Morality and the Business of Making Profit

Malcolm Gladwell talks about what we actually are venerating when we venerate successful business tycoons and entrepreneurs.

I think what is interesting about Gladwell’s analysis is that what America (and extension, the globe) values is massive return on investment.  Who can take a small amount of cash and generate a large amount in a short amount of time.  That is what is means to be successful – to tap new resources, to make a business more efficient, to create profits.

This can be generated by deceptive advertising of a product with no effect or a destructive one, chopping up an entire forest, releasing dangerous chemicals into the environment, laying off employees, only paying people minimum wage, tax evasion or loop-holes, flipping businesses/houses/cars – and more.

Does the benefits of modern technology, capitalist empires, and quick-profit investment models really give us-and I mean all of us-a better society?  Or are we being short-changed so a few can be wealthy now?  And do we really respect them for that … or just envy them?  Should we envy them at all?