Has Business Left Milton Friedman Behind?

Advertisement

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

On September 13, 1970, the New York Times Magazine published an essay by the economist Milton Friedman titled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits.” It laid out what came to be known as the Friedman Doctrine — a call to arms for American free-market capitalism and arguably the most consequential economic idea, for better or worse, of the latter part of the 20th century.Fifty years later, Mr. Friedman’s seminal essay continues to stoke debate among business leaders and policymakers — many of whom now seek to rebuke his view as leading to a generation of profiteering companies at the expense of society, exacerbating inequality.Mr. Friedman was no mere economist; he was a kind of celebrity. He became a regular on the talk-show circuit. PBS even gave him a 10-part series. His economic theories still hold sway over large parts of corporate America — maybe none more so than his landmark 1970 essay.Friedman’s ideas caught on because of not only what he was saying but also when he was saying it — at the tail end of the 1960s, a near-unprecedented time of social unrest. What would Mr. Friedman make of this current moment?In his essay, he calls …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE