NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are always those who will say throw it all out, especially when it comes to scandalous activity in business. That knee-jerk reaction either comes from those who directly benefit from government control or those who love being on a payroll but have no idea what it takes to make a payroll. Yes, I am biased, inasmuch as I have worked in the business sector more than three decades -- and even when in an executive position with a nonprofit -- found it bizarre how business is excoriated for everything wrong with the world.
Business, and in particular capitalism, is blamed for everything except the tremendous wealth generated, charitable causes supported, and quality of life enabled by its profitable achievement.
Maybe that's it -- that
word is so disturbing. Realize however, as I remind my nonprofit audiences when I deliver keynotes, "Monies left over is a sign of doing the right things. It's merely an IRS designation that determines whether they're considered profit. The nonprofit that hasn't any money left after expenses is equally out of business as the for-profit should be in the same situation."
Since Alexis deToqueville's writings following his post 1776 visit to America on the greatness of capitalism, capitalism has been idolized and vilified. America's desire to create, innovate, prosper and share are the virtues of America.
The restlessness of the entrepreneurial spirit, the desire for self-initiative and control, the pull of an opportunity to be rewarded according to your willingness to dream, risk, and deliver, is what has driven the U.S. to achieve and others to envy and follow suit.
This is not to say American ingenuity and commerce is better... simply very American. It is a system established with as little constraints by government, religion, and other institutions that have bewildered and bewitched many other countries' attempts at free markets. America has always managed the precarious relationships with government and religion.
Without an exhaustive recount of Ayan Rand's objectivist perspective, Adam Smith's treatise, or even Warren Bennett's modern day views on the matter -- suffice it to say:
I believe capitalism to be the noble, exhilarating, and rewarding practice of bringing valuable products and services to the marketplace. That ultimate exchange of money for deliverables is based on earnest competitive practices and not by coercion, intimidation, or other unethical pursuits. The success of capitalism was, is, and always will be based on an honest experience of mutual benefit. Period!
Numerous laws nor any consequences will prevent bad decisions and bad conduct. It has in fact been this writer's opinion that the massive interventions of well-meaning legislators has only complicated, punished, and placed an undue burden on the good merchants. Those who would violate the laws are neither discouraged nor deterred.
Capitalism is a regenerating, organic, cyclical force of man's spirit to think, build and create. As long as there are brilliant, hard working people with dreams, there will always be an undying entrepreneurial thirst that can only be quenched by free markets, responsible risk and passionate pursuit. And with that, we all benefit, here and around the world.
The scoundrels of capitalism are no less an embarrassment and distraction to the glories of free markets than a corrupt politician, corrupt nonprofit executive, or corrupt clergy. As such, the issues of misconduct, mistrust, and misdirected energies are of the soul and not the institution. Therefore it stands to reason that condemning capitalism is tantamount to condemning all religion, all charities, and/or all democracies.
Let us recognize the enhanced quality of life that capitalism brings: wealth, convenience, health, leisure and the very daily work that provides for the pursuit of happiness.
Let us recognize that without business, the government, nonprofits, nor religion would have the funds to pursue their missions.
Good business and bad business are no different than anything else good or bad -- when done with right ideals, right decisions and right conduct, it's all good.