terça-feira, novembro 01, 2005

Lucro e Responsabilidade

Em 1970 Milton «laissez-faire boy» Friedman escreveu no New York Times um artigo entitulado "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits".

No mesmo artigo, Friedman (Nobel vintage 1976) argumenta:
"There is one and only one social responsibility of business - to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud."

Tendo como ponto de partida as observações feitas por Friedman há 35 anos atrás e o tema da "responsabilidade social" e sobre se a procura do lucro é um "meio ou um fim" em si mesmo, a Reason Magazine promoveu um recente debate entre o próprio Milton Friedman, John Mackey, CEO da Whole Foods e T.J. Rodgers, CEO da Cypress Semiconductor.

Ficam aqui alguns excertos interessantes:

"To extend our love and care beyond our narrow self-interest is antithetical to neither our human nature nor our financial success. Rather, it leads to the further fulfillment of both. Why do we not encourage this in our theories of business and economics? Why do we restrict our theories to such a pessimistic and crabby view of human nature? What are we afraid of?" - John Mackey

"Maximizing profits is an end from the private point of view; it is a means from the social point of view. A system based on private property and free markets is a sophisticated means of enabling people to cooperate in their economic activities without compulsion; it enables separated knowledge to assure that each resource is used for its most valued use, and is combined with other resources in the most efficient way." - Milton Friedman

"I do not believe maximizing profits for the investors is the only acceptable justification for all corporate actions. The investors are not the only people who matter. Corporations can exist for purposes other than simply maximizing profits." - John Mackey

"The fact is that despite some well-publicized failures, most corporations are run with the highest ethical standards—and the public knows it. Public opinion polls demonstrate that fact by routinely ranking businessmen above journalists and politicians in esteem." - T.J. Rodgers

"Both capitalism and corporations are misunderstood, mistrusted, and disliked around the world because of statements like Friedman’s on social responsibility. His comment is used by the enemies of capitalism to argue that capitalism is greedy, selfish, and uncaring."
- John Mackey

PS:: Mais do que Estados autistas que por vezes sufocam a esfera pública do cidadão e a iniciativa dos privados; mais do que mercados e ordens espontâneas por vezes geradoras de externalidades negativas - o que eu gostaria mesmo de ver era uma sociedade civil forte, voluntária e participativa. Quiçá assim, as nossas vidas não seriam unicamente regidas por este universo dualista.