Every step toward the elimination of profit is progress on the way toward social disintegration.

What did Ludwig von Mises mean by:

Every step toward the elimination of profit is progress on the way toward social disintegration.


This quote suggests that any attempt to eliminate profit from the equation of a society’s functioning is a step towards its disintegration or collapse. Profit, in this context, refers to the financial gain that businesses or individuals achieve due to their economic activities. The quote implies that profit is a crucial element of a healthy and thriving society. It is the driving force that stimulates innovation, encourages risk-taking, and rewards hard work and smart decisions.

Profit is not merely a symbol of personal or corporate wealth. It serves as a signal in the market, guiding resources towards their most efficient uses. When a business makes a profit, it suggests that it is providing goods or services that people value. It is an indicator that resources are being used effectively to meet society’s needs and wants.

On the contrary, the elimination of profit would mean that there is no incentive for individuals or businesses to innovate, take risks, or make efficient use of resources. This could lead to stagnation and inefficiency, which would eventually lead to the disintegration of social and economic structures.

In today’s world, this idea is highly relevant. For instance, countries with free-market economies, where profits are allowed and encouraged, tend to have higher standards of living compared to those with command economies, where profits are heavily regulated or eliminated. This is not to say that profit should be pursued at all costs. Ethical considerations and societal welfare should always be taken into account. However, profit remains a crucial motivator for economic activity and progress.

In terms of personal development, this quote suggests that individuals should not shy away from seeking profit or financial gain. It is a reward for hard work, risk-taking, and smart decision-making. It can serve as a motivator to constantly improve, innovate, and make efficient use of one’s resources. However, just like in the larger economic context, the pursuit of profit should be balanced with ethical considerations and the welfare of others.

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