monetary income distributed to the owner of an enterprise
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Profit generally is the making of gain in business activity for the benefit of the owners of the business. The word comes from Latin meaning "to make progress", is defined in two different ways, one for economics and one for accounting.

O proud philanthropist, your hope is vain To get by giving what you lost by gain. ~ Ambrose Bierce
CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F

  • If vices were profitable, the virtuous man would be the sinner.
  • O proud philanthropist, your hope is vain
To get by giving what you lost by gain.
  • Ambrose Bierce, Epigrams, The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (1911), Volume 8, p. 349.
  • There are some sordid minds, formed of slime and filth, to whom interest and gain are what glory and virtue are to superior souls; they feel no other pleasure but to acquire money.
    • La Bruyère, Characters, H. Van Laun, trans. (London: 1885) “Of The Gifts of Fortune,” #58
  • The infinite, absolute character of Virtue has passed into a finite, conditional one; it is no longer a worship of the Beautiful and Good; but a calculation of the Profitable.
  • The promise of every product and service is a better life. Profits are the prize for delivering on the promise.

G - L

  • … actions whose motives he cannot understand—that is, actions not prompted by the hope of profit.
  • He is like all the rest: a slave to profit, a master only to his bent for negotiating the best deal.
  • What the English call “comfortable” is something endless and inexhaustible. Every condition of comfort reveals in turn its discomfort, and these discoveries go on for ever. Hence the new want is not so much a want of those who have it directly, but is created by those who hope to make profit from it.
    • Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, S. Dyde, trans. (1896), § 191.
  • The thing we must do intensely is be human together. People are more important than things. We must get together. The best thing humans can have going for them is each other. We have each other. We must reject everything which humiliates us. Humans are not objects of consumption.
    We must develop an absolute priority of humans ahead of profit — any humans ahead of any profit. Then we will survive. …
  • I'm convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.

M - R

  • For the corporation executives, the military metaphysic … often coincides with their interest in a stable and planned flow of profit; it enables them to have their risk underwritten by public money; it enables them reasonably to expect that they can exploit for private profit now and later, the risky research developments paid for by public money. It is, in brief, a mask of the subsidized capitalism from which they extract profit and upon which their power is based.
  • It is no longer economy aiming at individual profit, but economy concerned with collective interest.
    • Benito Mussolini, Four Speeches on the Corporate State, Laboremus, Roma (1935) p. 38
  • The love of gain, which is a large, incalculably large, element in every soul, when once applied to the desire for God, will bless the man who has it.
  • When a firm makes a profit this means that productive factors have been properly employed and corresponding human needs have been duly satisfied.
  • Such is the fate of everyone who goes in search of profit; it takes away the life of its owners.
    • Proverbs 1:19, Bible in Basic English
  • For the words of the profits were written on the studio wall
Concert hall
And echoes with the sound of salesmen.

S - Z

  • When by habit a man cometh to have a bargaining soul, its wings are cut, so that it can never soar. It bindeth reason an apprentice to gain, and instead of a director, maketh it a drudge.
  • Cui prodest scelus, is fecit.
  • Whoever has a keen eye for profits, is blind in relation to his craft.
  • Spend time on excellence, and love the right,
    And don’t let shameful profit master you.
    • Theognis, Elegies, Dorothea Wender, trans., 465.
  • In aristocracies, it is not precisely work that is scorned, but work with a view to profit. Work is glorious when ambition or virtue alone makes one undertake it. … The idea of gain remains distinct from that of work. No matter that they are joined in fact. … In democratic societies, these two ideas are, on the contrary, always visibly united.
    • Tocqueville, Democracy in America, H. Mansfield, trans. (Chicago: 2000), p. 525.
  • Private property … has led Individualism entirely astray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know that the important thing is to be. The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is.

See also

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