The Social Responsibility Of Business

1463 Words6 Pages
In his paper titled The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits”, Milton Friedman addresses the key issue of weighing social responsibility against profit maximization for shareholders. This conflict is the basis for Friedman’s whole paper, as he explores the two sides of the situation. In order to set up his argument, Friedman lays down a framework by explicitly stating a certain premise. This is that businessman view “social responsibility” and profit as not being mutually exclusive. In other words, the majority of businessman believe that they can operate a socially responsible operation, while still optimizing profits in the long run. Friedman argues in favor of this viewpoint by making a claim and providing a solid line of reasoning to support his claim. Friedman’s main claim in this paper is that corporate executives must conduct business with the aim to satisfy the desires and wishes of shareholders. He says that often the principal desire of shareholders is to maximize profits for the company, while still conforming to the rules of society. These rules can be purely legal, but can also be ethical and moral rules that are imposed by society. Friedman argues that any social responsibilities that go beyond the scope of maximizing profits is “pure and unadulterated socialism” (239). To reinforce his main claim, Friedman uses a logical flow of reasons that is predicated upon the role of executives and shareholders. To emphasize his main claim that
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