Responsible Investing in the Era of Globalization

You may have heard the term “globalization” in the news recently. Maybe you read about it in a Huffington Post article or heard it mentioned at the dinner table during the last holiday. Or quite possibly, you saw a video of former Fox News pundit and right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones flying off the handle about how “the globalists have kept us from having kids!”

Globalization is the term used for industries, companies, and governments across the world integrating with one another and combining forces on a greater, international level. Often, people on the right side of the political spectrum view it as a bad thing because they think it’s a part of a hyper-socialist agenda designed to contribute to the United States’ downfall.

However, the spread and growth of globalization is offering new opportunities for people to conduct business in new, highly efficient ways. Due to the changing economy and the division of world resources, this is the time for those participating in globalization to transform “business as usual.” Doing so could save the Earth and the people in it, as well as make this planet a better place to live for everyone.

Our Fading Planet

There are cutting-edge advancements in green energy for us to take advantage of in the place of fossil fuels. For instance, smart technology is being combined with solar panels as a way of obtaining and distributing energy wisely. Entities like Green Mountain Power in Rutland, Vermont are among those to utilize this, a practice that we can only hope increases in the near future.

The United States could learn a lot by following after a country like Ireland, which became the first country to officially commit to divesting from fossil fuels in 2018. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “fossil fuel divestment,” it is an attempt to reduce the effects of climate change through the removal of investments from organizations involved in the production of fossil fuels.

In short, if we want to combat climate change, we have to hack at the knees and take no prisoners. Divestment is a matter of social revolution. This revolution needs to happen — there’s significant evidence that Big Oil knew about the effects their work had on the planet and actually worked to keep it from the urgent public eye, and now we’ve come so far that future generations will have to suffer. When people’s well-being is being sacrificed for money, something has to give.

Ethical Economics

Profit-over-people mentalities are common in the United States but are heavily being challenged in the public arena. For instance, partially due to corporate tax breaks, there is less money being given to public educators in the United States than there was previously, and the education standards in the country have dropped dramatically. However, this extends far beyond our borders in the age of globalization.

International business is known for neglecting the working conditions of other cultures, especially in poorer parts of the world. This is crucial to think about if we plan on progressing as a society. It’s a fact that a country is considered more qualified for global competition if they have high education standards and more money — which sometimes leads companies to take advantage of third-world workforces and abuse them with unfair treatment and wages.

So there comes a matter of international trade and business in which we are forced to re-examine our methodology. But while some people find this a hassle, there are perspectives in which you can look at it positively. For instance, a more global economy has allowed for the trading of forex, or multi-currency exchanges in one market place. This has further led to forex trading through self-directed IRAs rather than typical retirement accounts, and not only makes people richer but puts more power back in the hands of individuals.

Corporate Responsibility

It’s now harder for a company to avoid boycotting due to the activism of young people. The social call to sustainability and ethical practices has led corporations to take notice, and in an effort to keep themselves afloat, stand behind environmental and moral causes. Even a company like Nike have changed some of their practices in response to boycotts surrounding their sweatshop labor policies.

With this in mind, corporations now have the job of watching over the world as well as their own companies. For instance, oil investment has even been known to be dangerous in practice, with maritime threats being present in distribution and trades. This has, at times, led to oil leaks and the destruction of aquatic life, as well as human lives being threatened more directly due to military assaults and pirate attacks. Since consumption of the stuff is actually down, this is an opportunity for companies to start investing in renewable fuel sources for the betterment of our planet and their own people. It’s both ethical and practical.

We the people cannot stop putting pressure on corporations to take accountability for their impact on the world. It’s important that we vote with our dollars and make our demands clear. One step at a time, we can change the world — but it will require some activism from us and effort on our parts.

How have you voted with your dollar? What companies are worth your time and money, and which ones aren’t? Why? Let us know in the comments below!

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