According to Wikipedia today: “Milton Friedman died at the age of 94 on 16 November 2006 of heart failure, after being taken to hospital near his home in San Francisco. He is survived by his wife and two children.” For background on Friedman, see:
One of the most well known critics of the 1970’s social responsibility movement, Friedman’s now-legendary essay: “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” is probably the most quoted attack on notions of business taking on social responsibility:
Friedman did the ‘CSR world’ a huge favour early on by forcing the movement to consider his attacks, add (some) more rigour to its approaches and justify itself from relatively early on.
However, some might say he also did the movement some harm, too, since his almost unrivalled reputation as an economist (monetarism etc) carried so much weight his views have influenced generations of sceptical business folks, many carrying MBAs.
Friedman called business and social responsibility a “fundamentally subversive doctrine” in a free society, and said that in such a society, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”
The most interesting piece of this last line is the reference to “the rules of the game”. Readers are invited to comment on these, what they were in 1970, how they have changed since, and on Friedman’s legacy, specifically to ethical business, or generally.