Does Milton Friedman Support a Vigorous Business Ethics?

Journal of Business Ethics 87 (3):391-399 (2009)

Abstract
This paper explores the level of obligation called for by Milton Friedman’s classic essay “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Profits.” Several scholars have argued that Friedman asserts that businesses have no or minimal social duties beyond compliance with the law. This paper argues that this reading of Friedman does not give adequate weight to some claims that he makes and to their logical extensions. Throughout his article, Friedman emphasizes the values of freedom, respect for law, and duty. The principle that a business professional should not infringe upon the liberty of other members of society can be used by business ethicists to ground a vigorous line of ethical analysis. Any practice, which has a negative externality that requires another party to take a significant loss without consent or compensation, can be seen as unethical. With Friedman’s framework, we can see how ethics can be seen as arising from the nature of business practice itself. Business involves an ethics in which we consider, work with, and respect strangers who are outside of traditional in-groups.
Keywords duty  ethics of business  freedom  Milton Friedman  liberty  John Stuart Mill  negative externality  profits  respect for law  society  stakeholder theory  stockholder theory
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-008-9927-5
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References found in this work BETA

Capitalism and Freedom.Milton Friedman - 1963 - Ethics 74 (1):70-72.
Friedman Fallacies.Colin Grant - 1991 - Journal of Business Ethics 10 (12):907 - 914.
Corporate Codes of Conduct and the Value of Autonomy.David Silver - 2005 - Journal of Business Ethics 59 (1-2):3-8.
Smith, Friedman, and Self-Interest in Ethical Society.Farhad Rassekh - 2000 - Business Ethics Quarterly 10 (3):659-674.

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Citations of this work BETA

Big Pharma: A Former Insider’s View. [REVIEW]David Badcott - 2013 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (2):249-264.

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