One of the first lessons that students learn in Business School is that the primary task of the management of any commercial concern is to maximize shareholder value. In other words: To make money for the owners. The profit motive is obviously an integral part of any capitalist system and has been the engine behind the spectacular growth (despite occasional blips) of the modern economy. To deny this primal business instinct is foolish and unproductive â€“ as the citizens of the erstwhile â€˜planned economiesâ€™ in Eastern Europe and beyond would have been able to testify.
While there is no denying the effectiveness of the profit motive as an engine for growth it should also be noted that unfettered capitalism could lead to serious moral and ethical dilemmas as society grapple with the question of where to draw the line between legitimate business activities and those that are detrimental to the public good. In most societies these lines are drawn to protect the vulnerable and to ensure that those with money do not make ill gotten profits from the misfortune and suffering of others. This is why activities like pimping, drug dealing, people smuggling and loan sharking are generally outlawed in most modern economies.