The primary purpose of business is to turn a profit; the profit then propels continued creativity, research, employment, equity-investments (open to all comers), capital expenditures, wages, retirement programs, grants/scholarships, and – above all else – the on-going provision of ever-improving needed goods and services that are beneficial to a wide range of stakeholders far in excess of the immediate corporate board and executive committee. This loop is how businesses serve mankind’s common good as well as their specific markets. Business people are public servants as much, or more so, than senators, governors and the others who are mislabeled and self-promoted as public servants. Those who hold these high government offices are well compensated in many fashions including executive pay; thus they are not modestly serving us, and often their priorities are their own and not that of the public. Unlike business owners/managers and employees, they produce no good or service or profit; rather they consume the taxes paid from the profits and pay of productive businesses and workers. If a business primarily worked to please itself, and not the public market, its existence would be brief. This illustrates how capitalism works and why it is a positive philosophy that is far greater than alternatives like socialism.
There’s no shame in advocating capitalism with its adherence to market forces, personal property, and reasonable profit motives; i.e. the promotion of free enterprise and equal opportunity. Proof of its positive nature is overwhelming, historically sound, easily observed, and – many believe – substantiated by the Bible. Capitalism also does best when the means of production are fully in private hands. When government controls and/or owns the means, it is not true capitalism. It’s been labeled corporate fascism because inefficient, greedy, regulation-prone, controlling, prejudiced, and unseasoned bureaucrats operate the economy from myopic fair-share and personal-share agendas. Ayn Rand exposes this concept effectively in her enduringly relevant novel Atlas Shrugged.
This is not to say capitalism has never been abused; it most certainly has, just as has been religion, medicine, science, education, politics and every other positive element of life. There is, however, too much focus on the top one-percent in business when there’s a ninety-nine percent of the population – including all the government bureaucracy – that also benefits either directly or indirectly from the fruits of corporate business. Let’s move some of that negative one-percent focus to those many career-politicians sitting for life in Congress who abuse the people’s faith and the democratic process by entrenching and enriching themselves in excesses while refusing to recognize term limits and declining to act as honest brokers of the public trust; i.e. they do not exhibit the requisite servant mentality (e.g. they exempt themselves from the laws they pass and apply to the public). Congress’s pandering to the lowest common denominators in its constituency about the greed of the corporate one-percent is a smoke-screen to cover their own greed by shifting our attention away from monitoring their proliferate spending. They represent the top one-percent of the biggest “corporation” in the world: the federal government. We need only to view their lifestyles and examine their use of big money for lavishly living in multiple homes, socializing and traveling conspicuously, and purchasing personal influence, recognition, and favor. As stated above, all good things can be exploited, including politics. Privileged politicians only consume as they spend tax receipts; and, as it is all-too-often reported, they waste, reallocate and give it away as well indulge illegally in self-enrichment, cronyism, graft, and kickback. They do not produce wealth as does capitalistic business. Their real interest in penalizing the one-percent of business is to extract more tax dollars which, in turn, increases their power, control, and influence. Socialism is a giant give-way program that buys selfish politicians the votes that ensure their continued tenure in public office. The engine of this socialistic spending is fueled by the excess outcome of capitalism. Businesses are like the proverbial geese that lay the golden eggs. The eggs are the excess outcomes of production (profits, wages, research and the like). When the geese sicken or die from starvation, overwork, and abuse or lack of care; the egg production declines or ceases as do the many other attendant benefits, including tax revenues.
If we are looking for true public servants in the government’s employ, they are rarely found at the top of the pyramid. There are positive exceptions within any over-simplification statement, and inside the vast government bureaucracy these are amply identifiable deep within such fields as fire protection, the military branches, and law enforcement.