From Ethical Corporation:
Legendary financier and pro-democracy campaigner George Soros is a self-confessed corporate social responsibility sceptic. He spelt out his reasoning at a recent conference. At the European Academy of Business in Society conference in Milan in September keynote speaker George Soros, piped in from the US via video, talked of his concerns about corporate social responsibility being used as a cover for business-as-usual practices by companies.
A self-confessed sceptic on corporate social responsibility, because of its “built-in incentives for hypocrisy”, Soros said that, in his experience, if there is a conflict between making money and social responsibility, then making money tends to dominate. However, he said, to maximise money-making opportunities in modern times it is important for companies to pretend to be interested in corporate social responsibility. The right attitude is therefore one of scepticism, he told the audience at Bocconi University. “But that does not mean I am opposed to it, I prefer hypocrisy to ignoring the common good,” he said.
One of the challenges to genuine social responsibility is that market fundamentalism, widespread in the US, holds that the common good is served by participants pursuing their own good. In Soros’s view, this is “a distortion of economic theory”. For Soros, this fundamentalism is based purely on short-term considerations, the question of “what are the earnings this quarter?” […]
Read the full article here.