Profiteering (business)

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Profiteering is a pejorative term for the act of making a profit by methods considered unethical.[1][page needed]


Business owners may be accused of profiteering when they raise prices during an emergency (especially a war).[2][page needed] The term is also applied to businesses that play on political corruption to obtain government contracts.

Some types of profiteering are illegal, such as price fixing[3][page needed] syndicates, for example on fuel subsidies (see British Airways price-fixing allegations), and other anti-competitive behaviour. Some are restricted by industry codes of conduct, e.g. aggressive marketing of products in the Third World such as baby milk (see Nestlé boycott).

Types of profiteering[edit]


Profiteering is legal in most of the world except in the UK and Germany.

  • UK: Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998
  • Germany: § 291 StGB (Criminal Code) - up to 10 years jail maximum penalty

See also[edit]

Example cases[edit]


  1. ^ Ray, S.K. Polity And Economy Of The Underworld. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 978-8120325777.
  2. ^ Hughes, Solomon (2007). War on Terror, Inc: corporate profiteering from the politics of fear. Verso. ISBN 978-1844671236.
  3. ^ Neuwirth, Robert (2011). Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBN 978-0307906809.