Bryan Caplan  

"Is Profit Evil?" The Complete Paper

Welcome to My Hypersensitivity... President Obama vs. the WOGs...
Here's the full text of "Is Profit Evil?"  Enjoy.

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COMMENTS (7 to date)
ThomasL writes:

I haven't read this, so I can't be sure, but the premise strikes me as very similar to Mises' the Anti-Capitalist Mentality (

E.S. writes:

This uses a small, biased sample to "conclude" that profit is bad...while the results of profits prove otherwise:

Profits rising all

[The video link provided with this comment is to "Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats - BBC Four" which does not have much or anything to do with profits, at least not directly. It's a cool dynamic graphic of the relationship of health to income by country.--Econlib Ed.]

Ben Kalafut writes:

Two remarks:
(1) The paper is certainly interesting but seems weak relative to e.g. the Bolton et al paper in their references.

(2) It would seem to be in an unusual form for a scholarly work, starting from its release as a .doc file and not LaTeX or at least a PDF.

leading up to the question:
Is this what they intend to submit to a journal? Or is this merely for popular consumption?

Peter writes:

Bah at profit, as everybody knows Girls are evil :)

[Yes it's o/t but the title of this entry brought back amusing memories, forget when I first seen this]

matt rafferty writes:

Many academic journals/conferences accept submissions using Word documents.

Ben Kalafut writes:

That's positively strange to a natural scientist. Thanks for the clarification. Any idea what journal they're sending this to?

JC writes:

re: PDF vs. Word, some journals/conferences even ask for Word these days (I suppose it's easier to edit and, considering the increase in submissions from non-N.American scholars, a more common format globally; though I still prefer the comfort provided by PDFs of knowing that what I see on my screen is what reviewers will see).

re: E.S.'s video, it does relate in the following sense...he (E.S.) seems to be suggesting that businesses and their profits are directly responsible for the great strides Rosling's presentation shows.

So while people's words and feelings may belittle the role and/or morality of profits (certainly, of 'excessive' - to them - profits), the result of the very thing they belittle is actually quite positively stunning (a world that's healthier and wealthier than at any point in human history, and only getting better in both regards as the cycle - by which profits generate wealth and wealth generates health, which makes it easier to earn profits, etc. - keeps propelling us upward).

Culture and ideas (see McCloskey, Mokyr, etc.) really can profoundly change outcomes. Thank goodness - as a previous commenter on the earlier post pointed out - despite the clearly negative slope, the Y-axis figures are all above 1 (though the fact than none are above roughly 2.3 on a 5 point scale does give one pause; and what's w/ Pacific Life's low score - is taking care of widows and orphans not socially valuable? Maybe they're lumped in w/ firms like AIG?).

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