Business has gotten a bad rap for thousands of years. “The more men value money-making, the less they value virtue,” Socrates wrote. The Bible warned that a camel would sooner pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man through the gates of heaven.
Americans have traditionally had a more positive view of commerce, but two waves of scandals—Enron in 2001 and the global financial crisis in 2008—have decimated that trust. As a result, Americans are more ambivalent about business than they were in the 1990s, and many students entering business school today are eager to revive the focus on virtue.