venezuela protest Carlos Becerra/Getty Images

The Hunger Bonds

Investing often creates a dilemma over goals: Should we aim to do well or to do good? Nowadays, it is emerging markets as an asset class that should make people morally queasy, owing to Venezuela's outsize role in driving the performance of index funds.

CAMBRIDGE – Investing often creates moral dilemmas over goals: Should we aim to do well or to do good? Is it appropriate to invest in tobacco companies? Or in companies that sell guns to drug gangs?

The recent popularity of so-called impact investment funds, which promise to deliver decent returns while advancing social or environmental goals, is based on this unease. Foundations often find that these investment vehicles help them to do good both with the money that they spend on philanthropy and with the endowment assets that yield the returns on which their philanthropy depends.

Nowadays, it is emerging markets as an asset class that should make people morally queasy. Should decent people put their money in emerging-market bond funds?

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