Human Rights Investment Filters: A Defense
HUMAN RIGHTS, CORPORATE COMPLICITY AND DISINVESTMENT, pp. 132-155, A. Follesdal, O. Mestad, G. Nystuen, eds., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011
32 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2011
Date Written: October 11, 2011
Do investors have an obligation to not invest in corporations that contribute to human rights violations? – Even when such divestment neither causes changes in the corporations, nor prevents the violations? Is there a justification of divestment that holds up even in the face of general breaches of the norms? Can such a justification avoid reliance on controversial religious views? And are there any grounds to believe that such divestment may be effective against human rights violations, even in the absence of a powerful hegemon that sanctions violations of the norms?
The affirmative answers below draw on theories of legitimacy and distributive justice that regard SRI as part of a response to the challenges of globalization. Section 1 frames the issues, drawing on the discussions among Quakers on divesting from the slave trade in the 18th century. Sections 2 and 3 provide a normative defense for some minimal human rights filters on investments under economic globalization. Section 4 addresses several objections.
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