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What are your thoughts on Stakeholder Capitalism?

What are your thoughts on Stakeholder Capitalism?

March 12, 2024

Question: What are your thoughts on Stakeholder Capitalism?

Answer: All of my thoughts about it are negative. Philosophically this is an applied business ethics concept. A contrast between egoism, in moral theory, and forms of altruism and/or collectivism in moral theory become applied to business.

The best way to see this is to consider the status say of a single person in business dealing with a single customer. The stockholder, which say it is, is my business, I will enter into this transaction with this potential customer if it serves my interest; and the assumption is that the customer is also looking after his or her interests. If we both agree, we will do the deal, if not we will go our separate ways.

The stakeholder approach by contrast makes the assumption that one has an obligation to be in business, or if one is already in business, anyone who has a stake, has an equal say in how the business should go, and that sometimes is going to involve some sacrifices on the part of the business owner and that I reject.

Stephen Hicks Ph.D.
About the author:
Stephen Hicks Ph.D.

Stephen R. C. Hicks is a Senior Scholar for The Atlas Society and Professor of Philosophy at Rockford University. He is also the Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship at Rockford University.

He is author of The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (W. W. Norton & Co., 1998), Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy, 2004), Nietzsche and the Nazis (Ockham’s Razor, 2010),  Entrepreneurial Living (CEEF, 2016), Liberalism Pro and Con (Connor Court, 2020), Art: Modern, Postmodern, and Beyond (with Michael Newberry, 2021) and Eight Philosophies of Education (2022). He has published in Business Ethics Quarterly, Review of Metaphysics, and The Wall Street Journal. His writings have been translated into 20 languages.

He has been Visiting Professor of Business Ethics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Visiting Fellow at the Social Philosophy & Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, Visiting Professor at the University of Kasimir the Great, Poland, Visiting Fellow at Harris Manchester College of Oxford University, England, and Visiting Professor at Jagiellonian University, Poland.

His B.A. and M.A. degrees are from the University of Guelph, Canada. His Ph.D. in Philosophy is from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.

In 2010, he won his university’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

His Open College podcast series is published by Possibly Correct Productions, Toronto. His video lectures and interviews are online at CEE Video Channel, and his website is StephenHicks.org.  

Instagram Takeover Questions:

Every week we solicit questions from our 100K followers on Instagram (a social media platform popular with young people. Once a month we feature Stephen Hicks' answers to select questions, transcripts below:

Also several articles, selected for likely interest to Objectivist audiences:

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