Tag Archives: Jonathan Salem Baskin

Are we taking corporate responsibility too far?

Here’s an intriguing article from Ad Age by Jonathan Salem Baskin. He argues against the current strong trend toward CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and as the subtitle suggests believes “there is no morality inherent in corporate functions.”

I suspect that Mr. Baskin wants to stir debate and discussion and this is very valuable–but is he serious? He asks “where is it in the game rules that companies have to be “responsible” for anything other than profits. I’ll tell you where it is–it is called being a member of the human race. It is called the moral code. It is the well accepted idea that one should treat others as they wish others to treat them. Those too are rules to the game.

Not only is Mr. Baskin out to lunch on this, he is also out of touch. I’m pleased that PRSA is having Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist as a keynote speaker. Mr. Newmark is demonstrating a very different and intriguing model–profits don’t matter. I still subscribe to Peter Drucker’s formula which said profits are the right to do business in the future. Clearly Mr. Baskin sees profits as something quite different from that. But the idea of outrageous, insane, ungodly profits doesn’t have the appeal to a great many people in the corporate world. And young people are turning against big corporate global giants precisely because of the irresponsible position of people like Mr. Baskin.