The difference between total revenue and total cost shown in the prior graphs is the shaded area to the right, which is profit.

   Remember that we include all forgone costs in our computation of total costs, so when we say the firm is earning a profit, we mean an economic profit. This means that the firm's owner(s) are earning more than they would in their next best alternative. Zero profit means earning exactly what would be earned in the next best alternative.

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