For Milton Friedman, what are the social responsibilities of business?

In September 1970, The New York Times Magazine published an essay by American economist Milton Friedman that continues to attract attention and ignite debate. The title of the article made clear Friedman's opinion on corporate obligations: "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase Its Profits."

Friedman, who supported a free market economic system that urged the government to butt out of its business, asserted that the first and foremost job of an enterprise was to produce financial gain for its shareholders. Notions of responsibility that reached into the community and beyond the bottom line didn't fit within Friedman's formula for success.

Vocalizing his views, Milton Friedman — the academic, author, university instructor, and economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan — fueled ongoing consideration of citizenship and sustainability in corporate America.