----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> So, what separates the non-profit from the for-profit world. What separates
a library from a book store?
I'll try and answer this.
First, the library (probably not the symphony) is operated by
some level of government to provide all (or as many as choose
to access the institutuion) of its citizens access to information
in various forms...most of which are/were originally produced by
or for profit-making operations. Since virtually all publicly-run
libraries don't charge for their services, they CAN'T make a profit.
The book store, OTOH, operates with the intention (which may or may
not be realized) of making money for its owners/proprietors/stock-
holders/whatever), which it does (or tries to) by buying books and
periodicals at wholesale prices and selling them at retail. Note
that a book store is NOT the best example of this...many book stores
have been operated either to promote ideas or to make obscure
information available to a very limited clientele...neither sort
need or expect to make a profit.
Other institutions can be public institutions...and thus operated
as non-profit...or private institutions, which may or may not be
run with profit as a goal (see my examples of book stores above)
A museum, a symphony, or even public transit charges its clientele
for their service(s), in hopes of covering at least some of the
cost of such provision. OTOH, there may exist opera houses or
concert halls with symphonies which are (or were) intended to
make a profit for those running them.
So...there aren't simply "profit" and "non-profit" institutions...
it is more of a range. However, we have officially-declared
"non-profit" operations...which usually get exemptions from
or reductions in taxes, have to register as such and aren't
allowed to make a profit. We also have a lot of "profit-making"
operations that fail to do so, and thus disappear!
So...IF a community feels that its citizens need or deserve to
be provided with certain goods/services, the government can set
up a non-profit operation to do so. For example, it is possible
(albeit highly unlikely) that the community may decide that its
citizens should be provided with a given amount of beer (Think
I'll move there, eh?!) and set up a non-profit brewery and tavern
to fulfill that aim...
Steven C. Barr