No. of Recommendations: 6
As some of you know, I've been thinking about the whole "fast food/sugar as vice" concept that seems to be increasingly cropping up, and it's one area where I just still can't quite get myself on board.

I wrote this to sort of start a conversation on the subject:

I feel like maybe I'm going a little rogue here. However, given the way things have been going I think some industries really are more abusive -- I gave the examples of financial companies and for-profit education companies. I went with the theme of, while some companies have products consumers might choose to abuse, some companies actually have products that abuse their customers.

I'm going to do a follow-up next week with a few other ideas.

Fortunately in this day and age we can invest in more positive companies instead of simply "blocking" certain industries. I think there was a time when it was hard to invest in a socially responsible way since there were so few companies that were going for virtue.

One thing John Mackey discussed in his talk at Fool HQ was the idea of financial companies having a good purpose (originally anyway) -- i.e., supplying capital to entrepreneurs. I get that, but the way it has all evolved has been so abusive -- not just too-big-to-fail, but also all the fees levied on customers, sub-prime lending, and the feeling that many customers were simply confused by fine-line disclosures or fees that had nothing to do with adding value for the customers, just adding value for the companies (fees levied on simple accounts and called things like "maintenance" or what have you).

Anyway. So far the only comment on the article in terms of other vice companies/industries is "Monsanto." ;)

I think it's good to sometimes discuss what might be rethought, and I thought "vice stocks" was an interesting area to tackle, since it is evolving to include other industries anyway. And the interesting part of some traditional vice stocks is they have actually been forced to either make changes or be more transparent by admitting their products are dangerous and educating about the dangers of excessive use.

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