‘The business of business is business’. Or so goes the urban legend-like paraphrasing of Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman’s famous 1970 diatribe on corporate social responsibility.
In reality, Friedman’s New York Times Magazine quote was a bit more complicated and far more censorious. Castigating those CEOs who had committed to relatively new practices of corporate social performance, he wrote that devotees were ‘…preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen [emphasis added] who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.’
There was a collective sigh of relief throughout New South Wales and Queensland in response to energy giant AGL’s official statement that, “It has taken a strategic decision that exploration and production of natural gas assets will no longer be a core business for the company due to the volatility of commodity prices and long development lead times.”