The article “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” deals with the hotly contested speculations on the subject of social conscience of business. It is claimed that social responsibility is an attribute that better fits an individual rather than such a vague notion as business.
As long as nowadays, speaking about the social responsibility of business is going a mainstream in a massive way, the original meaning of the notion of social responsibility can call into question. From the author’s perspective, the idea of social responsibility of business is a common misconception due to the fact that only an individual may carry responsibilities. In this respect, the author does not recognize business as a subject of social responsibility, but implies that the particular corporations, their corporate executives or individual proprietors may carry any kind of responsibility to the society (Friedman). Besides, a notion of social responsibility is rather controversial as it may include different kinds of responsibilities, for example, to the family, the church or religion, the city or country etc.
Beyond dispute, the main aim of any kind of business is to make a profit. In the context of the world of big business, it is impossible to reach effectively this aim and to contribute to the social objectives at the same time. Due to this fact, strive to meet the social needs may have adverse effects for managing the business, and vice versa. Therefore, there should be stroked equilibrium between the company goals and social needs. According to the author, a businessman who tries to combine the roles of a civil servant and an entrepreneur pretends to be the legislator, executive and jurist at the same time. However, the problem is that these functions are assigned and performed by different institutions, and there is no chance they are integrated in one person. Otherwise, actions of such a person ought to be seen as just “window-dressing” and untrustworthy.
Moreover, under the close scrutiny, it may appear that social responsibility is often used to justify actions, which initially have different purposes as to satisfy social needs. For example, there are incriminating accounts that some companies make donations in order not to pay corporate taxes (Friedman). In such cases, social responsibility serves as a so-called “cloak” to conceal the authentic intentions of a particular corporation. Besides, as long as participation in the social life is seen as one of the cornerstones of any self-sufficient company’s success, involvement in the fundraising activity or charity campaign may assist the process of creating a positive image for a trademark. The thing is a company that, for example, donates to the development of local medical services or infrastructure will be regarded by society as a sustainable and socially integrated enterprise.
Additionally, the author underlines such an aspect of the social responsibility as the voluntary will and opposes the idea of making someone contribute to the “social” needs against his or her will. In this respect, as long as an individual, for example, an independent proprietor, gives his money for a charity, it can be considered a display of social responsibility. However, an executive manager who is in charge of a company has no right to spend their resources in favor of the needs of society as he will be spending money of shareholders or customers, and not his own money. As far as the personal aspect is concerned, it is up to an individual to decide whether to donate money to the society.
To conclude, the only social responsibility of business is to use its resources with the maximum efficiency, contributing therefore to the development of country economy. Such a pragmatic approach will provide the fair competition between companies and help avoid any manipulation with the notion of social responsibility.