Business: The Executive As Social Activist

PHILOSOPHERS of capitalism have always expected it to produce social progress, but usually as a byproduct of economic efficiency. In 1776, Adam Smith asserted that the businessman pursuing his own self-interest would be led "by an invisible hand" to do more good for society than if he consciously set out to do so. For almost two centuries, businessmen accepted the comfortable, generally sound idea that, by seeking wealth for themselves, they would create jobs, goods—and wealth —for others. In modern America, owners and managers figured that their chief duty was to make the biggest profit they could, subject to some qualifying...

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