Business Helps Best by Making a Profit

Businesses do good for society when they focus on their primary goal of making a profit by serving customers within the limits of law and morality. When they deviate from this–either by transgressing against the morality and law or by trying to go beyond their primary goal–they risk becoming a force of social harm:

One of the most interesting critiques of corporate social justice is Vivek Ramaswamy’s book Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam. Ramaswamy makes a strong case that corporations’ claims to be serving the greater good often hide dishonesty, self-promotion, self-dealing, and even outright corruption. Even when the desires of CEOs and companies are altruistic, Ramaswamy argues that the deviation from their narrow purpose confers more power on corporations than they are supposed to have in democratic society. The limited focus of companies is there in no small part to protect democracy from corporations becoming excessively powerful super-citizens (as Milton Friedman argued in an influential essay back in 1970).

Source: Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, How to Keep Your Corporation Out of the Culture War