I'm a socially irresponsible investor. So are most mutual fund investors and most pension funds in the United States.
At least, that's what those who run mutual funds that refuse to invest in the stocks of certain companies would seem to imply. They have claimed for their funds the appellation "socially responsible funds," and for their clients the title "socially responsible" or "socially conscious" investors.
The rest of us are, I assume, socially irresponsible or socially unconscious and beyond the pale, because we (a) don't agree with the boycotting of many of the stocks in the "socially responsible" funds; (b) don't want to tie our portfolio managers' hands; (c) don't believe you can bring about meaningful social change by not buying the stocks of certain companies; or (d) try to make the world a better place in other ways, e.g., giving to our favorite charities.
Who decided those who screen out certain stocks are "socially responsible"? Probably it was the purveyors of those funds, appealing to the vanity of those who campaign against military equipment manufacturers, gun makers, cigarette makers, sporting equipment makers, distillers of alcoholic beverages, etc.
It's a great marketing ploy. The not so subtle message is: If you invest in our funds you are morally superior to other investors. If you don't, you're morally inferior.
Personally, I believe in a strong defense. Perhaps that's because I grew up in a country that under-invested in defense before World War II and was virtually defenseless when it was bombed by the Japanese.
So I do not regard investing in arms-makers as socially irresponsible. In fact, those who would weaken our defenses by attempting to deny capital to military equipment makers may be socially irresponsible in my book.
Anyone who saves and provides capital to the nation's businesses by investing is acting in a socially responsible manner. So it peeves me that those boycotting-investors have claimed the "socially responsible" mantle. Invest as your conscience directs you, but don't proclaim moral superiority by claiming to be "socially responsible."
And while I'm getting some peeves off my chest, another one of my pets is politicians who talk about cutting personal taxes but increasing taxes on corporations (usually by closing "loopholes"). Any politicians who say that are either knaves or fools.
Every politician by now ought to understand that corporations don't pay taxes, they merely collect them for the government from some unsuspecting person.
The burden of corporate taxes can fall on only three groups: shareholders, employees and customers. Normally a corporation will first try to pass on its tax burden to the customers through price increases. Taxes are, after all, merely another cost of doing business. If they cannot do that, they will try to pass the cost on to employees, either through lower wages or layoffs. Finally, some of it may be passed on to shareholders in the form of lower dividends.
So when politicians say they're going to raise corporate taxes (or close corporate tax loopholes), they are merely mounting a stealth attack on some unfortunate individuals, whom they hope will not realize they're having their pockets picked.
Rather than having the government raise the revenue openly through the income tax -- which might require some justification to taxpayers -- the politicians like to hide the tax increase by having corporations collect it for them.