Should Corporations Be Socially Responsible or Just Solely Profit Driven?

Topics: Corporation, Social responsibility, Corporate social responsibility Pages: 6 (1943 words) Published: April 9, 2011
Issue: Should corporations be socially responsible or just solely profit driven?

Ayn Rand. “the anti-industrial revolution” from the new left: The Anti0Industrial Revolution, Penguin Group New Zealand, Limited, 1996, 127-151

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Milton Friedman. “The Social Responsibility of business is to increase its profits” from business ethics: A Philosophical reader, Thomas I.White, ed(s)., Maxwell Macmillan Canada, 1993, 162-167

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William Fray. jose A. Cruz-Cruz. A short history of the corporation. Connections. Retrieved on February 2nd 2011

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Issue: Should corporations be socially responsible or just solely profit driven?

The existence of corporations can be traced as far back as the late sixteenth century where they first emerged as joint stock companies, unlike the then dominant form of partnership business which required relatively small group of men, bonded together by personal liabilities and mutual trust, pooled their resources to set up businesses they ran as well as owned.( Joel Baker page 6).

The corporation was able to pool in more capital by allowing the public buy shares in the company, making the stockholders owners of the corporation depending on the percentage of shares held in the company which is all they are liable for if the corporation were to fail. Management and decision making is assigned to Directors and Executives whose main aim as is any other business venture is to make the corporation profitable.

Initially, charters were given for a specific period of time for a corporation to carry out certain economic activities, popular examples of which include Rail road companies who had charters that restricted their legitimate operations to building and operating railroads, the company of the Mines Royal created in 1564 as a joint stock company financed by twenty-four shares sold for 1,200pounds each; in 1565, the company of mineral and battery works raised its capital by making calls on thirty-six shaves it had previously issued, also formed as a joint stock company is the New River Company in 1606 to transport fresh water to London. (Joel Baker page6). This shows how corporations where able to raise the necessary funds required to operate and grow their companies.

Ever since the corporation emerged in the late sixteenth century, there has been controversy surrounding the role these business corporations play in society, businessmen and politicians had been suspicious of the corporation as they believed corporations would serve as a one of a kind model which would harbour corruption and scandal.

This controversy which even lead to the ban of corporations for roughly 50years in England due to the economic power they possessed is ever present in our world of today, as corporations act in different ways towards their own best interest. That brings us to the question of whether or not corporations have to be socially responsible or just be profit driven and act in ways which maximizes their profit no matter the externality or social cost.

Over the years, corporations were able to become full blown persons. They...
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