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Corporate Social Investing by Curt Weeden

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2A New Way of Thinkingand Acting

Frank Sinatra had nothing on Herbert Stein when it cames to reviving a Golden Oldie. In 1996, Stein, the former chairman of Richard Nixon’s Council on Economic Advisers, wrote an oped piece for The Wall Street Journal. The lyrics may sound familiar: Corporate America—mind your own business!

To rely on “corporate responsibility” to solve major social problems—other than the problem of how to put our people and other resources to work most efficiently—would be a wasteful diversion.

The same song had been belted out by others in previous years. Maybe the most often-heard rendition was Milton Friedman’s, which was a hit back in 1970. That’s when economist Friedman wrote in a New York Times Magazine article that businesses ...

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