Divesting: A Counter Argument

From Chris King: 

This site contains a page on divestment. While it is a noble goal for the College to avoid promoting fossil fuel/pro-climate change companies, I want to encourage thought about the logic of divesting from equities in such companies. Divestment suggests that such companies will be discouraged or disempowered by the loss of such investment. That could be true if this College and many others and all the funds that support retirement and such for all such institutions divested, especially on a common day and with publicity. However, I would like to suggest an alternate strategy: *Invest* at least in a token manner in such companies. Now you are stock holders. As stock holders, perhaps with alumni volunteers, perhaps as part of student instruction in economics, take an active part in promoting policies friendly to the College's goals. Create coalitions and enlist the effort of other like-minded institutions. Be public about it. Call attention to bad policies or leadership in *your* company. Be active in recruiting other stockholders to join you. Work to have boards of directors represent different goals. Call attention to salaries in *your* company. Perhaps students and faculty and alums could investigate unsafe practices. At the same time, be public about investing in wise companies. Let them know you are owners and expect good results. Review them and publish your reviews. Too much investing is done in a "black box". Resigning and abdicating has its values. Active participation is invaluable.