By Alan Lewis
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Additional info for Morals, Markets and Money: The Case of Ethical Investing (Financial Times Series)
Chapter2/Morals, Markets 27/2/02 2:42 pm Page 27 2 ■ History and aspiration animals when, without them, they will not recover from a serious illness? To assume that this complex ethical issue can be brought to a conclusion, simply by refusing to invest in firms which test drugs on animals, is to adopt a frivolous and self-indulgent response to a real moral problem – and that itself is immoral. (Scruton, in Anderson, 1996: 14) Scruton also takes the view that ‘ethical’ is just another name for fashionable causes: Smoking, it seems, is the greatest of all immoralities for modern people – in comparison with which adultery, deception, sponging off others, and sinking into sloth and moroseness in front of a television are regarded as mere peccadilloes.
The Co-operative Bank was probably set for takeover in the late 1980s and something needed to be done. One cannot label the Co-operative Bank as getting on to some kind of bandwagon as it can claim that ethical banking draws on its co-operative heritage. Because of this, the Co-op had a much smaller number of customers from manufacturing industries on its books at this time, so any losses incurred by closing some of the more suspect of those accounts was far outweighed by the new ethical business acquired in the 1990s.
Clerical Medical Evergreen is not alone in this. It is as though the editors of these publications believe that investors do not want to read sentences with the word ‘because’ in them. Alternatively, this hand-waving to ‘philosophy’ could mean that some funds really have not thought ‘hard and long’ enough to product a coherent argument. And whatever the religious convictions of the originators, these documents are highly secular; somebody, somewhere believes that faith does not sell. What the papers say The financial pages of ‘broadsheet’ newspapers are read avidly by moderately sophisticated individual investors with above-average disposable incomes (and those that aspire to this status).