Investing in Violence

What is a gun? It is a tool for violence, simple as that. It has no other use except to cause harm through physical violence. Most people do not want to profit from domestic violence, terrorism, gang violence, war and school shootings. However, by investing in companies which manufacture weapons, you are by default enabling and investing in tools used in these forms of violence.

Let say for example ‘Aussie Joe’ has a superannuation account with Super Fund One. Super Fund One uses Investment Manager Two to manage their investments. Investment Manager Two invests globally and in the US holds stocks in Big Guns Three Corporation. Big Guns Three Corporation supplies guns to Walmart, where US Barry buys his guns. US Barry has two guns, one in his car and one in his home. Barry’s home gets burgled one day and his gun is stolen by Dan. Dan uses the gun to shoot twenty children at his school with his mate Pete, Pete uses his dad’s gun. The very same gun that was used by Pete’s uncle to shoot his aunty ten years ago.

Now do not get me wrong, weapons can be profitable - and have been for some time, thanks to the US. Some of Australia’s big financial institutions hold significant weapon investments in nuclear weapons production and manufacturing including ANZ $1,886 million USD, Westpac $463 million USD, $635 million USD, Macquarie Group $1,897 million USD see for more details. However, weapons also have negative social and economic affects.

Weapons and gun investments place additional risk on the economy. Violence damages the economy is causes economic disruptions and can lead to economic collapse as we have seen in Syria recently.

There are smaller scale disruptions, such as when there is a school shooting in a local area and students are killed. There are numerous flow-on affects to parents and family who have to take time from work as a result of grief. Or when individuals in our community are killed that have great social importance and benefit (such as that of surgeon Victor Chang), not to mention the community investment of time and money into their education and training.

Guns and weapons cause economic inefficiencies. As we continue to globalise and move to a global economy it is no longer possible to expect that because violence is not happening in our country, that it does not affect our economy. The economies of the world are now entwined and reliant on each other.

If you do not want to invest in violence, a good way to see this achieved is through divestment from weapons manufacturers. Investors need to demand that fund managers and superannuation fund trustees are transparent about their holdings, and must divest from weapons.