Over the years, I have received dozens of questions about a problem that surfaces at some point in the life of almost every organization. The problem was nicely laid out in the following letter:
This organization had stumbled on the subject that has probably taken up more time in progressive groups than almost any other topic one could name. In fact, had some organizations held a “dirty money discussion-a-thon” and sought pledges for each minute they spent discussing the very questions the writer raises, they would be handsomely endowed by now and could change their discussion to “dirty and clean investment policies.” However, the writer raises serious questions that are not easy to answer, which is why this debate is perennial.
Let’s divide the questions into two parts: the idea of “dirty” money and the consequences of taking such money.
I don’t subscribe to the idea that there is “dirty” money and “clean” money. Like a hammer, money is a tool. A hammer ...