Allowing businesses full reign in your country is like allowing sovereign countries to set up within your borders. In many cases, they will not have parallel motivations and ethics and will lobby for changes that will allow them to sell more products, consume more resources, and grow larger, at a minimum cost to them.
Governments which allow independent individuals to set up shops and compete with each other must bribe such companies to comply with the common interest of that country’s citizens.
A corporation is a mini-government, having its own president, advisors, security enforcement, code of ethics, rule of law, etc. It just doesn’t collect taxes. It used to be that a company’s longevity and reputation mattered for its survival & short-term profits. But increasingly, investors are in the market for quick profits, so companies cater to investors on at least an equal footing as they do their customers.
Companies have even turned their employees into investors by axing pension plans and matching employee 401K contributions.
Sectors most influencing public health & safety should not be controlled by private investors. By safety I mean firemen, police, emergency services, children’s services, transportaion, fuel, etc. By health I mean the food chain, environmental custody, air & water. I’m not sure housing shouldn’t be in this category as well. Government should also have an interest in how its citizens are educated–not to influence propganda of course–but in making all its citizens aware of current advancements in knowledge as to prepare each generation for success.
I think a major problem right now is that we haven’t decided how to relate to the world as a country. I think as citizens we want to be secure at home then help others abroad as much as we can. However, as corporations, money coming from any source benefits the company, especially in the short-term.
America is a place where you can make quick buck with a good idea. Surely our inventors should be rewarded for what they bring to society. But the extent to which they are granted access to lawmakers must be minimized, and competing interests with the good of society must be recognized.
Our society does not benefit from factories being built overseas which sell products back to us. Our society does benefit from purchasing items overseas for which resources are scarce here (cheap human labor not counting as a resource, as slavery was abolished here).
I hope someone smarter or more-informed than me is advising our president and congress on this issue of capitalism within a democracy.