Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Sustainable Development

On my way to a doctor's appointment, I searched inside my briefcase for something to read while I waited. I found an issue of one of my favorite magazines, Scientific American, dated October, 2008. 

Therein I read the barely month-old words of Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, BA summa cum laude from Harvard University, MA and PhD in economics also from Harvard. With a resume like that, only a fool would argue with Dr. Sachs. Lucky for me, my mother raised one.

Actually, my mother -- God rest her soul -- raised a polite skeptic who tolerates the pretensions of other people, especially when they are well-intentioned and harmless, but is ready to rise up in indignation at the kind of arrogance that presumes to speak ex cathedra . Here is what Dr. Sachs wrote in a column entitled "Coping With a Persistent Oil Crisis":

"...the fundamental factors of supply and demand will keep oil costly for years to come."

"The current energy crisis will most likely worsen before it gets better."

Here is what actually happened to energy prices almost immediately after Dr. Sachs' confident declarations, according to the Energy Information Administration, Harvard  summa cum laude notwithstanding:

At Harvard, do they still teach that humility is a virtue, or is pretension a sustainable development?

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