What is profit?
12 July, 2018
Profit is a word that means ‘to obtain a financial advantage or benefit’ or ‘a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something’. These definitions I got from Google. So how does one commonly go about making a profit today? The answer is that one tries to sell something at a higher price than what it costs one to produce or procure. To achieve this people try to buy or produce cheap and sell as high as possible. This process seems to happen with the same thinking that applies to the thinking that if I have a pipe and I put water in this end, the water will come out the other end. To make a profit is just a process of buying or producing cheap and selling as high as possible. We farm to get maximum yields from the lowest input costs and try to get the best prices we can. We make furniture in the most effective ways, from the cheapest wood, and try to position the product, in all ways, to get the maximum value. We may source very high quality of harldwood but we want to get it at the lowest cost possible without regard for the sustainability of the sources. We then sell it with as much ‘decoration’ of value as we can to get the highest price. People that make profits are seen as having all that they want and to be happy. Others chase this situation for themselves. In doing so they feel an entitlement to also buy cheap without consideration to the way that they do this or the effects that it has on their neighbour. Profit comes to mean a kind of entitlement to rip your neighbour off. Because we all know this of each other we are all looking to get things at a lower price because we are all involved in cheating on the cost side and smoke and mirrors on the price side. This drives profit seekers to even more desperate measures. We see this desperation in pyramid schemes, bribes for influence over the tax pot, duty and other tax avoidance, and so on. This is all as a result of the modern concept of profit. Profit is the difference between the selling price and the costs, so maximise this at all costs.
Is there another way to see this thing called profit that will enhance it while making it clean? There is of course. One needs some more concepts to add to the merely routine water and pipe concept of profit. Trade is something that only happens between human beings. Nature does not trade. We use nature as the base of trade for farming, mining and so on. What is this in us that trades? Well it is that we can do something and another can do something else. We trade when we do things for others. We can only do things for others when we can do them well. To do them well, we need skill, experience, clarity, objectivity, patience, courage, and all the other human qualities or lens openers as I call them. There is simply no way to do things well if we have no skill, little experience, are fearful, lazy, look for the negative in things, full of fantasy, prejudiced and so on – the lens closers. We as human beings need to bring our humanity, developed in a healthy liberty sphere, into the economic sphere where we do something for others, the fraternity sphere. (Here we are talking about those of us that want to be in the economic sphere and not those that want to be part of the development of our cultural, spiritual life.) It is only with our humanity intact that we can truly enter the economic sphere and create value there. No furniture can be well made without this. This is what we need to bring true efficiency into the economic sphere. If we recognise this, we will start to want more humanity in each other as this is where the true value comes from. When we are faced with a trade transaction, we will want to see and admire the human qualities evident in the product and know that the costs have been driven down by the human competence and qualities in the process of getting the product to market. We will know that cheating is not part of this and that the Earth herself is considered in this process as well as the way staff are involved. In the product we will see the efficiency and the morality. We will know that the process is sustainable. We will see value in the product. We will know how much it takes to do things the right way. We will know that our neighbour is trying just as hard as we are to be bigger and better. Commodities available to us all will be effectively and morally produced. Prices will be fair. The human assessment of value in the commodities will be related to the way the economic activity is carried out. Prices will have an upside rather than only a downside. The difference between the revenue line and the costs will be larger or at least sustainable. Where the product is an immoral one, the revenue line will tend toward the costs line. Where the product is a moral one and the humanity that produced it full of skill, experience, courage, openness, clarity and so on, the costs line and the revenue line will be driven apart, yes, driven apart. The humanity in us, yes, only this, is what drives the revenue line apart from the costs line – the revenue line up and the costs line down. The difference between the two is really a measure of our competence on the cost side and morality on the revenue side, our morality on the revenue side because we will be being rewarded for moral products made by moral people for moral people.
Profit is a word from a soulless accounting concept of revenue versus costs. When we delve into where it comes from, we see that it comes from our humanity and incorporating the Nature Herself. It is only us that trade and need commodities from the economic sphere. Nature looks after herself. We can only sustain this economic process with the conscious and moral engagement of our own humanity. It is our humanity that drives costs down and revenue up. The current paradigm that we are driving profits up by cheating each other is pure stupidity and will be short lived. It is driving income disparity, human suffering of rejection never mind material poverty, rape of nature, and a desperate race to the bottom of what can be as humanity. It only needs a few extra paradigms that allow us to see that it is our humanity that creates this thing called ‘profit’ and that the ‘profit’ made in the way suggested above will be much more than it is right now allowing for distribution in a much fairer way that nurtures our human qualities with sincerity and love.