Corporate failure as a means to corporate responsibility

Journal of Business Ethics 13 (12):969 - 978 (1994)
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Abstract

Milton Friedman has argued that corporations have no responsibility to society beyond that of obeying the law and maximizing profits for shareholders. Individuals may have social responsibilities according to Friedman, but not corporations.When executives make contributions to address social problems in the name of the corporation, they are doing so with other people''s (shareholders'') money. The responsibility of corporate executives is a fiduciary one, to serve as an agent for the corporation''s shareholders, and to uphold shareholders'' trust, which requires executives to maximize the return to their shareholders, who can then, if they choose, contribute their own money to worthy causes.

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