Society in which
the economy is based on the private initiative of individual entrepreneurs
or limited companies, and where the prices of goods are determined by
the forces of the - supposedly free - market.
It is noteworthy
that pure capitalism, if it ever existed, is a thing of the 19th
Century, at least in Western Europe (!), and that since then
the state interfered in economical
relations to protect the currency; the free market, if it existed; the
entrepreneurial class; the wages of the working class; the subsidies of
art, and much more.
It is also noteworthy that as soon as the state gets very powerful
and radically limits a free market in such a way that there is no real
chance for enterprising individuals to become rich by their own efforts
through production of goods or through buying and selling, that very often
the welfare of the country declines while state
terrorism and the wealth
and power of a small percentage of state servants radically increase.
Thus there is at least good statistical
evidence for the combination
of democracy and capitalism: Where there are mostly free elections,
there typically is mostly free trade; and conversely.
And what idealists like the marxists or
anarchists almost completely missed, or
desired to close their eyes for, is that while individual capitalists
may try to mercilessly exploit their labourers, human beings are on
average such that individuals in state organs do so as mercilessly, and
with much more power, and much less control.
Furthermore, while it is true that early capitalism was quite inhuman
in its effects, it is also true that much of the inhumanity of
capitalism was tamed - in time, after two or three generations - by fair
legislation, that prohibited exploitation and guaranteed a fair or at
least a living wage for most workers.
However... the evils that capitalism may do were tamed, to some
extent, only in such countries where (1) there are independent courts
and (2) free speech, free press, and human rights. See: