Watching the implosion of FTX—the darling company of woke capitalism, “effective altruism,” and the ESG investing crowd whose founder, the ridiculous Sam Bankman-Fried, was second largest donor to the Democratic Party this year, naturally—calls back to mind what Milton Friedman wrote about the first version of this leftist fad, which back in 962 was called “corporate social responsibility.”
Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their shareholders as possible. This is a fundamentally subversive doctrine. If businessmen do have a social responsibility other than making maximum profits for stockholders, how are they to know what it is? Can self-selected private individuals decide what the social interest is?