Capitalism Mythbusters: Introduction

Created by Jeremy Jackson |

I realize I may have lost some readers just by the title of this post. It turns out only 6 in 10 Americans have a positive view of the word “capitalism.” This is despite 85 percent of Americans having a positive view of the phrase “free enterprise,” which is often considered synonymous.

What do I mean by these terms?

Capitalism refers to the economic system based upon private ownership of the means of production and voluntary exchange. Others call this the system of private enterprise, or free enterprise. This is in contrast to a system with state ownership of the means of production and coerced exchange, as might be characteristic of socialism.

So if capitalism and free enterprise refer to the same system, why does capitalism get such a bad rap?

The term “capitalism” has negative connotations due in part to the many pervasive, albeit false, myths that have been spread about it.

In this series of blog posts, I will shed light on some of the most controversial myths about capitalism. I will look to data and research to discover which myths are bolstered and which myths are busted.

Here are some of the myths you can look forward to hearing about:

  • Capitalism is bad for health outcomes.
  • Capitalism erodes civil society.
  • Capitalism leads to intolerance towards minorities.
  • Capitalism leads to selfishness and greed.
  • Capitalism leads to wealthy but miserable people.

If these topics sound interesting to you, stay tuned for my upcoming blogs. If there is a myth you’ve heard about capitalism and you’d like to know what the research says, please write in with your myth to 

Meet the Author

Jeremy Jackson is the director of the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise (PCPE) and an associate professor in the NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. Read his bio.

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