Capitalism, as an economic system, is extremely complex.

Essay by bcaverhillUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2003

download word file, 6 pages 3.0

Capitalism, as an economic system, is extremely complex. Its factors and variables fluctuate greatly over the long run. As a result, capitalist countries experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. One need only look to the postwar expansion of the Roaring Twenties followed almost immediately by the Great Depression to find this proof. Such a situation logically leads to certain questions. Is this the best possible system? Is the unprecedented expansion worth the atrocious suffering that is sure to follow? What causes such wild swings in the economy? Can they be controlled? These questions have been pondered over since the trends of booms and busts in capitalism were discovered. Three such thinkers and the way they dealt with these problems will be examined here. Karl Marx, William Graham Sumner, and John Maynard Keynes all provided different answers in accordance to their preexisting and underlying philosophical beliefs.

The answers range from the outright denouncement of capitalism to a much more positive view of it as the best system and one that could be manipulated favourably.

This paper will examine how each "economist" (it could be argued that Keynes was the only "true" economist in the lot) went about explaining the capitalist phenomenon of the boom/bust cycle. Each analyzes the subject from a different vantage point and so this must be taken into account. Finally, it will look at the various maxims each was working from, with specific interest paid to the economic angle.

Karl Marx lived in Europe in the mid nineteenth century when he wrote about capitalism and society in general. He was one part economist, one part sociologist, and one part revolutionary. Not only did he attempt to explain society and the economy as he saw them, but he wanted to change them. Capitalism, he...