chapter  3
Capitalism and its Critics
ByNathan Ross
Pages 12

Capitalism is a form of economic activity in which the resources needed to produce valuable goods and services are privately owned by individuals or groups whose main goal is to make a profit. This chapter investigates the question of how capitalism functions and whether it is possible to pursue ethical goals within a capitalist context. It provides, the reader, some of the tools needed to think critically about the meaning of capitalism, how it works, and how we can deal with the problems that it introduces. The highly influential English philosopher John Locke paved the way for modern capitalism with his theory of private property. The Scottish philosopher David Hume made equally significant contributions in thinking about the issue of luxury. A capitalist society produces increasing productivity and wealth, at least in the hands of some, and so the question becomes: how does this increasing wealth truly benefit human beings?.