Although the first Europeans who arrived in the new world came to plunder it, America was founded by those who came later, the entrepreneurs. Does that sound strange? It's true. For example, Virginia was founded by entrepreneurs, the Virginia Company. Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth were also founded by profit-seeking corporations. Pennsylvania and Maryland were founded by proprietors, again entrepreneurs. The only thing restricting their efforts were the sovereigns who chartered their businesses. However, time and distance freed them from micromanagement and allowed them to grow and prosper while businesses back home struggled under stultifying government.
One of the great incentives to this growth was the freedom to fail. Whereas bankruptcy was considered a moral failure throughout the old world, it was recognized as a fact of life in the new one. Most importantly, bankruptcy allowed entrepreneurs to learn from their mistakes and to create better businesses.
Unfortunately, like Europe of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Centuries, we've allowed government to grow like a cancer and interfere in commerce. Politicians and bureaucrats prop up corporations that they deem too big to fail. They tax We the People so they can invest in businesses advanced by cronies who help them stay in office. Already having spent all the wealth of the nation, they borrow more, thereby depleting the capital available to honest entrepreneurs who might create better businesses and make them grow.
Of course, there is a proper role for government in commerce. It should monitor and regulate business to insure a fair and level playing field for all Americans. Unfortunately, it grew well beyond that role. When did this happen? At the same time that America's economy began to decline. How did it happen? Because We the People allowed it, but we can also correct it.