"Don't be Evil"

March 3, 2006   

"Don't be evil" -- that's Google's official line. But what does this mean? Investors and businesses intend on making money, but should they do it at any cost? What if a company that creates life saving drugs also tests on animals? What about a conglomerate like GE, which has dozens of divisions, some of which run businesses with goals you might not approve of?
Anyway, investing and social responsibility are two things that don't always seems to mesh, and are certainly aspects of investing that are complicated. They must also be debated!
I've recently run across this problem as I've done investing on my own. Currently I invest in Google: I love their products, their business philosophy, their growth prospects (very important), and their over-all vision. However, I question their policy on China. You may have seen this being discussed in the news recently, and there are as many opinions about Google working with the Chinese government as there are investors in the company. Is it plain evil that Google forks over user information and censors according the the demands of the Chinese government? Or, is it better that the Chinese people have Google, as restricted as it is, than not have it at all? I've come to believe that the latter is correct - that's it's better to provide more censored information than less of it. However, as an investor, I wonder if I've come to that conclusion, or rather erred on that side of a confusing debate, simply because I assume that my stock will go up as the company expands in the area.

Like I said: this is a tough issue, and you'll find something to debate about nearly every company out there.
It is certainly an issue that will come up on this blog as we go forward.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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