• Isaac
    2.8k
    More likely Friedman is arguing that companies should not be obliged by the government to have other goalsssu

    No he's not. He's arguing that a CEOs job is soley to make as much money for the company's shareholders, customers and workers as they can within the law. His argument is that the company is a legal fiction and so doesn't own the assets it appears on paper to own. He goes on to argue (variously) that these assets belong to the investors (shareholders, workers, customers... anyone which gives the company money). Additionally, he then decides on their behalf that all they're interested in is money (and law).

    All of which conservative flag-waiving is aimed only at excusing sociopathic CEOs when they drive workers, the environment and social structures into the ground to increase their bonuses.
  • ssu
    3k
    His argument is that the company is a legal fiction and so doesn't own the assets it appears on paper to own.Isaac
    Well, pieces of paper cannot own anything.

    All of which conservative flag-waiving is aimed only at excusing sociopathic CEOs when they drive workers, the environment and social structures into the ground to increase their bonuses.Isaac
    ...Which itself is the typical narrative based on stereotypes hauled against economists, especially the Chicago school.
  • Isaac
    2.8k
    Well, pieces of paper cannot own anything.ssu

    Why not?

    Which itself is the typical narrative based on stereotypes hauled against economists, especially the Chicago school.ssu

    Indeed. But one of us is actually right.
  • ssu
    3k
    Why not?Isaac

    Ok. Now I'll stop responding to this topic.

    There's far more philosophical debate in arguing if pet animals or wildlife can own something than non-living objects.

    Homeowner. Property owner?
    normal__dsc0645rakattirastas.66.jpg

    Indeed.Isaac
    Thanks for being sincere.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    More likelyssu
    ...

    So instead of addressing the actual article you choose to pretend it is other than it is?
  • ssu
    3k
    So instead of addressing the actual article you choose to pretend it is other than it is?Banno

    As Milton Friedman wrote in his paper about the issue:

    When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the "social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system," I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who
    discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life.

    And if you would have read the article further, Milton Friedman continues:

    A group of persons might establish a corporation for an eleemosynary purpose--for example, a hospital or a school. The manager of such a corporation will not have money profit as his objectives but the rendering of certain services.

    So I do stick to my view on this. (And the above makes the counter point to the argument that you and uphold that Friedman see's profit making the only reason for corporations).
  • Isaac
    2.8k
    There's far more philosophical debate in arguing if pet animals or wildlife can own something than non-living objects.ssu

    I'd forgotten about the conservative reification of ownership.
    No, ownership is itself just a legal status with purely legal implications (none of this 'natural rights' bullshit). It can be legally assigned to a sofa just as well as to a person. All it means is that certain other laws pertaining to the legal state of ownership also attach to that thing where relevant.

    If a company owns assets and a CEO has a legal right to assign them, then there's nothing surprising or philosophically problematic about it. It just means (contrary to Friedman's assertions), that the CEO can spend them in pursuit of whatever objective they see fit.

    the above makes the counter point to the argument that you and ↪Isaac
    uphold that Friedman see's profit making the only reason for corporations
    ssu

    The issue is, as I said above, Friedman offloading responsibility to shareholders, workers, customers and then assuming all they want is money. The fact that, in some tightly circumscribed situations he deigned to admit they might want something else doesn't counter that point at all. It's the offloading of responsibilty that's the problem, the idea that CEOs can hold their hands up and say "not my problem".

    Exactly the same issue would arise in the hospital example. If the CEO completely ignored, say, the environmental damage of his decisions by saying "I'm just pursuing the rendering if certain services, considering anything else would be a dereliction of my duty". It's still a ridiculous excuse.
  • Benj96
    200
    Instead of the economy being run by economists we should ask entrepreneurs how to run the economy especially those from poor backgrounds because they'd know what needs the most priority in terms of how to succeed financially. Whether it's education, loans or transport etcGitonga

    We should run economies like a cell runs its biochemistry? Why? Because it's a stable open system where the currency (ATP/money) would be provisioned equally and necessarily to all components.
  • Victoria Nova
    32
    The same ten goes for the teachers. Whatever subject they teach, why don't they work in given field, so they can teach what's important, modern, new, has promising outlook?
  • Banno
    8.9k
    So I do stick to my view on this.ssu

    Your view and facts have a quite flexible relationship.

    Again, here's the article: The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits for anyone who wanders past to check your view.

    I'll leave here the last line from that article, where Freidman quotes himself:
    ...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....

    And conclude that, while I disagree with the title of this thread, what is not true of economists is true of ssu.
  • ssu
    3k
    Referring to ad hominem attacks now, Banno? I did refer to that article and gave quotes from it.

    Well, you didn't ask my opinion, but about Friedman's article and Steve Dennings criticism of that article (see ). This is the most typical criticism hurled at Friedman: that economists like Friedman cannot fathom anything else but profits and greed as the sole mover of people.

    I personally don't like so much the monetarist from the Chicago school, but view the (Denning) criticism very simplistic. But then again, a lot of the theories Friedman puts out are simple and should not taken literally to explain everything in economics. Of course there are the people who take literally a simple mathematical model given in economics as somehow as equivalent to theories in physics, which is totally absurd.
  • ssu
    3k
    No, ownership is itself just a legal status with purely legal implications (none of this 'natural rights' bullshit). It can be legally assigned to a sofa just as well as to a person - If a company owns assets and a CEO has a legal right to assign them, then there's nothing surprising or philosophically problematic about it.Isaac
    Actually there is a lot of problems with this outrageous idea, and it's quite peculiar that you don't notice it yourself.

    So let's have this Isaac's company, which is owned by a sofa. If the company breaks the laws, doesn't pay it workers (including the CEO), does take orders and money from customers, but doesn't delivery anything and still manages to destroy the environment, you think a judge will believe that the sofa did it all, the sofa stole the money? Let's put the sofa in jail, so it cannot break the laws anymore. What any judge would likely determine is that the company is just a shell company for some physical person to avoid contract responsibilities like paying salaries, embezzling customers and to avoid the consequences of breaking the law.

    A sofa owning something is simply absurd, so you likely you haven't thought this to it's end.
  • Isaac
    2.8k


    You're confusing ownership with responsibilty.
  • ssu
    3k
    You are.

    What on Earth don't you understand in that ownership and responsibility do go hand in hand?
  • Isaac
    2.8k


    How?

    Let's say a law exists that says the legal owner of my car is my cat. Another law exists which says that the legal responsibility for anything the cat does with that car lies with me, and that I have a legal right to control that car in whatever way I think promotes the cat's best interests.

    What prevents this? Because if you think something does, you'll need to take down the whole law around legal trusts.
  • ssu
    3k
    Let's say a law exists that says the legal owner of my car is my cat. Another law exists which says that the legal responsibility for anything the cat does with that car lies with me,Isaac
    In what country is you think that possible? Animals are not legal persons and cannot directly own property, at least for now. (You could argue that surely wild animals are at least stakeholders, that should have "rights", but that's a bit different.)

    An association may own a car, but the responsibility lies on the administration and if the members of the association decide to terminate the association, they decide what do with the car. You see, in every form of contract, be it an association or a trust, there are in the end human beings behind it.

    If you don't have any humans behind a legal person, most likely that is a vehicle to avoid personal responsibility, like tax evasion.
  • Isaac
    2.8k
    In what country is you think that possible?ssu

    Any country.

    An association may own a car, but the responsibility lies on the administration and if the members of the association decide to terminate the association, they decide what do with the car.ssu

    Firstly, they don't just get to freely decide what to do with the car. They can't, for example, just keep it for personal use, that's embezzlement. Secondly, what you've described (with the above caveat), is a trust. Exactly as I described it. The association owns the car. People have the responsibility for it.
  • ssu
    3k
    Any country.Isaac
    Cat's don't own anything in any country!

    Firstly, they don't just get to freely decide what to do with the car. They can't, for example, just keep it for personal use, that's embezzlement.Isaac
    Finally you get my point. But yes, associations can own cars and then the members of the association can use them as by the associations rules.

    The association owns the car. People have the responsibility for it.Isaac
    Correct. And then also direct ownership comes with responsibility too.
  • Isaac
    2.8k
    Cat's don't own anything in any country!ssu

    You didn't ask me where it happened, you asked me where it was possible.

    Finally you get my point.ssu

    The association owns the car. People have the responsibility for it. — Isaac

    Correct
    ssu

    That's my point, not yours. That a legal fiction (an association) can own something. You were disputing that.
  • ssu
    3k
    You didn't ask me where it happened, you asked me where it was possible.Isaac
    Where is it possible?

    Do notice that animal rights have started from a totally different category. For example in the US in the 19th Century the starting point was that the freedom from pain and suffering was allowed for all animals. If we are worried about the state of the environment, species becoming extinct, preserving the state of the flora and fauna, we don't think about these issues by thinking of property rights of animals (or plants). Not even Milton Friedman did.

    That's my point, not yours. That a legal fiction (an association) can own something. You were disputing that.Isaac
    This is becoming quite ridiculous as you aren't even listening to what I say.

    Apart from earlier reminding that non-profit entities like associations exist and not all are profit seeking, what I've tried to say that all these legal persons are basically contracts made by actual physical people, for some reason or another. Associations, trusts, companies, corporations are all basically vessels for living people to organize various kinds of activities.

    Yet if we assume that there isn't any physical person behind a legal person like a corporation, trust or association, then we have a problem. If you assume a sofa can be the owner of a corporation, then there is no link of the responsibility to any human being. An association has it's members, a trust has it's board, even a nation has behind it people. You do understand the difference between an association and a stock company. Because if you argue that in a stock company those owning the stock don't matter, well, then you have to create totally new legal binds (to physical humans) that matter and then it would be logical to designate this new framework with a different name.
  • Isaac
    2.8k
    all these legal persons are basically contracts made by actual physical people, for some reason or another. Associations, trusts, companies, corporations are all basically vessels for people to organize various kinds of activities.ssu

    OK.

    Yet if we assume that there isn't any physical person behind a legal person like a corporation, trust or association, then we have a problem.ssu

    And who's assuming that?

    If you assume a sofa can be the owner of a corporation, then there is no link of the responsibility to any human being.ssu

    Why not? Ownership of, and responsibilty for, a thing are two different legal states. In a trust, the benefactor owns it, the trustees are responsible for it.

    You do understand the difference between an association and a stock company.ssu

    I hope so, but rather than patronise me by playing the exasperated teacher perhaps you could just explain what error you think I've made and what difference it makes to the issue at hand.
  • ssu
    3k
    I think Isaac we can advance from this onward.

    So I guess here's your point and correct me if I'm wrong:

    Why not? Ownership of, and responsibilty for, a thing are two different legal states. In a trust, the benefactor owns it, the trustees are responsible for it.Isaac

    So is your question about if ownership and responsibility would divided too in a stock company?

    If so, what do you see as the benefit of this?
  • Isaac
    2.8k
    So is your question about if ownership and responsibility would divided too in a stock company?ssu

    It's not a question, I'm rebutting your suggestion that it's ludicrous for a non-human to own anything (particularly in relation to the fact that companies own things). I'm no economist, so I'll quote Wikipedia.

    In law, a legal person is any person or 'thing' (less ambiguously, any legal entity) that can do the things an everyday person can usually do in law – such as enter into contracts, sue and be sued, own property, and so on

    It's pretty clear that any legal entity can own property, it could be a company, a cat or a sofa (though not according to current law). The point is, there's no 'natural law' on the matter.

    The reason this was brought up (if I recall) was to counter Friedman's idea the the shareholders 'owned' the company and so the CEO would be just 'doing their job' maximising profits.

    Ownership and responsibility are already divided in a stock company. The company as a legal entity owns its assets, either the shareholders or no-one owns the company (depending on which legal scholars you agree with, the matter is in dispute), and the various tiers of management are responsible for various aspects of the company.

    The point is that absolutely nowhere in either the legal constitution, the articles of association, or the management structure is is decreed that the CEOs sole responsibility must be to the shareholders. It is therefore not true, even if we take Friedman's assumption that they mostly want more money, that providing them with that money is, or should be, the sole aim of the company.
  • ssu
    3k
    It's not a question, I'm rebutting your suggestion that it's ludicrous for a non-human to own anythingIsaac
    Totally wrong.

    What I have said that there cannot be a legal person without any people attached to it, starting from, oh I guess, that in the first place it's a contract is made by people.

    A company can own a sofa. Yet a sofa cannot own a company. Trusts, associations, pension funds, all have some person behind them that is responsible. A stock company has those that own it's stock who have limited liability. What is so difficult in understanding this?
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