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An economic term that usually refers to a wealthy person who owns or controls the means of production and participates with its capital in a business or company. Any person was considered a capitalist who had private ownership and control of capital goods used as economic factors.

The term capitalist was introduced around the year 1792, and Karl Marx defined it further in his 1867 work capital. In the capitalist economic system the most important factor is the capital, being more important than work as a source of production and creator of wealth.