B: The best thing about free trade is the “free” part of it: nobody can legally bully anyone else around. Businesses cannot force customers to buy their services/goods, and neither can they force people to work for them. If they could, it’s no longer free trade, and such a business should be penalized by the government, whether by fines, arrests, coerced shutdown, or the like. For instance, some businesses have been accused of using slave labor. The only way this accusation could be true is if those businesses are forcing their employees to work. If not, then that employee can leave at any time and find a job, presumably better in some way, elsewhere.
There are, of course, many opponents to the expansion of business, and they find ways to make businesses – especially the big ones – look bad. It may be because of jealousy or perhaps an attempt for political leverage. Businesses could help themselves against these political opponents by helping make freedom look nice, instead of appearing to abuse it.
B: It may be enough to simply avoid the abuses, say of excessive spending on unnecessary luxuries, railing on competitors’ weaknesses, eking out every prospective advantage by cutting various ethical corners, paying abominably low wages, etc. But even better would be for them to support various worthy causes as well.
A: But everyone knows that it’s all for show, and that it’s fake. All they really care about is the money.
B: As anybody in business comes to find out soon enough, good service is paramount. Another remarkable thing about free trade is that competition drives employees to always be on their best behavior: the nicer an employee is to a customer, the more his service is praised, and the more the company he works for is respected.
A: Yeah, but…behind all the niceness act, I know he’s just doing it to get an extra buck, or tip.
B: The best service is truly genuine, and people, like you, can detect even the slightest hint of insincerity in service. If an employee is truly genuine, then he really cares about his customer’s happiness, and is even willing to advise a customer to go elsewhere if he honestly believes he will be better off there. While the employee may not get the desired sale, his genuine care for the customer will yield much greater dividends, in the long run, for his employer, by his exceptional display of courtesy to the customer. Some sharp employees have recognized this and do this already.
A: Big business has to be limited somehow. Else there isn’t enough money to go around, since they’re hogging it all.
B: As long as there are resources to make use of – and this Earth has plenty of unused resources right now – there’s no limit to the wealth that can be produced from it. In the economic sense, people are valuable resources to companies. Thus people who have yet to even be born will be future resources to businesses. Employees both present and future can produce ideas besides perform whatever tasks their supervisors require of them, which lead to more efficient use of resources. So far as I can tell, there will never be a scarcity of wealth; there certainly isn’t one now.
A: Are you saying we could all be billionaires?
B: If so, that wouldn’t be very unique, would it? In that case, unimaginable wealth would be commonplace. Here’s some perspective, though: the “wealth” a common citizen enjoys now would pay a king’s ransom 500 years ago. In short, we have wealth unimaginable to a common citizen of 500 years past. Perhaps those who live 500 years from now will have that same standing in wealth relative to us. There’s plenty of wealth to go around for everybody, though some of it has yet to be created – how much wealth one gets out of what presently exists and of what will exist later is primarily up to each enterprising individual.