The Morality of Profits

The Firearm Blog has a very interesting piece trying to uncover who owns Kahr arms, which concludes that Kahr’s claim that the company is 100% American owned is likely true. Either way that’s not the part of the article that really stood out to me, it was a quote from Kahr’s current majority shareholder Justin Moon. The quote is pulled from an interview of Justin Moon by Massad Ayoob where Ayoob asked about the speculation people have in regards to Kahr’s ownership. Ayoob asked if Moon’s father or his church owned Kahr to which Moon replied:

I currently am the majority shareholder of Kahr and operate my business to provide high quality firearms to the public and to make a profit.

Emphasis mine. Why would such an small line in a large article stick out to me? Because of the simple fact that many people would consider Moon’s motivation somehow morally wrong. Many people claim that wanting to make a profit is somehow immoral and that we should all strive to rid ourselves of any desires of making money or becoming rich. That belief is utter bullshit though.

Profits are a market mechanism of ensuring scarce resources are put into the hands of those best able to distributed them in a manner that serves society’s wants and needs. Of course this is only true if the market isn’t burdened by government interference but this post is about the moral justification of profits, not the ills of government meddling.

The market is composed of producers and consumers. Producers attempt to anticipate the wants of consumers and do their best at fulfilling those wants while consumers seek out things that best alleviate their discomforts. If your discomfort is hunger you seek food, if your discomfort is having to manually do your bookwork you seek a computer, etc. When a produce manufactures widgets that best alleviate the discomforts of consumers those producers are rewarded through the traded goods they receive in exchange for their widgets. Usually this traded good is money but it can be anything the producer wants in trade for their widget.

If you have two producers of a discomfort alleviating widget the one consumers most demand will sell better. Consumer demand is multi-facetted and their decision includes the price/demand ratio. Should one producer be selling a widget that best alleviates the consumers’ discomfort but at an astronomical price it’s likely the competing producer will see higher profits in the end even though their widget isn’t the best as whatever function it performs. In the end the producer who manufactures a cheaper widget may see higher profits through the volume of sales.

Either way the profits received by the producer is the reward given by consumers for fulfilling their wants and needs. Profits shouldn’t be looked at as immoral because that is the means of which resources best land in the hands of those who have demonstrated an ability to properly distribute said resources. Those profits are then used by the producer to generate new widgets that server to alleviate other consumer discomforts. When you think about it the cycle is beautiful in its simplicity.

Those who claim profits are immoral need to come up with a better means of ensuring our scarce resources are best distributed to fulfill the wants and needs of society. Do know that I will completely ignore any proposal that isn’t voluntary in nature because the whole “might makes right” system only works for those with the most force to wield.