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Principles come with a cost

June 23, 2007

Re "Money and morals don't mix," Opinion, June 19

Benjamin Zycher has hit on the fundamental problem with the "principled Republicans' " principles. They are amoral. The sum of his argument is that taking a principled stand on moral issues [apartheid, bankrolling terrorism] is relatively ineffectual and misguided because it causes losses to our own bottom lines. Others in this country believe self-sacrifice equals true leadership -- take one for the team, fall on the grenade yourself so that others might live. Zycher neatly exposes the "principled Republicans' " values as "The Price Is Right."




Zycher argues that pension administrators should not use moral or political criteria in choosing where to invest pension funds.

This logic suggests that, if the profit looked good and it weren't illegal, pension administrators should have invested in the company that made the gas used in Nazi Germany's death camps. Or when slavery was legal, they should have invested in the slave trade, if it were profitable. If there is a substantial, legal profit to be made, his logic would encourage pension administrators today to invest in the companies that sell guns to those responsible for the horrors in Darfur.

I don't think many people whose retirement money is in these pension funds would agree with him. I'm one of those people, and I don't agree. We need more ethical thinking in the investment and business community today, not the amoral thinking advocated by Zycher. I'm not alone in thinking this; the organization that accredits college and university business schools requires that all students learn business ethics.


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