According to Bowles and Gintis, capitalism is based on the private ownership of the forces of production) and the maximization of profit. Wealth is produced by a wage and salary earning workforce and the surplus value-the profit-is appropriated by the capitalists, the owners of the forces of production.
The stability of the system depends upon its acceptance as legitimate and just. This involves disguising from the workforce the nature of its exploitation. It also requires the workforce to accept the alienation which the system produces.
Since alienated workers cannot be motivated by intrinsic rewards, since they cannot find satisfaction and fulfilment in work itself, they must be motivated by extrinsic rewards such as play and status. Capitalism thus requires a labour force which is motivated by rewards which are external to work.