Magazine September 7, 2020, Issue

Not (Necessarily) for Profit Alone

Milton Friedman (Wikimedia Commons)
There’s nothing wrong with corporations’ taking the interests of workers and the community into account

It was possible, back in 1970, to read an essay by an eminent libertarian economist in the The New York Times Magazine. Milton Friedman’s byline appeared under a headline that both grabbed attention and accurately distilled his argument: “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.”

The CEO is an employee of shareholders, wrote Friedman, and his “responsibility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of the society.” He should be charitable on his own time, and with his

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Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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Max the Hamster

The pandemic, the shutdown, and the riots reveal, of the cities, the truth of that ancient bureaucratic adage: Don’t ever take a vacation.

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