Ethical Investing: Investing For the Good of Man... Not Just a Man

September 14th, 2012 by 
Bryan Sullivan

It appears these days, more than ever, that Ethical Investing is an oxymoron.

Bryan is the house philosopher at DQYDJ.

We have all heard the old saying is that money is the root of all evil, but does that mean we all must be evil if we are in pursuit of it?  Does anyone really believe that to be true?  Of course not.  Feeding your family, sending them to college, and buying nice things do not seem inherently evil.  These are things that are defined as “The American Dream”.  But it is pretty obvious that this dream is not reserved for just Americans.

Of course, feeding our families, and buying things to make our lives better seem like ethical actions.  It can’t possibly just be that easy, right?  What if we are sold the nice things by terrible people?  Does that make it unethical?  It can’t quite be that easy either.

Supposedly antifreeze has a sweet flavor.  Some things just aren’t as they seem.

When we go to work, we are contributing to the big machine that we call Our Economy.  Many look at it as just a way to get a paycheck, but we are all contributing as well.  It allows us to have such great technology and agriculture.  It makes our lives better, and allows for us to cooperate through markets.  Exchange of money and goods benefits ourselves and our families but we must remember that it benefits the other party in the transaction as well.

Another line we have all heard is “making a deal with the devil”.  We must realize that every dollar that we spend is like a “vote”.  If we invest money in a company, or buy their products, we are condoning their business practices.  We must not be so greedy that we benefit ourselves or close ones at the expense of others.  It is beneficial for all of us if we can make ethical purchases and investments.  Our economy is the big team that we all play for and we must benefit the team in order to benefit ourselves.  If we do not then we will be damaging our “teammates” and in the end, our “team”.

If I get rich some day, I want to be sure that I made my money in an honest way and benefited the people around me.  We all must try to do good for ourselves but an easy part to miss is that we must also try to do good for the people that we affect.

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