Phi Beta Cons

Profits Are Anti-Social

In today’s Pope Center piece, Jay Schalin writes about a lecture he recently attended, where a University of North Carolina professor of communications discussed the subject of “corporate social responsibility” and declared that profits are anti-social.

This is a common view among socialistic academics. Few of them have worked in the for-profit sector, much less ever run a business, yet they declare that the main purpose of business should be to serve “the public good.” It just doesn’t occur to people like them that resources are limited. To the extent that business managers choose to use their resources for projects that are supposedly for “the public good,” the less is left for making products and investing to improve productivity. If individuals want to act charitably with their money (from any source — labor, investment income, or other) that is fine, but business managers have a responsibility to act for the interests of the stockholders, maximizing profits. They act contrary to that responsibility if they decide to be generous with other people’s money.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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