People Before Profits or the Converse?

Source: EconLog
by Pierre Lemieux

“To many people, no current slogan appears more self-obvious than ‘people before profits.’ For the Nth time, I saw it repeated, a few days ago, in a bien pensant attack on social media’s freedom: ‘How Social Media Platforms Put Profits Before People,’ Financial Times, July 28, 2022). I suggest that there are few incantations as simplistic or non-sensical as that one. Profits go to people, not to animals or gods. So the slogan can only mean ‘some people before some people,’ and it has to be explained why the redistribution or discrimination envisioned or intuited is better than some other among an infinity of possible ones. A priori, it makes no more sense to say ‘people before profits’ than ‘profits before people.'” (08/02/22)