The ethics of investing
- Cite this article as:
- Irvine, W.B. J Bus Ethics (1987) 6: 233. doi:10.1007/BF00382870
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In this paper, I examine various popular notions concerning the ethics of investing. I first consider and reject the absolutist view that it is always wrong to invest in “evil” companies and the view that what makes investments in evil companies morally objectionable is the fact that by making such investments, investors are taking steps to benefit from the wrongdoing of others. I then defend the view that what makes certain investments morally objectionable is the fact that by making such investments, investors enable others to do wrong. According to this view, when weighing the purchase of a certain company's stock, investors should ask themselves the following question: “Would this sort of investment, if made by many people, enable others to do wrong?” If the answer to this question is yes, and if an investor nevertheless makes the investment in question, he can justifiably be accused of moral wrongdoing.