Capitalism is the economic system in which a market economy is combined with legal protections for each individual’s rights, including the right to own and dispose of one’s own property as one sees fit. Leaving people free to work, save, and invest, with as little government interference as possible, creates an environment in which wealth grows and society advances.

Defending that system is one of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s primary goals. Regardless of which industry, product, or business model we consider, the same expectations and legal guarantees apply. The role of government officials—whether at the local, state, or federal level—is to create a system of law and policy that allows voluntary contracts to proceed and the gains from them to be enjoyed by their participants.

To the extent that current government policy violates those expectations, it should be reformed or abolished. CEI’s defense of capitalism as an economic and legal system applies to sector-specific law and regulation as well as to economy-wide rules. Our advocacy for regulatory reform of telecommunications, energy, finance, or any other part of the economy rests on the fundamental right of individuals to create, innovate, and build whatever voluntary arrangements they can imagine.

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Clyde Wayne Crews

Vice President for Policy and Senior Fellow

  • Business and Government
  • Consumer Freedom
  • Deregulation

Sam Kazman

General Counsel

  • Antitrust
  • Automobiles and Roads
  • Banking and Finance

Kent Lassman

President and CEO

  • Capitalism
  • Deregulation
  • Innovation

Jessica Melugin

Associate Director, Center for Technology and Innovation

  • Antitrust
  • Innovation
  • Media, Speech and Internet Freedoms

Richard Morrison

Research Fellow

  • Antitrust
  • Business and Government
  • Capitalism and Free Enterprise

Fred L. Smith, Jr.

Founder; Chairman Emeritus

  • Automobiles and Roads
  • Aviation
  • Business and Government

Ryan Young

Senior Fellow

  • Business and Government
  • Regulatory Reform