The answer is yes, according to Walter Williams, who says Profit Has Improved The Human Condition.
Of course, he explains when compared to heaven or a utopia where unicorns romp freely and all the food you want magically appears on your table every day, capitalism falls short. When compared to every other economic system on earth, it does wonders.
Apart from billions of people being lifted out of grinding poverty, let’s examine other changes relatively recent in our human history, like how it becomes possible to gather wealth. Mr. Williams says:
Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man.
If you were one of the looters, plunderers, or slave-masters then life was good. If you weren’t, well, life was short, hard, and brutal. And there usually wasn’t much between the extremes.
The way to make money now is to please people. Meet their needs:
Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit.
How should we respond to a system that lifts people out of grinding poverty? What should we think about the people who come up with the ideas to make life easier and better for us all?
Are people who, by their actions, created unprecedented convenience, longer life expectancy and a more pleasant life for the ordinary person — and became wealthy in the process — deserving of all the scorn and ridicule heaped upon them … ?
As for me, I’d rather be living a middle class life with heat in the winter, a/c in the summer, and electricity any moment I want it than to live the subsistence agriculture of my ancestors.
Capitalism, property rights, democracy, and brilliant private sector leaders (who got quite rich) made that transition possible.
By the way, that is also the moral approach.