I see free enterprise concerned with the transactions side of things, while it’s cousin capitalism relates more toward the production side of things. They are not inexorably linked, but would often be seen together.
I wonder if your criticisms of capitalism are largely related to the shortcomings of finance and contract law… and the granddaddy of all free market bastardization: cronyism.
I suppose I presume capitalism operating within a just social framework, and that’s of course unreasonable. A purely free market is not without its weaknesses… nor does capitalism explicitly rely on one… but capitalism won’t live long in markets controlled centrally. It will be blamed for the inevitable failures of such a market, and then fall to nationalization.
This is not lost on the Chinese, as one example.
But there is a lot of ground between free enterprise and markets so adulterated that capitalism becomes unviable.
That’s certainly where we find ourselves.
But capitalism still does its primary function well… efficient allocation (and reallocation) of capital.