THE BLOG

Considering The Ethics Of Our Investments

23/08/2016 17:09 | Updated 23 August 2016

A small boy, all eyes and dust, on an orange chair. An even smaller boy, lying prone where warm sea meets the sand. Children disintegrated playing football on the beach. At their desks. In their beds.

Each horror is utterly singular, yet each screams a thousand unseen horrors.

I scroll down, impotent. I comment and share in this vacuum of ideas and memory and action. I click and donate to those who try to stem the blood amidst the rubble. I add my name to a petition, a prayer wheel by any other name.

Perhaps tomorrow I will add a flag to my profile. I keep scrolling.

Collectively we would wring our hands, but for the mobiles in our hands. How to reach out and touch more than glass. How to change what seems through the indifferent screen to be immutable, an endless cycle of meaningless horror.

We accept the cycle as though the bombs that rain are natural elements, seasons which cannot be diverted but for more bombs. As though profit were not the unseen force keeping this horror in perpetual motion. As though that same profit isn't flowing into our capital and in and out of our current accounts.

The error of our thinking hurts. We are willing to rest assured in the natural order of the free market but we don't embrace the fact we can each make a difference through where we chose to invest our money.

Mandela was in Pollsmoor when I first watched the news. I'm ingrained with the idea that that boycotts work.

The lesson held, as childhood lessons are want to do, and joining my first pension scheme I automatically ticked 'ethical'. Less motivated by my potential returns than by the potential returns of my investments on others.

The world's since moved on. Knowledge and choice and instant gratification are at my fingertips now in a thousand different apps. And yet, the pension industry remains somehow un-disrupted.

But I have been disrupted. I want more than someone else's definition of ethical. I want to configure 'ethical' myself.

I don't want my money in Arms. But more than that, I want to change things with my choices, however infinitesimal that change may be.

I don't want my money in retailers that squeeze their employees below the minimum wage.

I don't want my money in companies with no board room diversity.

I don't want my money in secretive supply chains that lead to Congolese children hacking cobalt from the earth to feed an endless production line of the devices on which I scroll.

I want a Tinder for pensions.

I want to swipe my investment away from the dark corners of the free market.

I want to move my money in a heartbeat, whenever my heart bleeds as I scroll.

It's bleeding now.

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