CBC – Conservatives Being Candid

Lot’s of humor in this Boortz article about morality in business despite the fact that I don’t strongly disagree with him on his point. The humor is that Senator Grassley can’t have an opinion on Microsoft’s “moral obligations” because the company doesn’t belong to him. Boortz, on the other hand… I can only assume his maiden name is Gates:

Microsoft has an obligation to protect the interests of its shareholders by retaining the best workers and letting the marginal ones go.

Now, I mention this only because he seems to confuse so completely the notions of “moral obligation” and “financial interest”… in a case of Conservatives Being Candid, the moral obligations to fatten the wallets of shareholders are basically the only ones that matter besides those which are also legal obligations.

Now – we could say that the company has no moral obligation to the stockholder… that it doesn’t make sense to talk about moral obligations in the context of business. But, if we are going to say that the business is morally obliged to the stockholder, then how revealing it is to leave out moral obligations to the community it serves – to avoid harm to the air and water that those dwelling nearby need? To treat workers fairly? To serve the client’s needs well and affordably? Nope… Shareholders are all that matter, and the letter of the law.

And that’s Randianism – or at least Friedmanism – taken to its absurd extreme.

2 comments to CBC – Conservatives Being Candid

  • Don’t forget that the wallets being fattened are everyone who has savings and/or a retirement account, too. Where do you think 401k’s are invested other than stocks and bonds?

    Then, too, an obligation to the stockholders includes not poisoning the air the stockholders are breathing and the water they are drinking. The way some people talk, you’d think that capitalists don’t drink or breathe.

  • Joel, I don’t object to companies looking out for shareholders’ interests – whether they be big dollar types or grannies holding IRAs. I just object to the notion that this is the only thing that matters. And, to hear some of these guys bitch & moan anytime any other considerations come into play, you’d think that they really believe that everything flows magically from happy stockholders.

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