[NOTE: Tsk tsk I tell myself. I had earlier confounded the buzzword ‘corporate social responsibility’ with ‘corporate governance’ (which has more to do with ethics in the conduct of business) for which I must now suffer the embarrassment forever. Anyway this article is now corrected.]
In the States, there’s Bill Gates and Warren Buffett being all philanthropic. In the Philippines, we’ve had ‘corporate social responsibility’ as a theme in seminars for like a decade now (or maybe longer; I’m not old enough to know). And it looks like this idea, of rich businessmen ‘giving back to society,’ is not going away anytime soon.
Just this lunch, I opened the menu to see one of the restaurant’s executives or founders in a picture with less privileged kids, and sure enough, Mr. Mother Teresa was quoted as relishing the chance to “give back.”
These things are all gimmicks of course, regardless of what nice feelings arise from or originate it.
PROFIT IS EVIL KASI E
The main idea behind it is that, having profited so much, this must have been to the detriment of someone, i.e. society. Indeed, corporations are mistrusted more than governments on account of the ‘profit’ incentive. “We can’t leave that education to the private sector. They’re doing it for profit. We can’t have oil companies do what they want. They only want to make money.” Shit like that.
So it’s no wonder bentang-benta yung tanginang ‘give back’ shit na ’yan.
We, on the other hand, understand that transactions are between entities of differing subjective preferences, where one’s profit is, as a rule, another one’s profit as well.
By coincidence, I was reading a related matter (actually not by coincidence; I’m constantly reading political economy), and in it, Murray Rothbard has this timely thing to say:
The fact that A makes five times as much as B shows that A’s services are individually worth five times as much as B to his fellows on the market. ― ‘The celebrated Adam Smith’
So the desired ‘giving back’ is actually a phenomenon that occurs during trade itself, and not as a charitable afterthought.
JESUS ON CHARITY: SHUT UP ABOUT IT
|Jesus to Buffett: STFU|
Not to say that giving to causes that one feels strongly about is not something rewarding in itself, ‘profitable’ if you will. But even in the damn bible, it admonishes prattling about charity.
And the best charity remains the ‘teach how to fish’ type: entrepreneurial direction of resources, which entails jobs and raises living standards via increased output. The state has to get out of the way so that sufficient capital can accumulate. For surely, we could not leave the state to carry out these highly individualized yet social phenomena.
FINAL WORDS FROM MURRAY AND ME
For the sake of the consumer, Lebron
leave this to someone
who does this for
whatever the hell is being done.
Whatever society’s claim to part of people’s incomes may be, society ― the division of labour, the body of knowledge and culture, etc. ― is in no sense the state. The state contributes no division of labour to the production process, and does not transmit knowledge or carry civilization forward. Therefore, whatever each of us may owe to ‘society,’ the state can hardly claim, any more than any other group in society [e.g. a bukas-kotse gang], to be surrogate for all social relations in the country. ―Murray Rothbard
Now excuse me, I have to run to catch the replay of the Magic-76ers game. Hope to catch an ‘NBA Cares’ commercial!