Corporations should not donate to charity at all

It's amusing to find both a factual misstatement and a logical one in the same piece in The Times:

Britain is a rich nation that does not give away as much of its money as it should. 

The measure of should is of course something of a movable feast. But the fact is that Britain is indeed a rich nation - and it's also one of the most charitable on the planet. We hesitate to state that the forced removal from our wallets of 0.7% of everything to spend upon Ethiopia's Spice Girls is charity but that is how some see it. And the truth is that we have this highest in the world ODA as well as also retaining that older habit of doing it ourselves without government as the intermediary. 

Another way to put this is that forced extraction of foreign aid has not yet crowded out the more personal charitable giving. So unless our definition of "should" here is "vastly more than everyone else" it's not really true that we don't do enough.

We also get the logical error:

The real philanthropic failure, in fact, is corporate. Of the donations of more than £1 million in 2014, less than a quarter came from corporations. Only 23 per cent of FTSE companies donate 1 per cent of their pre-tax profits to charity. The whole of corporate giving, at £2.5 billion per annum, is only just more than the amount given by rich individuals. It is a quarter of the amount raised in tiny increments by the British public. This is a feeble effort.

No, that is £2.5 billion too much. A corporation is an artificial person constituted for one single purpose, to make money for the owners. Once it has done so it is up to those owners what they do with it. And while we might indeed gain an agreement among the hundreds of thousands who have a part of Unilever that selling soap to make a profit is a good idea we are not going to gain similar agreement that donating to the donkeys, the RNLI, or whichever NGO employs the Chairman's idiot niece this year, is deserving.

Thus the money should flow back to said owners, the shareholders, for them to do as they wish with it. Not be allocated in a manner which makes the managers (aka employees) feel good.

Quite apart from anything else corporate charitable donations are the spending of other peoples' money on other people. Which is to truly fail Milton Friedman's test of the four ways in which money can be spent. As PJ O'Rourke almost pointed out this is how we get that spending upon Ethiopia's Spice Girls.