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Should Corporations Consider Any “Stakeholders” Other Than Shareholders?

CS Lewis, the famed author of The Chronicles of Narnia, once discussed the distinction between advancing ethics and advancing knowledge of facts. In Lewis’ view, ethics changes remarkably little over the years. What changes, and changes rapidly, is our knowledge of how the world works. This advancement of knowledge informs our application of ethical norms, and it is advancing knowledge of facts, argues Lewis, not ethics, that tends to change through time.

With respect to the operation of businesses, it was famed economist Milton Friedman who laid down the foundational ethic: Businesses should seek to maximize shareholder value only. Working toward any other end, asserts Friedman, is an unjustified exercise in “spending other people’s money.”

[…read more at Foundation for Economic Education…]

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