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Business, Purpose of

The word business derives from the Middle English terms for busy and ness, and its primary meaning is to engage in purposeful activity. Thus, the notion of the purpose of business is in one sense redundant since in its generic meaning, business means having a purposeful activity. However, there is a secondary meaning of the word business, which denotes activities that involve the production and exchange of goods for economic purposes, primary among which is the generation of profit. Consequently, business is often defined as economic activity engaged in for the sake of profit. For that reason, business engaged in for the profit motive is distinguished from other “busy” activities, such as those carried on by nonprofit enterprises such as schools, hospitals, government bodies, ...

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