New Ecologist out

The new edition of the Ecologist magazine is out - this month the main feature is called “Do You Work for a Psycho?”, a feature on the recent film (and book) The Corporation, a film about corporate culture featuring Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein and the notorious ultra-monetarist academic Milton Friedman. The Economist has a regular feature called KarmabanQue, about “Activists taking control of the stock market using Smart Boycotts”. It’s a guide to which stocks ethical traders should avoid. Top of the list, for some reason, is Microsoft. Boycott trend on this company is up, because “users are flocking by the million to the internet search engine Mozilla, the free open-source alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer”.

Uh, Mozilla is a browser - not a search engine. Big difference!

I don’t think it is any skin off Microsoft’s nose if people stop using Explorer. It’s supplied free with the operating system, and Mozilla’s internet software is freely downloadable. The company has not put much effort into Explorer for a while, while Mozilla’s products have surged ahead.

As for why to boycott them, the magazine says this:

Clearly, the company’s bug-prone software isn’t helping, the global security situation: viruses targeting the monopolistic and negligent Microsoft are acting like virtual oil spills, degrading the environment of cyberspace.

The general advice seems to be that Microsoft’s products are rubbish, which is a good reason, on plain business grounds (the source is Business Week) to avoid their stock. Not buying bad software, or trading in the stocks of a company which lets its main product slip while developing a pipe-dream of an all-new operating system which they think won’t see the light of day for years isn’t just an ethical decision - it’s plain common sense. I intend to write a letter to this magazine making this point.

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