My Faults My Own

…willing to sacrifice something we don't have

for something we won't have, so somebody will someday.

IN WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo, a sometimes-poet and erstwhile student of Computer Science and Math, oc­cas­ion­al­ly writes on things of int­erest.

Ben Kuhn sums up how Scott Aaronson sums up my thoughts on divestment

Aaronson:

I’m sensitive to the charge that divestment petitions are just meaningless sanctimony, a way for activists to feel morally pure without either making serious sacrifices or engaging the real complexities of an issue. In the end, though, that kind of meta-level judgment can’t absolve us of the need to consider each petition on its merits: if we think of a previous crisis for civilization (say, in the late 1930s), then it seems obvious that even symbolic divestment gestures were better than nothing.

What made up my mind was reading the arguments pro and con, and seeing that the organizers of this petition had a clear-eyed understanding of what they were trying to accomplish and why: they know that divestment can’t directly drive down oil companies’ stock prices, but it can powerfully signal to the world a scientific consensus that, if global catastrophe is to be averted, most of the known fossil-fuel reserves need to be left in the ground,

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Three Modest Proposals, Instead of Divesting...

The modest proposal comes after a bit of serious economics, because, well, you have to eat your vegetables before you get any dessert.

Also: Global warming is real and anthropocentric; we're going to need to stop it; we're going to need to stop using fossil fuels. If you don't believe these things, then I'm not going to try to convince you here. If you do believe these things, and also think that I'm wrong here, I'd be really, really, glad to hear it.

All of that said, the majority of this post is either intended as satire or double-satire; the only thing that I'll admit to honestly believing is that no one, not even Divest, is above a little tongue-in-cheek mockery.

Also, despite my use of the narrative first person, I am in no way involved with the Divest movement, at Harvard or elsewhere, except that sometimes I give them unsolicited financial advice.

Recently, Milo King, on Gains From Trade, asks: What is the economic impact of divestment? A few

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