Do you agree with Milton Friedman’s (1970) claim that : « the only responsibility of business is to increase its profits » ?

2913 WordsMar 10, 201412 Pages
Do you agree with Milton Friedman’s (1970) claim that : « the only responsibility of business is to increase its profits » ? Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician and writer, who had a massive impact on the research agenda of the economics profession. His famous words “the only responsibility of business is to increase its profits” (Friedman, Milton. 1970) led to many controversial debates on whether businesses should have ethics or if profit should be their main goal. Corporate social responsibility has many definitions, as its interpretation is quite loose, so I have chosen one that relates the most to this essay, given by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, in 2000: “Corporate social…show more content…
Since, if anyone should have the power to impose taxes and make expenditures to promote social objectives, it shouldn’t be corporations but the government, as they have the resources and knowledge to make these kinds of decisions that could potentially have an impact on all our lives. Friedman argues, “Business professionals have neither the power nor possibly even the knowledge necessary to address larger societal problems, even if they wanted to” (Friedman, Milton. 1970). An example he refers to is the fact that business professionals are not in a position to fight inflation, where factors, such as money supply and aggregate demand need to be considered. Overall it is investing governmental power in a person who has no general mandate to govern and why should we allow unelected companies to determine our social values and to take over the role of elected government. Thirdly, the process is undemocratic, as there are no checks and balances to monitor these corporations and the major decisions that they are making, that are going to impact our society, also the decision process is very much kept behind ‘closed doors’, unlike how the government operates. This leaves more opportunity for corruption and illegal behavior. Even though there are organizations, such as the World trade Organization and the Office of Fair Trading, loopholes always seem to be found. For example, a recent report by

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