In the spring of 1972, the heads of Alcoa, General Motors, and U.S. Steel formed Business Roundtable (BR) – a not-for-profit trade organization for big business in America. For the next half century, BR advocated for lower taxes, weaker labor unions, and free-trade agreements. It opened its arms and warmly embraced economist Milton Friedman’s ethos that maximizing shareholder value was the prima facie of a capitalist democracy. Then, something funny happened on the way to the second decade of this century. BR issued a statement, signed by all the 181 CEO members, which said looking at broader stakeholder issues was actually the prudent thing to do.

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