The common people known as the common man, commoners, or the masses, are the ordinary people in a community or nation who lack any significant social status those who are members of neither royalty, the clergy, nor any member of the aristocracy. In Europe, a distinct concept analogous to common people arose in the Classical civilization of ancient Rome around the 6th century BC, with the social division into patricians and plebeians; the division may have been instituted by Servius Tullius, as an alternative to the previous clan based divisions, responsible for internecine conflict. The ancient Greeks had no concept of class and their leading social divisions were non-Greeks, free-Greeks and slaves; the early organisation of Ancient Athens was something of an exception with certain official roles like archons and treasurers being reserved for only the wealthiest citizens – these class-like divisions were weakened by the democratic reforms of Cleisthenes who created new vertical social divisions in contrasting fashion to the horizontal ones thought to have been created by Tullius.
With the growth of Christianity in the 4th century AD, a new world view arose that would underpin European thinking on social division until at least early modern times. Saint Augustine postulated; the three leading divisions were considered to be the priesthood, the nobility, the common people. Sometimes this would be expressed as "those who prayed", "those who fought" and "those who worked"; the Latin terms for the three classes – oratores and laboratores – are found in modern textbooks, have been used in sources since the 9th century. This threefold division was formalised in the estate system of social stratification, where again commoners were the bulk of the population who are neither members of the nobility nor of the clergy, they were the third of the Three Estates of the Realm in medieval Europe, consisting of peasants and artisans. Social mobility for commoners was limited throughout the Middle Ages; the serfs were unable to enter the group of the bellatores. Commoners could sometimes secure entry for their children into the oratores class.
In some cases they received education from the clergy and ascended to senior administrative positions. There were cases of serfs becoming clerics in the Holy Roman Empire, though from the Carolingian era, clergy were recruited from the nobility. Of the two thousand bishops serving from the 8th to the 15th century, just five came from the peasantry; the social and political order of medieval Europe was stable until the development of the mobile cannon in the 15th century. Up until that time a noble with a small force could hold their castle or walled town for years against large armies - and so they were disposed. Once effective cannons were available, walls were of far less defensive value and rulers needed expensive field armies to keep control of a territory; this encouraged the formation of princely and kingly states, which needed to tax the common people much more to pay for the expensive weapons and armies required to provide security in the new age. Up until the late 15th century, surviving medieval treaties on government were concerned with advising rulers on how to serve the common good: Assize of Bread is an example of medieval law drawn up in the interests of the common people.
But works by Philippe de Commines, Niccolò Machiavelli and Cardinal Richelieu began advising rulers to consider their own interests and that of the state ahead of what was "good", with Richelieu explicitly saying the state is above morality in doctrines such as Raison d'Etat. This change of orientation among the nobles left the common people less content with their place in society. A similar trend occurred regarding the clergy, where many priests began to abuse the great power they had due to the sacrament of contrition; the Reformation was a movement that aimed to correct this, but afterward the common people's trust in the clergy would continue to decline – priests were seen as greedy and lacking in true faith. An early major social upheaval driven in part by the common people's mistrust of both the nobility and clergy occurred in Great Britain with the English Revolution of 1642. After the forces of Oliver Cromwell triumphed, movements like the Levellers rose to prominence demanding equality for all.
When the general council of Cromwell's army met to decide on a new order at the Putney Debates of 1647, one of the commanders, Colonel Thomas Rainsborough, requested that political power be given to the common people. According to historian Roger Osbourne, the Colonel's speech was the first time a prominent person spoke in favour of universal male suffrage, but it was not to be granted until 1918. After much debate it was decided that only those with considerable property would be allowed to vote, so after the revolution political power in England remained controlled by the nobles, with at first only a few of the most wealthy or well-connected common people sitting in Parliament; the rise of the bourgeoisie during the Late Middle Ages, had seen an intermediate class of wealthy commoners develop, which gave rise to the modern middle classes. Middle-class people could still be called commoners however, for example in England Pitt the Elder was called the Great Commoner, this appellation was used for the 20th-century American anti-elitist campaigner William Jennings Bryan.
The interests of the middle class wer
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Georgism called geoism and single tax, is an economic philosophy holding that, while people should own the value they produce themselves, economic value derived from land should belong to all members of society. Developed from the writings of the economist and social reformer Henry George, the Georgist paradigm seeks solutions to social and ecological problems, based on principles of land rights and public finance which attempt to integrate economic efficiency with social justice. Georgism is concerned with the distribution of economic rent caused by natural monopolies and the control of commons, including title of ownership for natural resources and other contrived privileges. Any natural resource, inherently limited in supply can generate economic rent, but the classical and most significant example of'land monopoly' involves the extraction of common ground rent from valuable urban locations. Georgists argue that taxing economic rent is efficient and equitable; the main Georgist policy recommendation is a tax assessed on land value.
Georgists argue that revenues from a land value tax can be used to reduce or eliminate existing taxes that are unfair and inefficient. Some Georgists advocate for the return of surplus public revenue to the people by means of a basic income or citizen's dividend. Economists since Adam Smith and David Ricardo have observed that, unlike other taxes, a public levy on land value does not cause economic inefficiency. A land value tax has progressive tax effects, in that it is paid by the wealthy, it cannot be passed on to tenants, workers, or users of land. Advocates of land value taxes argue that they would reduce economic inequality, increase economic efficiency, remove incentives to under-utilize urban land, reduce property speculation; the philosophical basis of Georgism dates back to several early thinkers such as John Locke, Baruch Spinoza, Thomas Paine, but the concept of gaining public revenues from land and natural resource privileges was popularized by Henry George and his first book and Poverty.
Georgist ideas were influential during the late 19th and early 20th century. Political parties and communities were founded based on Georgist principles during that time. Early devotees of Henry George's economic philosophy were termed Single Taxers for their political goal of raising public revenue from a land value tax, although Georgists endorsed multiple forms of rent capture as legitimate; the term Georgism was invented and some prefer the term geoism to distinguish their beliefs from those of Henry George. Henry George is best known for popularizing the argument that government should be funded by a tax on land rent rather than taxes on labor. George believed that although scientific experiments could not be performed in political economy, theories could be tested by comparing different societies with different conditions and by thought experiments about the effects of various factors. Applying this method, he concluded that many of the problems that beset society, such as poverty and economic booms and busts, could be attributed to the private ownership of the necessary resource, land.
In his most celebrated book and Poverty, George argues that the appropriation of land for private use contributes to persistent poverty in spite of technological progress, causes economies to exhibit a tendency toward boom and bust cycles. According to George, people justly own what they create, but that natural opportunities and land belong to all; the tax upon land values is, the most just and equal of all taxes. It falls only upon those who receive from society a peculiar and valuable benefit, upon them in proportion to the benefit they receive, it is the taking by the community, for the use of the community, of that value, the creation of the community. It is the application of the common property to common uses; when all rent is taken by taxation for the needs of the community will the equality ordained by Nature be attained. No citizen will have an advantage over any other citizen save as is given by his industry and intelligence, but not till will labor get its full reward, capital its natural return.
George believed there was an important distinction between collective property. Although equal rights to land might be achieved by nationalizing land and leasing it to private users, George preferred taxing unimproved land value and leaving the control of land in private hands. George's reasoning for leaving land in private control and shifting to land value tax was that it would not penalize existing owners who had improved land and would be less disruptive and controversial in a country where land titles have been granted. Georgists have observed that created wealth is socialized via the tax system, while created wealth in land values are privatized in the price of land titles and bank mortgages; the opposite would be the case if land rents replaced taxes on labor as the main source of public revenue. According to Georgists, a land value tax can be considered a user fee instead of a tax, since it is related to the market value of created locational advantage, the privilege to exclude others from locations.
Assets consisting of commodified privilege can be considered as wealth si
A yeoman was a member of a social class in England and the United States. It is a military term; the term is first recorded c. 1300. Its etymology is unclear, it may be a contraction of Old English iunge man, meaning "young man", but there are alternative suggestions, such as derivations from an unattested *ġeaman meaning "villager. In early recorded uses, a yeoman was an attendant in a noble household. Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales shed some light on the yeoman's social standing in the late 14th century; the yeoman in The Canon's Yeoman's Tale is a "servant" to a cleric, once finely dressed but now impoverished. In The General Prologue, the Knight is accompanied by a yeoman who "knew the forest just as he knew his home...this was a hunter indeed." This yeoman has a bow, arrows and a coat and hood of "forest green", as does the yeoman in "The Friar's Tale", a bailiff of the forest. The Ellesmere Manuscript contains an illustration of the Canon's Yeoman. William Caxton's printing contains a woodcut engraving of a yeoman.
In the oldest stories of Robin Hood, such as A Gest of Robyn Hode, Robin Hood is a yeoman, although retellings make him a knight. According to Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, Robin Hood's Band of Merry Men is composed of yeomen; the sense of yeoman as "a commoner who cultivates his own land" is recorded from the 15th through 18th centuries. Yeomen farmers owned land, their wealth and the size of their landholding varied. The Concise Oxford Dictionary states that a yeoman was "a person qualified by possessing free land of 40/- annual value, who can serve on juries and vote for a Knight of the Shire, he is sometimes described as a small landowner, a farmer of the middle classes". Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, Garter Principal King of Arms, wrote that "a Yeoman would not have less than 100 acres" "and in social status is one step down from the Landed gentry, but above, say, a husbandman", it was hard to distinguish minor landed gentry from the wealthier yeomen, wealthier husbandmen from the poorer yeomen.
Yeomen were constables of their parish, sometimes chief constables of the district, shire or hundred. Many yeomen held the positions of bailiffs for the shire or hundred. Other civic duties would include churchwarden, bridge warden, other warden duties, it was common for a yeoman to be an overseer for his parish. Yeomen, whether working for a lord, shire, district or parish, served in localised or municipal police forces raised by or led by the landed gentry; some of these roles, in particular those of constable and bailiff, were carried down through families. Yeomen filled ranging, roaming and policing roles. In districts remoter from landed gentry and burgesses, yeomen held more official power: this is attested in statutes of the reign of Henry VIII indicating yeomen along with knights and squires as leaders for certain purposes. In the United States, yeomen were identified in the 18th and 19th centuries as non-slaveholding, small landowning, family farmers. In Southern areas where land was poor, like East Tennessee, the landowning yeomen were subsistence farmers, but some managed to grow some crops for market.
Whether they engaged in subsistence or commercial agriculture, they controlled far more modest landholdings than those of the planters in the range of 50–200 acres. In the North all the farms were operated by yeoman farmers as family farms. Thomas Jefferson was a leading advocate of the yeomen, arguing that the independent farmers formed the basis of republican values. Indeed, Jeffersonian Democracy as a political force was built around the yeomen. After the Civil War, organizations of farmers the Grange, formed to organize and enhance the status of the yeoman farmers; the yeoman comprised status. By contrast, in contemporary feudal continental Europe, the divide between commoners and gentry was far wider: though a middle class existed, it was less esteemed than the yeoman of England of that time; the ` yeoman archer' was unique to Wales. Though Kentish Weald and Cheshire archers were noted for their skills, it appears that the bulk of the'yeomanry' was from the English and Welsh Marches; the original Yeomen of the Guard chartered in 1485 were most of Brittonic descent, including Welshmen and Bretons.
They were established by King Henry VII, himself of Welsh descent, exiled in Brittany during the Wars of the Roses. He recruited his forces from Wales and the West Midlands of England on his journey to victory at Bosworth Field. A specialized meaning in naval terminology, "petty officer in charge of supplies", arose in the 1660s; the Yeomanry Cavalry and Imperial Yeomanry were military units in the 19th centuries. In the U. S. Navy and the U. S. Coast Guard, the enlisted rating of yeoman describes an enlisted service member who performs administrative and clerical work ashore and embarked aboard vessels at sea, they deal with protocol, naval instructions, enlisted evaluations, commissioned officer fitness reports, naval message
Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, worldviews, sanctified places, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, commemoration or veneration, festivals, trances, funerary services, matrimonial services, prayer, art, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, symbols and holy places, that aim to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, other things.
Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs. There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion; the religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs; the study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief. Religion is derived from the ultimate origins of which are obscure. One possible interpretation traced to Cicero, connects lego read, i.e. re with lego in the sense of choose, go over again or consider carefully.
The definition of religio by Cicero is cultum deorum, "the proper performance of rites in veneration of the gods." Julius Caesar used religio to mean "obligation of an oath" when discussing captured soldiers making an oath to their captors. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder used the term religio on elephants in that they venerate the sun and the moon. Modern scholars such as Tom Harpur and Joseph Campbell favor the derivation from ligare bind, connect from a prefixed re-ligare, i.e. re + ligare or to reconnect, made prominent by St. Augustine, following the interpretation given by Lactantius in Divinae institutiones, IV, 28; the medieval usage alternates with order in designating bonded communities like those of monastic orders: "we hear of the'religion' of the Golden Fleece, of a knight'of the religion of Avys'". In the ancient and medieval world, the etymological Latin root religio was understood as an individual virtue of worship in mundane contexts. In general, religio referred to broad social obligations towards anything including family, neighbors and towards God.
Religio was most used by the ancient Romans not in the context of a relation towards gods, but as a range of general emotions such as hesitation, anxiety, fear. The term was closely related to other terms like scrupulus which meant "very precisely" and some Roman authors related the term superstitio, which meant too much fear or anxiety or shame, to religio at times; when religio came into English around the 1200s as religion, it took the meaning of "life bound by monastic vows" or monastic orders. The compartmentalized concept of religion, where religious things were separated from worldly things, was not used before the 1500s; the concept of religion was first used in the 1500s to distinguish the domain of the church and the domain of civil authorities. In the ancient Greece, the Greek term threskeia was loosely translated into Latin as religio in late antiquity; the term was sparsely used in classical Greece but became more used in the writings of Josephus in the first century CE. It was used in mundane contexts and could mean multiple things from respectful fear to excessive or harmfully distracting practices of others.
It was contrasted with the Greek word deisidaimonia which meant too much fear. The modern concept of religion, as an abstraction that entails distinct sets of beliefs or doctrines, is a recent invention in the English language; such usage began with texts from the 17th century due to events such the splitting of Christendom during the Protestant Reformation and globalization in the age of exploration, which involved contact with numerous foreign cultures with non-European languages. Some argue that regardless of its definition, it is not appropriate to apply the term religion to non-Western cultures. Others argue that using religion on non-western cultures distorts what people believe; the concept of religion was formed in the 16th and 17th centuries, despite the fact that ancient sacred texts like the Bible, the Quran, others did not have a word or a concept of religion in the original languages and neither did the peopl
Gentry are "well-born and well-bred people" of high social class in the past. In the United Kingdom, the term gentry refers to the landed gentry, the majority of the land-owning social class who were armigerous, but did not have titles of nobility. Gentry, in its widest connotation, refers to people of good social position connected to landed estates, upper levels of the clergy, "gentle" families of long descent who never obtained the official right to bear a coat of arms; the historical term gentry by itself, so Peter Coss argues, is a construct that historians have applied loosely to rather different societies. Any particular model may not fit a specific society, yet a single definition remains desirable. Linguistically, the word gentry arose to identify the social stratum created by the small number, by the standards of Continental Europe, of the Peerage of England, of the parts of Britain, where nobility and titles are inherited by a single person, rather than the family, as usual in Europe.
Before creation of the gentry, there were analogous traditional social elites. The adjective patrician describes the governing elites in a medieval metropolis, such as those of the free cities of Italy, the free imperial cities of Germany and Switzerland, the Hanseatic League, which were different from the gentry; the Indo-Europeans who settled Europe and Western Asia and the Indian subcontinent conceived their societies to be ordered in a tripartite fashion, the three parts being castes. Castes came to be further divided as a result of greater specialisation; the "classic" formulation of the caste system as described by Georges Dumézil was that of a priestly or religiously occupied caste, a warrior caste, a worker caste. Dumézil divided the Proto-Indo-Europeans into three categories: sovereignty and productivity, he further subdivided sovereignty into two complementary sub-parts. One part was formal and priestly, but rooted in this world; the other was powerful and priestly, but rooted in the "other", the supernatural and spiritual world.
The second main division was connected with the use of force, the military, war. There was a third group, ruled by the other two, whose role was productivity: herding and crafts; this system of caste roles can be seen in the castes which flourished on the Indian subcontinent and amongst the Italic peoples. Examples of the Indo-European castes: Indo-Iranian – Brahmin/Athravan, Kshatriyas/Rathaestar, Vaishyas Roman – Flamines, Quirites Celtic – Druids, Plebes Anglo-Saxon – Gebedmen, Weorcmen Slavic – Volkhvs, Krestyanin/Smerd Nordic – Earl, Thrall Greece – Eupatridae, Demiurgi Greece – Homoioi, HelotsKings were born out of the warrior or noble class. Emperor Constantine convoked the First Council of Nicaea in 325 whose Nicene Creed included belief in "one holy catholic and apostolic Church". Emperor Theodosius I made Nicene Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire with the Edict of Thessalonica of 380. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, there emerged no single powerful secular government in the West, but there was a central ecclesiastical power in Rome, the Catholic Church.
In this power vacuum, the Church rose to become the dominant power in the West. In essence, the earliest vision of Christendom was a vision of a Christian theocracy, a government founded upon and upholding Christian values, whose institutions are spread through and over with Christian doctrine; the Catholic Church's peak of authority over all European Christians and their common endeavours of the Christian community—for example, the Crusades, the fight against the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula and against the Ottomans in the Balkans—helped to develop a sense of communal identity against the obstacle of Europe's deep political divisions. The classical heritage flourished throughout the Middle Ages in both the Byzantine Greek East and Latin West. In Plato's ideal state there are three major classes, representative of the idea of the "tripartite soul", expressive of three functions or capacities of the human soul: "appetites", "the spirited element" and "reason" the part that must guide the soul to truth.
Will Durant made a convincing case that certain prominent features of Plato's ideal community were discernible in the organization and effectiveness of "the" Medieval Church in Europe: For a thousand years Europe was ruled by an order of guardians like that, visioned by our philosopher. During the Middle Ages it was customary to classify the population of Christendom into laboratores and oratores; the last group, though small in number, monopolized the instruments and opportunities of culture, ruled with unlimited sway half of the most powerful continent on the globe. The clergy, like Plato's guardians, were placed in authority... by their talent as shown in ecclesiastical studies and administration, by their disposition to a life of meditation and simplicity, and... by the influence of their relatives with the powers of state and church. In the latter half of the period in which they ruled, the clergy were as free from family cares as Plato could desire... Celibacy was
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are determined by competition in goods and services markets. Economists, political economists and historians have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice; these include welfare capitalism and state capitalism. Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition and state-sanctioned social policies; the degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism.
The extent to which different markets are free as well as the rules defining private property are matters of politics and policy. Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies, which combine elements of free markets with state intervention and in some cases economic planning. Market economies have existed under many forms of government and in many different times and cultures. Modern capitalist societies—marked by a universalization of money-based social relations, a large and system-wide class of workers who must work for wages, a capitalist class which owns the means of production—developed in Western Europe in a process that led to the Industrial Revolution. Capitalist systems with varying degrees of direct government intervention have since become dominant in the Western world and continue to spread. Over time, capitalist countries have experienced consistent economic growth and an increase in the standard of living. Critics of capitalism argue that it establishes power in the hands of a minority capitalist class that exists through the exploitation of the majority working class and their labor.
Supporters argue that it provides better products and innovation through competition, disperses wealth to all productive people, promotes pluralism and decentralization of power, creates strong economic growth, yields productivity and prosperity that benefit society. The term "capitalist", meaning an owner of capital, appears earlier than the term "capitalism" and it dates back to the mid-17th century. "Capitalism" is derived from capital, which evolved from capitale, a late Latin word based on caput, meaning "head"—also the origin of "chattel" and "cattle" in the sense of movable property. Capitale emerged in the 12th to 13th centuries in the sense of referring to funds, stock of merchandise, sum of money or money carrying interest. By 1283, it was used in the sense of the capital assets of a trading firm and it was interchanged with a number of other words—wealth, funds, assets, property and so on; the Hollandische Mercurius uses "capitalists" in 1654 to refer to owners of capital. In French, Étienne Clavier referred to capitalistes in 1788, six years before its first recorded English usage by Arthur Young in his work Travels in France.
In his Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, David Ricardo referred to "the capitalist" many times. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet, used "capitalist" in his work Table Talk. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon used the term "capitalist" in his first work, What is Property?, to refer to the owners of capital. Benjamin Disraeli used the term "capitalist" in his 1845 work Sybil; the initial usage of the term "capitalism" in its modern sense has been attributed to Louis Blanc in 1850 and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1861. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels referred to the "capitalistic system" and to the "capitalist mode of production" in Capital; the use of the word "capitalism" in reference to an economic system appears twice in Volume I of Capital, p. 124 and in Theories of Surplus Value, tome II, p. 493. Marx did not extensively use the form capitalism, but instead those of capitalist and capitalist mode of production, which appear more than 2,600 times in the trilogy The Capital. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term "capitalism" first appeared in English in 1854 in the novel The Newcomes by novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, where he meant "having ownership of capital".
According to the OED, Carl Adolph Douai, a German American socialist and abolitionist, used the phrase "private capitalism" in 1863. Capitalism in its modern form can be traced to the emergence of agrarian capitalism and mercantilism in the early Renaissance, in city states like Florence. Capital has existed incipiently on a small scale for centuries in the form of merchant and lending activities and as small-scale industry with some wage labour. Simple commodity exchange and simple commodity production, which are the initial basis for the growth of capital from trade, have a long history. Classical Islam promulgated capitalist economic policies such as free banking, their use of Indo-Arabic