Sunday, March 04, 2007
  The Vice Fund: Economics IS Morality
Over the weekend I heard an interview with an appalling young man who manages "The Vice Fund," a financial portfolio with investments in tobacco, alcohol, gaming, and weapons companies. This man blithely told the interviewer that the fund wasn't immoral. "It isn't about morality," he said, "It's about making unbiased, unemotional financial decisions."

I'm sorry, but it is a moral decision. It is an emotional -- or perhaps emotion denying -- decision.

Investing in tobacco is making a moral choice to support an industry that lies bald-faced to the public and juries alike, manipulates it's products to maximize addictivity, and markets a product which kills its users, and those who live in close proximity to its users, at horrific rates.

Gambling isn't much better, although it ruins people financially, rather than stealing their health. (Of course, the stress involved in financial ruin and the destruction of family that often follows, could have serious repercussions on the health of those addicted to gambling, not to mention the problem of depression when your debts are overwhelming...)

Further, although this charming young gentleman may claim that investing in these companies is not an issue of morality but business acumen, that claim in and of itself is a moral judgement. He is saying that making money is more important than any other considerations -- like the havoc some of these products create, like getting rich at the cost of death and financial devastation of others.

This, to me, is the biggest bane of capitalism. The notion that profit is not bound by morality. Or the judgement that profit supercedes all other moral considerations. That has led to such sufferring -- from sweat shop factories, to the exploitation of consumers and the willingness to sell addictive products that kill their users, to increasingly impossible demands on corporate workers for ever increasing hours on the job and higher and higher rates of productivity -- it is downright evil.

When the moral component of these decisions, these value judgements is denied, it more than evil.

The reporter let him weasel away. When he asserted they were just making decisions on financial performmance, without regard to morality, or emotional responses to these companies and their products, she let him get away with it. She didn't pursue him, pointing out that it is a fallacy to think any decision can be made outside the realm of morality. Everything decision is a moral decision.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

My Photo
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

Recent Posts

October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
July 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
July 2013