In the article “The Social Responsibility of a Business is to Increase Profit” Milton Friedman presents the idea that a corporation is fulfilling its “social responsibility” by using its resources to increase production and to improve growth. Some would argue that corporations, technically treated like individuals under accounting principles, have additional “social responsibilities”. These arguments present ideas of changing normal business activities to fight social pressures such as inflation and unemployment. Though fighting these social pressures is a very just cause corporations should not be held to a higher responsibility.
The argument that a CEO should take responsibility or direction for the companies pursuit of their “social responsibilities” has very light weight. A CEO is working along with the stock holders and investors in a direction that will increase the share price, so that all parties involved with benefit. This is a very honest and acceptable practice that is conducted in almost all large corporations and businesses around the world. If this pursuit of monetary gain was to be clouded by the addition of the idea that corporations have “social responsibilities” it would create many more problems. If a corporation and CEO had to attend to “social responsibilities” it would take the focus off of what is driving the every market around the world; that is, the pursuit of money. Though it appears evil under some lights, the pursuit of producing a product in exchange for money has been the driving factor in the economy since the beginning of the United States.
I agree with Friedman’s point that a corporation is fulfilling its social responsibility by increasing profits. People start businesses to make money. If money is not the main motivator for starting a business, then it is a crucial factor in the survival of the business, such as a hospital or school. If a corporation is to be treated like an individual than it has the right to act and pursue a venture with accordance to the law just like any other person that is living with in the United States of America. Every person in the United States is given the choice whether they want to spend the time and resources fighting the social issues that plague the economy. They have a choice, just like a corporation should have a choice as well. If a corporation wants to uses its resources, time, and employees to fight the social issues then it is that corporations choice, not something that is forced onto them because it seems to be a quick fix to a much larger problem.