Corporations and Moral Obligations
Last night, Stormy had a post in which he quoted Robert Reich who stated:
America’s largest corporations have decoupled from the United States.
The point made by Stormy and Reich is that companies are acting in the best interests of their shareholders, and that hasn’t (lately) benefited US workers in general. Now, in finance class, you’re told that’s what companies are supposed to do: benefit their shareholders by maximizing profits.
Kind of apropos of nothing (its certainly not related to the point made by Stormy or Reich)… as ownership gets more diffuse (through 401-Ks and the like), what happens if a company’s actions to maximize its own profits (on behalf of its shareholders) requires it to act in ways that harm the shareholders (economically and/or otherwise)? Does the company still have the moral obligation to maximize its profits in that case?