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[5000fingers:]Even if you were able to convince all of the 50% of investors who shared your values to do the same, that would only cause a temporary dip in the share prices. Which of course would lower the PE ratio of the company and make it all the more attractive to the rest of the investors, who would bid the shares right back up. Inevitably, the market, the economic cycle, and the company's business model would assert themselves.

As (as believe it was you) noted above, when you buy or sell shares, you are not buying or selling them from the company, except in the rare case of a new issue. So the company is not a party to the transaction, directly, that is.

BUT - the directors and top management ARE big stockholders, and a large enough selling pressure on the stock will hit them right where they live - in the value of their shares and related stock options. The big problem is that not enough people will SELL over social issues, that I could ever tell. SRI may be reflected more than we realize in people's decisions not to buy, but I don't know how you could ever measure that.

Not only does selling shares of bad companies not hurt them in any way at all, but buying companies of "good" companies does not help them either.

Well it's the flip side of the selling argument. Buying "good" companies rewards management, and other pre-existing shareholders, as it impacts the value of their holdings.

"Socially responsible investing" hasn't accomplished on iota of real-world influence. But successful consumer boycotts have saved rainforests and endangered species, closed down sweat shops, thrown pollutors out of business, and have changed the practices of repressive governments around the globe. In fact boycotts are so successful and so powerful that it's hard to imagine why this tool is not utilized more often by advocacy groups.

Huh? My observation is that of all the boycotts that have been started, very few have accomplished much. Most of them have been started by unions, whose influence decreases daily. SRI hasn't done much either, but only because so few people have tried it. And again, we don't know that precisely, because its biggest effect may be reflected in decisions not-to-buy.

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