Milton Friedman on Social Responsibility

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Milton Friedman on Social Responsibility

Milton Friedman, a renowned economist, argued that the sole responsibility of businesses is to increase their profits. This essay would delve into his arguments, exploring the context in which he made these claims and how they contrast with the modern emphasis on corporate social responsibility, ethics, and sustainability. PapersOwl offers a variety of free essay examples on the topic of Business Ethics topic.

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Milton Friedman on Social ResponsibilityNameInstitutionProfessorCourseDateIntroduction There are many forms of handling the issue of business ethics and for instance, business men often frequently argue on several bases and based on different views and opinions in which they view these circumstances that affect business set ups. Many times you would normally hear business men talking of business ideas that ideally affect their performance in the business industry. They would eloquently talk of ideas that are made to improve their sales and reputation in general (Sison, 2008).

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However, it is still in rare occasions that you would hear people talking of issues such as social responsibility of a business set up.

There are many theories that have been proposed by several scholars concerning several life and business issues in an effort to bring about business success in the sector. For instance, it has been argued generally that, the main or the key function of any business set up is to make profit and above all realize a much higher returns over time. In an effort to establish this strong foundation for continuous making of profits, then a company or the stakeholders of the business set up concerned need to establish right means of achieving this progress. In addition to the profit that the company or business organizations target to get, there are other social responsibilities that the business is obliged to handle (Sison, 2008). However, it is clear from existing statistics that most businesses do not adhere to the social responsibilities in the society.

This paper therefore explores Friedmans arguments and contrasts the arguments with an idea that is against it. This simply implies that there are several ideas that were put across by Freidman on the idea of business and the social responsibility. Similarly, there are other counter arguments that have been put across by other speakers on the same topic. These arguments are then contrasted with idea of Friedman on the social responsibility. For instance, Friedman has had a spirited argument on the idea of social responsibility. The discussions on the social responsibilities of businesses are well argued by Friedmans assertions.

For instance, Milton Friedman argues that business normally has responsibilities on its part. These responsibilities are not only business oriented but also based on the way the business interacts with the surrounding, the society relations. Literally, it is only a person who normally has responsibilities. Therefore, this indicates that, a business is taken as a corporation according to Milton Friedman and therefore, a corporation is normally an artificial person like you and me and therefore, in this sense, it can be termed as having artificial responsibilities, however, the business as a whole cannot be described to have responsilibilities. In order to establish a precise understanding of social responsibility, then there should be a distinct clarity in the examination of the theory of social responsibility of businesses and effectively establish whom it directly affects. Businesses ought to be responsible and offer their service to the society and in a fair way. Business ethics should be effectively addressed in order to avoid the issues of unfair treatments in the business field. These need to be handled carefully so as to have the best of output in the business field.

In the field where free enterprise exists, a corporate executive is an employee of the person who has or whoever owns the business. There are many ways however that revolves around the social responsibilities that businesses need to undertake in order to fulfill its business promises in the society and also in the businesses activities that the corporate executives may be involved in. The other alternative argument to this is the idea of corporate executive being the managers of the agents of the individuals who to a big extend are in possession of the corporation. It is not a easy task to judge that a corporate agent is in full understanding of his or her job capacity and therefore, still not easy to judge that one is not or how well he or she is undertaking his or her daily corporate activities. However, the people around which these corporate agents occur are basically well defined.

In addition to that, a corporate agent is usually a normal person and therefore requires many other responsibilities that should be accomplished for the corporate agent before tackling other businesses (Jimenez et al, 2016). There are several objectives of having a corporate agent in an organization. Despite the fact that we have earlier argued that a business set up can be set up and acts as a corporate entity, there are personal corporate agents who act in place of these business units and therefore represent the interests of all the business entities including the employees in a company. There are both negative perspectives and the positive perspectives of having these entities representing the ideas of the other workers in a company. The corporate agents would always present the ideas of a company and in many occasions it mostly works to ensure that the firm gets a good reputation from the outsiders (Friedman, 2017). This may be through reduction or lowering of prices for the commodities that the business sells in order to have little or to lower the degree of inflation in the economy and this therefore has a positive effect on the economy of a country.

However, this may differ with the understanding of the same from the inside employees and agents of the business as their goal is usually acquiring the maximum profit in a short while. In the current society, it is not an easy task to convince most business men and women to enter into these social responsibilities. We should always fight hard to have these corporate officials in our societies in order to have an ethical business in our societies. Conclusion In summary, corporate social responsibility should be instilled in our societies for better living standards. These corporate officers serve as agents of good morals and deeds in the society as the society demands them to be. It is clear that availability of these corporate officers could be the main cause for the success of most business projects that have for long not being performing effectively well. There could be possibilities of associating corporate social responsibility with the success of a business unit as long as the corporate officers involved in the exercise effectively handle their businesses. For instance, inflation rate can be lowered by lowering the prices of goods and services to an affordable rate.


  • Friedman, T. L. (2017).
  • Thank you for being late: An optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations. Picador.Jimenez, G. C., Pulos, E., & Open SUNY Textbooks,. (2016).
  • Good corporation, bad corporation: Corporate social responsibility in the global economy.Sison, A. G. (2008).
  • Corporate governance and ethics: An Aristotelian perspective. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
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Milton Friedman on Social Responsibility. (2020, Jan 08). Retrieved from