The below is a decent description on Capitalism via Wikipedia:
“Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investments are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.
Economists, political economists, sociologists and historians have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free-market capitalism, welfare capitalism and state capitalism. Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition and state-sanctioned social policies. The degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism. The extent to which different markets are free as well as the rules defining private property are matters of politics and policy. Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies which combine elements of free markets with state intervention and in some cases economic planning.”
If you want to read a terrific view of the evolution of capitalism and predictions for the future please consider “Capitalism” by Thomas Pikkety. My view is that the owners of capital tend control the distribution of both income and wealth. Numerous decades ago, the primary source of capital was land. The owners of the land (primarily the Royals) controlled the living conditions of the masses. Today Capital is primarily controlled by major corporations and the top .1% of the wealthiest families (the Nuevo Royals).
There is no question the Nuevo Royals have been more generous with income & wealth distribution and are responsible for the emergence of the “middle class” and a significant reduction in the size of the lowest income segment. When land ownership ruled the day there were basically the Royals & their appointees and the peasants.
Can the middle class make a case that make a case that they are reaping their fair share of income and wealth accumulation? I think so, but I think there is a stronger case for the lowest 50% income group. I have addressed this topic in numerous prior posts. When a family has absolutely no chance to participate in our capitalistic system. In reality they do not have the income to satisfy the basic needs that the middle class takes for granted without some form of subsidy; Food, housing, transportation & healthcare.
I will leave you with this final thought. Most alarming to me is that many of the CEOs of major corporations make 500 times as much (and more) compensation than the average compensation of their employees. Is this fair to the middle-class worker?