Corporations are a hell of a thing. You can make honest money putting in hours working for a corporation. But its not just you making money from your work. Never mind the ridiculous salary a CEO can make, the corporation itself also attempts to make a profit. It is money passed on to others who have done no mental or physical work for it. It is one of the foundation blocks of capitalist economics that risk levels are correlated to rewards. Those investors and owners assumed risk and therefore should be compensated.
The heart of capitalist beliefs appears to me to dictate one must accept that there is no limit to what a person can be compensated. We have for the most part tacitly accepted that this means consequently there is no limit to what a corporation can earn. As long as there is sufficient demand, with restricted supply, the sky is the limit. If you are the only person capable of supplying a needed service, then your price can theoretically reach the cost of simply doing without the service.
I'm just fleshing this line out, but I see two basic models for a business to operate under. One where the goal is for a business pay an honest wage to its proprietor and employees and any consequential profit would be used to grow the business not to be distributed on top of a fair wage. It may be old fashioned, but I would consider this a modern micro business model. In the other one, which would be largely populated by publicly owned businesses, the companies' profits are the goal and those profits are primarily distributed to investors for risk assumption and to upper management purportedly for mental exertion. Growing the business is used for the sole sake of increasing the profit and only to the extent that it increases profit sufficiently. Quality, customer satisfaction, and innovation are important only to the extent they affect profit.
If we accept that these businesses have a right to and feel a clarion call to make the highest profit possible that is only limited by others ability to supply it cheaper, then the situation will likely arise where large companies will seek to eliminate those competitors that can provide it cheaper.
This is exactly what people were warned about Walmart. And once the webbing of small and micro businesses across the United States is blown apart by these cost consolidating giants there is no reason to keep the profit level low. We have accepted their right to make it as high as the market permits.
The contrary argument was that new businesses would replace those that were driven out of business if the giant raised prices above what the smaller, now defunct business could have provided them at. Never mind the wholesale loss of decent livable wages, this argument also ignored the prohibitive start up costs that smaller established businesses had already written off or absorbed decades before. Costs that would drive the prices of a start up business replacing it even higher.
But why? Why do we need to hold with an insane death grip to this freedom for businesses and markets? It seems to me that there are some things that people or businesses don't have a right to make money on.
I know they will call it social democracy or communist to suggest limiting a corporation or individual's profit margin. Yet still I ask, are there industries that are essential to the fulfillment of our guarantee of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? As a society are we OK with unlimited profit levels in these industries? Industries like health insurance, fuel, food?
As a free society, could we not say that you can make as much money as you want on some things, but not on these essential industries? Or even better, make as much as you want, but we the people, acting through our democratically elected government, are going to run a competing company, a non-profit run by a manager not making thousand of times what the lowest paid employee makes. A company that runs for the good of society, rather than the good of the profit. A macro company running on micro principles.
National Power, National Health, National Grain, National Wi-Fi all paying fair wages, all competing with others but not in order to make a profit. All of them operating in the same manner so many American micro businesses do, that is, trying to make a fair wage for employees and grow a sound company at the same time. Sure its just a pipe dream, we can't even get single payer health, but would it work? Could it work?