|Milton Friedman (1912-2006)|
Richard Ebeling emails:
I have a new article on, “Milton Friedman and the New Attack on Freedom to Choose.”
A counter-revolution against freedom is busy at work in the United States today, and it is, perhaps, not surprising that one of its targets has become the late free market economist, Milton Friedman. “The New York Times” and other publications such as “Fortune” magazine, are focusing on an article he wrote 50 years ago on, “The Social Responsibility of Business.”
Friedman argued that the executives responsible for the management of corporations are the stewards of those who have hired them, the shareholder owners of the enterprise. For government or others to insist that they utilize the resources of the company for any purpose other than maximizing the returns of those owners is to call for them to be ethically and legally derelict in their duties to their employers. Equally, in wanting to make private enterprises become social welfare agencies is to dangerously blur business and political decision-making that would be harmful to both in the longer run.
Friedman’s critics in the “Times” and in Fortune, insist that businesses become agents to advance the interests of “stakeholders” – every conceivable ideological busy-body and special interest plunderer under the sun – rather than the actual owners of the company. But as I detail in my article, their very arguments and policy proposals for “socially responsible” business demonstrates all the reasons why Friedman’s case against such “social’”responsibility was completely on the mark when originally penned by him half a century ago this year.
In his essay Ebeling notes: