Profit Is Not a Crime

Another hashing of a potential Youtube video. This is one I’d like to make about Profit.

You hear a lot of back and forth about wealth and profit. Does profit motivate emergent innovation or cause regulated stagnation? Will a profit based system encourage manipulation or honesty? Personally I’ve come to think of profit in much the same way I think of skateboarding. Profit, like skateboarding, is not an inherently bad thing. What makes skateboarding and profit negative is that practitioners zoning in on an ever existing goal can put their social considerations on the back burner.  This is how my logic goes down when thinking about skateboarding:

  1. As long as those who endanger themselves by skateboarding aren’t putting other people or their habitat/property at risk there isn’t a problem.
  2. The issue skateboarding has is that the practice is self-indulgent competition encouraged by other self-indulgent peers.
  3. The point comes to bare quickly because curbs, benches, and hand rails etc which are payed for with tax or property owner dollars.  Walking and sitting traffic areas are less safe, etc.
  4. The public or private owners complain to their public officials that their dollars are going toward crowded unsafe sidewalks, scrapped up rails and benches, and messy parks because of these skateboarders.
  5. It gets harped on long enough and the various innovations come along to make the area’s less appealing to skaters and to further help divert skate traffic skate parks are setup.
  6. For a while skaters would get stickers and t-shirts that say “Skateboarding is not a crime” to express how oppressed they were, but eventually new generations come along and the slight is all but forgotten.

Here is the same run down with profit:

  1. As long as those who endanger their financial well being aren’t putting other people’s finances or livelihood at risk there isn’t a problem.
  2. The issue that accumulating profit/wealth has is that the act is a primarily self-indulgent competition encouraged by other self-indulgent peers.  The slope is even more slippery for people with families to provide for; with a family just about anything can be justifiable.
  3. The point comes to bare quickly because for profit/wealth generation to work the money needs to come through a function desired by the public which will likely be an innovative or a refined method of a currently existing function. Either way, the profiteer must persuade the public to not only buy x and only x, but to keep buying more x while encouraging their peers to buy x so profit can keep growing and expansion is possible causing new cycles to start the trend over again.  Planned obsolescence through withheld services, cheaper materials or methods of construction, automation are commonplace.
  4. The public or other private owners complain to public officials that regulation is needed because the function is getting out of hand, high costs, unreasonable conditions, practices that undermine competition etc. Their tax dollars aren’t doing enough to regulate whatever erosion of publicly desired functionality is going on.
  5. It gets harped on long enough that elected officials make it into office promising to take action so various innovations come along to regulate the profitable function keep it competitive.
  6. For a while the guys who make money complain about socialization stifling their entrepreneurial spirit until newer generations come along who doesn’t remember what the old system was like.

This is honestly how I feel about the health care debate going on, the bank regulation crap, and the job issues our country is having. I would MUCH prefer the entrepreneurs in the public sector to satisfy the needs of the public. We can talk could-a or should-a done x, y, z to keep the situation out of government hands… we can talk about the money grubbing politicians doing what they were elected to do. I see a kind of a karmic quality to it all: The insurance companies, banks, automotive industry, etc didn’t keep watch of the populous or environment they inhabit… the people elect officials who campain on promisses that the issues would be addressed… every once and a while politicians follow through and the issues get addressed with some back and forth about how to get it done… things change and there’s fallout from things going terribly wrong or right. Eventually people will move on and forget about it.