SOCB58 – Lec 2
Friedman: businesses should focus on profit, not on picking political platforms.
1. Social ends are undistinguishable from socialism.
- that forms the problem of equivocation: you can't really take social ends as a concept and
equate it to socialism because social ends aren't a line of political agenda.
- another problem of unsupported claim of influence: Friedman claimed that any businessman
that talk of socialism is brainwashed by a liberal society which is taught to us, and yes, universities tend
to be left-leaning, however, the opposite perspective is also taught. You would be hard pressed to find
a socialist agenda in western world.
2. Only people have responsibilities (ethical in this case).
- problem of corporation having legal status of person.
3. Corporate executives not free to act except in terms of serving aims of owners (and shareholders)
- problem of “passing the buck” (“it's what the shareholders want”) but eventually someone has
to take responsibility.
4. The executives have a social responsibility to enforce owner's agenda.
- nothing written that the corporation has to advance owner/shareholder's agenda
- problem of shareholder vs. stakeholder. If executives get majority of shares, then come voting
on issues, they get the biggest say. Aren't the rights of the stakeholder as important as the shareholder?
5. If the executive acts otherwise from owner's policies, they get involved in gov