Trillions of Dollars Are Invested in "Socially Responsible Investing" . . . Why Not Invest in Freedom, Justice, 9/11 Truth, and

There are many good people spreading a lot of good messages of liberty and justice.

But trillions of dollars of investment capital is working against us and powering efforts to undermine freedom and justice. Specifically, trillions are invested into defense companies who push for new wars, and companies that torture on behalf of the U.S., and companies that spy on us, and companies that drive up food prices, destroy food safety, kill bees, and otherwise mess with our food supply.

In other words, all of the talk in the world won't turn things around if all of the money is working against what we're demanding.

Millions of us raised our voices and demanded that the U.S. not launch the Iraq war. Millions of us wrote to Congress and demanded that Bush and Cheney be impeached. But Congress listened to the large defense contractors and other well-financed companies (and flush lobbying groups, such as AIPAC), not to the American people. Actions speak louder than words, and money is

The Good News

The good news is that not all of the people investing the trillions of dollars are bad people. In fact, as of 2003, $2.16 trillion dollars - or 1 out of 9 dollars invested - was invested with the intent to be "socially responsible". That is 240% more than in 1997, when attempts at socially responsible investing totaled $529 billion dollars. The numbers are still increasing.

There are now numerous large mutual funds and other investment vehicles focusing on socially responsible investing (many of them get returns comparable to mainstream investments).

Some of the trillions invested through "socially responsible investing" (SRI) programs focus on big-picture issues like not investing in defense industry (others focus on things like tobacco, or wages). The motto of socially responsible investing is "doing well by doing good".

Indeed, the father of modern capitalism - Adam Smith - "argued that the benefits of the free market should accrue not just to individuals but to society as a whole."

There are also some banks that hold themselves out as "socially responsible banks".

And many companies are starting to understand that they will be more profitable if they "place social responsibility at the core of their business strategy". As one social investment manager notes:

"Thanks in part to the work of concerned investors, thousands of companies worldwide are publishing corporate social responsibility reports that lay out their codes of conduct, describe their progress on various issues and reveal where their products originate and who makes them. "

So there is a lot of money and a lot of interest flowing into investments which will do no harm, and maybe some good.

The Bad News

A lot of the social responsibility movement is a scam. A 2004 study found that the SRI industry has no standards or definitions, is unregulated and too often invests in the same companies as non-SRI mutual funds. Indeed, the study concludes that:

"The screening methodologies and exceptions employed by most SRI mutual funds allow practically any publicly-held company to be considered as an SRI portfolio company."

For example, one SRI mutual fund invests in "hiqh-quality growth stocks with no investments in the tobacco, alcohol, gambling, or pharmaceutical companies". That doesn't necessarily mean they don't invest in Halliburton. Another may stay away from defense companies, but that doesn't mean that they don't invest in companies that spy on Americans.

In fact:

"As of December 30, 2003, 23 SRI funds are invested in Haliburton . . . weapons manufacturer Raytheon was held by 12 funds; ExxonMobil was held by 40 SRI funds; and Monsanto, maker of genetically modified seeds and Round Up weed killer, was held by 19 SRI funds."

As entrepreneur and activist Paul Hawken notes, 'The term socially responsible investing is so broad it is meaningless. If a fund doesn't own companies involved with gambling and pornography, it can be called socially responsible."

(You can research what criteria or "screens" self-proclaimed SRI companies use here.)

And as for corporate social responsibility reporting by corporations, this is obviously largely motivated by acting like the company is doing good so as to attract customers and employees.

Harnessing Investments for Good

The important thing to note is the trend for people to want to do the right thing, and the trillions of dollars which investors are willing to put towards that goal. In other words, the fact that most of the social responsibility professionals are scammers (although there are some good ones) does not mean that the desire among investors to do good isn't there. It only means that unscrupulous people are trying to take advantage of the gullible (surprise surprise).

If we can harness the desire among trillion dollar investors to do good, it could go a long way towards supporting our struggle for liberty and justice. Specifically, if financial experts within the 9/11 truth, anti-war, impeachment, anti-torture and other patriotic movements set up socially responsible investment companies which can get reasonable returns for investors investing in things which promote our causes, then things could dramatically change for the better . . . since huge amounts of money would be working for our causes, instead of against them.

We need a focused and coordinated effort to get this off the ground, including:

  • Seasoned investment advisors, mutual fund managers, stock screeners and like experts starting new socially responsible investment companies which focus on the real and important issues, like liberty and justice. Or else taking over established companies to get them back on the straight and narrow, and focusing them on the most important issues of liberty, justice and truth. (There should also be a requirement that some leading activists in the relevant fields be on the board of directors, so that the money people don't get off track)
  • Those who can get the word out (owners of popular websites, widely-read writers, etc.) spreading the word about the power of socially responsible investing to put wind in the sails of activist efforts
  • Those who have squirreled away some savings should invest a little bit of our money in these programs (they'll hopefully pay a good return; even if they don't, we can take a little of the money we were going to invest in gold or other allegedly safe investments to promote liberty, justice and truth)
  • Activists for freedom, justice and truth should be supported. For example, if a 9/11 activist can make enough money with his website, video, or books to quit his day job and focus on activism full-time, more power to him. Anyone who criticizes an activist for being able to support herself in that role is either a disinfo shill (it is usually apologists for the tyrants who raise such criticism) or out of touch with reality

See also this.

Catherine Austin Fitts (managing director and director of the Wall Street investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. Inc., Assistant Secretary of Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and president of Hamilton Securities Group, Inc., an investment bank) has written along these lines (see this, this and this). Fitts knows a lot more about investing than I do, but so far she has not been very direct in how to set up investment systems which will help promote liberty and justice. Fitts claims that the government has put a gag order on her, so that she can't say what she knows. If that is true, it becomes even more important for a wide group of experts on money and investing - who aren't gagged - to get active with creating systems of social investment which can improve our country.

Finally, don't tell me why this won't work. I can myself punch holes in the idea of harnessing huge investment sums to effect deep systemic change.

Instead, we need experts, visionaries and passionate activists to figure out how it can work and to make it happen.

Idealist + Realistic = Effective

Thank-you for writing this column. I've long been struck by how ineffective activists' efforts are, in the end, and it's screamingly obvious that being underfunded is a common reason. (Especially, in contrast to how well funded corporate and other dubious activities are.) Many corporations make a big deal about donating X percent of their proceeds to some good cause, so why not a mutual fund that does the same, where the good cause can involve 911 Truth, antiwar, or other types of activism than the 'usual' ones? You are quite correct in pointing out that there's LOTS of money out there that could and should be utilized for positive, constructive purposes.

The question arises, though, as to how exactly should the good donations be spent. Ultimately, I think every individual should decide for themselves. In a media - replacement proposal I had posted, called "Putting the NY Times Out of Business" (not currently available), I had called for allowing subscribers to "vote with their hands", by enabling them to direct a portion of their subscription funds to investigative reporting projects of their own choosing. So, if you are a 911 Truther, and you believe that Daniel Hopsicker's research is crying out for validation, then you could direct your discretionary income to an investigative reporting project which seeks to do exactly that. OTOH, if you think 911 Truth is baloney, then you both have the ability, and are welcome, to direct your funds elsewhere. The math is absolutely compelling. E.g., if 25 million people who distrusted the governments version of 911 directed $1.00 per month of discretionary funding towards technical, 911 research, then collectively we could fund the equivalent of our own NIST report EVERY MONTH.

The funding self-direction capability I called for in "Putting the NY Times Out of Business" looks like it's the same - almost, if not exactly - that could be used for socially responsible investment vehicles. (I will guess that some differences might ensue from legal reasons. However, much of the software plumbing and interface should still overlap.) Clearly, it'd be good to have some sort of open source software project dedicated to building this out, as well as competing companies using such software to offer such services.

Please also see my post involving crowd-funding of activists' efforts at , called 'Let's put 911 Activism on a Permanent Basis' .

Finally, I'd like to give a shout out to Dr. Bronner's soap, which is sponsoring Lizzie West to perform nearby the Republican National Convention. Lizzie West refused to modify her music to make it more in line with the government's pro-Iraq War propaganda, and ended up losing out, career-wise, just as hers was beginning to take off. Of course, she escaped with her integrity and conscience intact. (She was interviewed on, BTW). Please consider supporting her tour - she's done some gigs with Scott Ritter. .Don't go through life without listening, at least once, to her beautiful "19 miles to Baghdad". See and

Also, here's a thought: Maybe Dr. Bronner's would
--> help fund the creation of the software, complete with dashboard and escrow capability, to allow the self-direction of socially responsible funding
PLUS --> start an organization which uses such software to make available funding services to a) mutual funds and other investment organizations (hedge funds, e.g.) and b) citizen-directed media bypass organizations, such as I outlined in "Putting the NY Times Out of Business"
PLUS --> start such a mutual fund, themselves (Possible names: the Lizzie West Mutual Fund, the Dr. Bronner's Mutual Fund, the Dharma Dog Mutual Fund :-) )
PLUS --> start a citizen-directed media bypass organization, themselves, such as I outlined in "Putting the NY Times Out of Business"

Awsome! The Truth & Justice IRA/401K

One of your greatest ideas yet, GW, and you've put forth many. Almost every American has at least a dollar here and there, if not 100 or 1000, and most Americans blow money on BS, like we've been trained since birth by the TV, that could instead be food for our souls by investing in something good.

A non-profit could be set up to handle the investing, one with a truth and justice charter, and a board elected by and accountable to the investors for complete transparency and accountability. We the People can be saving for our old age, while our declining dollars are fighting the good fight and growing in wealth and power. I have my piddly 401K with max SRI screens in Calvert by Vanguard (one of the few companies not mixed up with the mutual fund market-timing scandal a few years ago), but I've been bothered by the points you make in this article; even with these screens, money still gets invested in some scum companies- i don't have the time to keep with all the truth news, let alone understand and keep track of where my 401K money's going, and all the possible connections to corruption

If an org like this could be set up by trustworthy people that don't want to operate in secret, to do good things with our $ and also publish info on investing and the criminal banking system, that would be great. 150 million Americans want a new 9/11 investigation, with no attention from the MSM other than scorn (even as the publish/broadcast stories all the time that contradict the OCT)

Catherine Austin Fitts has written some great 9/11 truth articles, and what she's trying to make happen with the Solari Action Network "investment circles", which keep money in your community and out of the pockets of the international banking conglomerates is a great thing- you should get in touch with her about your ideas.

Also, nearly everyone has a bank account; something you can do now which won't cost you anything, will actually save you money and give you better interest rates, service and more options for ATMs (25,000 free ATMs nationwide; more than any bank), will remove if from the criminal banks and keep it in your community- is join a credit union. Some are restrictive, many have liberal membership requirements

metamars, thanks for the lizzie link, listening now, good stuff- I wash my body and hair with Dr. Bronner's castile soap, feels cleaner and better than corporate crap shampoo and soap. "Putting the NY Times Out of Business" sounds interesting- please repost the article or link it

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