Generally, capitalism as we know it, as a system or philosophy founded on concepts like individual rights, self-interest, and the private ownership of products with the aim of making a profit, was founded by a thinker named Adam Smith in the 18th century, during what is commonly called the Enlightenment era. But if we think about the idea of trading and selling in order to better your lot, that desire and its roots are a lot older than Adam Smith.
Think about it, since really old times, we were bartering and trading, striving to better our lot for ourselves, and our families, desiring for more. Those principles are older than dirt because they’re part of human nature. Stuff like ambition, wanting, the desire for more, competitive urges, and wanting to better our lot is a major influence on what we now call capitalism, and was there since we crawled out of the trees. Though money wasn’t there from the beginning (humans came up with it gradually, and understood it and how to use it gradually)
The fact is, there are so few who didn’t wish for more at some point in their lives, and so few societies who didn’t argue their interests or boast about them. It’s natural and human to want more, and capitalism is partially founded on this principal, and so is the general goal of pursuing riches and making money (besides the general survival instinct). The only alternatives have been regimes like communism, collectivism, totalitarianism, and other such utopian authoritarian crap. And we all know where that leads to.
It’s no use kidding ourselves. What socialist idealists don’t seem to know is that if early man didn’t desire for more or want, there’d be no progress, because it’s the desire for more that motivates progress. They’re lying to themselves in a way.
Note: I don’t quite care about economics, most of the time, even capitalism. I merely defend capitalism because the alternatives (as I mentioned above) are both pretty much impossible and detrimental to both freedom and even human livelihood. I certainly don’t condone the damage done by the excesses of bankers and businessmen.