Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

How Can People Be This Stupid? At Harvard Even?

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
Snarkus
11 months ago

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
Boganboy
11 months ago
Reply to  Snarkus

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

TD
TD
11 months ago
Reply to  Snarkus

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

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
11 months ago

Harvard is also where the trustafarians go.

Spike
Spike
11 months ago

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
TD
11 months ago

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
dodgy geezer
11 months ago

“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
Spike
11 months ago
Reply to  dodgy geezer

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
jgh
11 months ago

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

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