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Can Capitalism Bring Inclusive Growth?

The recent Oxfam Report, 2016 has once again brought forth the debate on global inequality in light of its findings that the richest 1 per cent of the world’s population now own more than the rest of us combined. This debate on global inequality in contemporary times also raises a question mark on the ability of capitalism – the economic system predominantly being followed all over the world, barring a few exceptions, to deliver inclusive growth. Capitalism is an economic system believed to have been born in the aftermath of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth-century Europe. It is based on private enterprise and private ownership of means of production like land, labor, capital etc. as compared to the economic system of Socialism, on the other end of the spectrum, which encourages public or state ownership of means of production. The producers belonging to the elite capitalist class are driven by the sole motive of profit. However, the system of capitalism has been criticized since its inception due to the exploitation of working class under horrible working conditions and low wages and for the very fact that it divides societies into classes of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Its proponents have pointed towards ills of other economic systems and freedom of choice to encourage a laissez faire system. However, in light of the growing global economic inequality and poor standards of living even among sections of citizens in first world countries that have been following capitalism in spirit and law for centuries, certainly does raise a question on capitalism’s flaws and its ability to deliver inclusive growth.

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