Like most Americans, I understand the value of commerce and the benefits that flow from private enterprise. I recognize that the profit motive leads to innovation, jobs, the provision of specialized services, and a general uplifting of the quality of life. By seeking resources to establish a business - resources from people who believe the business's success will help them improve their own conditions - society advances.
Or not. For here it matters exactly what we mean by "business."
On the one hand, there are the auto companies that for years built cars that were too big, soaked up too much energy, and drove American consumers into the arms of Japanese, Korean, German, and Swedish automakers. And that ultimately reached deep into the federal treasury so that all of us who did not buy their cars would bail them out, keep them operating, and keep their salaries high. As with the banks and other financial institutions that played clever, manipulative games, producing little of real value other than moving vast amounts of capital from A to B in a giant shell game and racking up massive salaries and bonuses as their games plunged the country into recession and drove "the little people" out of jobs and homes. These "giants" provide ample proof that not all products that can be produced should be produced and that not all services that can be provided should be provided. What was missing in those cases was a moral compass. There are those who argue that business is not about morality but only about profit and providing maximum return to shareholders. But that suggests that there are no real human beings - people who have to face themselves in the mirror every morning - at the helm.