Business and Social Responsibility

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The problem that was investigated consisted of a question that Milton Friedman posed in one of his articles, which was featured in The New York Times Magazine in 1970. The question was, “What does it mean to say that “business” has responsibilities” (Friedman, 2007, p. 173)? Friedman (1970) elaborated on how businesses cannot have assigned responsibilities. Furthermore, he described how groups or individuals should be the only ones that can hold responsibilities, not businesses. He stated that associating responsibilities with the word business is too ambiguous. I will examine three discussion questions and three compare and contrast questions which Jennings (2009) posed in a case study that is related to Friedman’s (1970) article “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits”.

The first discussion question posed was, “How does Dr. Friedman characterize discussions on the “social responsibilities of business”? Why (Jennings, 2009, p. 79)? Friedman (1970) characterized the discussions on social responsibilities as one hundred percent unadulterated socialism. Friedman (1970) characterized these discussions in that manner because he felt that a corporate executive should focus solely on making profits and not on social aspects. He mentioned how people who conduct and express themselves in this fashion are positively reinforcing and supporting the actions of individuals that have been weakening the foundational blocks of free society. Friedman (1970) posed a question which was the crux of his 1970 article “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” where he investigated the true contextual meaning of what responsibilities mean to businesses. Friedman describes how businesses cann...

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...the agents to be the gatekeepers for keeping the corporation alive. While some of Dr. Friedman’s opinions came across bold and harsh, ultimately I feel that he presents a strong case for developing a profit-motivated company that does not treat its stockholders inappropriately.

Works Cited

Friedman, M., (2007). The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits. In W. Zimmerli, M. Holzinger, & K. Richter (Eds.), Corporate Ethics and Corporate Governance (pp. 173-178). Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com/content/978-3- 540-70817-9/#section=263556&page=2&locus=0

Jennings, M. (2009). Business ethics: Case studies and selected readings. Mason, OH: South- Western Cengage Learning.

Stambor, Z. (1996). Employees: A company's best asset. Monitor Staff, 37(3), 28. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar06/employees.aspx
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