… is from page 131 of the 5th edition (2015) of Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics:
Profit-seeking businesses are guided by their own bottom line, but this bottom line is itself determined by what others can do and at what cost.
DBx: Indeed so. And one very important implication of this reality is that, in a market economy in which there is enforcement of the laws of property, contracts, and torts, all profits are earnings that reflect the degree to which the earners of profits have added to the satisfactions of other market participants. This outcome is assured by the possession by all market participants – suppliers (including workers) and customers – of the right to say “no” to any offers made on the market.