REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR REGION
Today on the Money Monday post let's give some thought to the actual moral and ethical value of the things we put money in to.
The sad truth is that things which make big piles of money in our society tend to do so on the basis of being morally bankrupt - offering terrible customer service, for example, is the way that big tech companies like microsoft, google, amazon, square and facebook have cut corners to maximize profits. These companies turn profits at obscene rates but if you pick up a telephone you're not able to talk to anyone there about your email or your delivery issues or whatever the case may be.
If these companies were to pay people to speak on the phone it would be a win for the employment market, especially if these customer service jobs were centered in oppressed neighborhoods of cities like chicago, new york or los angeles. and of course it would make the lives of the users of these services much better.
these are just tiny examples, to say nothing of companies which pay slave wages overseas or launder money through fake 'philanthropies' which actually just receive tax breaks by piling revenue into biotech megacorporations.
the point being - does it matter? is there any reason to disinvest in shitty corporations, even if they offer opportunities to stack cash? if novartis, pfizer, bayer or johnson and johnson offer major returns on investment for someone who is looking to 'make their savings grow' .. is there any reason not to put your money in their hands?
this is the moral question of investing, and the answer is truly not so difficult.
FROM EACH ACCORDING TO THEIR MEANS
the simple answer in the matter of virtue and investment is that those with larger 'cushions' need to bear the burden for investing in more virtuous projects. If you're already a millionaire, and you're investing in morally bankrupt corporations to become ever more personally wealthy, then you should be ashamed. if you're poor, and you invest in greedy companies in order to be able to feed your children in a year or two from now, then you have no shame.
WHAT ARE VIRTUOUS INVESTMENTS?
for the wealthy readers among you, you may be wondering - what are the virtuous investments which can be made? are any corporations or projects actually good? this is our concern.
when we look at the operating paradigms and protocols of institutions within our modern 'capitalist' economy, it becomes clear that the only way to continually 'improve profit margins' is by greed. there is no way to build wealth which is based on a philosophy of generosity, or even on a philosophy of balance. so for those individuals who have money the only hope is to find projects which carry the ambition to actually change the culture.
WHAT DOES A INSTITUTION WHICH CHANGES THE CULTURE LOOK LIKE
culture changing institutions promote and insist on values of non-greed, values of healing, values of nurturing, values of ecological renewal, values of mass investment into individuals and institutions which contribute to the wellbeing of oppressed populations (native american reservations, slums in brazil and india and china, rural areas throughout africa, and so on). Individuals and organizations who are dedicated to these causes are not always easy to find, but they are certainly worth investing in, because they will put your money to good use!
DOES VIRTUE MATTER?
there is an important question, of whether it makes any difference at all, if your time or money is used to perpetrate mass oppression and suffering and environmental degradation. from a scientific standpoint, it would not be so difficult to do a study with the right kinds of parameters. it would be important to follow wealthy people, as they make choices about investments. Some people would choose to invest in morally bankrupt corporations, launder money through two-faced 'philanthropies' and so on. Other people would choose to invest in permaculture, holistic healing resources, ecological restauration and so on. Some people would choose to invest in some mix of both.
And then over the course of time we could see which people were happier, which people had happier children, which people had a better vibe (yes, science can now measure vibes).
Until such point where this kind of study is carried out we must use our own imagination to guess as to whether virtue makes a difference for the person and for those around them.
We know of course that virtuous investments would make a difference in the world - it would lead to people having access to better food, health care, water and so on. But whether it makes a difference for the person and for their own family is a different question.
My personal hunch is that virtue does in fact matter greatly - but it does not come without a cost. For example, in a corrupt group of friends, it could be difficult and exhausting to be the one who is not corrupt. it could be exhausting to see the ways in which other people are hurting the world, and not knowing what to say or do about it.
HOW WE DISCUSS VIRTUE
one of the biggest issues is how we discuss it. if we call things morally bankrupt, for example the top ten 'largest' pharmaceutical companies, then we might expose ourselves to some sort of attack. it would take great courage perhaps, great virtue, greatness in general to 'call the lie' on shitty institutions which are making lots of money for lots of people, while also leading to much mass sickness and other problems.
so this might not be the path for all people. some people might prefer to be 'low key' simply making good decisions for themselves but not willing to 'ruffle feathers' by 'calling the lie' on any of the major power players or institutions.
other people might see that their virtue is not only in making virtuous investments, but also in working to expose the lack of virtue within so many of our predominant institutions and operating paradigms.