News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 26, 2009

Arthur Foulkes: Love it or hate it, make a profit is vital to civilization

TERRE HAUTE — Profit is a beautiful thing.

I know many people regard profit as “obscene” — or at least “big” profits are regarded as “obscene.” But profits are actually wonderful and necessary for a growing, expanding, prosperous civilization.

All human action is aimed at “profit” in a sense. Humans act in order to bring about goals that they believe will make things better. They also take into account the opportunity costs of reaching their goals. You may have a goal of learning to play golf well, but that goal includes the cost of many hours of practice, the expense of equipment, lessons, etc.

If the cost is too high from the point of view of the actor, the action is either stopped or not started. In this sense, all human action can be said to be aimed at achieving benefits that exceed costs — that is, a “profit.”

To reach our “profitable” goals, we often cooperate with others through voluntary exchanges. Voluntary exchange — “trade” — is also a wonderful thing because any voluntary trade is always regarded as beneficial to both people trading. In other words, trade allows people to voluntarily increase their levels of satisfaction.

Trade also is wonderful because it allows people to specialize in specific fields of production or service. In a trading society, someone especially good at knitting can concentrate of making clothes and leave farming, carpentry and baking to someone else.

This specialization also is wonderful because it allows people to produce only those things at which they are best, meaning more stuff can be produced by the same number of hands. It also allows for the specialist to increase his skills and his efficiency, which also increases the amount of goods and services available.

The scope of possible trades between people increases dramatically when some “medium of exchange” — money — is used. The invention of money permitted humans to exchange with each other much more easily than if they could only barter with each other. Without money, for example, a brewer who wanted shoes would need to find a shoemaker who likes beer. That’s why money is also a wonderful thing.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Attacks Escalate Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Neighbors Mourn Killing of Texas Family World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup' Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine 'Game of Thrones' Leads Emmy Nominees Raw: Funeral in Gaza for Family of 8 Raw: Rescuers Push Beached Whale Back to Ocean
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010