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The country blacklist

John Plender makes an important point in the Financial Times about Calpers’ decision to rule out investment in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines (second item in column). “Blacklisting countries rather than individual companies is a little like red-lining — the practice whereby home lenders ostracise complete neighbourhoods regardless of the creditworthiness of individual inhabitants.”

 Of course Calpers is under no obligation to go to the trouble and expense of researching individual companies in distant markets. But celebrating (and investing in) the well-run pioneers would do far more for the cause of economic and social reform than shunning the entire market.

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