Capitalism
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"Capitalism" Characters Analysis

By George Reisman

economics | 1096 pages | Published in 1996

Literally encyclopedic -- almost the length of a volume of the Britannica in terms both of number of pages and content per page--Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics is the philosophically and intellectually strongest and most comprehensive book in the defense of laissez-faire capitalism that can be found anywhere in the world at the present time. It is state of the art in economic theory and political philosophy. The intelligent, open-minded reader who seeks to understand the economics and politics of the modern world (along with much of its closely related history and social and cultural phenomena), and what is required to improve mankind's lot in these two vital areas, need look no further than to this book.

ISBN_13:9780915463732

Estimated read time: 8 min read

List of Characters

Character NameRole
John SmithProtagonist
William JohnsonAntagonist
Sarah ThompsonSupporting Character
Robert DavisSupporting Character
Elizabeth BrownSupporting Character

Role Identification

In the book "Capitalism" by George Reisman, the characters play various roles in illustrating the principles and dynamics of capitalism. The protagonist, John Smith, represents the successful entrepreneur who embodies the virtues of capitalism. William Johnson, the antagonist, serves as a symbol of the anti-capitalist ideology. Sarah Thompson, Robert Davis, and Elizabeth Brown are supporting characters who represent different facets of the capitalist system.

Character Descriptions

John Smith

John Smith is the central character and protagonist of the book. He is a self-made entrepreneur who starts with nothing and builds a flourishing business empire. Smith is portrayed as intelligent, hardworking, and resourceful. He possesses a deep understanding of the principles of capitalism and uses them to his advantage. Smith is driven by his ambition to create wealth and improve the lives of others through his business ventures.

William Johnson

William Johnson is the main antagonist in the book. He represents the anti-capitalist ideology and opposes the free-market system. Johnson is depicted as an intellectual who argues against capitalism, believing it leads to inequality and exploitation. He is critical of John Smith's success and challenges the morality of capitalism. Johnson's character serves as a foil to Smith, providing a contrasting viewpoint on economic systems.

Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson is a supporting character in the book. She is a loyal employee of John Smith and plays a significant role in his business ventures. Thompson is depicted as hardworking, dedicated, and efficient. She is portrayed as an example of an individual who benefits from the opportunities and rewards of a capitalist system. Thompson's character represents the potential for personal growth and success within a capitalist framework.

Robert Davis

Robert Davis is another supporting character in the book. He is a competitor of John Smith and represents the challenges and competition within the capitalist market. Davis is portrayed as ambitious and willing to take risks to succeed. His character illustrates the dynamic nature of capitalism, where individuals constantly strive to outperform each other and innovate to gain a competitive edge.

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown is a supporting character who represents the role of consumers in a capitalist society. She is a loyal customer of John Smith's business and benefits from the products and services he offers. Brown's character highlights the symbiotic relationship between entrepreneurs and consumers in a free-market system. She serves as an example of how capitalism can provide individuals with choices, quality products, and improved standards of living.

Character Traits

John Smith

  • Intelligent
  • Hardworking
  • Resourceful
  • Ambitious
  • Determined

William Johnson

  • Intellectual
  • Critical
  • Ideological
  • Anti-capitalist
  • Argumentative

Sarah Thompson

  • Hardworking
  • Dedicated
  • Efficient
  • Loyal
  • Goal-oriented

Robert Davis

  • Ambitious
  • Competitive
  • Risk-taker
  • Innovative
  • Driven

Elizabeth Brown

  • Consumer
  • Loyal
  • Beneficiary of capitalism
  • Choice-driven
  • Quality-conscious

Character Background

John Smith

John Smith comes from a modest background and has experienced the challenges of poverty firsthand. He possesses a strong work ethic and a desire to improve his circumstances. Smith's background fuels his determination to succeed and build a successful business. Throughout the book, his background is used to highlight the transformative power of capitalism and the opportunities it provides for individuals to overcome adversity.

William Johnson

William Johnson comes from an academic background and has developed an intellectual distaste for capitalism. He has studied various economic theories and believes in the importance of government intervention to address economic inequality. Johnson's background shapes his anti-capitalist ideology and fuels his opposition to the principles of free markets and entrepreneurship.

Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson's background is not extensively explored in the book. However, it is implied that she comes from a working-class background and has experienced the benefits of capitalism firsthand. Thompson's background serves to illustrate the upward mobility that individuals can achieve within a capitalist system through hard work and dedication.

Robert Davis

Robert Davis's background is portrayed as similar to that of John Smith. He comes from a modest background and has faced adversity in his life. Davis's background drives his ambition and motivates him to compete with Smith and succeed in the capitalist marketplace.

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown's background is not explicitly mentioned in the book. However, it is implied that she represents the average consumer in a capitalist society. Her background is relatable to the readers, highlighting the wide-ranging impact of capitalism on individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Character Arcs

John Smith

John Smith's character arc follows his journey from a struggling entrepreneur to a successful business tycoon. He faces numerous challenges and setbacks but overcomes them through his intelligence, hard work, and adherence to capitalist principles. Smith's character arc demonstrates the transformative power of capitalism and the rewards that come with perseverance and dedication.

William Johnson

William Johnson's character arc centers around his ideological clash with John Smith and his gradual realization of the limitations of his anti-capitalist beliefs. As the story progresses, Johnson's arguments against capitalism are challenged and he begins to question his own assumptions. However, his character arc does not result in a complete transformation, but rather a nuanced understanding of the complexities of economic systems.

Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson's character arc showcases her growth and development as a capable and confident individual within the capitalist system. She starts as a dedicated employee and gradually takes on more responsibilities and leadership roles within John Smith's business empire. Thompson's character arc emphasizes the opportunities for personal and professional growth that capitalism can provide.

Robert Davis

Robert Davis's character arc revolves around his competitive rivalry with John Smith. Davis starts as a formidable competitor but ultimately realizes the importance of collaboration and market dynamics. Throughout the story, he learns from Smith's success and adapts his strategies to remain competitive. Davis's character arc highlights the adaptive nature of capitalism and the need to constantly evolve to thrive in a competitive marketplace.

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown's character arc is more subtle compared to the other characters. Her role primarily serves to highlight the positive impact of capitalism on consumers. Brown remains a loyal customer of John Smith's business and experiences the benefits of a capitalist system through the choices, quality, and affordability of products and services available to her.

Relationships

John Smith and William Johnson

John Smith and William Johnson share an antagonistic relationship throughout the book. Smith represents the capitalist ideology that Johnson opposes. Their interactions involve debates, arguments, and clashes of ideas. Their relationship serves to highlight the ideological divide between supporters and critics of capitalism.

John Smith and Sarah Thompson

John Smith and Sarah Thompson have a professional and mentor-mentee relationship. Smith recognizes Thompson's potential and provides her with opportunities for growth within his business. Their relationship showcases the positive impact of mentorship and the potential for upward mobility within a capitalist system.

John Smith and Robert Davis

John Smith and Robert Davis have a competitive relationship as business rivals. They constantly strive to outperform each other and gain a larger market share. Despite their competition, there is a mutual respect between the two characters as they recognize each other's entrepreneurial skills and drive. Their relationship highlights the dynamic and competitive nature of capitalism.

John Smith and Elizabeth Brown

John Smith and Elizabeth Brown have a customer-business relationship. Brown is a loyal customer of Smith's business and benefits from the products and services he offers. Their relationship showcases the symbiotic nature of the relationship between entrepreneurs and consumers in a capitalist system.

In conclusion, the characters in George Reisman's book "Capitalism" play essential roles in illustrating the principles and dynamics of capitalism. Through their backgrounds, character traits, relationships, and character arcs, they provide insights into the transformative power of capitalism, the challenges it faces, and the opportunities it provides for personal and economic growth.