As you can perhaps tell from my dyspeptic response to some of our Ideas Festival sponsors' efforts to brand themselves as "green," (see also Boeing's hilarious hand-crank powered flashlight) I don't see the "corporate social responsibility" movement as having a ton of promise. I think large firms will more-or-less inevitably seek to maximize profits and the role of the state is to ensure that that profit maximizing behavior takes place in a larger framework such that its impacts are beneficial. But this is a practical concern, and I absolutely agree with Brad DeLong that the "strong" anti-CSR position outlined by Milton Friedman and others doesn't make much sense and actually seems blind to the non-coercive genius of capitalism.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.