Stakeholder capitalists should heed Friedman’s warning


Matthew Lesh writes for The Times

Matthew Lesh, IEA Head of Public Policy, has written for The Times on the rise of stakeholder capitalism, the idea companies should focus on promoting political issues rather than the generation of profit.

Matthew argues that the shareholder backlash in companies such as Unilever, which has gained a reputation for its socially-conscious messaging, is a symptom of stakeholder capitalism’s decline and that in order for businesses to thrive, an emphasis on profit must come first.

“Milton Friedman, the Nobel prize-winning economist and a key proponent of shareholder capitalism, warned that corporations that sought to pursue socially desirable ends “would destroy a free society” “.

“The proponents of stakeholder capitalism often paint critics as heartless, caring only about the bottom line. But this misses the point. It is by delivering a profit that companies are able to provide high-quality, innovative products to customers”

Read the full article here.


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