Capitalism was an economic and political system involving the private production and trade of goods and services, with minimal, if any, government intervention. On Earth, it was first articulated by the human political scientist Adam Smith, who had originally named the system "Laissez-faire", French for "let alone", for his assertion that the government had neither the right to determine the means of production and trade for a society, nor the ability to do so efficiently. This led to the alternative terms of "free market" and "free enterprise".

Most forms of capitalism heavily involve the use of money.

Prior to first contact with the Ferengi Alliance, the United Federation of Planets had came across various rumors and accounts to the effect that the Ferengi were practitioners of a perverted form of capitalism, basing their entire style of trade on the concept of "caveat emptor", or "buyer beware". These rumors were later proven to be true. (TNG episode: "The Last Outpost")

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