Meaning "set of correlated principles, facts, ideas, etc." first recorded 1630s. Meaning "animal body as an organized whole, sum of the vital processes in an organism" is recorded from 1680s; hence figurative phrase to get (something) out of one's system (1900). Computer sense of "group of related programs" is recorded from 1963. All systems go (1962) is from U.S. space program. The system "prevailing social order" is from 1806.
1922, "protection of the consumer's interest," from consumer + -ism. It also was used mid-20c. as an alternative to capitalism to describe the Western consumer-driven economic system as a contrast to state-centered Soviet communism. By 1960 it had shaded into "encouragement of consumption as an economic policy." Related: Consumerist (1965, n.; 1969, adj.).
Coined words are often spurious. When assayed they lack the pure gold of true meaning. But here is one, minted by an engineer named Sidney A. Reeve, which looks like legal tender. As the bank tellers say, it stacks. The word is "Consumerism." [Collier's, March 1, 1924, quoting the magazine's editorial of June 3, 1922]
1854, "condition of having capital;" from capital (n.1) + -ism. Meaning "political/economic system which encourages capitalists" is recorded from 1872, originally used disparagingly by socialists. Meaning "concentration of capital in the hands of a few; the power or influence of large capital" is from 1877.
"Capital" may be most briefly described as wealth producing more wealth; and "capitalism" as the system directing that process. This latter term came into general use during the second half of the 19th century as a word chiefly signifying the world-wide modern system of organizing production and trade by private enterprise free to seek profit and fortune by employing for wages the mass of human labour. There is no satisfactory definition of the term, though nothing is more evident than the thing. [J.L. Garvin, "Capitalism" in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1929]
1891, "release of air," noun of action from deflate (q.v.). In reference to currency or economic situations, from 1916. Related: Deflationary.