Capitalism long ago entered into a stage where private interests profit off of public poverty. They create costs, and their businesses benefit from being able to push their costs off onto society at large, the environment, and people not able to defend themselves. In the instances you can show that capitalism benefits humanity, often the case that when you take into account these things, these social and environmental costs, they far outweigh the benefits. The problem is, of course, that many of these impacts lack market values and are hard to trace back to their source. Pruitt is a monster, but if he weren’t doing this, some other right wing sociopath would be. The system requires it.
John Bellamy Foster has written a lot about “Lauderdale’s Paradox”. Check it out.
The ecological contradictions of the prevailing economic ideology are best explained in terms of what is known in the history of economics as the “Lauderdale Paradox.” James Maitland, the eighth Earl of Lauderdale (1759-1839), was the author of An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth and into the Means and Causes of its Increase (1804). In the paradox with which his name came to be associated, Lauderdale argued that there was an inverse correlation between public wealth and private riches such that an increase in the latter often served to diminish the former. “Public wealth,” he wrote, “may be accurately defined, — to consist of all that man desires, as useful or delightful to him.” Such goods have use value and thus constitute wealth. But private riches, as opposed to wealth, required something additional (i.e., had an added limitation), consisting “of all that man desires as useful or delightful to him; which exists in a degree of scarcity.”
Scarcity, in other words, is a necessary requirement for something to have value in exchange, and to augment private riches. But this is not the case for public wealth, which encompasses all value in use, and thus includes not only what is scarce but also what is abundant. This paradox led Lauderdale to argue that increases in scarcity in such formerly abundant but necessary elements of life as air, water, and food would, if exchange values were then attached to them, enhance individual private riches, and indeed the riches of the country — conceived of as “the sum-totalof individual riches” — but only at the expense of the common wealth. For example, if one could monopolize water that had previously been freely available by placing a fee on wells, the measured riches of the nation would be increased at the expense of the growing thirst of the population.