Capitalism best describes the contemporary economic and political systems in the world. These systems are characterized by private enterprise, that is, a country's economy is controlled by individuals whose aim is to make profits. Such private enterprises can only thrive where government policies promote the idea of a free market so as to tap into the markets beyond a country's border (Dicken). Progress is the process of advancing. In the context of capitalism, progress is observed as individuals, corporations, and states competitively try to outdo one another with the motive of increasing their earnings or wealth. The progress is seen in both the economic sector (free market) and political sector (good governance). So as to be more competitive, governments have embraced innovation in production and distribution of its home products. The result is an improvement in technology, better transport systems and free market structures that encourage private investment. All progressive changes brought by capitalism ultimately influence the social lives of people, in this case improving the living standards. However, the reality is that capitalism has enhanced social divisions; those who have and those who do not have. The society we live in today is defined by capitalism, the two are inseparable and work hand in hand. To better understand how this came to happen, it is important to revisit the working mechanism of capitalism, its history and how its development has impacted on the society.
According to Marx, the capitalist system is marked by the disconnection of the processes of production and consumption. In the pre-capitalist era, production was driven by immediate consumption. However, under capitalism, production of goods is driven by the need to sell and make a profit. Therefore, a tendency to produce more than the market consumed emerges. Stiff competition among producers creates a pressure to increase production since mass production reduces costs, lowers prices and increases the market share.