In my reading for a paper on voluntary environmental stewerdship I have come across this classic article by Milton Friedman “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Proft” (New York Times Magazine, 1970). The following passage reminds me of many of Germany’s industrial barons from the old dirty industries who tend to be overrepresented in industrial associations and politics:
I have been impressed time and again by the schizophrenic character of many businessmen. They are capable of being extremely far-sighted and clear-headed in matters that are internal to their businesses. They are incredibly short-sighted and muddle-headed in matters that are outside their businesses but affect the possible survival of business in general. This short-sightedness is strikingly exemplified in the calls from many businessmen for wage and price guidelines or controls or income policies. There is nothing that could do more in a brief period to destroy a market system and replace it by a centrally controlled system than effective governmental control of prices and wages.