What is disposal? And does it work?

What is disposal? And does it work?

As Pro-Palestinian protests continue to hit major US universities, a unifying message has emerged.

From Princeton University in New Jersey to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the same cry can be heard: “Reveal! Let go! We will not stop, we will not rest!”

Signs marking the perimeter of the student encampment on Columbia University’s West Lawn display a similar message — from the group Columbia University Apartheid Divest — reading, “Divest all finances, including endowments, from companies that profit from apartheid, genocide and Israeli occupation in Palestine.”

Israel denies the accusation of genocide.

The specifics of student protester disposal demands vary in scope from school to school.

A coalition at Columbia wants the school to divest its $13.6 billion endowment from any companies linked to Israel or businesses that profit from the Israel-Hamas war. Protest leaders have mentioned the sale of shares of major companies in speeches.

Other students, like those at Cornell University and Yale, are asking their schools to stop investing in arms manufacturers.

Other common points include demanding that universities disclose their investments, severing academic ties with Israeli universities and supporting a cease-fire in Gaza.

So far, most universities have refused to budge on any of them, and some experts doubt the effectiveness of such campaigns. But the students remained steadfast in their demands.

So what exactly are they demanding?

What it means: The concept of a divestment seems fairly simple at face value — an investor or institution sells its company shares to avoid involvement in activities it deems unethical or dangerous.

The move aims not only to reallocate funds to more ethical investments but also to make public statements that can pressure companies or governments to change policies.

There is a history of student activists targeting the endowment during demonstrations. In the 1980s, students successfully persuaded Columbia to break away from apartheid South Africa.

Recently, Columbia and other universities have divested themselves of fossil fuels and private prisons.

But a quick look under the hood shows that things are not so simple. Critics argue that while divestitures can be an effective expression of rejection and a call for change, their actual impact on corporate behavior and market trends is weaker.

Stock prices remain stable: Research has found little correlation between divestment campaigns and stock values or company behavior, Witold Henisz, vice dean and faculty director of environmental, social and governance initiatives at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, told CNN.

Economists from the University of California system studied the impact of the sweeping divestment movement on South Africa in the 1980s and found almost no impact on stock prices.

The researchers state that it is likely because “boycotts primarily reallocate shares and operations from ‘socially responsible’ [investors] to more indifferent investors and countries.”

When you sell shares, Henisz says, you’re essentially giving someone who cares less about an issue a voice and you’re giving up your own voice.

Selling may feel good, he said, “but it may have bad results.”

There are rarely enough sellers and few enough buyers to really change the cost of capital, he added.

Advocates for divestment counter that its value lies in raising awareness and stigmatizing partnerships with targeted regimes or industries.

Interesting: University investing is much more complicated now than it was in the 1980s. Many endowments are managed by asset managers and invested in opaque private equity funds.

“The economy is so global now that if a university decides that they are going to direct their dominant management group to divest from Israel, it is almost impossible to separate,” said Nicholas Dirks, former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

Regarding the call to divest from any company with ties to Israel, “it’s not clear to me that it’s impossible to completely divest from companies that touch in some way countries that have close political and trade ties with the US,” Dirks said. . .

How it might end: Still, college students at schools across the United States say they won’t end their protests until university administrators meet their demands.

Negotiations between Colum’s administration bia and student protestors have walked but are still contentious.

But most schools are unlikely to agree to release or make any politically charged statements, said Dirks, who is also a former vice president of Columbia’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “There is a shared objective, which is to ensure that students can be students and that faculty can exercise some governance.role,” he said.

Conversations about reinstating suspended students and expunging their records will likely be a point of negotiation, he said. “They will try to find a way to get to the end of the year and have students finish their classes and graduate.”

Europe is overcoming inflation. Why can’t America declare victory?
Inflation may have fallen from multi-decade highs on both sides of the Atlantic, but progress has stalled in the United States, with the Federal Reserve now expected to start cutting interest rates well behind its European counterparts, my colleague Anna Cooban reports.

Annual US inflation, as measured by the Fed’s preferred gauge, the Personal Consumption Expenditure index, reached 2.7% in March, up from 2.5% in February. The Fed aims to keep inflation at 2% over the long term.

Another measure of US inflation, the Consumer Price Index, has shown a similar upward trend: In March, CPI rose 3.5% over the same month in 2023, up from 3.2% in February.

Meanwhile, among the 20 countries that use the euro, annual consumer price inflation has slowed since the beginning of the year. It was at 2.4% in March.

The European Central Bank (ECB) appears poised to start cutting interest rates in June, three months before the Fed is expected to do the same, based on market expectations.

There are even signs that the Fed may do something that, until recently, seemed unthinkable – raise the cost of borrowing. Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said earlier this month that she would support a rate hike “should progress on inflation stall or otherwise.”

So why does the United States seem to have a bigger inflation problem than Europe?

Read more here to find out.

Monday: Earnings from Domino’s Pizza. The Dallas Fed released April manufacturing activity.

Tuesday: Earnings from Amazon, Eli Lilly, Samsung, Coca-Cola, AMD, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Mondelez, Mercedes-Benz Group, Volkswagen, PayPal, adidas, Diamondback Energy, Restaurant Brands, Pinterest and Caesars Entertainment. The Chicago PMI for April and the Conference Board released consumer confidence for April.

Wednesday: Earnings from Mastercard, Qualcomm, Pfizer, Marriott, Estee Lauder, DoorDash, eBay, Etsy. The US Commerce Department released March figures for new orders for durable goods. The Federal Reserve announced its latest interest rate decision, followed by a press conference featuring Chairman Jerome Powell.

Thursday: Earnings from Apple, Novo Nordisk, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Cigna, Universal Music Group, Live Nation, DraftKings.

Friday: Earnings from Hershey. The US Department of Labor released April data that measures the job market, including monthly wage growth, wage increases and the unemployment rate.

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