It is 2019. The Business Roundtable says that, in addition to considering the interests of shareholders, corporations should “invest in their employees, protect the environment and deal fairly with suppliers” The Times quotes them: “We share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,” the group, which represents America’s biggest companies, said. “We commit to deliver value to all of them.”
The context is American mistrust of corporation. … “the very idea of capitalism is now being debated on the political stage,” says The Times. The author of the NY Times article cites a new bogey man: Milton Friedman. The author claims that before Milton Friedman persuaded corporations they should be solely interested in corporate profit, corporations in America were run for the benefit of all the stakeholders. They still are in Europe, he says.
Tell that to Rockefeller or Morgan. Tell that to the European auto manufacturers who cheated the emission tests.
There are ways of controlling corporations: Sue them. Regulate them. Abolish them (or threaten to).
The corporations are worried. They deal with law suits. Johnson and Johnson just lost a big one about opioids. Elizabeth Warren might regulate them. She has already tried. Bernie Sanders might abolish some of them altogether.
That is the context of corporate suggestions to themselves that they pay attention to stakeholders.