Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1975

Journal Title or Book Title

The GAO Review


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Publisher's Statement

GAO's products and information on GAO's Web site are not protected by copyright law in the United States and may be copied and distributed in their entirety without permission from GAO.


Business as an institution exists primarily because it is sanctioned by society. It is therefore inevitable that the business community and its professional members will fall into step with society’s expectations. Adam Smith, in his “Wealth of Nations,” believed that, as each businessman pursued his own self-interests, the public good would be served. While no one can deny that the public good has certainly benefited from business, neither can anyone deny that certain segments of society have not always fared as well as others and have indeed suffered. Fortunately, however, social commitment, or the tangible expression of concern for society’s many problems, is a growing phenomenon among members of today’s professional community. Although initially undertaken out of enlightened self-interest, rather than pure altruism, companies today have come to accept social commitment as a valid organizational component. Many large corporations not only are supporting socially constructive programs at an increasing rate but also are regularly lending employees to such projects.

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