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BlackRock’s Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our Support - The New York Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin

DEALBOOK JAN. 15, 2018

Larry Fink, founder and CEO of the investment firm BlackRock, is going to inform business leaders that their companies need to do more than make profits — they need to contribute to society as well if they want to receive the support of BlackRock.

Mr. Fink has the clout to make this kind of demand: His firm manages more than $6 trillion in investments through 401(k) plans, ETFs and mutual funds, making it the largest investor in the world, and he has an outsize influence on whether directors are voted on and off boards.

“Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he wrote in a draft of the letter that was shared with me. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

It may be a watershed moment on Wall Street, one that raises all sorts of questions about the very nature of capitalism. ...“It is huge for an institutional investor to take this position across its portfolio.‘‘

In a candid assessment of what’s happening in the business world — and perhaps taking a veiled shot at Washington at the same time — Mr. Fink wrote that he is seeing “many governments failing to prepare for the future, on issues ranging from retirement and infrastructure to automation and worker retraining.” He added, “As a result, society increasingly is turning to the private sector and asking that companies respond to broader societal challenges.” Mr. Fink’s declaration is different because his constituency in this case is the business community itself. It pits him, to some degree, against many of the companies that he’s invested in, which hold the view that their only duty is to produce profits for their shareholders, an argument long espoused by economists like Milton Friedman.
Laurence_Fink  BlackRock  corporate_social_responsibility  Milton_Friedman  shareholder_activism  institutional_investors 
january 2018 by jerryking
How I learnt to love the economic blogosphere
July 27, 2016 | FT.com | Giles Wilkes.

Marginal Revolution
Econlog
Cafe Hayek
Stumbling and Mumbling
Brad Delong
Nick Rowe - Worthwhile Canadian Initiative
Steve Randy Waldman - Interfluidity
Slack Wire - JW Mason

"Sympathetic opinions coalesce in clusters of mutual congratulation (“must read: fellow blogger agreeing with my point of view!”). Dispute is often foully bad-tempered. Opposing positions are usually subject to a three-phased assault of selective quotation, exaggeration and abuse.'..."Lacking an editor to roll their eyes and ask what’s new, many writers soon become stale... Editors exist not only to find interesting pieces to publish but also to hold at bay the unstructured abundance of bilge that we do not need to read."....."...nothing as reliably good as the (eonomics) blogosphere. Some of its advantages are simply practical: free data, synopses of academic papers that the casual dilettante is unlikely to ever come across, a constant sense of what clever people are thinking about. But what is better is how its ungated to-and-fro lets a reader eavesdrop on schools of academic thought in furious argument, rather than just be subject to whatever lecture a professor wishes to deliver. No one learns merely by reading conclusions. It is in the space between rival positions that insight sprouts up, from the synthesis of clashing thoughts. Traditional newspaper columns are delivered as if to an audience of a million, none of whom might reply. The best blogs are the opening salvo in a seminar rather than the last word on the matter. They dumb down less "....."Ancient thinkers such as Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Iriving Fisher were deployed not as some sort of academic comfort blanket but because their insights are still fresh, and beautifully written."..."Reading the economic blogosphere in 2008 felt to me like the modern equivalent of watching Friedrich Hayek, Keynes and Friedman quarrelling in front of a graduate class about how FDR should react to the depression. "...."Interfluidity is where to find such brilliancies as “the moral case for NGDP [Nominal Gross Domestic Product] targeting”, a political look at a seemingly technical subject, and “Greece”, a furious examination of how the term “moral hazard” is being traduced in the euro crisis. "..."Waldman’s thoughts go far beyond such a crude duality. After a long discussion of measurement problems, the institutional constraints on innovation and much more, he zeroes in on how governments build institutions to handle the disruption wrought by technological change. In a few hundred words he flips around Cowen’s stance and, instead of looking at the growth of government as the problem, makes a case for its opposite. Technological change creates concentrations of power, which “demands countervailing state action if any semblance of broad-based affluence and democratic government is to be sustained”. We have always needed institutions to divert spending power to those left behind, otherwise social disaster beckons. "....When reading, look for sources with something new to say!
economics  economists  blogosphere  Tyler_Cowen  Paul_Krugman  Adam_Smith  information_overload  social_media  Brad_Delong  blogs  Friedrich_Hayek  Milton_Friedman  political  economy  editors  tough-mindedness  FDR  Great_Depression  insights  John_Maynard_Keynes  sophisticated  disagreements  argumentation  technological_change  innovation_policies  moral_hazards 
july 2016 by jerryking
Op-Ed Contributor - Four Deformations of the Apocalypse - NYTimes.com
Four Deformations of the Apocalypse
By DAVID STOCKMAN
Published: July 31, 2010
David_Stockman  GOP  op-ed  Milton_Friedman  austerity  apocalypses 
may 2012 by jerryking
How Milton Friedman Changed Economics, Policy and Markets - WSJ.com
November 17, 2006 | WSJ | By GREG IP and MARK WHITEHOUSE

How Milton Friedman Changed Economics, Policy and Markets
Milton_Friedman  economics  free_markets 
may 2012 by jerryking
Milton Friedman, Freedom Fighter
Nov. 19, 2006 | -- Printout -- TIME | By Ben Stein
tributes  Milton_Friedman  obituaries  Ben_Stein 
may 2012 by jerryking
Messy Times for Ben Bernanke and the Fed - NYTimes.com
May 14, 2010 | New York Times | By SEWELL CHAN. "we had neither
the mandate nor the tools to be the financial system’s supercop. "
Notes: (1) read “The Great Contraction, 1929-1933,” in which Milton
Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz blamed the Fed’s failure to expand
the money supply for the Depression’s severity and duration. (2)
“Because I appreciate the role of chance and contingency in human
events, I try to be appropriately realistic about my own capabilities. I
know there is much that I don’t know.”

— Ben S. Bernanke, May 22, 2009
(3) “Keep a ‘gratitude journal,’ in which you routinely list
experiences and circumstances for which you are grateful.”

— Ben S. Bernanke, May 8, 2010
economists  Benjamin_Bernanke  U.S._Federal_Reserve  gratitude  messiness  pretense_of_knowledge  Great_Depression  Milton_Friedman  humility  unknowns  chance  luck  contingency  books  economics  economic_history  financial_system  frequency_and_severity 
may 2010 by jerryking
Capitalism and Friedman - WSJ.com
Friday, November 17, 2006 | Wall Street Journal | Editorial
The man who made free markets popular again.
economics  Milton_Friedman  capitalism  ideas  free_markets  editorials  economists 
april 2009 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: When Canada gave the economist a try
November 17, 2006 | The Globe & Mail pg. A1 | by Heather Scoffield

Milton Friedman 1912-2006
When Canada gave the economist a try
Mixed legacy for Friedman's ideas
Milton_Friedman  economists  economic_analyses  free_markets  obituaries 
april 2009 by jerryking

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