Bill Bonner, a financial publisher whose thoughts I regularly read, describes it in terms of deals. What works for people and the economy are win-win deals, which are typically what you get in true free market capitalism. An everyday example would be a street market. There are lots of willing sellers and lots of willing buyers. There is complete price discovery as every stall displays its prices. You can quickly survey the whole market, compare the quality and price of what's on offer and make a decision who to buy from or not to buy at all. If you do buy that is a win-win deal. You have got what you want at a price you are happy with and the seller has sold his/her produce at a price that they are happy with.
All government deals are win-lose deals. One group benefits while another loses. The Trump tariffs on steel are a typical example. US steel producers win. Their product becomes more competitive compared to imports and so they sell more and make more profits. Everybody else loses. Product manufacturers and construction companies have to pay more for their steel and pass that extra cost onto the consumer. In virtually every government deal an insider group wins and ordinary people lose.
Generally governments do most good when they do nothing and just let people get on with their lives with minimum interference. I'm no historian but I think it was largely the view of the Roman empire and the Ottoman empire, which were pretty successful for very long periods of time. You could do virtually whatever you wanted as long as you paid your taxes. Unfortunately doing nothing is an anathema to anybody in government today.