April 18, 2007

Reed Elsevier and arms trade

There is unavoidably a moral dimension to business decisions. To make decisions that work from a practical standpoint we constantly make compromises with humanistic and environmental ideals. It is difficult if not impossible for a person to live in the modern world, even as an anarchist on a commune, without making compromises with the system at some level. On an everyday basis though, most of us are influenced by the moral dimension of a business decision only occasionally, when the moral wrong involved jumps out as something extreme and out of the ordinary. As progressive librarians, we are usually the ones who raise awareness of a moral problem with a vendor or a publisher or another entity, whether it has to do with unfair labor practices or a conflict of interest.

Right now we have a deusy of a moral issue with a vendor to deal with, and that is Reed Elsevier’s involvement in the arms trade. Elsevier’s primary involvement in the arms trade is in organizing weapons trade shows attended by representatives of the world’s militaries.

Today’s Independent (UK) has an article about a protest at a Reed Elsevier shareholder’s meeting.

There is a web based petition that you can sign, which says simply, “We, the undersigned, request that Reed Elsevier and their subsidaries stop organising arms fairs.”


  1. Do you mean “doozy” or “deuce”? Never heard of “deusy”!

    Comment by andy — April 19, 2007 @ 8:25 pm

  2. Maybe it’s not the right way to spell it… but it’s originally from Deusenberg, which was a really nice car in the 1920’s. That’s where the slang word comes from, so I just went to that for the spelling.

    Comment by Rory Litwin — April 19, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

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