Shareholders vs Stakeholders - Friedman vs Freeman Debate video transcript

In lots of places we see this debate as between Milton Friedman who’s seen as the advocate of maximising profits for shareholders and stakeholder theorists who are seen as thinking about take care of stakeholders and so this Friedman, sometimes its me versus Freeman debate gets posed in all the business ethics textbooks and classrooms etc. I actually think if Milton Friedman were alive today, I think he’d be a stakeholder theorist. He would understand that the only way to create value for shareholders in today’s world is to pay attention to customers, suppliers, employees, communities and shareholders at the same time. What Friedman was against was the idea of social responsibility doesn’t have anything to do with business. I’m against that too. I think stakeholder theory is about business but community and civil society is absolutely central to business. We need corporate stakeholder responsibility; if we have that, there’s no conflict between shareholders and stakeholders.

Shareholders vs Stakeholders - Friedman vs Freeman Debate video

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