My problems can't be fully fixed if those aspects of this version of capitalism (the limitlessness) aren't fixed.
Fair enough if we have different views.
I want a capitalism where the government sees an important role for itself in internalising the externalities where these are or are likely to become problems. This is the standard economics answer when externalities like carbon pollution is a problem. 'Crony capitalism' should also be seen as an abhorrent crime.
While vast and growing difference in wealth vs poverty is not desirable, I see adverse effects in trying to reduce them. That doesn't mean do nothing but the benefits and adverse effects have to be considered for each possible remedy to see if it is sensible rather than assuming the goal of reducing inequity is more important than any possible adverse effect which seems the implication of a ban on further inequality.
I think I would suggest that ensuring social mobility through success is possible may well be more important than wealth redistribution.
The wealth distribution problem seems a separate problem to climate change issues to me. In fact if there was some magic solution to wealth distribution so that wealth was spread more evenly, wouldn't this result in an increase in consumer spending?
Is it not true that if we look at the history of capitalism it is fair to say that it did not exist in any form (many would argue not at all) before the rise of the industrial revolution? Which was in turn driven by the increasing per capita energy available?
If one digs into the structure of capitalism and how it functions it seems pretty apparent that it simply cannot function without constant growth and continuing access to vast amounts of cheap energy. The growth of the capitalist economic practices and access to vast amounts of cheap energy is exactly what has driven us into our current predicament.
You speak in mythological terms when you repeat the standard memes of capitalist ideology. But, setting aside that they have been a major factor in our so badly exceeding the Earth's carrying capacity and are a large contributor to furthering climate change in defiance of common sense, why not examine a few of these myths to see how true they really are.
Does capitalism really make for better quality of life? I think the answer is no and here are some of the reasons why.
First and foremost is that most of what we think of as a better quality of life is really the effects of our consumption of resources and the biota of the Earth in quantities far beyond its carrying capacity. I too can live like a king if I steal from the future. But it does not mean the system I use to do that is admirable, just, moral, or actually works.
Capitalism cannot be sustainable as it requires growth in order to function. We live in a finite world and we must stop growing.
As others have and would point out. Capitalism counts success not in invention, or respect but in accumulation of wealth. In a finite world this eventually leads to vast wealth for a few and almost nothing for the rest. That this is happening has been masked by the process of consuming resources far beyond the globes carrying capacity and accessing millions of years of stored solar energy. Many think their quality of life was improved but they do not understand what it means to the future for them to live the way they do. It also leads to collapse when the growth causes the natural systems to fail due to overuse. Or the climate to be changed.
The wealth disparity of today is far in excess of any other time in history. True social stability is not possible when so few have so much and the rest have little. It is worth noting that the modern man living in the capitalist system works much harder and longer hours on a yearly basis than the common man has at any other time in history. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England the budding capitalists were having such difficulties getting people to work for them that they used their power to change English law on use of common land in order to destroy the economic basis for the vast majority who made their living from the land. This forced the largely rural population, which lived close to sustainably, off the land and into factories where our revered capitalists forced them to work 16 hour days 6 days a week and their children to work 10-12 hours a day. Before this time the typical rural dweller worked well under 8 hours a day. Thus we created the wage slave who had no choice but to work this way to survive. And we revere the economic system and the men who drove it? Is this sane?
Here in America we have this huge myth of the American Dream. That we are all equal and that anyone can succeed if they work hard. Upward social mobility. But the reality of such is far from this story and always has been. Before the rise of the economy due to exploitation of fossil fuels it was actually very rare even in America for someone to rise far above the station of their birth. For a time, when growth was most rampant, it did become more common. But this was due to the growth rate creating such demand that it created an opening for many from the working and middle class to move up the ladder. But this growth painted a false picture of what was going on. In today's America it is once again very unusual for someone to rise far above their original station in life just like in the past. Our top universities are chock full of the scion of parents already stationed high in life. Only a select few reach these places via ability and qualifications anymore (and it was never very high in any case). The rich ensure that their children are given the most resources and the best places in the system. Endless numbers of studies have born this out. But we have this mythology that people rise to the top and change the world and become fabulously wealthy. If you examine the backgrounds of most who make this apparent leap and become icons of the system you find almost none who actually fit the myth. But it sells so well. Social mobility in the US according to figures has plummeted over the last 30 years. Wealth disparity is killing us and I cannot see any national or social benefits to having it continue to increase. Contrary to your implication the wealthy consume vastly more per capita than the common person does. It is a mistake to confuse the percentage of ones income used in consumption with the absolute total. In the future there will be no more meaningful social mobility to come for anyone as what is coming is a dramatic reduction in lifestyles and consumption as we revert to systems much closer to sustainable levels. We have no choice in this as it is just going to happen. If you burn the candle from both ends you get a brighter flame - but only for a time. Our time is drawing to a close.
For everyone ( or even large numbers of people) to accumulate great wealth requires that such wealth be accumulated from somewhere. Our revered capitalist systems have used their power to take much of that wealth from their "colonies" and have systematically stripped the 3rd world for it. Access to fossil fuels has allowed us to mask all sorts of problems which are now coming home to roost in the guise of climate change and a destroyed nature. Growth will stop because the laws of physics and nature will not allow it to continue.
Capitalism is a dead man walking. The necessary parameters for its existence will not be present in due course and it will fade away.
As SH indicated above, of all the forms of economic philosophy ever thought up by far the worst is almost certainly capitalism. It is a suicidal system in the long run. In the short it can be great for the winners, but ask the 3rd world it has raped over the last 150 years how much they have benefited from it. Ask our descendants how much they appreciate us living large at their expense.
I often point out to my fellow citizens in these types of discussions that the programming we have all had about the evils of socialism, communism (and I have to point out how and why socialism and communism are not the same thing as that is what most Americans are taught) and anarchism are completely inaccurate from a historical basis. The philosophical constructs of socialism, communism and anarchism were largely thought up in response to the perceived evils of capitalism. Most of those evils do exist in practice.
If one looks at various economic systems it would seem to be hard not to come to the conclusion that free market capitalism is the worst that has ever been implemented on a wide scale. It is wise to note when one says that that there has never been a country run via true communist or socialist principals so please do not bring up the Soviet Union as an example of communism or the countries of Europe as examples of socialism. One was just a dictatorship which killed off the real communists in the early years and the others were merely versions of capitalism with some slightly different social constructions. And as we know there has never been a country operated under anarchist principals.
But the bottom line is capitalism will cease to exist in the not too distant future. When growth via what ever means are possible stops, it stops. We will revert to other economic forms used in the past