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ANYTHING PEACEFUL

What is Economic Profit?

DECEMBER 19, 2012 by THE FREEMAN

What is profit? Is it wrong to profit? Before answering that question, maybe we should start with a more mundane question: What do profits do? Or, how does the system work? In this exclusive FEE video, economist Frederic Sautet explains that profit guides entrepreneurs. If there is no profit (or loss), there is no guide.

Can this functional explanation of profit help us unpack the question of whether profit is wrong? We won’t settle that question today. But we do think one should have a good understanding how a profit and loss system actually works before moving to more philosophical questions. Check it out:

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Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
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