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A socialist invented the c-word
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A socialist invented the c-word

Smoking cigars. Smoking dollar bills. Fat men - protected by the police and military. Some of the negative images at the top of Google's image results when you search for "capitalism".

Search for “capitalism” within Google images and the top three lines don’t include many flattering results. As Simon Wolfson, CEO of high street retailer Next, notes in the new UnHerd podcast on western capitalism’s current troubles, the c-word was invented by its critics. The revolutionary French socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon – often known as the “father of anarchism” and best known for his dictum that “property is theft” – was probably the first to ever use the term. For him it meant “property-owner”. In the early days of America’s free market think tanks, none used the term. Opinion polling suggests that capitalism is a less popular idea to American voters than free markets; by 69% to 55%. There’s more to this than opponents of socialism minding their language. When so much of what we call capitalism today is actually an economic system where big banks, energy companies, the agricultural sector and the like  are closely connected to each other through subsidy, tax privileges, regulation, personnel and lobbying, the ambition to build free markets rather than more of the capitalist same is an important and substantial distinction.