The Morality of Profit

Jeff Carter explains that profits aren’t evil:

People have taken the “money is the root of all evil” line out of the Bible and turned it into, “do what you feel passionate about; don’t worry about the money.” (for the religious types out there, I know that isn’t the actual line, but it’s how people quote it) 

Sorry.  Wrong attitude.  Worry about the money. 

Startups and individuals are guilty of this.  Kids are graduating from college with degrees and then “finding themselves”.  You don’t find yourself walking the earth and living with your parents.  You find yourself by working to earn a living, and exposing yourself to the world. 

Take your past experiences, the knowledge you got from your academic program in college and apply it to the job you are in. 

Too many people focus on “making a difference”.  I got news for you.  You make a difference just by working every day.  That job creates value for someone. It may not be meaningful to you at the time-and it might seem like you are just a cog in a wheel; but you are not.

Yeg-xactly. It drives me insane when business talk about “giving back” to the community, as if they’ve taken something they shouldn’t have. The language of anti-capitalism has become so ingrained in our collective sub-conscious that even for-profit businesses feel (or act like they should feel) sheepish about making money.

“Profit” is not a synonym for “theft” or “greed” or any other naughty activity. Profit happens when a free market enterprise adds value to the lives of its customers. When a kid mows my lawn, the profit he makes from me is a measure of the value he has added to my life. the improvement to my property, the effort I didn’t have to expend, and the two hours I didn’t have to spend thinking that I’d rather have a grand mal seizure than do this myself–all that has value. And money is the way we measure that value.

If that lawn-mowing kid provided me with all that value and I didn’t return a profit to him, that would be immoral. It would be theft on my part.

I think that most of the people who decry profit either don’t understand all the value that they’re getting from the market, or they just don’t like paying for it.

Leave a Reply