The pursuit of profit is a blessing

by Rocket Finance

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I interact with a lot of liberals – in my family, in my workplace, on Facebook and throughout the blogosphere. We always go round and round about the usual ideas about which liberals and conservatives argue. One thing that I have found remarkable is the number of times that progressives decry the pursuit of profit. In this article, I would like to make the case that  it is not wrong for basic human needs to be provided “for profit”. In fact, I think that most of the blessings that we enjoy as Americans are a result of the pursuit of profit.

Our great food supply is a result of profit

As I walked through the supermarket the other day, I was struck by the fact that there are three huge food stores within walking distance of my house. All of the stores are in direct competition, Mrs. Rocket spends hours each week scanning their advertisements and putting together a shopping list for each store based on who has the best price that week.

Food is a basic human necessity – possibly even more important than health care – yet we have an affordable, safe food supply provided to us as a result of profit. The pursuit of profit motivates King Sooper, Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, WinCo, Costco, WinnDixie and whichever store you patronize to provide unbelievable varieties of food at low prices. As I walked through the store, I saw Asian food, Hispanic food, Jewish food, at least three dozen varieties of bread, any kind of meat you might want, organic fruits and vegetables, beverages, candy – the shelves were overflowing with bounty. I walked out with two bags of groceries for a little under twenty bucks.

The store where I made my purchase is not in business out of the goodness of their heart, the owners of that store really could not care one lick about my family – or maybe they do, but it doesn’t matter. They only need to know that I will not be back if they do not provide quality products or if the food I take home to my family makes them sick.

Competitive insurance rates are a result of profit.

How about the insurance industry? Car insurance, life insurance, home insurance and more are provided at competitive prices with great service. Over the last few years, the cost of life insurance has become a great bargain – because of profit and competition.

My State Farm agent is the best, in fact, he calls me when he finds a way for me to save money! On more that one occasion, he has suggested ways for me to lower my premiums. Why? Because he is motivated by profit and if I take my business to Geico or American Family or Progressive or Nationwide, he loses money.

Comfortable lives are a result of the pursuit of profit.

And how about technology? Think about how our lives have changed over the past ten years. Technology that was once incredibly expensive, is now commonplace and taken for granted. I am typing this post on a two year old laptop that cost under $400 dollars – this same laptop is probably not even worth $100 today. If went to TigerDirect.com right now, I could purchase a laptop computer twice as fast – for the same price or less than I paid two years ago.

Technology does not just entertain us or make us more comfortable, it also makes us safer, protects the environment, and makes it possible for people with disabilities to have a greater quality of life. The pursuit of profit motivates research and development in every area of our lives. I am currently contemplating having laser eye surgery. Ten years ago I would have never considered the procedure –  it was too expensive and too risky. Now I could get the low cost, outpatient surgery featuring few side effects for less than a week’s pay.

“But that stuff costs money,” the liberals cry, “Not everyone can afford it!” My reply: “Yes, you’re right, but if this stuff did not cost money, then no one would be motivated to provide these products and services.”

Profit lowers prices while increasing value at the same time.

Profit inspires creativity.

Profit motivates innovation.

Profit provokes creativity.

Profit improves safety – no company wants to be known as the “poison pill pharmaceutical company” or the “E coli vegetable farm” or the “low maintenance airline”.

Profit employs people. If adding an employee will increase profits, a company wants to hire that employee.

Profit guarantees variety.

Sure, it is true that pursuit of profit sometimes highlights the bad parts of human nature. We are all aware of situations where the pursuit of profit has resulted in abuses. The key is to hit unethical companies or individuals where it hurts: their pocketbooks. If you don’t like how a particular business handles its affairs – don’t patronize it.

If you really hate profit, no one is forcing you to make one. In fact, if you are really intent on avoiding profit at all costs, come over and work for my wife. I would love to provide her with some cheap labor around the house. You could also become an investment banker and put all your money into risky investments, if you lose all your money, the government will just bail you out. Our politicians seem to love businesses that do not make any money.

Photo by teecycle tim.

  1. 3 Responses to “The pursuit of profit is a blessing”

  2. By Andrea Dickson on Apr 23, 2009 | Reply

    I seriously doubt that many liberals take that much issue with the idea of making money – it’s when making money takes precedence over people that we bleeding hearts get all weepy and red-eyed. Its disingenuous to suggest that a pharmaceutical company wouldn’t put a bad product on the market because they know that any resulting deaths could damage them. Big companies take calculated risks; they have actuaries that help them decide how far to go in terms of potential losses based on product malfunctions.

    The problem with our politicians isn’t so much that they love businesses that don’t make any money, but rather that they are in the pockets of businesses that make enough money to quietly fund reelection campaigns – and that goes as much for the Democrats as anyone else.

  3. By rocketc on Apr 28, 2009 | Reply

    Andrea, you make some good points and it is true that both parties have enough corruption to go around, but in my discussions, liberals often make statements to the effect that good products (especially health care) cannot be provided “for profit”.

    This is false.

  4. By [email protected] on May 2, 2009 | Reply

    “it’s when making money takes precedence over people that we bleeding hearts get all weepy and red-eyed”

    Money take precedence over people with liberals as well. Without profits, Obama would have never had the campaign contributions to pull the wool over the nation’s eyes. Without profit, no hospitals would get built. Without profit, no medical breakthroughs would occur. Without profit, there’s no Prius, no solar energy panels, no “clean” energy. T. Boone Pickens and his big wind energy drive is actually a profit driven enterprise. Without profit there are no police cars, no fire trucks, no schools, no infrastructure, no life as we know it.

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