Is shareholder capitalism passe?

The emerging backlash against CSR and the resultant endorsement of shareholder capitalism make sense

illustration: Binay sinha

Illustration: Binay Sinha

Deepak Lal
The Anglo-American free enterprise system has been based on the classical liberal principles of shareholder capitalism epitomised by the modern corporation. Its sole social responsibility — as Milton Friedman stated in his 1962 classical liberal text Capitalism and Freedom — is “to make as much money for their stockholders as possible”. However, every time there is a financial crisis, there are dirigiste voices demanding that corporations have a “social responsibility” that goes beyond the interest of their stockholders. The dot-com speculative boom and the ensuing financial scandals like Enron bred moral outrage at the behaviour of corporations, with demands for government intervention to improve corporate governance, and some even asking for stakeholder capitalism to replace shareholder capitalism. Many corporations succumbed
Disclaimer: These are personal views of the writer. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or the Business Standard newspaper

First Published: Sep 25 2019 | 12:22 PM IST

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