Social investment: Subjectivism, sublation and the moral elevation of success

Haigh, Matthew (2006). Social investment: Subjectivism, sublation and the moral elevation of success. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 17(8) pp. 989–1005.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2005.08.012

Abstract

Investment products that deploy ethical values and social considerations in portfolio construction have persisted since the 1980s. Pitting Habermasian discourse ethics against Foucauldian power relations and radical institutionalism, the paper argues that socially directed mutual funds ascribe capital markets with validities of high moral magnitude, work up extant tendencies toward financial hegemony and stymie criticism of the political–economic order. Institutional pressures do not permit the exercise of an ethic stronger than an aesthetic care of the self. The balance struck between economic and social priorities is investigated by interviewing investment managers, reviewing archival material and surveying the attitudes of unit holders in retail social mutual funds.

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