A self-denying argument
In today’s [Thursday} Fin (subscription required) Gary Johns continues the Institute of Public Affairs campaign against the idea of corporate social responsibility. The piece spends 750 words complaining about a Greenpeace exercise solely on the grounds that non-responses to a question were coded as zero.
The more substantive claim is that corporations should focus on making profits for their shareholders, and leave the shareholders to decide whether to keep the money themselves or to allocate it to worthy causes. One obvious implication of this argument is that corporations should stop funding organisations like the IPA. However much or little good the IPA does for Australian capitalism in general, its impact on the profitability of any individual corporation is clearly trivial. Hence, giving shareholders’ money to such organisations is a breach of the directors’ fiduciary responsibilities.
Update As Scott Wickstein points out in the comments, if shareholders want to support the IPA, they should do so as individuals.