Friday, January 09, 2015

Incomplete quoting to fit ideology

Many who want government to stay out of corporate affairs quote Milton Friedman with “The only purpose of the corporation is to maximize shareholder value.”

However, he actually had a more nuanced statement:

"There is one and only one social responsibility of business--to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud."

See “The Benefits and Costs of Social Investing”, Alex Brian, Morningstar, 2015-01-07.

Too many forget everything after “so long as it stays within the rules of the game…”

Also, who should be the arbiter of “the game”?  The Chambers of Commerce?  But Chambers interests are those of its members.  Government?  Horrors!  Who else do we have that could be “impartial”?

Note my use of “could” rather than “can”.  Too many corporations work to get government to make decisions favorable to themselves without regard to the “General Welfare” stated in the U. S. Constitution.

What we have is that the “rules of the game” as manipulated by corporate interests often lead to lots of “deception or fraud”.