COMPARING GATE AND FRIENDMAN
Write a short response or comment on the concept of Friedman and Gates. In particular, address the following points:
1. Do you support Friedman?s thesis, or that of Bill Gates? If Gates, how would you justify corporate social causes to Milton Friedman?
2. How much is too much for a firm to devote to socially responsible causes? Are five percent of profits OK? How about ten?
Corporate social responsibilities refers to an obligation that is beyond what is stipulated by the regulation and economics for a corporation to commit in long term goals that are for the interests of the society. Businesses are required to commit its conduct in conforming to the ethics and make a contribution to the development of the economy while enhancing their families and the community in general.
“I agree with Bill Gates’ view of corporate social responsibility in that Gates suggest that in contributing to the society, corporations can conform to the laws and regulations by paying taxes. This should be completely voluntary. The government must in turn use the taxes collected to provide better living standards to the society. As long as the corporation is maximizing the shareholder’s wealth and paying taxes, Gates views that the society can not force it to perform its social responsibilities. This has to be volunteered by the corporation. On the other hand Friedman talks of responsibilities of corporations with the implied notion that businesses are not moral individuals hence they can not encompass responsibilities. Friedman’s argument is short of firmness in the sense that he does not differentiate between moral and social responsibility.
Besides, Friedman’s view that corporate social responsibilities costs the firm, is not reasonable because in view of Gates’ thoughts, through foundations, corporate can contribute to the society without necessarily creating conflicts with the shareholders and build on the brand value and generate more profit. The amount shared to the society through the foundations must solely rely on the level of profits generated by the firm. Different firms have different level of profits and hence Gates suggest that corporate responsibilities should not affect the profits. Gates on the other hand assert that it is impossible to make a decision on the percentage of the firms’ profit which is the right amount to commit to socially responsible course. The percentage profits allocated must be in such away that, it should not harm the profits at all costs. The management must be the ones to decide which percentage goes to the society on voluntary basis.
Friedman suggests that corporations must pursue what it desires, whether they desire profits or environmentally destructive products, they should go a head with their goals. However this may not be valid as in the sense that it may not conform to the moral standards of the community. If Corporations’ goals are more than profit maximization, then they should conform to the standard ethics expected of them in the community.
Friedman also makes a claim that social responsibility comes at the expense of the employer’s and shareholders interests. However, he is hesitant to spot light the toughest subject in the American responsibilities for the impacts on health to the Taiwanese workers in connection to hazardous wastes exportation. This because the subject of raising prices or serious lack of employment in relation to the violations of human rights tragedy are of critical implication.
One would have the thoughts that Friedman’s opinions of the people whom the managers owe their duties are the shareholders because he mentioned that managers have a direct obligation to owners. This may not be the case as he continued to mention the interest of the employees and clients as well. The origin of agency in relation to the managers is by complying with the unit rules in the community which are encompassed in the ethical traditions. However, Friedman seems to invoke a communal and unusual policy of the public to strengthen his stand on managerial responsibility position (Friedman, 1970)”.
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