Capitalism is a category of economic systems in which important decisions are motivated largely by capital accumulation by individuals and firms through voluntary exchange and wage labor. When capitalism achieves greater efficiency it is largely a product of the information content carried by price signals, somethign largely missing in Soviet style planned economies.
Critiques of capitalism vary from fundamental denunciations of exploitation conceived in terms of the labor theory of value like those made by Marxists to complaints of deviations from an abstract or idealized capitalism made by liberals. Aaron James offers an exampel of the latter in his popular nonfiction book, Assholes: A Theory. On page 146 he describes "asshole capitalism" as characterized by three features:
- a) incentives - affirms expansive entitlements
- b) undermanagment - lacks system for moderating the worst behaviors
- c) destabilization - accumulation of people given to the worst behaviors undermines necessary cooperation
- Artificial demand for domain names created by permission from ICANN to grant new internet suffixes as firms and individuals buy such "property" defensively. According to general counsel of the Association of National Advertisers Douglas Wood: "All that money is just wasted money because it's money thrown away to property rights that will never be used, never add to competition, never add to innovation, never do any of the things that ICANN is touting will be the great benefits of all these new top-level domains."
- H1-B Visas Used to Steal American Tech Jobs
- Lobbying for anti-immigrant legislation at the state level by the Corrections Corporation of America.
- Meat Glue
- Mediocre Performance of Chain Supermarkets in a Competitive Market
- Low standards (falsified attendance records, grade inflation, job placement data inflation) at "For Profit" Institutions of Higher Education. Source: Kelly Field. "Faculty at For-Profits Allege Constant Pressure to Keep Students Enrolled." The Chronicle of Higher Education. May 13, 2011. A1, A10-A12.
- Systemic fraudulent mislabeling of seafood in the United States, with catfish substituted for Grouper and thresher shark substituted for swordfish and mahi mahi. Source: Elizabeth Rosenthal. "Some Foul Play At Fish Market" The New York Times. May 27, 2011. B1, B4. See Overfishing
- Killing creativity by restricting tinkering to protect property rights “The Tinkerers”: How Corporations Kill Creativity Alec Foege. Salon. December 30, 2012.
- wage theft
- In 2013, it was revealed that a massive portion of the global economy was disguised in offshore accounts and companies to evade taxes.
- In 2011, a political scandal erupted in Britain when it was discovered that the News Corps' News of the World tabloid had been hacking the telephones of crime victims, celebrities and political figures on a massive scale. This shameful violation of journalistic ethics was driven capitalist competition between tabloids.
- In 2010, Eastern Livestock Co., LLC left 734 livestock producers in 30 states holding bad checks totaling $130 milion. The firm was only bonded for $875,000. Source: Kim Watson-Potts. "Eastern Livestock Fails." Farm Journal. 46 December 2010.
- The Importance of Public Goods George Irvin