Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Environment, Politics | Tags: Corporate Do-Gooders, Maximizing Profits, Social Responsibility
“Should Corporations Be Do-Gooders?”was the provocative headline on an essay in the Atlantic last week. There are certainly loud voices insisting that they should, though they don’t express it in such crass terms. Do-Gooders is more carefully expressed in terns like “corporate social responsibility.” which can refer to anything from recycling their waste paper to the attempt to prove just how “Green” they are.
Milton Friedman wrote a classic essay “The Social Responsibility of Corporations” where he argues that the sole responsibility of corporations is to strictly maximize profits, and it is from that that their contribution to society arises. Those who take the other tack are usually those who are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of a corporation in the first place. “Corporate power” is second only to “Race” as a major concern of the Progressive.
Progressives, as demonstrated by the Occupy crowd in particular and the Left in general, are unclear about profit; and notably furious about the Citizens United decision that allows a corporate voice in political questions in the form of money. They really dislike corporations and seem to think we would be better off without any, as evidenced by the laptops, iPhones, tents and sleeping bags in their squalid urban camps.
On the other hand, I am having a quiet rebellion against Diamond Matches. They are no longer sturdy wood sticks topped with a red and white striking end. Now the “Strike On Box Matches” — are “greenlight” “Sourced from Responsible Forests” with an” Earth in Mind solutions” logo.
I have spent a lifetime lighting a match with my thumbnail. Doesn’t work anymore, it usually breaks the skinnier matchstick, and the new green ends don’t light worth a darn. The ‘strike on box’ feature that has replaced the sandpaper strip that assured an instant light seldom works. I am now keeping a Bic lighter in the cupboard to light my green match with. And, as far as I can tell, Diamond has a monopoly on the wood match business unless I want to order from India.
This seems to be a sure sign that the corporation was singled out by green activists who threatened them with demonstrations or worse. What the hell is a “responsible forest?” Usually it means don’t cut any trees, build any roads, and don’t cut the pretty bushes. Greens have a hard time understanding that trees are a renewable resource, that forests without roads and never thinned are subject to devastating wildfire.
I’m with Milton Friedman. But in an era when every group requires donations in order to do their particular good work, the demand for contributions is constant. You will notice that the great charities never solve their problems. The March of Dimes was founded to support Polio. When that disease was conquered, they didn’t disband, but moved smoothly to another cause.
Let the marketplace decide. A lot of companies jumped on the ‘green’ bandwagon, and are discovering that while most people want clean air and clean water, and do not want nature despoiled — they are unprepared to support radical greens who know no limits.
Diamond got suckered in. “Diamond© Greenlight™Matches – 1st American Match sourced from responsibly managed Aspen forests of Minnesota. FSC Certification guarantees that Diamond© Greenlight™ Matches comply with strict socioeconomic & environmental standards of selective cutting regulations and land management. (This comes from the Forest Stewardship Council, a nonprofit bully) Diamond also recycles, requests that you recycle, and is committed to environmentally responsible packaging and products.” Oh yes, made in USA since 1881. ( all on the box)
I just want a match that lights first time I try to strike it, and I’d still prefer to be able to use my thumbnail.
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