Divestment and Disinvestment from South Africa: A Reappraisal

by David Beaty, Oren Harari



Based on the authors' two-year research project in South Africa, this article examines the common arguments favoring and opposing disengagement (the strategies of "divestment" and "disinvestment" are considered together as "disengagement"). It finds that the traditional pro- and anti-disengagement arguments are weak, if not invalid. The primary impact of disengagement or engagement is symbolic, not economic. This means that the decisions made by American firms should be based primarily on moral/value considerations. If these considerations include a commitment to ending apartheid and helping South African blacks, then active listening to blacks' needs should be an important step.

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