Revenge of the Free Market Utopians

A group of General Electric Company shareholders has filed a resolution urging GE not to back regulatory approaches to mitigating climate change. No matter if such regulations could give GE a competitive advantage with a host of resource efficient products and services. The Action Fund Management LLC, an investment advisor to the Free Enterprise Action Fund, has filed a shareholder resolution asking GE to justify its support to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Apparently GE requested the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission allow it to exclude the resolution, but the commission denied that request.The following cite from the Free Enterprise Action Fund website tells us all we need to know.

The Free Enterprise Action Fund was created in response to the growing threat of the anti-business movement, i.e. social and political activists operating under the banners of "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR) and "Socially Responsible Investing" (SRI). These radical activists target law-abiding corporations with threats of organized boycott, negative publicity, shareholder controversy, litigation and/or product disparagement unless and until their demands are met.

'Tip-of-the-hat' to Disinfopedia for this perspective piece:

"According to a January 26, 2006 report in the Chicago Tribune, "The fund's advocacy stance boils down to opposing many of the things supported by traditional 'social investment funds,' because issues like global warming or corporate governance distract business from its real role of operating in the best interests of shareholders." "

"The Tribune called it the "Stupid Investment of the Week ... Strip away the rhetoric, and you're getting a very expensive, underperforming index fund, while Milloy and partner Thomas Borelli get a platform for raising their pet issues. ... An expense ratio capped at 2 percent--ridiculously high for a portfolio of corporate giants--makes stock market returns unrealistic. From inception on March 1 of last year through Dec. 31, Free Enterprise Action returned 2.32 percent; the S&P; 500 returned 4.72 percent. That's ugly.""

Isn't the free market fun?