Creating business and social value: the Asian way to integrate CSR into business strategies, Studies in Trade and Investment No. 68

Book1 Jan 2009

In September 1970, Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman ignited a serious controversy with his New York Times article “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits.” His main argument is summarised as follows: “there is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game …” While one might agree with him that a primary purpose of business is about making a profit without violation of laws and regulations, this argument is unlikely to remain valid in today’s world. Businesses must consider not only on their profits but also the effects of their activities on society. The main reason is that business and society are deeply and dynamically interdependent.