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


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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
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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.
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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.

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