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Re: Another question about free-markets...

At 11:53 PM 10/4/98 -0500, Jim Choate wrote:
>Milton Friedman won the Nobel price in 1976 in economics. One of the
>questions he asked was:
>Do corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, have
>responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as much
>money for their stockholders as possible?
>His answer was 'no', they have no responsibility outside of those two
>considerations (ie the law, stockholders expectations of profit).
>Now in a free-market, by definition, there is no law. What then is the
>responsibility of businesses other than the pure unadulterated pursuit of
>profit? If this includes lying, denying consumers information, etc. what
>harm is done, they have fulfilled their responsibility to their shareholders
>(potentialy quite lucratively) and broken no law. Within this environment it
>follows that a primary strategy for such executives is the elimination of
>*all* competition. And since there is no law other than the measure of profit
>all can be justified.

Just because he won a Nobel prize does not mean he was correct, it means
those bestowing the prize on him agreed with him.

business/economic right vs wrong is a different game from
moral right vs wrong.

for instance, suppose there was a great demand for analog watches with
luminous dials. would it be right to flood the market with luminous dials
that were also highly radioactive, because those isotopes were less
expensive than luminous substances that were not radioactive? (this
presupposes that no rules were broken AFA selling watches with radioactive
luminous dials).

are you saying that the proper business solution is to throw public safety
to the wind, and never mind possible consequences of wrist cancer 10 or 20
years down the road? what would the companies bottom line be after the
ravages of the eventual class action suit?


"I'm desperately trying to figure out why kamikaze pilots wore helmets."
						- Dave Edison