The incisive and entertaining British thinker John Ward hit the super-rich between the eyes with the following intellectual arrow:
most of the very rich are very intelligent. They know full well that Man is a hunter-gatherer-storer. That there is no philanthropic or Quaker mentality any more to produce massive charitable acts or foundations. That wealth travels upwards in an uncontrolled environment. They just like being rich, so they gloss over it as “an inevitable consequence” of the “natural order of things” being restored.
You see, for the greedy elite, Milton Friedman was and is just another Kerensky – another Useful Idiot who provided the necessary academic rationale for being a selfish pillock. So they could deny the existence of Society by saying “A company’s only duty is to the shareholders”. Milt said that. It’s one of the most stupid observations ever made in history – it helps multinationals explain why they avoid paying almost any tax, because I did it for the shareholders, it was my fiduciary duty – in that it ignores the water, energy and fit workforce that only society can produce.
Indeed, Friedman’s remark was blind beyond measure, though any post-Pinochet citizen of Chile or any post-2008 citizen of the U.S. certainly got certain measure of its repulsive implications. In any case, I could not resist offering my simple response to Friedman and Mr. Ward: if a company’s only duty is to the shareholders, a government’s only duty is to fence those corporations in with an iron hand so as to compel them either to vacate the premises or serve the society that feeds them.
I recently made a basic case for small government. Here we have one of the key situations justifying big government.