Spacenet: Solar System Supply Routes
It is worth noting that with today's technology and economic wealth, building three shuttles that can carry a crew to the Moon - is no more outrageous than building three ships for Columbus to open a route to the East via America.
For sure the Moon is no Caribbean filled with tropical plants and birds, and no trade route to the land of silk and spices.
Space whilst it may be a hostile environment, is no more deadly to men - than being caught in the doldrums on a sailing ship, with no food or fresh water (and wine). Even if there'd be plenty of fish swimming in the sea.
And the journey to Mars is not longer or much more frought with dangers than the first journeys by sea around Cape Horn or Cape of Good Hope to reach Australia & the East Indies.
Modern economies do not require a venture to produce an economic return or 'profit'. The benefits for the land based economies, or in this case earth based governments, is the increased economic activity and velocity of money (wealth) from job creation in research & development - without competing for resources or markets in the commercial 'private' sector.
After all any investment in Space, can only be spent on Earth - there are no 'shops' in Space.
"The Ultimate Surfing Adventure"
Space, One vast Ocean Open to All - Quasar9