I operate recreation areas in the US Forest Service and from time to time get criticized that my profit adds cost to the management of the facilities, and that the government would clearly be better off with a non-profit running the parks since they don't take a profit. What they miss is that non-profits historically do a terrible job at what I do. They begin in a burst of enthusiasm but then taper off into disorder. Think about any non-profit you have ever been a part of. Could they consistently run a 24/7/365 service operation to high standards?
Don Boudreaux has a great quote today that touches on this very issue
from page 114 of the 5th edition (2015) of Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics:
While capitalism has a visible cost – profit – that does not exist under socialism, socialism has an invisible cost – inefficiency – that gets weeded out by losses and bankruptcy under capitalism. The fact that most goods are more widely affordable in a capitalist economy implies that profit is less costly than inefficiency. Put differently, profit is a price paid for efficiency.
It is also the "price" paid for innovation.