Milton Friedman, in his well-known 1970 article “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits,” wrote: [T]he executive is an agent serving the interests of his principal [the shareholders]. If business executives use corporate resources to benefit society they are, in effect, stealing from their share holders instead of serving their interests: “spending someone else’s money…imposing on taxes, on the one hand, and deciding how the tax proceeds shall be spent, on the other.” How would a proponent of the benefit corporation answer this argument?
Uber began in San Francisco in 2009; by 2015, its drivers were in 50 countries around the world. Ins some, like Germany and the Netherlands, Uber was officially banned. When drivers were caught violating the Uber ban, the company would pay their fines. Who are the stakeholders in this situation? Is Uber’s practice of paying its drivers fines ethical? In 2016, Uber was assessed an $11.4 million fine for operating a transportation business in Pennsylvania without a license, and continued its operation. Who benefits, and who is hurt by this attitude towards rules and regulations?