Showing posts from October, 2013

What is the value of symbolic action?

Robert Stavins argues that largely symbolic actions do not help and may ultimately hurt the cause for action on climate change (HT Mark Thoma ): Over the past year or more, across the United States, there has been a groundswell of student activism pressing colleges and universities to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies from their investment portfolios.  On October 3, 2013, after many months of  assessment, discussion, and debate , the President of Harvard University,  Drew Faust , issued a long, well-reasoned, and – in my view – ultimately sensible statement on “fossil fuel divestment,”  in which she explained why she and the Corporation (Harvard’s governing board) do not believe that “university divestment from the fossil fuel industry is warranted or wise.”  I urge you to read  her statement , and decide for yourself how compelling you find it, and whether and how it may apply to your institution, as well.   About 10 days later,  two leaders of the student movement a