The Corner

Education

‘Social Justice’ Teaching Invades Business Schools

The pressure to bring “social justice” issues into the curriculum is being felt in just about every discipline, including business. I write about this regrettable development in my Martin Center article today.

This is the inevitable outgrowth of the “social responsibility of business” notion that started to appear in the ’60s. In 1970s, Milton Friedman famously argued that the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits, but that did nothing to stop the idea from spreading into higher education. Business schools around the country are now wasting time on social-justice issues.

One of those issues, for instance, is the supposedly terrible distribution of income in the United States. Activists have wheedled their way into the curriculum with that. Even if it were true that we face a crisis in this regard (we don’t), there is nothing that business managers in their role as business managers can do about it. Diverting resources from their most efficient uses to, say, pay some workers an above-market “living wage” will have adverse effects just as minimum-wage laws do.

Business-school deans would be well advised to resist the social-justice invasion. Students get plenty of that elsewhere and it distracts from the goal of teaching them how to run enterprises most profitably.

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

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