Teach-in: Haas Professors to Debate “Stakeholders vs. Shareholders,” Sept. 8

Was Milton Friedman right? The economist’s famous contention that the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits will be up for debate Wednesday, Sept. 8, at a Dean’s Speaker Series event titled “Stakeholders vs. Shareholders.”

The debate will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Bank of America Forum and will be open to the entire Haas community. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
"As we revamp our curriculum, the time is right to ask students and faculty to revisit this age-old question – whom exactly should business serve?" says Dean Rich Lyons.

Professors Ernesto Dal Bó (Business and Public Policy Group)  and Lyons will debate from the stakeholder point of view. Professors Hayne Leland (Finance Group) and David Vogel, the Soloman P. Lee Chair in Business Ethics, will champion shareholders.

Please note that this is an Oxford-style debate for the purpose of academic learning. The faculty have been assigned points of view that they may not necessarily agree with for the debate. These points should not be quoted or attributed to the faculty member in any way.

Each panelist will address the same set of questions, which will explore Friedman’s theory, what stakeholder vs. shareholder means for running a business, and the implications for teaching business at Berkeley-Haas.

Updated September 20, 2010