Are profits deserved?

Journal of Business Ethics 11 (2):105 - 114 (1992)
N. Scott Arnold has argued forcefully that, for the most part, those who win profits (and suffer losses) in a market economy deserve them. According to Arnold, profit opportunities arise when there are malallocations of resources, which entrepreneurs initiate changes in production to correct. If they succeed, they simultaneously further the essential point of the market system — to meet the needs and wants of consumers — and they make profits; if they do not, then they stand to suffer losses. I argue that the structure of modern corporate enterprises tends to channel income into the hands of those whose entrepreneurial contribution is diminishingly small — namely stockholders — and away from those within the firm who genuinely participate in the entrepreneurial role.
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