Milton Friedman on “Social Responsibility”

A couple days ago I described how has come under attack from liberals at the Seattle Times and elsewhere for not spending corporate money on philanthropy. I ended the post by expressing the opinion that “There is no real moral justification for corporate executives giving away their stockholders’ money to third party.”

Today it is more or less conventional to talk about big corporations having a “social responsibility” to do all sorts of things, like philanthropy, that don’t put money in their stockholders’ pockets. Obviously many executives would argue that they are behaving in a perfectly moral way when they spend their stockholders’ money on charities and causes. Many boast about it in their advertisements and their annual reports.

To argue against such a well-entrenched (but wrong-headed) idea, I’d like to defer to someone far smarter than myself.
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