Jerry, there is so much to say about the evolution of rationales of exploitation that just talking about what Marx has to say on the subject would make this series of posts endless [which it well may be, anyway!] Tomorrow I will say a bit about some of the really dopey explanations given by Marx's contemporaries for the existence of profit. Speaking generally, Marx thinks [and I agree] that the principal task of philosophers, theologians, economists, and, I would add, political scientists in any era is to conjure up rationalisations for the manifest inequality in the distribution of the social product in that era. To their great credit, Smith and Ricardo do not offer facile justifications, and that is one of the reasons why Marx thought so highly of them. The rest he referred to as "vulgar economists."
Seth, I freely confess that I had never so much as encountered the word "holonomy" before reading your comment. Can you say just a word about the sense in which profit is, as you call it, a "holonomy effect"? Is it because it involves mapping a multi-dimensional magnitude onto a one-dimensional array? As for the time I spend explaining things that are immediately obvious to some people, this is the price I pay for trying to weave together into a single narrative arguments taken from mathematical economics, history, sociology, philosophy, and literary criticism. My deepest passion, during my entire life, has been to make difficult ideas clear and simple to anyone willing to follow the line of my exposition, with no assumptions made about their prior expertise.