Economist Milton Friedman once wrote that some “businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned merely with profit but also with promoting desirable social ends; that business has a social conscience and takes seriously its responsibility for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers.” Friedman added, “In fact, they are . . . preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.”
While many of us were celebrating our nation’s hard won sovereignty, the United Nations (UN) was orchestrating a summit meeting of Global Compact leaders at its Geneva, Switzerland headquarters. The UN describes the seven-year-old Global Compact as “an international initiative that would bring companies together with UN agencies, labor and non-government organizations to support universal environmental and social principles.”
Mr. Google was kind enough to send me a press release last week trumpeting the results of yet another public opinion survey on corporate social responsibility (CSR). According to the release, a huge percentage of Americans want Congress to ensure that companies address pressing social issues.
Every time I flip on my computer these days a new alert pops up from down under about another skirmish between the Aussies and one of the many carpetbagger activist groups that have taken up residence in their country. Last month the Australian Tax Office (their IRS) threatened to yank the tax-exempt status of some activist groups for inappropriate political activity. Now, according to news reports, a group called Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is trying to force People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to release the names of its worldwide corporate and individual donors.
2007 may prove to be a very bad year for activist groups who discovered decades ago that they could raise lots of tax-exempt cash by telling the rest of us how to run our lives.
It is the season when politicians, pundits and partisans of various stripes pontificate about what is in store for the rest of us in the coming year.
If you have read my columns about the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement or have heard me speak, then you already know that I think the corporate Neville Chamberlains who buy into this socialist claptrap should be held accountable at the next shareholders meeting and issued a one-way ticket to the unemployment office.
Why did 34 blue-chip companies issue Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports?