One way to define ‘capitalism’ is to focus on capitalism as a concept. Such a definition attracts a technical critique about ownership and property law. Once these are admitted, power imbalances inevitably follow, so the debate then tends to turn to the issues of just price, usury, and so on, as ways to correct these imbalances. An alternative way to define ‘capitalism’ is to examine the arrangements to which the word refers. Because Synod tends to discuss capitalism in this second, more general, sense, this is the definition that will here be pursued, in the interests of its more practical nature. That said, a careful examination of the various arrangements of capitalism worldwide reveals a level of nuance and complexity that militates against precise critique. Within the discipline of Economics, oversimplifying positions for the sake of discussion is an occupational hazard, because no ‘pure’ form of capitalism or indeed of any other economic system exists outside the textbooks. There is therefore a danger that any theory of economics or treatment thereof becomes an intellectual conceit rather than anything of diagnostic or instrumental use. In practice, capitalism favours the private ownership of assets, so the point at issue across the spread of arrangements tends to concern the appropriate balance within a given economy between state and private ownership.
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