When I grew up the people who influenced my childhood had lived through one and in some cases two world wars. My parents were born around the Second World War, and my grandparents and everyone in the age groups in-between had experience of war time living. One thing that all these generations had in common was an understanding of how evil it was to profit during times of war. The term war profiteer was given to the people, who were the lowest of the low, those without a shred of decency or any form of backbone or ethical code.
The concept that you would make a fortune out of others misery was considered disgusting. That is not to say that industry wouldn’t build the machinery needed to meet the need, just that the companies who build things and those who were involved in the distribution of goods understood the importance of their work, and the importance of not bleeding the country dry in the process.
That sense of decency and morality seems to have disappeared. Now wars are looked upon as a fantastic way of moving money from the majority to the ultra rich, and there are no limits on how much profit can be made. Taxes are not even levied to cover the costs of war, instead no-bid contracts are given to the friends of those in power, who have no issue in charging top price for their goods and services.
The concept of war profiteering, now that it is not considered disgusting has been extended. Now huge companies feel no pangs of guilt changing maximum prices for agriculture, fuel and even medical supplies and services.
More recently it has been seen as reasonable to move work to places in the world that offer the cheapest labor. Even though these low cost places offer so little support for their people as to be considered slave labor.
And now we see that the ultra rich are also being sneaky and using devices to create laws that allow them to move their money to places where they don’t have to return a reasonable level to the societies that live in to pay for basic services (taxes).
People, who run companies, generally are smart and hard working, and the ones that found companies are normally grounded in a very strong ethical code. It seems the children of these pioneers of industry and commerce lost some of this ethical base. Lets hope that the next generation of capitalists remembers.