I'm sharing this here to first show that there are indeed people making the claim that profit represents value, and why the argument is flawed.
"Or if the moral praise showered on Mother Teresa went to someone like Lloyd Blankfein, who, in guiding Goldman Sachs toward billions in profits, has done infinitely more for mankind. (Since profit is the market value of the product minus the market value of factors used, profit represents the value created.)"
This first assumes that market is a good way to evaluate goods and services. There is a concept called externality, which refers to the difference between the value paid by the purchaser and the value produced through all the consumers. For example, public schools not only provide value to the students in the form of education, but also to parents who now have time off from childcare, and to employers who now don't need to train its employees things like basic math or reading/writing. However, when this is left to the market, the students bear all or close to all the cost, while benefit is spread around.
There is another concept called market failure, in which everyone acting in self interest does not result in efficient allocation of resources. This can be caused by things like externalities or information asymmetry.
In short, no, profit does not represent or equal value, and yes, people actually believe that is the case.
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