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Friedman and the Universal Commons

The Australian Financial Review recently published my OpEd on Milton Friedman this week. How is Friedman relevant to the Universal Commons Project?

Friedman argued that when business earns a profit it simultaneously delivers social value. From this he concluded that the only social obligation of business is the pursuit of profit. His logic is impeccable but we disagree with his premise. 

The central thesis of the Universal Commons Project is that profit and value are often not aligned because the rules of our economic system allow profit to be earned at the expense of society and the environment. 

This OpEd examines the role of business through Friedman’s prism. It reveals a gap in his thinking and concludes that business has not one, but two social responsibilities: first, to maximise profits, and, second, to leave the rules of the game to the voter.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


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