Let the debate commence 😊
Per my definition, capitalism is about seeking efficiencies in order to outprice competitors and grow market share. (It also requires property ownership. Property ownership is directly related, in my reading, to coercion and exclusion. But that’s for another day.) Capitalism = growth. Endless growth in a finite environment (earth) = certain mass death and destruction (see: cancers growing in bodies).
Per the Polanyi Double Movement — free market checked by strong state regulation — a collared capitalism worked pretty well in a few places (America) for maybe 30 years: 1945–1975. That’s where CEOs made the least in comparison to their employees. I wouldn’t say that mid century American (or current Nordic) regulation of capitalism necessarily endorses capitalism. It definitely endorses regulation, though.
However, as I say in other essays, it’s not like Soviet communism produced a particularly good quality of life OR freedom AND still created disastrous environmental damage (see Chernobyl). Which is to say I don’t know of a state-based economic system better than capitalism. But that doesn’t mean capitalism is good. It just means it’s the thing we used to get where we are today. And today is looking a lot less good than it did in 1965.
As to your quote re: men conquering weaker men, forgive me, but that sounds pretty Eurocentric (or I guess also Asiacentric). I would recommend ethnographies of some particularly ancient cultures that survived — in the case of the Hadza to the present day — for certainly upwards of 5,000 years and perhaps (speaking of the Hadza) as many as 50,000 years without becoming slave-takers or property owners.
I agree that in scarcity circumstances the most brutal man gets the most… whatever he takes by force or guile (but usually force). That is not the exclusive history of this planet, though. I strongly recommend M Kat Anderson’s exquisitely researched TENDING THE WILD for a window into the peoples of “California” who lived for 13,000 years without agriculture or famine or large-scale conflict.
In one of your responses you guessed we’d all end up hunter-gatherers again. I think so too. I just think we might have less misery if we figure out how to get there (or a technology-supporter version of there) sooner rather than later.