It makes no sense to talk of the social obligations of the corporation without reference to its economic obligations. The two are intertwined.
The market system requires that people be committed and willing to work hard. Inherent with that is what I call a merit system, which I think gives people the greatest opportunity.
We have seen that in this country in the last few years, particularly on Wall Street, with the rise of the old human frailty of greed. This occurs when people begin to serve only their own needs to the detriment of everyone else.
In every aspect of life, including the economic dimension, we are always challenged to do the right thing. In many cases in the market system, which allows a great deal of latitude for human choice, people can get carried away to excess.
The freedoms that people have that flow from all civic institutions fundamentally come from the success of a market system.
It is important to remember that all business has an impact on the lives of real people.
Ethical conduct is something that becomes inherent in an organization over a long period of time.
There is hardly an activity that a person can think about that does not intrinsically involve energy, most of which is currently provided by fossil fuels.
I find it interesting that many of the people who want to restrict fossil fuels live in well-developed countries where abundant and affordable energy is readily available.
He or she must be successful in economic terms, but always within an ethical framework. Whether his or her constituency is a corporation and its shareholders or the customers in a small and privately held business, his or her first responsibility is to serve that constituency.
Last Update: 12 May 2021
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