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Are you tired of a steady diet of books and articles about the evils of business, or the socially irresponsible excesses of capitalists? Do you secretly fear that you may be guilty of these sins? Fear not, for you are actually engaged in The Heroic Enterprise.
During the past 30 years or so, the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a mainstay of business literature. The central idea of CSR is that there is often a fundamental conflict between the profitability of a firm and larger interests of society. Accordingly, the story goes, a business ought to think about the responsibilities it has to society, even if that means placing profits second.
John Hood's argument is that scholars of the CSR "movement" have it all wrong, and that they know it. According to this book, the free enterprise system best serves social interests when firms pursue profit through competition and innovation. In so doing, business creates economic opportunity, finds cures for disease, invents technologies which enhance the quality of life, and raises the standards of living for all concerned. In the concluding chapter of the book, Hood summarizes his argument:
The corporate social responsibility movement …