In Response to Friedman’s View of Corporate Social Responsibility

946 Words4 Pages
It is not a common sentiment to hear Milton Friedman described as left of center in political spheres. Certainly, Friedman’s landmark essay The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Profits in the New York Times magazine was filled with many assertions that placed him as a bulwark for a growing conservative movement who felt a vindication for the free market mechanism and skepticism for the role of government. However, while reading Friedman muse over the social responsibilities of businesses, one cannot help but notice the emergence of a deeper philosophical thought that aligns much more closely with the liberal views of yesteryear and today. The crux of the issue that Friedman tries to dissect is whether businesses acting…show more content…
On the issue of inflation, it is the experts at the Federal Reserve who have the capability and capacity to deal with the problem. On determining education metrics and quality, the Department of Education holds the greatest assets in assessing and distributing resources to tackle the issue, even though now the Department receives much criticism grounded in the belief that it is not capable of such a task. Even Friedman begrudges labor unions his approval for their devotion to the issues that they are ‘experts’ at. Friedman’s argument effectively legitimizes many of the branches and functions of the government, and indeed many of the bastions of the progressive liberal movement, all of which Friedman has ironically often denounced. That there are compatible aspects even to Friedman’s perspectives on corporate social responsibility and more liberal views not only highlights how the role of social responsibility falls upon various players who cannot shirk their duty, but also illuminates a certain shallowness for the conclusions drawn upon Friedman’s arguments. One may extract from Friedman’s arguments that the value of a firm is limited only to the profits and financial health of the firm, when upon closer inspection there are more complex social functions which the business is involved in that need to be considered. On a final note, Friedman’s ethical stance is that he has,
Open Document