What Justifies Profit Making Reasonable And Fair In Business?

What Justifies Profit Making Reasonable And Fair In Business?  Of a truth, issues pertaining to the nature and justification of profit are interrelated. With regard to its nature, profit tends to be overestimated by an average person as businesses are often assumed to be making more profit than they actually make.

What Justifies Profit Making

It  is easily assumed that any difference between the price of a good or service and its actual value is profit. Each time an average person feels short-changed in  the marketplace, he or she assumes that profit is soaring, when as a matter of fact this might be due to poor management or inefficient production or marketing.

A common conception of profit is that it is what is left of the gross receipt after all expenses have been paid in a business. It is the surplus or gain from legitimate business activities.

As such, it must be earned in a fair and reasonable way. Thus, any surplus gained through lottery winnings or fraud cannot be correctly construed as profit. This idea of profit allows critics to ask for what justifies profit making in the sense of what makes it reasonable and fair, and what it is a payment for.

With regards to whether or not payment should be made for workers’ wages, raw materials, tax or other marketing or running costs of business, there is usually not much of a debate.

These are easily seen as legitimate costs to be passed on legitimately as part of the running cost of business. However, when it comes to profit, construed as difference remaining after all costs have been deducted, questions are asked regarding what it is payment for, how it is actually earned, and why it is truly deserved.

In response to What Justifies Profit Making, it appears reasonable to define profit as what is left-over after all tangible, specifiable and quantifiable costs have been paid.

Hence, it is considered to be the reward for some intangible factors that are crucial to business. These would include risk, entrepreneurial creativity, initiative and the deferment of the use of one’s resources.

In addition to the above, profit may possibly be justified on the ground that the desire for profit is a manifestation of a universal desire of all humans (investors, workers, suppliers, consumers) to acquire more than one already has.

This argument assumes that if the drive for profit is a universal and innate human attribute, it is beyond ethical scrutiny and moral criticism.

However, this line of thought ignores the fact that morality in ordinary life and also in business requires that innate drives are either suppressed or transcended for people to act in morally acceptable ways.

Consequently, the attempt to justify profit on the basis of the fact that the desire for it is innate and universal to all humans fails to provide any  cogent justification for profit.

Some businesses might want to justify their profit by saying that the fact that they are recording profit is proof that profit is justified and also indicative of the integrity, utility and moral goodness of their business.

This position is presupposed in the typical question that “how can our business be doing so well if it is not good”? A major flaw of this standpoint is that it commits the fallacy of circularity. It presupposes the very claim that is in need of justification.

Another approach that may be adopted in the quest to provide justification for  profit is to make a distinction between the goal of the economic system, which is primarily to enhance the economy as well as the overall wellbeing of all stakeholders in an economy, and the goal of business which is generally construed as maximising profit for the owners of business.

The goal of maximising profit is considered to be justified if it is consistent with and enhances the attainment of the economic and overall well being of all in society.

In connection with the above, it may be assumed that to know what justifies profit making, it must fulfil a number of preconditions, first of which is that it must be legitimately earned and reasonable within the context of business activities.

The challenge however is that of how to conceptualise what is reasonable and legitimate for business in its quest for profit. A possible way to conceptualise profit that is reasonable and legitimate for business is to tie it with what the market can  bear.

The argument is that profit is reasonable, legitimate, and therefore justified to the extent that the market can bear it and customers pay for it. If it were not reasonable and legitimate, customers would not pay for it.

Hence, it is maintained that profit is determined by the interplay of the forces of demand and supply in the marketplace.

A problem with this position, however, is that there are occasions when customers do not have much choice but to pay for certain products at excessively high price. Situations of scarcity provides a good example of this.

Another precondition considered to constitute a justification of profit is the specific contribution of business or owners of business to profit generation.

In this regard, it is expected that profit would be proportional to the contribution of owners to the generation of profit. The argument may be extended to the claim that businesses and their owners have a moral conscience by virtue of which they would always respect the rule of proportionality and ensure that profit remains within the limits  of proportionality.

A problem here is that there is no guarantee that  business owners would always respect the demands of the rules of proportionality as many  of them are known to exploit customers as often as they can get away with it.

This is especially so because the key operational principle in the market place is that businesses should attempt to sell at the highest possible price while customers should try to buy at the lowest possible price. Besides, there is also the  challenge  of how to determine what profit is proportional to the contribution of business owners.

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