn that right and government control of the market system such as we find today in socialist nations.

Sep. 21, 1976 - from his radio address
Reisman, George
The truth is that economic competition is the very opposite of competition in the animal kingdom. It is not a competition in the grabbing off of scarce nature-given supplies, as it is in the animal kingdom. Rather, it is a competition in the positive creation of new and additional wealth.

To the extent that an economist really understands the principles governing economic life, and desires that human beings live and prosper, he can hardly fail to be an advocate of capitalism.

1996 - from Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics
Ridley, Matt
... there was morality before the Church; trade before the state; exchange before money; social contracts before Hobbes; welfare before the rights of man; culture before Babylon; society before Greece; self-interest before Adam Smith; and greed before capitalism. These things have been expressions of human nature since deep in the hunter-gatherer Pleistocene.

1996 - from The Origins of Virtue
Robertson, Pat
The profit motive is not evil; it is a creative force. It is based on self-interest, to be sure, but from this has come technology, creativity, the tremendous explosion of the scientific method, and other things that have made our world a better place in which to live.

1985 - from his book Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions

Safire, William
Thou shalt not take the name of profits ... in vain. Before anybody denouces capitalism as the institutionalization of greed, he ought to consider with what other incentives - or coercion - it would be replaced.

Feb. 19, 1976 - from a column in the New York Times, quoted in The Quotable Conservative by Rod Evans and Irwin Berent
The lust to make money, the desire to get ahead, the shame of failure, the pride of achievement - this amalgam of motives, some of them ignoble, powers a system that produces more public good with personal freedom than any other. That personal freedom is the political soul of our body politic. It is what the profit system puts first and what socialism - the nonprofit system - puts second, well after material things.

Feb. 19, 1976 - from a column in the New York Times, quoted in The Quotable Conservative by Rod Evans and Irwin Berent
Scruton, Roger
To make the market economy into the cornerstone of politics is indeed to simplify human existence beyond recognition. But to ignore its true merit as the most widespread and immediate experience of human peace ... is to take a step in a dangerous direction.

1983 - from a column in The Times, London
The market economy means simply the democratization of economic life - the return of economic decisions to the people. A true democrat, therefore, must always in the end lean towards the market economy.

Aug. 1998 - from "Christian Democracy and the Czech Republic", published in The New Presence
Snow, Charles Percy
Industrialization is the only hope of the poor ... It is all very well for us, sitting pretty, to think that material standards of living don't matter all that much. It is very well for one, as a personal choice, to reject industrializatin - do a modern Walden, if you like; and, if you go without much food, see most of your children die in infancy, despise the comforts of literacy, accept twenty years off your own life, then I respect you for the strength of your aesthetic revulsion. But I don't respect you in the slightest if, even passively, you try to impose the same choice on others who are not free to choose In fact, we know what their choice would be. For, with singular unanimity, in any country where they have had the chance, the poor have walked off the land into the factories as fast as the factories could take them.

1999 - from The Two Cultures: A Second Look
Sowell, Thomas
What is politically defined as economic 'planning' is the forcible superseding of other people's plans by government officials.

Stigler, George
In the long run ... workers and consumers are the main beneficiaries [of capitalism] - easier jobs, higher incomes, and so forth. That is the main performance of the system. The businessman can make a killing, but it's a small killing compared to society's killing. Henry Ford made a lot of money making cars at one time, but that was a small advantage to him compared to the benefit to millions of people who for the first time in their lives were emancipated from common public carriers and could live where they wanted, move at the hours they wanted, to the places they wanted. Ford collected a billion bucks, but that was peanuts compared to the benefits.

Jan. 01, 1984 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
Thatcher, Margaret
... it is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but love of money for its own sake. The spiritual dimension comes in deciding what one does with the wealth. How could we respond to the many calls for help, or invest for the future, or support the wonderful artists or craftsmen whose work also glorifies God, unless we had first worked hard and used our talents to create the necessary wealth?

May 21, 1988 - from "Christianity and Wealth", a speech to the leaders of the Church of Scotland
Pennies don't fall from heaven - they have to be earned here on earth.

Nov. 01, 1979 - quoted in The Sunday Telegraph
Not every capitalist had my confidence in capitalism. I remember a meeting in Opposition with City experts who were clearly taken aback at my desire to free their market. 'Steady on!', I was told. Clearly a world without exchange controls in which markets rather than governments determined the movement of capital left them distictly uneasy. They might have to take risks.

1995 - from The Downing Street Years

Even I sometimes find it hard to remember how truly dreadful conditions in socialist Britain were. Inflation then at over 25 per cent; now under three per cent. Top rate income tax then at 83 per cent - 40 per cent now. Nationalised industries then losing 50 million a week; privatised industries now contributing nearly 60 million a week to the Exchequer. Industrial relations transformed. Productivity transformed. Reputation transformed.

Apr. 1, 1997 - outlining the successes of her government in "The Boneless Wonder of New Labour", published in the London Daily Telegraph, re-published at margaretthatcher.com
The Labour Party believes in turning workers against owners; we believe in turning workers into owners.

1987 - from an election rally speech
No one would remember the Good Samaritan if hed only had good intentions. He had money as well.

1986 - quoted in As I Said to Denis: The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations, edited by Iain Dale
Popular capitalism is on the march ... Of course, there will always be people who, in the name of morality, sneer at this and call it 'materialism'. But isn't it moral that people should want to improve the material standard of living of their families, by their own effort? Isn't it moral that families should work for the means to look after their old folk? Isn't it moral that people should save, so as to be responsible for themselves? ... And it is for Government to work with that grain in human nature to strengthen the strand of responsibility and independence: it benefits the family; it benefits the children; it is the essence of freedom.

1987 - from a speech to the Scottish Conservatives
Socialists have been able to persuade themselves and many others that a free economy based on profit embodies and encourages self-interest, which they see as selfish and bad, whereas they claim socialism is based on, and nurtures, altruism and selflessness. This is baseless nonsense in theory and practice. ... For man is a social creature, born into family, clan, community, nation, brought up in mutual dependence. The founders of our religion made this a cornerstone of morality. The admonitions 'Love thy neighbour as thyself' and 'Do as you would be done by' express this. They do not denigrate self, or elevate love of others above it. On the contrary, they see concern for self and responsibility for self as something to be expected, and ask only that this be extended to others.

quoted in Margaret Thatcher by Peggy Junor, Sidgewick and Johnson, London
Toffler, Alvin
[In Future Shock] we said ... that the period we are moving into is not the period of the crisis of communism or the crisis of capitalism, but the general crisis of industrialism. ... We thought, okay, we've got that problem solved, let's go on to other problems. We were young, and still willing to listen to linear economic extrapolations. ... Acceleration itself has effects on the system.

 ... education should aim not so much at acquisition of knowledge... there is less need to know the content of information. ... [Capitalism] lays the foundations of rivalry and aggression and encourages exaggerated consumption, making man a slave of ambition and status symbols. ... [Lifelong learning promotes] equality of end result, and not merely of opportunity... and fosters equality in terms of opinions, aspirations, motivations, and so on.

1976 - from its publication Foundations of Lifelong Learning, widely-hailed in the education movement
Under capitalism man exploits man; under socialism the reverse is true.

Polish proverb
SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes one of them and gives it to your neighbor. COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and gives you part of the milk. CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk. SOCIALISM...

von Mises, Ludwig
There is simply no other choice than this: either to abstain from interference in the free play of the market, or to delegate the entire management of production and distribution to the government. Either capitalism or socialism: there exists no middle way.

quoted in The MacMillan Book of Business and Economic Quotations by Michael Jackman

All people, however fanatical they may be in their zeal to disparage and to fight capitalism, implicitly pay homage to it by passionately clamoring for the products it turns out.

Wilson, Harold
One man's wage rise is another man's price increase.

Jan. 11, 1970 - quoted in the London Observer and in The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations