There is conflicting view of how you look at this. This is because when capitalism is compared with other models like socialism, it seem that the individual or private ownership that gives a capitalist society it status. Cudd et al (2011: 291) identify though, that there is no pure laissez faire system of capitalism. They admit that there are variations of government regulation and this give way for some level of institutionalization in such societies.
In this essay, the writer argues that although there is a conflicting view of the importance of the role of individuals and institutions, the best way of analysing and comprehending the normal capitalist society is to examine the institutions as the unit of the society.
Capitalism can be viewed as a social system where people are allowed to take important decisions about things and situations that concerns them and their economic wellbeing. In other words, the individuals view is the basis for the running of things and affairs in the society as opposed to a planned society where some members of the society determine the trends in social, economic and cultural matters and affairs.
Perry et al (2008: 359) identify that in a capitalist economy, the society is characterised by private enterprise the main decisions (what, how much, where what price to produce where etc) are made by private individuals in their capacity as owners, workers and consumers. From this situation, it appears that the role of individuals is central and determines the fate of the capitalist system.
However, in a deeper analysis of this statement, it can be identified that decisions are not fully left to individuals. This is because although each individual might have a preference or choice, the ultimate decision and final outcome of a capitalist economy is based on the interaction of market forces. This therefore implies that although individuals and their preferences play a major role in a capitalist economy, the final outcome of each