… is from page 73 of Phil Magness’s superb 2020 book, The 1619 Project: A Critique:
Capitalism was not proclaimed, adopted, imposed, or arrived at as a moment in time. In the classical-liberal sense, capitalism simply refers to a set of conditions and circumstances that are favorable to voluntary human interactions and that are distinguished by their absence of a centralized design. It describes a number of attributes in an economy – a freedom in the exchange and movement of goods and people, a general recognition of the validity of private property and a stable and discernible system of contracts built upon it, a cultural environment of toleration for choice and discovery, and a worldview that – at least in its professed values – deprecates forceful predation, whether by other economic actors or the power of the nation-state. A classical liberal history of capitalism is therefore a history of the conditions that permit free exchange and discovery, and with them the witnessed results of the past two hundred years.