Jeremy Grantham of GMO came to our MBA program to speak last week. The title of his talk was “Irrational Avoidance of the Unpleasant: Perspectives on Investing, Resource Limitations & Global Warming.” It was a fantastic, well-attended talk by one of the most respected investment advisers in the world today, but he accidentally ended up almost duplicating one of his major criticisms of the mentality of Wall Street: climate change denial or willful ignorance.
He never meant to, of course. Look at his title! A point early in his talk was that, while 97% of scientists world-wide agree that human-induced global warming is taking place, the ratio is almost the reverse among Wall Street investment banks, brokers, traders, investors, the financial media, etc. As an extreme case, consider the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, with its endless aspersions toward climate science and climate scientists. What the heck are those monkeys doing? Idiots. Hypocrites, too. Rupert Murdoch and his editors at the “J” have their trembling tongues so deep in the honey pot of the fossil fuel complex that they’ll do anything to keep them sweet. And then of course go home to their swank estates in Greenwich and Darien fully aware that the climatologists are probably right. They are not fools. But their 1% incomes tell them to shut up about global warming and get with Exxon Mobil’s and Peabody Energy’s program. Which means keeping Wall Street a truth-free zone as far as climate is concerned. Beware of people who are paid handsomely to give the truth a wide berth.
Jeremy G. is to be forgiven. Time was limited, and he became so heavily focused on potential food scarcity, peak oil, mined phosphate and potassium depletion, and population growth that he never got to climate. There’s enough to be worried about anyway. But in their eager haste to always sound climatologically correct in front of their bribers, and in passing the contagion along to their even more obedient supplicants in Congress, the Wall Street establishment is doing the 99% a vast, ominous disservice, and you can bet your bottom dollar (which is probably all you have left) that the Masters of the Universe will have better means than you or I to adjust to the consequences of climate change. Country home near Chicoutimi, anyone? I hear there’s a new Friday evening shuttle leaving from the Midtown Skyport!
Wonder if that MBA Oath is starting to make a difference… After all, Wall Street probably has the highest MBA density of anywhere in the world (measured in MBAs per cubic centimeter). Don’t MBA programs these days emphasize realism, accuracy, and truth?! (Or is that only when there’s a big payoff at the end?)
Promise #5 of the Oath is:
“• I will protect the right of future generations to advance their standard of living and enjoy a healthy planet.”
As of today, 6,426 MBAs have sworn their fealty. Hm. That’s about 6% of all MBA enrollments in the US, annually. Considering the Oath has been around for 3 years, and that there are non-US signers, we can guess that perhaps 1% of annual MBA grads stake their self-respect, reputations, and honor before God and (wo)man upon dutifully carrying out Promise Number 5 above, which they are of course doing. The other 99% (a different 99%, please note) thus continue to swindle and shill, rogues of the hydrocarbon bosses, unannointed and unprotected by the goodness of the Fellowship of the Oath.
We have to save them, so they do us right! Let the truth prevail. Let them ALL swear the Oath, dedicate themselves to scientific truth and a healthy planet, and stand with the 97% (of climate scientists), so that people like Jeremy Grantham don’t have to continue revealing such a pathetic, pathologically criminal state of affairs.
That should be enough, right?