Thursday, March 23, 2006

Harvard divests from stock held by HMC in China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec Corporation)

Harvard Corporation's decision to direct Harvard Management Company (HMC) to divest itself of stock held by HMC in Sinopec Corporation (but no sale of stake in Russian firm with reported Sudan links) was announced by Harvard University in Boston today:
"This is the right thing to do in light of the ongoing events in Darfur," University President Lawrence H. Summers said in a statement today, reported Harvard Crimson March 23, 2006.
Sorry, it is difficult to understand any good that comes of divestment, unless of course it means the cash is re-invested into Western companies to benefit the people of Sudan. Sudan is burdened by terrible debt and relies heavily on foreign revenue, particularly from oil, generated by companies operating in the Sudan.

Let's hope that Harvard and all the others who are divesting, re-invest in Western companies that specialise in beneficial services such as water and agriculture, and encourage them to operate in the Sudan. That way, Sudan could diversify, develop and grow and would not need to rely so heavily upon its oil.
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Divestment remains unproven solution

Mar 24 2005 (Yale Daily News by Matthew Gillum) Divestment remains unproven solution - excerpt:

"I can't help but think that Yale's divestment crew got caught up in do-gooder groupthink and actually has no idea if divestment is effective or not. This innocence of evidence is a problem that plagues many activists at Yale on both sides of the political spectrum (one example on the right would be those who moralize against homosexuality on religious grounds ignoring the vast abundance of same-sex activity in nature). I weep for America if this style of thinking is as prevalent among our future leaders as it seems. "

Response Mar 27, 2006 (Yale, Eric Bloom) Activists' work goes beyond divestment - "Divestment creates a lot of press that otherwise goes to Nick and Jessica. Whenever a university such as Yale divests, it gets noticed; within 24 hours of Yale's announcement of its divestment, for example, publications in places as diverse as North Dakota and South Africa had covered it. Take that and replicate it with Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Amherst, Brown and the University of California system, and all of a sudden people are reading about the atrocities of Darfur instead of a few sick birds in Southeast Asia."

UPDATE: Another point of view published at Passion of the Present: A Wise Divestment: Harvard was right to dump its Sinopec shares ("Harvard Crimson" editorial)

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