Most people will have heard of a cost/benefit analysis that, basically speaking, indicates that a business is profitable if its benefits outweigh its costs. Now, on the profit side, as profits are usually only monetary, there is not much science to it. But, on the cost side, as in the case of costs, there is a long list of non-monetary costs that does get complicated. The question is to adequately define the costs that a company generates for society and for which it does not take responsibility, does not assume them.
Once all the costs that a society must assume for the operation of a company have been established, it is precisely that society must decide whether to assume them or not and, if so, at what price. To give an example, if a power line can generate certain types of diseases in the inhabitants of a region, it is the inhabitants of that region who must decide if such a line is to be installed or not, and what, in any case, would be the compensation to be received for each patient. The immoral thing is to profit from the ignorance of the population, which is always late.
What is normally done is to establish a system of fines by which companies that pollute this or that geography make a disbursement to the tax authorities, which is the one that, in theory, uses this money with enviable efficiency. On the other hand, if a company in the course of its actions should harm some citizens, it is these citizens who must first of all prove to the State that they have been harmed by that company, which is a difficult issue, because this type of company starts operating, operates and grows with the consent of the State. This is how it is.
Of course, any company moves for profit, that is it, nobody works for free. Hence, the need arises for the State to assure its population that certain needs will be met, but without any company making an excessive profit at the expense of it. Moreover, the State must be the first to do what is necessary so that no entity can generate the conditions under which a good or service becomes, in addition to being necessary, expensive. For example, it is not possible to generate water shortages and then sell it above the average market price.
However, we are all the State and, if a State «invests» its taxpayers’ money in the manufacture of arms that will kill part of the families of other nations, whose survivors will come to that State, fleeing from their country of origin and with an understandable desire for revenge, the thing is for those taxpayers to begin to understand how responsible they are for the companies that the State allows, prohibits and/or encourages to exist. It may be the aliens who govern us, but in schools they teach us to vote, not to abstain. That, of course, is an institutionalized abuse.