Several weeks ago, on the 50th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s famous New York Times essay, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits,” detractors rushed to declare that Friedman’s ideas had caused decades of widespread harm and destruction. Many of these declarations came from within the business community, which is hardly surprising, given last year’s Business Roundtable statement in which 181 high-profile CEOs promised to eschew shareholder primacy and promote an economy that serves all “stakeholders.”
A headline in Fortune, typical of others, announced that “Milton Friedman’s shareholder doctrine is dead.” Barron’s said Friedman’s vision “has failed. Let’s bury it and move on.” Between these articles and others in Business Insider, the Financial Times and elsewhere, the Friedman doctrine was blamed for, among other societal ills: income inequality, racial disparities, worker exploitation, catastrophic global warming, oppressive Big Tech monopolies, economic insecurity, and the hollowing-out of communities.
tap here to see other videos from our team.