Hugh Pavletch has sent me this exchange on ‘corporate social responsibility’. The two parties arguing the standard Friedman case against CSR (one of them is Friedman) are much less interesting than the party arguing the case for – John Mackey. That’s not because Friedman et al are necessarily wrong, but because what they say is pretty straightforward.
I don’t know if the publisher, Reason Magazine – whose slogan is “Free Minds and Free Markets) – intended it this way, but John Mackey arguing in favour of CSR (though not for imposing it on businesses) wins the argument hands down when he gets to compare his own financial results to the financial results of the Friedmanite.
Of course the anti-CSR crowd can quickly jump in and say “See, its not CSR at all, it’s just good PR and good marketing.” Maybe, but that’s a little glib. Read the article and see what you think. I’m not too sure what I think, but I certainly like John Mackey more than his opponent T.J. Rodgers.