I love this article. It’s by the late Milton Friedman – a genius.
Personally I believe Corporations have a mandate beyond simple profits. But assume I am wrong – what is a Corporation’s responsibility? To just make money, at any cost? And can a company really be considered in the same light – with the same social responsibilities and expectations of “goodness” as individuals have? Or are corporations somehow exempt from the Golden Rule? Not just legally, but morally – do they answer to a different set of legal and moral expectations than we do as citizens? If they do, should they?
What does it mean to say that “business” has responsibilities? Only people can have responsibilities. A corporation is an artificial person and in this sense may have artificial responsibilities, but “business” as a whole cannot be said to have responsibilities, even in this vague sense. The first step toward clarity in examining the doctrine of the social responsibility of business is to ask precisely what it implies for whom.