“Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.” This quote from Ayn Rand encapsulates her understanding of capitalism as a social system.
When she refers to “individual rights,” she means the fundamental rights and freedoms that every person should have, particularly the freedom to act according to their own judgment. This is a key part of her philosophy, Objectivism, which places a strong emphasis on individualism and personal liberty.
The inclusion of “property rights” and the phrase “all property is privately owned” reflects Rand’s belief that individuals should have the freedom to own and control property. In her view, property rights are an essential part of individual rights, as they allow people to acquire, use, and sell property, which includes both physical items and intellectual property. This is opposed to systems where property is collectively owned or controlled by the state. In the capitalist system, Rand describes, the market operates according to voluntary trade. This means individuals are free to make their own choices about what to buy, what to sell, and at what prices, based on their own self-interest. Through these transactions, they exercise their individual and property rights.
In summary, Ayn Rand sees capitalism as more than just an economic system—it’s a social system that values and upholds individual rights, particularly the right to own and control property. It embodies her belief in the moral and social merits of individual freedom and self-interest.