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Adam Smith vs. CSR

| Wednesday May 25th, 2005 | 0 Comments

adamsmith.jpgFrom Alan Murry on the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion section (requires login):

What harm is there in companies taking more responsibility for social and environmental problems? Plenty, if you adhere to the theories of Adam Smith, argued more than 200 years ago that the general welfare was better served by people pursuing their enlightened self-interest than by misguided attempts to serve society. The 20th century proved his point: Profit-seeking corporations, constrained and buttressed by moderate government regulation and spending, did far more to increase the welfare of the world than a proliferation of “socially responsible” governments. And the 21st century is proving it yet again: China’s embrace of Adam Smith has yielded the greatest alleviation of poverty in history.

So, is Murray missing the point? Has truly free enterprise ever existed? Certainly not in China, I’d say. And even Adam Smith suggests that “moderate” regulation is a good thing, so why not promote proactive self-regulation?
(more discussion on Next Billion)


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