Social Responsibilities And Moral Character Of Business

1175 Words5 Pages
Social Responsibilities and Moral Character of Business Milton Friedman was a 20th century American economist who advocated free-market capitalism. In 1970 he submitted an editorial article entitled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” to the New York Times. In the article, Friedman argues that in free market systems it is nonsensical to make corporate entities adhere to “social responsibilities of business” pushed by activists, as corporations are artificial in nature, and thus do not have any social responsibilities other than to make money for the shareholders of the company. I will argue against this paper and support the claim corporations do in-fact have moral and ethical obligations to more than just their shareholders, and that many individuals have their stakes and livelihoods embedded within the acts of corporations. As well, the idea in the article that corporations are not moral agents has led to unsavory violations of human rights across the world, failing Kant’s second formulation of the Categorical Imperative, as well as not satisfying Act Utilitarianism. Thus, corporations, and individuals within those corporations, possess considerable ability to make ethical decisions that have great impact to many people, culminating in the truth that corporations have moral status. Friedman often surrounds ideas that he feels are nonsensical with quotation marks in order to make the ideas seem out of touch with any sort of economic
Open Document