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Social Responsibility is a Bunch of Crap!

Oct 24

GUEST POST ALERT!  I know I’ve told a number of folks I don’t do guest posts – but it’s my site and I changed my mind – because I like this post from Ben Eubanks (check out his bio below), plus I like the kid and know him and did I mention it’s my site and I can do what I want?!  Check it out –

 

Social responsibility. It conjures up images of business people giving up their purpose and profits for the “greater good.” And I think it’s a load of crap.

I think businesses provide a much larger service to our economy than simply handing over their profits in the name of “social responsibility.” They provide jobs, products, and services that power our economy, and that’s more valuable than all the handouts in the world.

If a company is being ethical and lawful in their business dealings, then I think we have no right to expect them to do more. 

They are already having a major impact by offering jobs to people who might not have one otherwise. If you collected a paycheck sometime this month, raise your hand. Now, go and hug your CEO if you can find him/her.*

That is where businesses provide the greatest value to the rest of the world.

But we care about [animals / the environment / whatever]!

What’s going to help local charities and social programs to be successful? Money.

And where does money come from, ladies and gentlemen? Why, it comes from businesses creating valuable products and services and selling those in the open marketplace for a profit. Money in local economies is circulated when those businesses pay their employees who then go out and purchase other products and services. Hellloooo, economics.

There’s nothing wrong with companies wanting to support their local charitable organizations, but it should never become such a focus that it causes them to kill the goose that’s laying the golden eggs. Oh, and if they are dumping money into those sorts of things on a regular basis, you can bet that you aren’t getting paid enough.

It’s not that I hate charities. It’s that I hate when business leaders feel guilted into giving when they could be investing that money to hire more people, sell a better product, etc. Each of those options can have a net positive impact on a local economy.

*Not responsible for repercussions of unsolicited executive hugging sessions.

Ben Eubanks is an HR pro, speaker, and writer. He works as a one-man HR team at Pinnacle Solutions during the day, and at night he writes at upstartHR-an HR blog with a little humor, humility, and how-to. Check it out to learn more about the benefits of team building and other “in the trenches” HR topics.

3 Comment to “Social Responsibility is a Bunch of Crap!”

  1. Hi Ben,

    I’m afraid this article lacks the nuance it needs to make sense.

    There’s NOTHING wrong with social responsibility. In fact, I’d much rather live in a society where corporations weren’t purely money-making machines.

    Making money and being social responsible are not mutually exclusive. You kind of hint at this near the end, but making money is actually a prerequisite for being socially responsible. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself.

    But that doesn’t make it, as you so eloquently put it, “a load of crap.”

    Do companies need to focus on making money? Of course! But what about that precludes also engaging in social responsibility?

    And what about companies whose business model is social responsibility? Tom’s Shoes. Warby Parker. Are they failed businesses because of it?

    Oct 24, 2012
  2. So, doesn’t social responsibility fall under the “ethical” umbrella, such as in the case of externalities?

    akabruno
    Oct 24, 2012

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