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What Pick n Pay founder Raymond Ackerman said on the occasion of his 90th birthday last Wednesday regarding the role of business, got me thinking. What is the purpose of business? According to Ackerman, it is to do good and care for the community, society and people in general.

A leading figure in neo-classical economics, Milton Friedman said in an article penned in 1970 that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”. However, to hold that the responsibility of the executive is to maximise profits for shareholders within the set legal framework and ethical code is a rather strict and rigid position. The difficulty with it is the main assumption, that the purpose of a business is solely to maximise profits. ..

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