Author(s): Robert L Heilbroner
Capitalism is a unique historical formation with core institutions and distinct movements. It involves the rise of a mercantile class, the separation of production from the state, and a mentality of rational calculation. Its characteristic logic revolving around the accumulation of capital reflects the omnipresence of competition. It displays broad tendencies to unprecedented wealth creation, skewed size distributions of enterprise, large public sectors, and cycles of activity. Whereas students of capitalism traditionally envisaged an end to the capitalist period of history, modern economists show little interest in historical projection.