So here is the bottom line. How did the United States (and much of the developed world) go so very wrong and destroy genuine capitalism? If you've read what I've written it is easy to understand. Here it is in summary:
Capitalism works when it is engaged in by capitalists to "make a living." Capitalism is no longer true capitalism and indeed is destroyed if capitalists are in it "to make a killing."
It really is that simple. Think about it. True capitalism requires participants who are seeking to "make a living." There is nothing wrong with making a very good living, so this is not one of those tiresome and hypocritical arguments by liberals that people have to "reduce their standard of living" and "kill more babies because the earth 'cannot sustain a growing population.'" What I am explaining is that true capitalism is comprised of millions of capitalists who are seeking to "make a living," and not having as their sole objective to "become wealthy, and make a killing." When the latter is the objective then people break true capitalist workings and systems. Here is why.
Think back to the origins of capitalism, those corn farmers who grew enough for themselves and then sold the surplus. None of them wanted to "corner the corn market." None of them took their profits and bought luxury items to the total exclusion of creating jobs that mimic their own success. Thus, the poor corn farmer who finally made a little extra corn to sell goes to the market to sell his corn and get cash. He then uses the cash to buy a better tool for his family's subsistence corn field, or to buy a better seed corn to grow, or simply to provide his family with more necessities. Eventually the farmer who succeeds in capitalism can establish other families as farmers. In other words, as the farmer works his way up the ladder of capitalism (solvent or "breaks even," makes a profit, becomes "well to do" and then "becomes very successful") he should be spreading capitalism, not "cornering the market on it." This is how it used to be not so long ago. Yeah, robber barons were always around and they had huge power. But capitalism itself succeeded in the USA in its early days because everyone was an aspiring capitalist and was assisted by other aspiring capitalists, so that there were plentiful jobs and people worked to make and keep everything affordable for everyone else.
So rather than mega-industrialists and mega-financiers calling the shots and worse, setting the model for "aspiring to make a killing," you had many community based modest capitalists who weren't aiming to be the most wealthy person in their milieu. For example, a local real estate developer might aim to replicate his own success in his community, not "look to make as much profit as he can." He would build his own house (subsistence) and then with his knowledge and investment, make what he has available to others, and thus spreads capitalism, keeps prices down and still makes what we used to call "a very comfortable living."
Think about the recent survey where children replied what careers they most aspired to. They no longer answer with "jobs," even high esteem jobs like President. All they want is to be "famous." And now they commit suicide in order to be posthumously "famous" on the Internet. This is what capitalism has done to itself in the hands of those who push that "the markets rule" and "I'm in it to make a killing." When the sole objective of a business is to be as rich as possible, then the person no longer makes genuine capitalism decisions. It's like if our ancestors didn't want to grow more corn to improve their families and community, and instead wanted to drive their "competitor" families out of business by blocking their ability to grow corn. Pseudo capitalists who seek only wealth as their objective start to violate capitalist healthy mechanism because, just as an example, they will not invest in subsistence sides of the economy using healthy and moral capitalist decisions, the opposite of what their grandparents "would have done with their money." The lack of simple savings accounts is an obvious example. Also, the continual taking of risk with the subsistence side of the economy is another example. The third and obvious horrifying development is all of these companies who make all decisions based only on how their stock trades and dividends are paid, and what analysts say about them. That is not capitalism at all. Companies stop making capitalist decisions and indeed stop being capitalist entities the moment they go public and become part of the kabuki theater of "only the shares matter." They no longer even care about capitalist principles for their own products, their own commodities, say nothing about the overall health of true capitalism. They are in it to "make a killing." They will start to do anything to inflate their false profits (pun intended) rather than actually promote growth and prosperity through genuine capitalism. They stunt and destroy capitalism, rather than nurture and expand it. And like spiders they pull everyone into the web, as you see with your "retirement funds."
When one only thinks of "making a financial killing," one no longer even understands capitalism, or is capable of even thinking of the types of decisions one ought to make in order to be true capitalists and promote its healthy spread. The right capitalist decisions does not even "occur" to the "make a killing" pseudo investor. They don't even have those ideas cross their minds, or appear on their radar. It would not even occur to them to keep something reasonably priced even if they could "make a killing" and "charge what the market will bear." If they knew how early local capitalists made decisions, like their grandparents, they'd think they were crazy or naive. "Why did he do that? If he had done this instead he could have 'made a killing!'"
That is where the USA has gone wrong. It has destroyed true capitalism and replaced it with a pseudo self-eating self destructive 'capitalism' that is based on the unconscious AND openly spoken objective that "each man or woman is out to corner the market and make a killing in business and investment." It's a horror story far worse than stupid imaginary aliens being body snatchers. Americans have led the way in the ultimate horror story of destroying true capitalism, all while wrapping their bloated (or skinny) behinds in the American flag and proclaiming themselves as the true defenders of capitalism and freedom. THAT is a horror show movie.