Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman - principal, not an agent. This is because...

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Dr. Barr Business 101 March 24, 2009 “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits” Milton Friedman argues that only people can have responsibilities, not businesses. Friedman says “a corporation is an artificial person and in this sense may have artificial responsibilities,” (pg. 74). Businesses as a whole do not have responsibilities. Friedman argues that individuals, businessmen, are responsible. These individuals include individual proprietors or corporate executives. An example would be a corporate executive has a direct responsibility to his employees. This would mean to conduct business – to make as much money as possible while abiding by basic rules of society. A corporate executive is “also a person in his own right,” (pg. 75). Friedman believes he may have other responsibilities such as his church or his family. As a result, he may donate part of his income to these causes. However, in this situation, Friedman explains that he is acting as
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Unformatted text preview: principal, not an agent. This is because he is spending his own time and money not that of his employers. Overall, Friedmans main point is the corporate executive is spending someone elses money for a general social interest. He is spending the money of stockholders, customers, and employees. Prior to reading this essay by Milton Friedman, I would have said businesses and corporations have responsibilities. However, Friedman breaks down different scenarios which prove that ultimately every responsibility leads back to an individual or a group of individuals. The part where Milton Friedman convinced me was when he explains the difficulty of social responsibility. He states, it forces people to be responsible for their own actions and makes it difficult for them to exploit other people for either selfish or unselfish purposes, (pg. 77). I couldnt agree more when Friedman says They can do good but only at their expense, (pg. 77)....
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course BUS 101 taught by Professor Rollins during the Spring '08 term at Miami University.

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