Saturday, May 7, 2016

Virtue signalling as a tidy explanation

A great illustration about understanding other people's goals in order to understand their actions.

Andreessen is of course correct that advocacy divestment, to the extent that it is effective, reduces the demand for a fossil fuel company's stock thereby creating an economic opportunity for other investors to enjoy a windfall investment benefit. If your goal, as an advocate, is to financially punish fossil fuel companies, then you have failed. More than that, you have essentially created the circumstances to subsidize those who do not share your belief system.

I think the trick to understanding this apparent paradox is to reexamine the assumed goals. If we assume that the advocates are not functionally focused on punishing fossil fuel companies but are instead more interested in virtue signalling, then their actions are much more explicable.

It's not the only possible explanation but it is a tidy one.

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