An economic system where goods and services, such as transport, housing and food, are run and controlled by private companies. Private companies are owned by a few individuals (rather than run by the government, by the community or by the people who work for them). The aim of these companies is to make money for the owners. To make maximum profit, companies often try to keep costs as low as possible by taking advantage of their workers, expecting them to work under unfair conditions and on low pay. The people who own and run the companies often become very rich, and often very powerful, (especially when companies operate in many different countries). Capitalism is based on ideas to do with competition and working to benefit individuals rather than ideas to do with co-operating with each other to benefit everyone. Often animals and the environment also suffer under a capitalist system as both are exploited to make profit.