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What is the single most profitable market item in the history of mankind?

We are all customers to someone. We are all buy items.

There are many great products out there, but out of all of them which one is the most profitable?

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    Dec 23 2011: Religion
  • Dec 26 2011: Is it decided that religion is the greatest way to sell items to people?
  • Dec 24 2011: @Zared After reading the posts, I think you should change the wording of your question. You want the single most profitable market item.....That is totally different from the greatest. They are two different things.

    Profitable implies the one that made more money. The greatest could be the most sold, not necessarily a money maker or profit maker.

    As to a religious object sold for profit, I would like to suggest: crosses, rosaries, saint stamps, saint bracelets, or any other kinds of religious good luck charms...People can't get enough of them, whether they are religious or not.
    • Dec 24 2011: Which specific one of those items do you think is the most profitable?
      • Dec 24 2011: As far as United States, Europe and South and Central America I would probably venture to say the cross. It is used as jewelry, but also in stickers, pencils, stationary,as well as wall decoration made of wood, porcelain, brass, etc etc etc.....People hang in from their rearview mirror, and have it on bookmarks, keychains, the list goes on and on.

        Anyways Zared, this is my opinion.
        • Dec 25 2011: Makes sense. Thank you for your contribution. Happy Holidays!
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    Dec 24 2011: I was picking based on the biggest impact.

    Indoor pollutants from cooking fires causes illness and death (and if you insist I go find stats I can do that later - I don't have them at hand an am not about to make them up).

    Women are disproportionately the victims of burns from same fires.

    Gathering fuel and tending to the cooking fires takes up a ridiculous chunk of the day.

    One invention more than others comes to mind as revolutionizing the lives of people - particularly of one half the population, but society as a whole benefits. It frees up the women's time to contribute elsewhere.

    The cost vs the benefits is minor. Bringing the price of cooking stoves down to being affordable in developing nations should be a goal of us all. (And no, it's not enough to have a stove if you have no food.)
    • Dec 24 2011: The stove is great, but I just want focus on a profitable item.
  • Dec 24 2011: Can you elaborate? I think the adbot is my favorite market item of all time. Either that, or this special HAL Brand Turing Test Kit I just picked up...
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    Dec 23 2011: Insecurity.

    EDIT: OK, for the non-smart ass answer (though Insecurity, unlike fear, does appear to be manufactured) --

    The stove.

    Reducing indoor pollutants, reducing burns, saving time, etc. The single element that frees up half the population to contribute outside the home would be the stove.
    • Dec 23 2011: Yes, but why specifically the stove for insecurity? What about insurance?
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        Dec 24 2011: Oh, those were two separate answers. My real answer is the stove.
        • Dec 24 2011: The problem with the item is the cost of the item. Do you think that would make a difference on buying the item?
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    Dec 23 2011: How can you proceed Zared without defining what you intend by the word "greatest"?
    You might mean most profitable, or most beneficial to mankind, or most far reaching, etc.
    • Dec 23 2011: Profitable is what I am focusing on.
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        Dec 23 2011: OK, then there is no question about it. If you are tallying votes, add one for RELIGION.$$$$$$$$$!
        Any product which claims to gave favor with god, and can be molded to fit the needs of any customer is going to be hard to beat as a cash generator.
  • Dec 22 2011: Bread, because it is affordable to so many and the greatest time saver.
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    Dec 22 2011: The latex condom! :p
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    • Dec 22 2011: Can you elaborate?
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      Dec 23 2011: I think protection from the thing(s) feared would be a front-runner for most profitable product/service, but, alas, it falls far behind its parent--religion.
      • Dec 23 2011: Yes, but what items are sold from fear?
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          Dec 24 2011: 1) People fear the wrath of god. Religion seizes the global marketing opportunity to offer a complete program of protection from the coming wrath.
          2) Shop owners fear local gangs so they pay them to not harm their business. The product is protection.
          3) Clothing, cosmetic and fragrance companies prey on people's fear that they will not be attractive enough.
          4) Autompbile makers assure fearful customers that driving their car will project the image they want, rather than the one they fear.
      • Dec 24 2011: Can you name a specific item off the list that you think is the most profitable one?
      • Dec 24 2011: Yes, religion is profitable, but I am asking an item off of religion like the bible or a Jesus Christ bobble head.
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          Dec 24 2011: Zared,
          You asked me to pick one of the four examples from my response above and I told you RELIGION. Read number one above and you have my opinion. You are accumulating duplicate responses. Thanks for your contribution.
      • Dec 24 2011: Thank you for your contribution.
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    Dec 22 2011: Blue Jeans
    • Dec 22 2011: Can you elaborate?
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        Dec 22 2011: I'm sorry. Not much to say other than it was the first thing that popped into my mind. I'm sure it's an irrelevant thought. I trust you will get more thoughtful anwsers.
        • Dec 22 2011: Blue Jeans was the first thought in your head. This means there is a reason why you stated blue jeans regardless of what you actually meant to do.