Apple is the largest technology company on the planet with over $140 billion in cash and products sold across the globe. Within the last two months, it has been the topic of major news events, such as the alleged price fixation of its e-books and its legal avoidance of billions of dollars in taxes. Friedman and Freeman have very different opinions on the morality of Apple in doing these actions along with to who the company is responsible.
Milton Friedman would argue that Apple is doing its capitalistic duty, and thus its moral duty, in creating the most value possible for shareholders by legally avoiding taxes through subsidiary companies in Ireland. He would argue that if Apple had not done this, it would essentially be taxing itself (even though the government would be taxing them) and spending shareholder money in a way that would help the government, and, very arguably, the citizens under it. Friedman would say that this is socialistic and immoral because it is not their money to waste.
Edward Freeman, on the other hand, would believe that Apple has not considered its stakeholders and has separated its business policy from its ethical policy, which, in his opinion, is immoral. The alleged fixation of e-book prices does not consider the stakeholders—the consumers of the products. Freeman would believe that Apple drove up the prices solely to earn more profit and create greater returns for shareholders. Apple did not consider the individual, as Freeman would believe, or see itself as a means to a stakeholder end. Nor did it follow the Principle of Emergent Competition, but instead tried to “get the other guy” by attempting to take market share from Amazon.com.
Lauren’s First and Goal is a non-profit organization directly funding brain tumor and cancer research. It was created in 2004 by the Loose family in honor of their daughter Lauren who is a pediatric brain tumor survivor. This organization gained notoriety in my area of Northeast Pennsylvania because of the phenomenal football camps it runs that many local high-school football players would attend. It was a great way to get noticed by the college coaches that helped at the camp, but most importantly, it was a way to donate money to fund the research that cancer sufferers desperately need. Instead of just asking for donations and hoping for people’s good will, the Loose family gave young people an incentive to give back by combining one of America’s most popular sports with cancer research funding
In Edward Freeman’s article, “Business Ethics at the Millennium,” he talks about how business ethics and trade should be directly correlated. He feels that business should not be only about furthering profits, but helping stakeholders, and those less well off along the way. For that reason, Freeman would be extremely supportive of this organization. Lauren’s First and Goal is meant only for good, and the profits are all given to a cause that is much more important than personal monetary gain. It is an example of stakeholder managing, for people are depending on this research that provides them with the chance at a longer and healthier life. Freeman states, “We need to develop the stakeholder framework more fully to help revise the process of value creation and trade, to make business an even more fruitful institution in bringing about good and raising up the least well off in the world.” (p. 178) This quote fantastically sums up his feelings on an organization like Lauren’s First and Goal. He would feel that this organization is doing great things for society and that is one of the most important activities a business can partake in.