Thought provoking article here on whether goods have a just price. Public Discourse article
Here is the gist of it:
As everyone at the time knew, any individual who buys a good to resell it for a profit was worthy of great condemnation. For example, the sixth-century Roman statesman Cassiodorus declared that merchants were an abomination. Similarly, in remarks falsely attributed to St. John Chrysostom explaining why Christ cast people from the temple in Matthew 21, we read: “He that buys a thing in order that he may sell it, entire and unchanged at a profit, is the trader who is cast out of God’s temple.”
Condemnations like those in the preceding paragraph strike the modern ear as rather odd. After all, reselling products is exactly what retail stores do all the time. To understand why the activities of the merchant are inherently problematic, we need to look back at medieval economic theory, beginning with the idea of the just price. All goods have an inherent price; the price of the good is, in essence, a property of the good, much like the color and shape are properties of the good.
The author goes on to discuss Thomas Aquinas and what others have to say about this. Read it yourself.
My own thoughts. I believe the technical definition of profit is that money gained in selling a good over and above the cost of the materials, labor, and a share of the overhead.
I know when I sell weaned piglets, for example, I do sell generally for what the market will bear, considering also how quickly I want to get the pigs sold. Prices go up with feed prices. Prices also generally go up during recessions. However even then, I don't think I ever make a profit. I may (I believe I do) cover the costs of conceiving and raising the pigs, plus a little. But I probably don't cover labor at a reasonable rate in daily feeding, watering, moving them, etc. We commonly (amongst ourselves) talk about how much we "made" on a litter of pigs, but in no way am I making a profit. If I wanted to make a true "profit" I would never get pigs sold around here.
At times I am tempted to bring a load of hogs to an FDA certified butcher so I could sell pork of the farm or at a farmers market. To cover costs and labor, I would have to be selling a pound of sausage at about $7 or $8 a pound; pork chops at $9 or $10 a pound. No profit here, just covering costs and labor. People do this. I can't see my way to selling pork for that much, even if it is a superior product to the supermarket.
Since we process ourselves, we are eating pork and chicken for much less than the prices quoted above.
Oremus pro invicem!