Is Apple a “sin stock?”

Forbes magazine asks a Jesuit priest, a techie, and a stock analyst if investing in Apple might support an immoral corporation.

The Vice Fund concentrates on four sectors: alcohol, tobacco, gaming, and weapons/defense. Investopedia defines a “sinful stock” as “Stock from companies that are associated with (or are directly involved in) activities that are widely considered to be unethical or immoral.” More broadly, vice industries tend to have higher barriers to entry, may or may not produce products that are harmful or addictive, and could have complex legal and tax issues.

The way investor James Altucher sees it, Apple is a “spice stock,” somewhere between a vice stock and not.

“I would not think of [Apple] as a vice fund, but I certainly use the iPad as an escape, so it depends on how we define vice,” Altucher says in an email. “Although I guess the best thing would be if I just meditated on planes, instead of played Temple Run the entire time.”

Using Apple products may not be a sin, but the company’s business practices could be considered sinful.

According to Bloomberg’s Economics Brief editor Kevin Depew, “Apple comes closer to meeting vice criteria based on the Foxconn worker treatment allegations more than from producing so-called ‘addictive’ products.”

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