Miller is a social inquirer, he sees a lot and he chooses accordingly, what was it about his character Joe Keller that makes All My Sons, written in 1947, so important to us that we are reading it in University in 2009? History speaks to the present, and this text takes us into the past to help us understand the flaws of our socio economic system of capitalism and questions the social responsibility of businesses under capitalism. Social responsibility of a business is the willingness of a business to accept responsibility for its actions and their impact on a range of stakeholders. In All My Sons, Arthur Miller narrates a story of Joe Keller, who is caught in a dilemma of choosing in between his social responsibilities and familial obligations and ends up making an unethical business decision. In this paper, in order to analyze the rightness and wrongness of Joe’s actions, I will be dwelling upon the work of Karl Marx and Milton Friedman in regards to capitalism. (I will be dwelling upon Karl Marx’s and Milton Friedman’s view of capitalism.)In this paper, I will justify Joe’s actions as either right or wrong by comparing/contrasting views of Karl Marx and Milton Friedman on capitalism.
Marx, in capital, described profit motive of capitalists as, “Accumulate, accumulate! That is Moses and the prophets!” Marx’s statement neatly explains the dilemma of Joe, who owned a manufacturing business with his partner Steve Deever and sold defective airplane parts to the US military during World War II. Joe’s unethical business conduct not only results in loss of 21 soldiers but also tiers his family apart. Joe justifies his crime by claiming that it was done for the family. Joe wanted his sons to inherit his business so that they would not have to struggle to make money. However, in quest for abundance and prosperity for his sons, Joe forgets that he is answerable to the society as a whole and it is this negligence of Joe, an ordinary man that Marx raises in his...
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