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date: 20 April 2024


The Oxford Encyclopedia Women in World History
Marilyn J. BoxerMarilyn J. Boxer

Capitalism is an economic system in which owners of property control the production and distribution of goods and services for sale and use wealth accumulated from profits to employ laborers to produce these goods for wages. As it evolved, the system passed through stages of commercial capitalism and protoindustry before reaching its better‐known, nineteenth‐century form of industrial capitalism. Capitalism expanded across Europe and the United States, and in the twentieth century it took shape in many countries as so‐called welfare‐state capitalism. Carried by multinational corporations, by the twentieth‐first century it expanded into new areas of the world as global capitalism. Though capitalism's effect on women's lives varies according to a woman's age, marital status, race, ethnicity, regional location, nationality, and wealth, it has played a determining role in the history of women. Each stage of capitalism brought changes whose relative costs and benefits for women provide material for major scholarly debates.... ...

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