Flourishing Is the End, Profit Can Be a Means

Glen Hubbard has long been a thoughtful defender of entrepreneurial capitalisms. The article quoted below from The New York Times suggests that he is moving away from that. Is that true, or is The New York Times misrepresenting the development of Hubbard’s thoughts? I suspect the latter, but I have not kept up with Hubbard’s recent articles or lectures. Profits are a key means to enable human flourishing. The two are not inconsistent. Flourishing is the end, profit can be a means.

(p. C1) One zigs, the other zags. One teases the passer-by with bands of translucent glass wrapping a core of clear windows; the other, with floors angled in and out — a gentle architectural mambo. The pair of buildings that comprise Columbia University’s new business school, on its growing Manhattanville campus, exude a nervous off-kilter energy.

. . .

(p. C4) Glenn Hubbard, the former business school dean who brought the project to fruition, saw the need to break free from fealty to the unregulated free market economy that over decades has led to extraordinary wealth concentration. The idea that business should focus only on making money, attributed to the economist Milton Friedman, “was a simple and direct idea that took over business, banking, even corporate law,” Hubbard explained. “We are trying to come up with a framework that can be more about flourishing, not just profit.”

“The vision now is to bring people together and debate issues going on in the world,” said Costis Maglaras, who was on the faculty as the project was being designed and who succeeded Hubbard.

For the full story, see:

James S. Russell. “A Temple of Capitalism Opens Itself Up.” The New York Times (Saturday, January 7, 2023): C1 & C4.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Jan. 9, 2023, and has the title “At Columbia’s $600 Million Business School, Time to Rethink Capitalism.”)

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