Write a 9 page essay on Corporate Social Responsibility: Ethical or Philosophical Sense.
Despite the fact that the UN and the ISO are proponents of CSR the concept also has its critics. In a seminal article, published in The New York Times Magazine in September 1970, Milton Friedman argued, as the article is titled, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Profits”. In this article, Friedman criticized those who argue business and businessmen have responsibilities that extend beyond profit taking: “Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades. The discussions of the ‘social responsibilities of business’ are notable for their analytical looseness and lack of rigor.  Friedman claims that the idea of corporate social responsibility undermines free enterprise. He argues that any executive or manager is an employee first and foremost and that employees must be committed to the bottom line of an enterprise.: “to conduct the business in accordance with their [the stakeholders] desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.”  Business success is measured by profits, according to Friedman, and that is an executive’s sole responsibility. However, later in this discussion, it will be demonstrated that CSR is profitable and, therefore, in Friedman’s model, is fulfilling the executive’s primary responsibility to maximize profit. .Sean McAleer is a modern theorist of business who supports Friedman’s position.  .McAleer argues that ‘‘a business’s only responsibility is to maximize wealth for its stockholders’’ and that ‘‘corporate morality reduces to legality, and thus that extra-legal negative duties do not constrain profit maximization.’’  According to him, if a business is acting within the law and otherwise focused solely on profit maximization it is behaving ethically. Legality is morality according to McAleer. However, again, one can argue that transparency in corporate governance and responsible supply chain management – i.e. no child labor – are both elements of CSR. In other words, operating within the law is a key element of CSR. CSR has also been criticized from the other side of the philosophical spectrum. In 2004 Christian Aid, a British-based charity asserted that “CSR is a completely inadequate response to the sometimes devastating impact [of] multinational companies.”  However, this assertion is actually a criticism of multinational corporations in general rather than a criticism of CSR specifically.