KILLERS OR LIFE SAVERS? | Investing in Weapons Companies

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KILLERS OR LIFE SAVERS? | Investing in Weapons Companies

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About the Author: Richard Money


  1. I’m curious for those who have issues with questionable companies, if they invest in the big corporations like Blackrock who benefit by exploiting the housing market and making it near impossible for the next generation to get into their first house without help

    1. There’s a big difference between killing people and making people’s lives miserable. Both are ethically wrong on their own of course but not to the same extent at all

  2. I guess the simple answer is that it depends who you ask. It’s easy to say they are essential to protect ourselves. But if you go in the Middle East & in nations that the US has exploited for the oil industry you’ll probably get a bit of a different answer 🙂

    1. didnt the US supply them with stingers and other weapons of war in the 80’s during the russian invasion?

  3. I guess the important thing is to be informed about your investments so that you don’t regret putting money in to something that you later decide is morally objectionable.

    This can be difficult for ETF investors. Does the broad diversification of an ETF provide insulation from the moral guilt that they might feel if they invested directly in something that they oppose?

  4. Once you choose to invest in stocks you need to realize you are probably compromising your values to make money. I held off for 20 years, but succumbed.

  5. By the same logic, these folks should never invest in any S&P 500 index ETF which includes LMT et al, should never invest in any major US bank which likely lends money to these killer companies, and heck should never pay taxes since part of the money goes to defence spending. That doesn’t leave too many options for these folks to operationalize their money.

  6. Each person definitely needs to think about what is and not objectionable to them. I’m glad we still enjoy some freedom in regards to making these choices in Canada. There are always a lot of grey areas the more I think about such things. 

    As I’ve thought about the morals of investing, I also had this thought:
    In a way are not the original people buying IPOs the only ones who gave money to the company to support them? If I bought shares at a later date, I’m giving my money to some random investor that I’m hoping to make money off of, not the company. Of course if a company is paying dividends, then I’m also profiting from whatever business that company is up to… good or bad. Just a thought, and I could be wrong. I definitely could spend more time thinking and learning about where is best for me to invest.

  7. Interesting how you try to rationalize it. No, even when used for defence those are weapons made to kill people. That’s number one. Second, their profits are not really driven by market offer/demand conditions but by contracts with countries, often at inflated prices, which means it is taxpayers money that fills their coffers.

    To those asking about index funds and large ETFs: yes, I scout those for things like weapons, tabaco, etc. It reduces the pool enormously and I may not have as many “gains” as you claim to get, BUT, a very important but, I could not sleep well at night or be in peace with myself, owing pieces of those companies.

    Feel free to have them in your portfolio but the apology of these companies is hollow.

    1. I’m curious on your thoughts then of the allied forces taking part in ww2 or if everyone should have stayed home and let the nazis just have the run of Europe?

  8. Yeah a country has a right to produce weapons s to defend and uphold sovereignty and/or humanitarian aid (whatever your justification of humanitarian aid is). But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what the military industrial complex entails. Defense contractor companies do not merely exist on the sidelines of political & geopolitical diplomacy waiting to produce war machines in a democratic fashion. They actively lobby the government, not to mention there are ex Raytheon, Lockheed, Honeywell etc. literally in the cabinets of both Democrat and Republican parties. Beyond that, it doesn’t take much more research to find that America’s colossal spending on their military (dwarfs every other nation, & their own social security spending) is in the name of upholding imperialist power.

    They can be life savers and killers. War hawks who have massive stakes in these companies have called for a no fly zone, which effectively means ww3. Also the US occupations in the middle east are no more ethical than what Russia is doing in Ukraine right now.

  9. Same argument may be brought forward about tobacco companies. There are people who used to smoke, smoke now and will smoke in the future. And for many, smoking shortens lives and kills. So why then anyone should invest in compagnies like Philip Morris International at all? Well, I think of it this way. Let’s assume every shareholder pulled out and divested everything they had invested in. Will the company disappear, will smoking disappear? Even if those companies went private and quit Wall Street, there will still be a demand out there for cigarettes and tobacco-related products, whether the company trades on the stock exchange or not. From my point of view, I see investing not just as numbers, and investing does not always mean supporting the company for what it is today, but it may also legitimately be investing for what you think is right for the company to be in the future. It’s a matter of having a voice, a vote, something to say, and to be able to act upon what you think is right or wrong. For example, what about dollar cost-averaging on a stock like PM, scooping up the dividends, and using them to make donations for research on cancer? Also, what about attending shareholder meetings, be able to ask questions, to vote, to read executive summaries and see where the company is going? To see life not like a dichotomy between the good and evil, but to be able to see goodness within sin, and sin within goodness? For example, I think here of the PM plan to a build a « smoke-free » future, which encompasses the use of the electronic cigarette. Still not necessarily the most healthy product out there, but that doesn’t have all the same cons as the regular cigarette. What about putting tobacco companies in a context like the war in Ukraine, where we saw on TV volunteers making life packs for soldiers, amongst which cigarettes packs were to be found? Those cigarettes in the soldiers’ life packs, did the volunteers put them in there with the intension of shortening the soldiers’ lives? Or could it be also that the cigarette, within the context of the war, is one of the few elements that help the soldiers think and rejoice about the little cheerful sins of life, like having a smoke with friends on the street after a school exam? In summary, I believe that the investments goals are more relevant than just the facts and numbers of where the money is invested in. (And sorry for my English, I am a francophone from Montreal, Quebec).

  10. I think you made a good point in saying that certain weapons are being used for defense and to save lives. I agree that when it comes down to it, we need weapons to defend ourselves and others from tyrants…it’s sad. But what is more sad is seeing weapon manufacturing companies selling their products to both sides, which is probably what most weapon manufacturing companies are doing right? That, in my opinion, is immoral and I will not be willingly investing in such companies.
    Cheers from Vancouver.

    1. As far as I’m aware colt, Lockheed etc aren’t building Russian, Chinese etc equipment they have their own manufacturers. There are situations such as the Ukraine Conflict where nato countries will supply their weapons to other countries, but that is decided by governments not businesses.

  11. Could you guys address the craziness in the stock market that is going on since last week. Should be interesting topic to talk about. Many investors are freaking out from that volatility. Sell-offs are crazy.

  12. Honestly, the way I see it is their are gonna make weapons whether i invest in their company or not. They make money primarily through their government contracts, doesn’t matter if I end up have 10 or 20k invested in them. Either I buy ’em or someone else will, only reason I don’t also invest in cigarette & oil companies is I don’t like their long term (20 ish yrs) prospects, I plan to buy and hold forever.

  13. Un tema muy interesante y controvertido, no creo que sean asesinos o salvadores, esos son los soldados, lo que si es cierto es que las empresas que hacen armas consiguen ganancias del conflicto o de que los países se preparen para un conflicto, nunca invertiría en guerra, aunque personalmente he enviado ayudas a Ucrania para defenderse, nunca invertiría en petroleo, aunque uso cosas que consumen petroleo, creo que esta clase de empresas deben ir desapareciendo gradualmente, entiendo la necesidad de las mismas y que el cambios es un paso a paso.

    “A very interesting and controversial topic, I don’t think they’re killers or saviors, those are the soldiers, what is true is that the companies that make weapons make profits from the conflict or from countries preparing for a conflict, I would never invest in war, although I’ve personally sent aid to Ukraine to defend themself; I would never invest in oil, although I use things that consume oil, I believe that this type of company should gradually disappear, but I understand the need for ir and that the changes are step by step.”

  14. So I am not necessarily against any weapons manufacturer’s. Or even against investing in them. But I do think as a Canadian. I enjoy my freedom, and I feel everyone in the world should as well. So having that, I would hope that the companies selling there products do not sell to terrorist groups, such as Taliban and Al-Qaeda. And any other country that is in support of these Said groups. And if they do, then somewhere in Nato world. It should be made illegal. For any weapons company to do so.

  15. Great vid, but frankly whatever you chose to discuss or like on this channel is a choice and people can decide to subscribe and watch or not. You wouldn’t even have the internet if it wasn’t for the military. Military investments and technology filter down to commercial and residential tech. Keep up the good work.

  16. You have picked an extremely complicated topic this week! People can say these companies shouldn’t exist so I’m not going to back them and if world peace breaks out I’m all for that. However I don’t see that happening in my lifetime, so in order to deter and respond to threats to our nation and its allies these companies are a crucial component.

  17. As others have said, this absolutely depends on who you ask. My personal opinion is that, I whole heartedly support these companies, their missions and products. As a former member of the Canadian Forces, I fully support any product or company that makes a product, that will save Canadian lives. Along with saving Canadians these companies save the lives of our allies and friends around the globe. Without the ingenuity on their part, we wouldn’t be able to defend ourselves or our friends. Our enemies won’t stop innovation on their side and we can’t stop on our side.

    Been watching the channel for a while now and I love how involved you and your son are with the community here. Keep up the great work.

  18. Great video, unrelated but I would be really interested to hear your explanation of what exactly “support levels” are and how analysts figure out those levels. Fairly new to investing and its a mystery to me how they are used/calculated.

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