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I concede the point that a Socially Responsible Index fund is kind of dumb, being that no human being is 100% Socially Responsible (by virtue of being alive we pollute), and I would seriously doubt that any companies on earth are as well.

In my mind, however, SR Investing is more about an individual's personal choices. It can't be applied across the board, it can't be transferred or pushed onto another person, and it certainly cannot remain stagnant. If one chooses to draw some lines in the sand, those lines need to be constantly re-evaluated to make sure they are still valid and that companies on both sides of the line are in there proper areas.

What intrigues me more is whether an individual can be considered a hypocrite for removing all emotion and sense of "morals" from investing. Is it just about dollars and cents? How far removed from the perceived atrocities does one need to be before the blood washes off? If I buy Rule Breakers pick Blue Nile (diamond seller) knowing from first-hand knowledge about the neo-slave trade that exists in African countries which is propogated by the Diamond Industry, am I as vile as the people that hack off the limbs of children in order to restore order in the mining towns? After all, I am giving them my money in order to support their business.

However, I am also an investor in Apple Computer. If it turns out that Apple computer routinely kills puppies in order to use their blood to make iPods, but I didn't know about it.... am I innocent? Ok, that got a bit ridiculous, but hidden among the gore is the point: does my knowledge of the atrocity remove any shroud of innocence?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions. I've decided not to buy Blue Nile. That is also a major point: no one forces me to buy anything, it's up to me. But, I guess the real question here is "How much am I loosing out because I have hang-ups about the industry?" Am I foolish (lowercase f) to not make money where and when I can? Afterall, I invest to make money, not to fix the world.


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