Only people can have responsibilities.

We have a system of checks and balances to separate the legisla­tive function of imposing taxes and enacting expenditures from the executive function of collecting taxes and administering expendi­ture programs and from the judicial function of mediating disputes and interpreting the law.

He has direct re­sponsibility to his employers.

What it amounts to is an assertion that those who favor the taxes and expenditures in question have failed to persuade a majority of their fellow citizens to be of like mind and that they are seeking to attain by undemocratic procedures what they cannot attain by democratic proce­dures.


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Aside from the question of fact–I share Adam Smith's skepticism about the benefits that can be expected from "those who affected to trade for the public good"–this argument must be rejected on grounds of principle.


That would be to call on them to exercise a "social re­sponsibility"!

If the union offi­cials try to enforce wage restraint, the consequence is likely to be wildcat strikes, rank­-and-file revolts and the emergence of strong competitors for their jobs.

This may gain them kudos in the short run.

(Either the present ones or those who take over when his actions in the name of social responsibility have re­duced the corporation's profits and the price of its stock.) His customers and his employees can desert him for other producers and em­ployers less scrupulous in exercising their so­cial responsibilities.

Unfortunately, unanimity is not always feasi­ble.

Even if he could an­swer these questions, how much cost is he justi­fied in imposing on his stockholders, customers and employees for this social purpose?

When Corporate Social Responsibility Backfires: Theory …

Of course, in practice the doctrine of social responsibility is frequently a cloak for actions that are justified on other grounds rather than a reason for those actions.

SPOILER: college is crazy-expensive

On the grounds of consequences, can the corporate executive in fact discharge his al­leged "social responsibilities?" On the other hand, suppose he could get away with spending the stockholders' or customers' or employees' money.

Supplier Responsibility - Apple

To illustrate, it may well be in the long run interest of a corporation that is a major employer in a small community to devote resources to providing amenities to that community or to improving its government.