Profits and surpluses

When companies earn more than they spend, they make a profit. And this profit, reinvested in the right places, turns up more. And the cycle continues. But not to build up profits; rather, there is a larger goal from the cycle. The larger goal is about serving people, bringing goods and services to those who have not yet accessed it.

What this means is that you can return profits to shareholder, or you can expand the business to serve more, ensuring of course that it does not come at the expense of perpetuating that profit cycle.

How about an individual? When we earn more than we spend (which we should in at least a significant part of our lives), we end up with savings. Likewise, how this is reinvested matters because it helps determine that very same cycle. The question for an individual then, is what is the larger goal he or she is trying to achieve.

It could be more consumption of course. So then the business analogy ends here.

Or does it? A business can be self-serving in that it spends on a posh office, lots of perks for executives who only shuffles paper around. Overly indulgent, unproductive consumption might not be too different. We want to be able to invest our surplus in changing our lives and those around us; part of it will enable more consumption but a lot of it are going to be gains from a better culture, opportunities to engage in higher levels of cognition, problem-solving, and creativity.