How Can People Be This Stupid? At Harvard Even?

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This Monday, two days before Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, oil futures went negative for the first time in history. Buyers were so eager to offload oil commitments that they were willing to give their crude away at cost.

At cost” is at the price of production. Oil has a positive price of production. Selling it at a negative price is thus to be giving is away at less than cost.

Any further economic analysis from people this stupid is going to be pretty useless, isn’t it?

This pressure is in no small part due to its unsustainable investments: rough calculations suggest that Harvard may have lost $700m through its fossil fuel holdings alone. This is merely a symptom of broader institutional ties, including a trustee who also serves as Exxon’s top lawyer.

For years, economists have warned of how the carbon bubble’s rupture might take much of the economy along with it. What we’re seeing now is a preview of what that will look like. Broad societal entanglements with the fossil fuel industry make crashes like this all the more dangerous, and if even the richest and most powerful institutions are paying the price, imagine what the consequences are for those without a multibillion-dollar endowment to fall back on.

They don’t disappoint either, do they?

The capitalists have lost, sure they have, as asset prices fall. And consumers are making out like bandits as the consumption of energy becomes ever cheaper. The consequences for non-asset owners therefore being positive.

Ilana Cohen, Connor Chung and Joseph Winters are organizers with Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard

And there we were thinking that Harvard is where the bright kids go.

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Snarkus
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Snarkus

Shirely not ! Are you suggesting the big subsidies to windmills and solar panels will look even more ridiculous? In Oz the mantra that renewables electricity is much cheaper than fossil is an irritating meme

Boganboy
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Boganboy

What I find most irritating is that my actual electricity bills go up.

TD
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TD

It is usually cheaper to buy your electricity than to make your own.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Harvard is also where the trustafarians go.

Spike
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Spike

None of the current gyrations in oil prices depends in the slightest on the efficacy, popularity, or “sustainability” of hydrocarbon energy.

Harvard is getting some awful press this week: (1) puts in for its share of Covid stimulus loot, shamed by name by Trump in nightly press conference, forced to announce it will give it back; (2) prof organizes symposium against home-schooling, overtly challenges the notion that parents should guide their kids’ education.

TD
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TD

What I’ve found curious are the number of people who say this means the end of the oil industry so people will finally quit using it and go “green”.

dodgy geezer
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dodgy geezer

“And there we were thinking that Harvard is where the bright kids go.”

Bright kids are by definition, people that the current establishment think are clever.

Therefore they are people who have bought into the current establishment values. So you should not expect any out-of-the box thinking from them.

Spike
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Spike

It is possible to measure intelligence independent of orthodoxy. But “bright kids at Harvard” are definitely the ones who have bought into establishment values, same as “bright kids at a teachers’ college.”

jgh
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jgh

And what do they think those billion-dollar endownments are made out of? If Capitalism collapses those endownments go with it.