Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Zeitgeist: "Bankers Shout Down Environmentalist During Bank of America Q&A"

In the Middle Ages the idea of the wheel of fortune was deeply understood and used to illustrate a human's relationship with the world. Chaucer used it in one of the Canterbury Tales:
O noble Peter, Cyprus' lord and king,
Which Alexander won by mastery,
To many a heathen ruin did'st thou bring;
For this thy lords had so much jealousy,
That, for no crime save thy high chivalry,
All in thy bed they slew thee on a morrow.
And thus does Fortune's wheel turn treacherously
And out of happiness bring men to sorrow.
Dante used the concept:

No mortal power may stay her spinning wheel.
The nations rise and fall by her decree.
None may foresee where she will set her heel: she passes, and things pass. Man's mortal reason
cannot encompass her. She rules her sphere
as the other gods rule theirs. Season by season
her changes change her changes endlessly,
and those whose turn has come press on her so,
she must be swift by hard necessity.
(Inferno VII 82-90)

Ken Burns in The Civil War, quotes the emancipated slave who, upon seeing his former master marched past as a prisoner-of-war said:
Bottom rail on top now, boss.
Big wheel keep on turning.

Here's the headline story from CNBC's NetNet:
It looks as if the passion for green investment has officially taken flight from Wall Street.

At the start of the question and answer portion of Bank of America [BAC  7.115    0.065  (+0.92%)   ] Chief Executive Brian Moynihan's presentation this morning, someone stood up to ask about global warming and the bank's financing of coal-fueled power.

The audience, mostly composed of bankers attending a Barclays conference, immediately erupted in loud boos. The questioner was ignored by Moynihan, who apparently did not regard the question as legitimate.
Environmentally friendly investment strategies are, apparently, not very popular with this crowd.