Profiteering (business)

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


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

Example cases


  1. Ray, S.K. (2004). 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.

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Profiteering (business), and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.