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The Social Responsibility of Business: Milton Friedman Reconsidered

John Elrick, Clifford F. Thies

Abstract


This article reviews the continuing misrepresentation of Milton Friedmans position on the social responsibility of business. Friedman qualified his support of the pursuit of profits with an ethical constraint (honest dealing); however, this qualification is repeatedly ignored by his critics. And, while Friedman specifically endorsed the stakeholder theory of the firm after it was developed, stakeholder theory continues to be presented as an alternative to value maximization. Furthermore, the magazine article, the headline of which constitutes Friedmans entire position according to his critics, is not particularly a defense of profitseeking, but an admonition against self-aggrandizement by corporate managers.

John Elrick and Clifford F. Thies, "The Social Responsibility of Business: Milton Friedman Reconsidered," Journal of Markets & Morality 21, no. 2 (Fall 2018): 297307.


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