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Robert Zevin
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Robert has been a leader in socially responsible investing since he started doing it for his clients in 1967. At the same time he also pioneered the use of modern portfolio theory to protect his clients against the losses that are so often the result of conventional investment approaches. Robert has mentored and trained many people in the social investing movement as employees and as friends. He started what is now Walden Asset Management in 1975, making it the first explicit socially responsible unit in any bank. He was also a principal architect of the first Calvert Social Investment Fund in 1982. Robert was a leader in the movement to divest from apartheid South Africa. His 1987 testimony in defense of the Baltimore pension funds’ right to divest led to a precedent-setting decision. He gave testimony, performed studies and engaged in debates in numerous cities, states and universities.

His activism and commitment to civil disobedience has led to arrests and beatings as well as boardrooms. He has founded, co-founded and led numerous social change organizations such as Resist (against the war in Vietnam), United States Servicemen’s Fund (anti-war GI coffee houses), Haymarket Foundation (change not charity), Affirmative Investments (direct community investments), and Shared Interest (support for informal economy in South Africa since 1996). Robert is also a Harvard Ph.D. in economics, who has taught at Berkeley, Columbia and Harvard and published two books and numerous articles about economic history and social policy. For the last thirteen years he has been leading and building Zevin Asset Management, a socially responsible investment firm as notable for its investment performance as for its social commitments.

Entries by Robert Zevin

What's to Be Done About High Frequency Trading?

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 11:46 AM

High Frequency Trading (HFT) is essentially no different from a highwayman standing in the road with a gun demanding a tributary toll from all who would go about their business to the better without him. In his book, Flash Boys, Michael Lewis succeeded in arousing some moral outrage about this...

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Michael Lewis' Flash Boys

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 3:57 PM

Michael Lewis' book, Flash Boys, exposes one of Wall Street's newest scams, high-frequency trading, or HFT for short. HFT is at the heart of a greatly altered system for buying and selling common stocks that has completely transformed the way markets worked five or ten years ago.

In those good...

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Obamacare

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 11:53 AM

America spends more on health care than any other country in the world, despite our uniquely non-socialized system, yet our health outcomes are at or below the bottom of the range for developed countries. Data from the OECD show that total health care spending in the U.S....

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Last Tango on the Titanic?

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2013 | 5:17 PM

I don't think so. In recent weeks stock markets in many parts of the world have declined, sometimes quite sharply, as in Japan where the previous gains had been strongest. This has led a number of people to fear that the next big move of stock prices will be down....

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A Famous Victory

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 11:11 AM

The curtain has come down after Act I of the Fiscal Cliff. Some critics have proclaimed it a victory for the president over his Republican enemies. Others have complained that, once again, the president failed to take a sufficiently firm stance in favor of the positions he took as a...

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Europe

(4) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 2:15 PM

The European crisis has been going on for a long time, and it promises to continue a lot longer. The reasons are not simply politicians kicking the can down the road and avoiding difficult decisions. Nor is it simply a matter of the Germans not realizing that it would be...

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Socially Responsible Investing: Whence Did We Come? And Whither Are We Going?

(0) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 5:12 PM

Shortly after registering my own investment adviser firm in 1967, I found myself offering to apply socially responsible selection criteria to my clients' portfolios, as well as helping my clients exercise other shareholder powers in order to achieve changes in companies' behavior. I also helped educate management and other shareholders...

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Sleepless in Brussels... Madrid and Athens

(1) Comments | Posted July 12, 2012 | 7:20 PM

Who

A couple of weeks ago European leaders held another all-night pajama party, staggering out into the morning light to proclaim that they had reached yet another game-changing agreement. The spin from France and the troubled peripheral countries was that the Germans had backed down. The Germans were now willing...

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Impact Investing: New Kid on the Block?

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2011 | 11:32 AM

Is impact investing really the new kid on the block or just the same old kid in new clothes with a new name? Amy Domini complained in a March Huffington Post blog that it is definitely only a new name for what she and others have been doing...

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Investor Support for the Occupy Movement

(3) Comments | Posted October 13, 2011 | 5:17 PM

In this time of declining living standards and high unemployment, many people feel bitterness and disappointment. And justifiably so, as overwhelming evidence demonstrates the rich have gotten richer at the expense of the middle class, the working poor, and the unemployed. The rising differential between executive and worker incomes and...

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Deja Vu All Over Again

(0) Comments | Posted August 9, 2011 | 4:26 PM

Many people are worried about the recent sharp declines in stock markets around the world along with increasing turmoil in other markets and ominous indications of increased violence and political malice.

This is indeed a proper time to be worried. Reductions have barely begun in the debt issued during...

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The Consequences of the Slow-Moving European Debt Crisis

(1) Comments | Posted June 2, 2011 | 10:05 AM

In Europe, the policies of retrenchment that have been imposed upon Greece and Ireland have begun to produce their inevitable consequences: contracting economies, rising unemployment and social turmoil, falling tax revenues, rising deficits and rapidly rising ratios of debt to national income, the exact opposite of the purported aims of...

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Playing Chicken With the Debt Ceiling

(2) Comments | Posted June 1, 2011 | 5:56 PM

In the days before people could do anything "virtually" on the Internet, restless teenage boys used to play a game called "chicken" in which two contestants would race their cars directly toward each other. The first to swerve in order to avoid crashing was the "chicken" and loser of the...

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European Analogies to the 1920s and '30s

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2011 | 5:42 PM

The slow motion train wreck that is the Eurozone continues to roil bond markets, banks and governments. The complex issues involved cannot be described, yet alone adequately explained, in this short piece but bear with me.

Economic activity is still contracting in much of Europe including the UK, Spain, Portugal,...

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Arab Spring

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2011 | 5:33 PM

The witches' cauldron is boiling furiously with momentous effects all over the world. An Arab Spring of popular protests against autocratic governments has spread to almost every country in the Arab world, resonating also in Iran and parts of central Africa and eliciting protective responses as far away as China....

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Obama Does a "W"

(5) Comments | Posted December 16, 2010 | 9:58 AM

Never in his term as President or before has Barack Obama proposed or negotiated a public policy so beneficial to America's workers as the "deal" he hammered out at the White House with the Republican leadership. And perhaps never in all of American history has a President acted with such...

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Been Down So Long ...

(2) Comments | Posted October 14, 2010 | 3:47 PM

A glum consensus about the economic future has enveloped our collective minds like fog descending on the coast at sunset. It is now almost universally agreed that economies in the United States along with Europe and Japan are likely to grow at only about two percent a year or less...

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Addiction

(1) Comments | Posted September 28, 2010 | 5:56 PM

Addiction

Corrupt regulatory oversight, cutting corners to save costs, plus citizens and politicians chanting "Drill, baby, drill" -- is the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe really any surprise? The spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst man-made environmental disaster in the U.S., is a consequence of our addiction to oil....

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Lost

(5) Comments | Posted September 1, 2010 | 11:17 AM

Not long ago, Japan lost a decade. "Japan once invited admiration" said The Economist in a 1998 article, "Now, however, it invites despair, as it fails to escape from the economic stagnation of this lost decade." Since then Japan has had another dozen years of negative equity returns and real...

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Beat the Devil

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2010 | 5:45 PM

The rise from the ashes of the American and world economies has been slow and is likely to continue to be slow, at least in the world's highest income countries. As with all previous recoveries from major financial crises, there is a serious drag from large debts remaining to be...

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